Friday, April 16, 2021

N is for New Beginnings #AtoZChallenge

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the third week of the #Blogging from A to Z  April Challenge 2021. My theme this year is based on the Japanese concept of Ichigo Ichie which means--"What we are experiencing right now will never happen again. And therefore, we must value each moment like a beautiful treasure."

I've put together a collage of such moments which can be seen as chance occurrences, coincidences, pre-destined or random (depending on who you ask) for this month's challenge.

Today's post, as the title suggests, is all about new beginnings. 

I hope you'll enjoy being here.

Thank you.

Arti

"It's Never too Late to Bloom"

When we think of beginning, of developing something new, often what comes to mind is a young person with their whole life ahead of them, but this is only a prejudice. We all have the ability to make a new start in life, regardless of age.

Quote borrowed from The Book of Ichigo Ichie

I was struggling to find 'N' related topics to write for this post when suddenly, out of the blue, a whole string of 'topics' popped into my universe on the 13th of April.

The first was a message sent by a friend called Nandini. No, I'm not making it up. That's her name. She wished me Happy Navratri. Then more messages and greetings poured in. 

13th of April 2021 was special because it marked Baisakhi and Vishu (as usual) but this year it also heralded Navratri (festival of nine nights honouring the Universal feminine represented as Durga or Devi, the Goddess).

The Holy month of Ramadan also commenced on the 13th of April this year.

Baisakhi marks the beginning of the Hindu solar year and is known by different names in different parts of India. My Punjabi family celebrates it as Baisakhi. The Khalsa was formed by Sri Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Sikh guru, on this day in 1699 to fight against religious oppression imposed by the ruling Mughal emperor.

The golden blooms of the Indian laburnum announce Vishu, (or Bisu) celebrated in some of the Southern states of India. It's believed that this is the day Lord Krishna killed the demon Narakasura.

Navratri and Ramadan herald a period of fasting and travelling inwards, to ruminate and contemplate and renew ones connection to the Divine. These festivals, rituals, practices help us to slow down, to pay attention, to mulch our soul soil so that we may ready ourselves to embrace new growth, to nurture our ever-changing and evolving selves.

Despite the sequestering and the new normal, I found that the past year has been a veritable garden of new beginnings for me. No, I didn't slay any demons or topple any emperors, but I did come face to face with my  doubts, commonly known as self-doubts. They can be as lethal as demons and because they're invisible like the virus, they bring harm insidiously.

Soon after the end of last year's A to Z blogging challenge, a string of events unfurled many new beginnings for me. And almost all of them were the result of the connections I had made during the challenge.

Arti of my space put me on the path of open mic storytelling sessions (on Instagram) when she performed on one. I was intrigued. So, I asked her and she shared all the details. For the first time ever in my life, I performed my poetry and stories and I absolutely loved it. She also shared details of the National Story Slam contest. I sent in my entry and even got as far as the regional rounds. Performing a story is very different from writing one and that too on Zoom! Needless to say, the dormant performer in me woke up in 2020.

The Writers' Nook, by the Hive, a group on Facebook ,opened up for submissions for an anthology titled, Tea with a drop of honey. I sent them a couple of my stories. One got picked and there I was tucking another 'first' in my cap:)

Sonia Dogra, another friend from last year's A to Z, shared news of a poetry anthology. The Kali Project houses one my poems called 'A home for her children' and I couldn't be prouder.

By June of last year, I had not only started performing on open mic sessions every week, I even started writing and recording poems in Hindi. A YouTube channel was born to keep these recordings in one place and to share them with others. 

If you'd asked me in 2019 that I'd be looking at 30k hits and views for a poem I wrote about my mother's depression and bi-polarity, I would've laughed at the impossibility of it. But it happened and along with it came my first radio performance for Mirchi Scribbled, a well known radio platform in India.

For the first time ever, some of my photographs were selected in competitions. Poetry and photography platforms that were not accessible to me because of where I live, started opening up virtually in 2020. 

I'll stop tooting my horn as it's sounding very, very, vain. But, the point of this post is firstly, to show that it's never too late to start. 

And secondly, to highlight that before any of the above happened, it's the readers (friends, family and other bloggers) who kept supporting me with their comments and words of encouragement from the day I started sharing my writing (about 8 years ago). I can't name them all here. But you know who you are. 

New beginnings are easier to break through when one is supported. Danish Hussain, a fabulous actor, playwright, director and storyteller, who's open mic sessions sprouted the performer in me, gives 'the power of appreciation' credit for his success. He passes it on in spades to others.

None of what I may call as my 'achievements' would have happened if you, the readers of these posts, hadn't shown your love. Thank you, each and every one of you, for your love and time.

I recently read an article called 'Time to Take a Leap' published in the January 2012 issue of Red magazine. Yes, I keep old magazines for a very long time. This caught my eye: "The more times you put yourself out of your comfort zone and handle it, the easier it gets."

Even this year's A to Z was looking impossible to tackle in March. I felt I had exhausted all my material during the growth spurt of 2020 as I rely mostly on my memories. But how wrong I was! 

Like the yoga mat, where showing up is the hardest part, starting what you love to do can be hard. But once you hunker down, it gives and gives.

"If you're brave