Goodbye Friend.

It is just easier to let him go from your life rather than hold onto that friendship to make it work.

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No, she is not a delicate flower or an intricate piece of glasswork that will get shattered or crushed so easily.

No, she will not continue to yearn for him after he bails on her.

Yet, no she is not completely immalleable either.

We all get influenced by others’ words (even worse — misleading verbal promises) and actions. Sometimes, it is just easier to let him go from your life rather than hold onto that friendship to make it work. It’s just not worth your effort and time.

So here it goes, my ex-friend.

To the guy who didn’t come down one set of stairs to talk to her in person especially when she asked to talk to him in person. The one time she said she needed him during her sad phase, he wasn’t by his side. Goodbye.

To the guy who has the worst mood swings and when confronted by them, turns the table on her and blames her for overthinking. Yes, he has a great sense of humor. And no, she doesn’t expect him to be peppy all the time. But, a single hello wouldn’t hurt during the car rides to work. Goodbye.

To the guy who treats her in such a fickle manner and she starts doubting how to behave with him and starts changing herself for him. Goodbye.

To the guy who was so much fun to be around with the first couple of months and brought so much positivity but now is the primary source of negativity and makes her overthink about unnecessary issues. Goodbye.

To the guy who never was on his phone when he was with her but now constantly on his phone. Goodbye.

To the guy who was definitely interested in her but now goes to her about another girl and tells her to not to be present every time the group of three hangs out. After all, it’s only the three of them in a new state away from their support system. And, he knows that. What can this girl do now? She’s used to it. Give her some time. But now, a complete goodbye.

To the guy who told her directly that he loved intelligent, passionate, career, and goal-oriented women like herself and said “that turns me on,” but goes for a girl with zero flame instead. Why? Was she too loud or “extra” for him? After all, he would only resort to the norm. So much for wanting to never conform to society and saying he’d be a stay at home dad for her career and goals if need be. Goodbye.

To the guy who talked about his family, showed her pictures of his entire life before they met, and initiated non-work related hang outs outside work to talk about society and life, but now only talks to her about work. Goodbye.

To the guy who lacks the passion to make a mark in society when she first saw in him the first time they met. Goodbye.

To the guy who spends unnecessary money on things but says he’s under a tight budget when she is planning a fun adventure for them. That definitely let her know of his priorities. Goodbye.

To the guy who asked to room with her in her future European adventures, made long eye contact with her even in a large group setting, visited her whenever he could at work, intrigued by things she said, remembered everything she said and did, and tried to dance on her multiple times at parties, but then called her his “co-worker” or sister when asked about their friendship. A major goodbye.

No, she didn’t want him to be her boyfriend. She was delighted to have a new best friend so soon in her new chapter of her life. Yes, she admired him more than a normal friend, but that was out of respect. Maybe it could have blossomed into love much (and seriously much) later on, but it was definitely not to get with him. After hanging out all the time to minimal interactions when it’s just the two of them makes a huge impact in her life.

Thank you Mr. X for showing her to never confide in anyone that quickly. Thank you Mr. X for giving her the initial fun interactions and positivity, but thank God she didn’t stick to the other side of you that now seems to be the permanent side when you are with her. She’s not sure what she did to make this happen, but man, she’d like to know to reverse this whole thing. There’s only so much she can hold onto before giving up with you. But, she is for sure done for now.

She tried giving you her best, and it wasn’t enough. But she’s fine with it now.

And, ultimately, thank you for giving her so much alone time back that now she is inspired to get back to blogging and to express her whirlpool of emotions through these very words. ❤

(As the reader, you may see many hypocrisies in my thinking in this piece, and I am very well aware of that. Just wanted to fully express my emotions rather than finding logic with them.)

Goodbye College.

This is the place that made me lose sleep, but it is also the place that became home.

I feel like I have said “these past four years went by so quickly” close to a million times within the past few weeks, but honestly there are no other words to describe how insanely fast my college chapter has flown by. The people I met, the ones who stayed, the ones I did not get to keep, and even the ones that came back in the end to finish what they started.

My college has had such a huge impact on my life. This is the place that made me lose sleep, but it is also the place that became home. Some are good memories, and some are ones I probably wish never happened. Regardless of what has happened to me here, I will always love this place.

My college is where I met amazing people from all walks of life; all the stories I heard and the things they taught me. This is where roommates became best friends, and friends became family. This is the place where I have fallen in love at one point — either with my future goals or simply with my daily life here. This is the place where I slowly figured out what I want to do in life and to be accepting of change. After all, we are forever discovering ourselves. This is the place that showed me what I am capable of. This is the place that showed all of us a world outside of our hometowns — no matter how big or small they might be. This is the place that has become my home.

While I will miss the late night studying (more like cramming) and running to an early morning class, the hardest part might not be leaving this place or the academics, but leaving the people. My friends were there when I missed my family. My friends were there when I was going through a helluva stressful week. My friends were also there on the good days, celebrating small accomplishments, like doing well on a presentation, or the big accomplishments.

There are three primary organizations and the people I met through that who have made a positive mark on my life here on campus. I was really nervous about the thought of joining new organizations on campus and making my mark. All three of these organizations and the people have pushed me to achieve feats that I, four years ago, never thought I could possibly do. I’m eternally grateful to have met these people who convey new ideas and an open-mind. I’m grateful to have met these people who are patient and kind. I’m lucky to have grown with such genuine people. It’s hard to find those who truly mean what they say, but I was lucky to find them.

We’re all so different in personalities, majors, goals, and aspirations, but at the same time we are all so similar. We all have rough days. We all sing at the top of our lungs to throwback songs — even if my friends and I don’t harmonize one bit. We all miss our families — love you dad and ma. And, we all have disagreements — but there are no judgments abound. We’re all different but in the best way possible.

These last few months have been extremely busy. It feels like life is running on an hourglass. The anxiety has been real — trying to get in all the good memories, creating as many as you can before it is all over, and trying to do the things you have been wanting to do since freshmen year. I wish this did not have to end. I wish we all did not have to go our own separate ways. I wish I could just take all of my favorite people and places to my next chapter, but life moves on.

Once I get into my car Sunday afternoon and start to drive away, the final chapter of the life I made for four years will be closing. I will leave this place but I know I will always have the memories and photos to look back on, smiling to myself as I think of these days. But for now, before we leave, I wish I could slow down time, just to savor and cherish every last second before the last grain of sand falls and this chapter closes completely.

Written May 2, 2017 before my Bachelor’s Commencement on Saturday, May 6, 2017.

New Year, Better Me

New year means reflections like never before.

The New Year means reflections like never before.

While I understand making resolutions doesn’t have to only happen on New Year’s, there is that extra motivational push to do so when others around you are reflecting during the same time. By having so much free time this winter break to reflect, the new year is my chance to sit down and prepare a list of important actionable lifestyle changes I want to make.

In the past, I have always made a list of things I want to change in my life every new year. When I think about them now, I realize how materialistic those goals have been. I particularly remember 2012’s one where I wanted to do anything I can to get into a prestigious Ivy League and 2014’s one where I wanted that 4.0 next semester. Yes – these resolutions motivated me to do well, but I realize now how narrow-minded these resolutions were. Ivy Leagues. 4.0s. I was missing the point of life. I was not understanding the importance of happiness, positivity, and peace. It was always a rush to succeed and never about enjoying the process.

Not sure what has been so different about me when thinking about this year’s resolutions (maybe I’m just feeling 22 haha), but when I began jotting my goals, I realized it could very easily be summarized as leading a happy life. There was no specific achievement I wanted. Rather, it was to enjoy every day of my life. Maybe this is the after-effect of close family friends’ untimely deaths. Or maybe this is the senior college student nostalgia kicking in already. Or maybe this is just me being more aware of society around me. Regardless, I am beginning to see the world and my role here in a different light.

My resolutions may seem vague to many reading this, but to me, this is exactly how I want them to be. We have all been taught to make SMART goals with the S standing for specific. As you’ll see, my resolutions are not specific whatsoever. Rather, they’re just how I want to lead life this year and for years to follow. I believe these resolutions are the door to happiness and eventually, my perseverance to make my mark in society.

Read More.

The last physical book I read was probably over four years ago. I still read the news, but that’s not really the same. I always blamed lack of time for this, but this year I really want to start reading more. With the endless amount of perspectives and lives we can read about, books can give us an opportunity to have experiences that we haven’t had the opportunity to and still allow us to learn the life skills they entail. Through reading more, I hope to discover more about myself.

Live More [Fully].

Yup, you read that right. Live more. I want to live my life more fully. I will pursue to live every day on a fresh new start. I do not want to be and will not be held back by what happened yesterday, the day before, the week before, the year before, and so on. This also means to be true to who I really am. Unintentionally, we all try to be someone we are not to impress someone or want everyone to like us. While I made this change last year, I really want to continue this as it has made me a more confident and independent person. I’d rather be an original version of myself than an exact duplicate of someone else. And, the third change I want to bring about is to stop complaining. I never understood how I much I complain until a friend recently pointed out. Call it venting, b****ing, or whatever, but I tend to do this during stressful times, and I need to turn it down a notch. While it is important to share your feelings with close friends, over-complaining or criticizing brings them down too even if they don’t express it. So 2017, get ready for the more positive me!

Breathe More [Fresh Air].

This past year, I have been indoors way too much. Classes, meetings, meals, and assignments are all inside. I want to explore more Atlanta spots and take my reading, studying, and chilling there. I spend way too much time in my apartment and have always wanted to go outside to work on things, but I was never proactive. With my Fridays off this semester, I will have a great opportunity to explore the city I have spent practically my entire life in. Not only that, fresh air busts stress and increases happiness. Research shows that spending time in fresh air increases energy in 90 percent of people. This seems like a good resolution to me. 🙂

Give More [to Society].

In five months, I will have received my undergraduate degree from one of the most prestigious institutions in the nation. Why was it that I worked so hard to get this degree? It is honestly more the process and the four years of learning that has shaped me to be who I am now. Taking those fun courses that were outside the biomedical engineering curriculum was very honestly my secret to new ideas and passion. No matter how tough we think our lives are, there is always someone who has to face challenges that are even tougher than ours. Taking classes like sociology and leveraging social networks gave me a fresh take on how I can make a sustainable difference as opposed to volunteering at one holiday event. As a Girl Scout for 13 years and active member of various service organizations, I have kept my promise of giving back to society. However, this year I want to give more. I want to start an initiative myself going off my Gold Award project that I was and am still passionate about in 2013 — autism awareness. With the connections I have made these past four years, with the new advances I have learned about in my courses, and with the passion to lead and serve my community, I am really excited in launching this idea sometime the first half of this year.

Love More.

If you can learn to love yourself and all the flaws, you can love other people so much better. And that makes you so happy. ~ Kristin Chenoweth

Enough said. Bringing more happiness and positivity to not only myself but to those around me is exactly what I will be doing starting now.

Smile More.

One smile can make all the difference in the world. One smile has the power to release stress, calm you down, make you attractive, make someone else happy, and can cause happiness. I want to continue smiling through ups and downs and see more positivity in any situation. After all, I do think smiling more is the way to mastering the art of positive thinking.

Jump. Twist. Relax. Breathe.

My name, Abhinaya, is translated as dance expressions in Sanskrit; indeed, it is in dance that I find my fullest identity.

Jump. Twist. Relax. Breathe. The art of dance for me represents the intersection of these most elementary of movements with incredible elegance and sophistication. Back straight. Head held high. Smiling. It is at once the most complex, yet the simplest and most expressive activities I perform in any day; it is poetry in motion. As my body adjusts to the challenges of specific movements and gestures, my mind is free to drift, to sift through whatever needs organizing—the next day’s tasks, discord with a friend, or stress. As my arm and calf muscles loosen and my labored breathing relaxes, I am able to release that stress, forget that argument, and set my mind in order. In the middle of my routine, I stop and stare at myself in the mirror to admire my Bharathanatyam posture. I pause to feel my own strong heartbeat. Then, I dance again.

Sixteen years ago, my amma (as I call my sweet mother) dragged me to a dance class to introduce me to Bharathanatyam. I recall that day with a smile, for my first impression was – shall we say – less than positive. I confess my condescending glances at the Indian classical dancers, who looked so different, sitting in half-squats with their arms extended. But yielding to amma’s enthusiasm, I committed to give it a try. I couldn’t have imagined then how this beautiful ancient art would shape the way I experience the world and nurture my appreciation for expressions of love and beauty. Originating from South India, Bharathanatyam is one of the most cherished and popular classical Indian dance forms. This epitome of Indian cultural expression has been a bridge between my American and Indian lifestyles.

Over the years, I have gained much more from Bharathanatyam than just a dance education. While the study focuses on physical techniques, I have also learned the essence of diligence, patience, and perseverance. The strict discipline of Bharathanatyam has taught me to work very diligently, a trait that has served me well in all my pursuits.

I smile now remembering my little five-year-old self choosing to dance on a whim. What began as an activity I had to do every Sunday has become something that is a part of me. My name, Abhinaya, is translated as dance expressions in Sanskrit; indeed, it is in dance that I find my fullest identity. Bharathanatyam has given me the courage, confidence, and unique charisma to become the person I am today.

3 Life Lessons Being At College Has Taught Me

Thank you for all the lessons you’ve taught me both inside and outside the classroom, college.

“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.”

I am a firm believer of this saying. While I may not have graduated from college yet, these past three years have taught me innumerable lessons on life – all of which I will take forward in life. Not everything can be taught in a classroom. I remember in high school how it was a simple routine. Early morning dance practices. Classes. Extracurriculars. Homework. Sleep. That was my life five days of the week. I was used to this routine. I mean why wouldn’t I be? I was getting good grades and doing things I love – service, dance, and music. I was in this protected bubble and at my comfort zone. Little did I know how much this was going to change after stepping onto campus in the fall of 2013. Now after three years of being in college, while some of the routine has remained the same, the new independence, friends, lifestyle, and workload have taught me a lot more lessons. I have highlighted three of the many lessons that I believe has made me a better person.

1. Discovering Who I Really Am

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “To be yourself in a world that is trying to make you something else is a great accomplishment.” So a question such as “who am I?” really gives me the opportunity to differentiate and express who I really am and who I can be. While I seemed to know who I am for all those college applications senior year of high school, these past three years of self-discovery, the “fun course a semester idea,” spontaneous decisions, and new adventures have brought a new dimension to how I’d answer this question today. Through all of my successes, failures, and moving slowly, but surely out of my comfort zone, I’ve begun to recognize who I am and who I want to be. What I can really say is that I am progressing to make a brighter future for myself.

2. Discovering Who My Real Friends Are

Before coming to college, all I wanted was to get to meet everyone my year. Pretty ambitious, I know. But, to some extent, I made a lot of new friends freshmen year. Making friends for a lot of us comes naturally, but maintaining these friendships can become somewhat difficult.Little did I know that quality is so much more important than quantity — even in friendships. The simple truth is friends will come and go. And, that’s completely normal.

I’ve learned how to build trust within myself. I’ve learned how to let go of negativity, let go of the fake friends, and to stop worrying over people who aren’t doing you any good in life. It’s just not worth it.

I’ve quickly learned that true friendships are one of the most important things you can get out of life. At a place like my college, you need true friends to keep you sane, to keep you grounded, and to keep you motivated to chase your dreams. I have friends who are like family today. Without them, I can’t even imagine life to be the same. Without college, I would have never learned the value of true friendship and would have never gotten the courage to let go of those who aren’t true.

3. Discovering A Balance in Life

Achieving life balance was and is one of the largest challenges that we as college students face. After all, we have to juggle a wide variety of activities — from coursework to social life to extracurriculars — in addition to monitoring our mental and physical well-being. When I was a freshmen myself, I struggled to find that balance. There were many days I would go to class and then just chill with my friends. I’d start homework at 2AM and oftentimes, if lucky, get 3-4 hours of sleep. A couple days before midterms, I was frantically cramming for them. Sure, the classes were somewhat easier then, so it didn’t totally ruin my academic record. But, I knew I had to change my ways to balance sleep, academics, and friendship if I had to survive the rigor of the Biomedical Engineering curriculum.

Learning to say “no” was how I fixed this issue. You live for yourself. You can’t live your life doing what other people want you to do. It was hard at first, but keeping my goals and that balance in mind, it eventually worked out. College has given me a little glimpse into how to be better organized, balance fun and work, and put my priorities in order.

In May 2017, not only will I remember my college as four years of bliss, a symbol of complete freedom, and self discovery, it has also helped me develop essential life skills such as these three. Like Einstein’s words go, “the only source of knowledge is experience.” Thank you for all the lessons you’ve taught me both inside and outside the classroom, college.

© AвнιAятѕ 2016

The Liebster Award

So here it goes in the hope that this award nomination thread continues and for virtually meeting more diverse and amazing bloggers!

Started blogging a little over a month ago, and to see all this love and support from bloggers around the world feels amazing! For this Liebster Award nomination, I want to give a huge shout out to my friend, Prathima, at Later Alligator. We may be 9, 000 miles apart, but our passion for blogging has kept us very much connected. She has a phenomenal blog, so to whoever’s reading this, be sure to check it out!

Very honestly speaking, I had no idea what this nomination was all about. The more posts I read of others who were nominated, I understood its power of connecting bloggers. It makes bloggers feel special about their writing, photography, and thoughts and encourages them to continue to do so.

So here it goes in the hope that this award nomination thread continues and for virtually meeting more diverse and amazing bloggers!

The rules for the Liebster Award nomination are pretty straightforward:

  • Thank the one(s) who nominated you
  • Answer 11 questions the blogger gives you
  • Give 11 random facts about yourself
  • Nominate 11 bloggers that you think deserve this award too
  • Give them 11 questions to answer
  • Let the bloggers know you nominated them

And, here are Prathima’s questions and my answers:

1. If you had to choose, what would it be – budget or luxury travel?

I absolutely love the challenge for travelling under a budget! To me, the richest and most luxurious travel experience is eating at a local roadside food stand as opposed to dressing up and dining at a 5-star hotel. It’s watching kids play street cricket at the park and joining them as opposed to heading to an expensive musical at some top-notch theater. I don’t want to be a tourist; I just want to experience it like a native in that country. And, most of the times, that takes a budget travel and nothing more.

2. What’s your biggest fear about travelling?

My biggest fear about travelling is not having a safe place to stay at night. As much fun nomad travelling sounds, as a girl, I just worry about a safe place to stay during the night. Doesn’t have to be super neat, have a complimentary breakfast, or anything fancy. Just needs to be safe.

3. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

One thing everyone about me knows… I’m not an adventurous eater AT all. But, one thing I ate at a Scouts camping trip in elementary school that still makes me puke just thinking about it is mashed and cooked canned brown beans. Looks like sh*t and probably tastes like sh*t. This is why I’m not a fan of Mexican food either.

4. What is your comfort food?

Hands down, that typical Madrasi breakfast (more like a meal, my bad) — that steamy and delicious idli, spicy vegetable-filled sambar, fresh coconut chutney, crispy medhu vada, and a hot filter coffee to top it off. Just typing this makes me hungry.

5. Have you ever been to India?

Yup, I was born in Chennai and lived there my first five years before moving here! But, my family’s very connected to our relatives there — the typical weekly calls where we all yell on the phone despite the service being so clear, FaceTiming during special occasions, sharing pictures and memes on that family WhatsApp group everyone has, and of course visiting them every other summer for 2-3 months.

6. Describe your blog in one word.

Positivity

7. What do you hate/dislike about blogging?

Honestly, I dislike it when I have a genuine piece freshly posted but there are no views on it. I post thoughts to see what others feel, but if others don’t see it, then I’m not quite sure what to do, haha.

8. What are the top five things on your bucket list?

  • Live in Bangalore, Chennai, and/or Hyderabad for at least 3 years of my life with my husband (not married yet lol) and travel all over India during my time there.
  • Teach students in underprivileged areas through the Peace Corps.
  • Meet the Indian Cricket team players that were part of the 2011 World Cup win.
  • Choreograph a dance routine for an Indian movie.
  • Have a cup of coffee with Dr. Abdul Kalam. I was too late with this one. 😦

9. Which is the one place in the world you wouldn’t mind visiting again and again?

Paris ❤

10. What did you want to be growing up?

I went through a lot of phases — top 3 I can think of now right away are: doctor, Indian actress, and chef with my own cooking show.

11. Are you what you wanted to be?

I am not yet in any of these professions, but I still could be. What is more important is that I am happy with where I am today and with all I’ve accomplished. Still got many years to come.

Okay, next step: 11 Random Facts About Me

  1. I am a trained Bharatnatyam dancer (for 16 years now).
  2. I can speak 4 languages fluently — English, Tamil, Telugu, and French.
  3. I have plenty of Indian actor crushes, but one by one they’re getting married away lol.
  4. My goal is to make at least one music cover by the end of the summer. Anyone want to collab? I’m a pretty decent singer.
  5. My grandpa used to own a stationary store in India in my name.
  6. Name any Tamil or Telugu movie. I’ve 90% watched it. That’s how much I love cinema.
  7. I’ve been playing the violin for 12+ years now.
  8. I have a weird craze over airports and airplanes. They make me so happy.
  9. I believe in horoscopes.
  10. My birthday is the same day as Rajnikanth and Yuvraj Singh. The former name usually excites all my Indian friends.
  11. I like Pepsi more than Coca Cola, and I’m from Atlanta…hmm.

Okay, your turn. My nominees for the Liebster Award are:

  1. The Evolutionary Mind
  2. Rijul Ballal
  3. The Aahir Entry
  4. Trickster Chase
  5. Lyf&Spice
  6. Divya Rao
  7. Asmi
  8. Passion to Color
  9. Rashminotes
  10. That’s So Taran
  11. Smileaheartoflove

My questions for the nominees are:

  1. Tell me the 3 best qualities about you.
  2. What are your 3 favorite movies?
  3. Name a celebrity you think is lame.
  4. Would you rather win an Olympic medal, an Academy Award or the Nobel Peace prize?
  5. What is your favorite family tradition?
  6. What’s the first thing you do when you get home from a trip?
  7. Would you rather be the best player on a horrible team or the worst player on a great team?
  8. If someone made a movie of your life would it be a drama, a comedy, a romantic-comedy, action film, or science fiction?
  9. Who’s your celebrity crush?
  10. What is your favorite quote?
  11. If you could shop for free at one store, which one would you choose?

And, that concludes this post! Definitely a long post, but I had fun writing it. Hoping it’s just as fun for my nominees! Looking forward to getting to know y’all better! Cheers! 🙂

The Power of Sisterhood

Without a sister, I would not be who I am today.

My little sister graduated from high school recently and what an occasion it was for my family. As an older sister (only by three years), it was the first time I was tearing up. Yeah, I’ve graduated myself (no tears then), seen my friends graduate after me (no tears then either), and even been to my sister’s other award ceremonies (still no tears). And this girl has been honored at a wide range of events — from academics to extracurriculars. But this graduation was different.

It was a day that I’ll never forget. It was a day I was excited about since she was about to start her next chapter in life. It was a day I truly felt proud to be her older sister. I was not hesitant to scream my lungs out when her name was called to the stage to pick up her diploma. I was not hesitant to tear up in front of hundreds. Most importantly, I was not hesitant to call her my biggest joy in life.

It’s such a weird feeling. Seeing her with all her special cords, medals, tassel, and graduation robe just immediately made me nostalgic. Three years ago, when I was in her shoes, she was there to support me, to yell when my name was called on stage, to take pictures of me and my friends with our diplomas, and to stand up for me whenever someone tried to say anything disrespectful behind or in front of me. It took me 18 years to realize the true power of sisterhood and its importance in my family.

My sister and I are known opposites. Three examples right here: I’m loud, absolutely adore cricket, and dislike Mexican food. She’s quiet, hates watching cricket, and eats nothing but quesadillas. But what connects us is our love for our culture whether that be music, dance, or cinema and our love for each other. This doesn’t necessarily mean we never fight. In fact, we used to and still fight — a lot. But these fights have brought us even closer to each other.

When I was young, I’ve wished to be the only child just so all my parents’ love is towards me. But man, was I wrong. Without someone to share things with, without someone to fight with or even blame things on, without someone to apologize to after making a mistake, without someone to play games with, without someone my age at home with me to share my feelings with — without a sister, I would not be who I am today. And, this graduation just took me through this reminiscing ride of appreciating my sister’s love and support for me always.

Love ya sis and can’t wait for more memories.

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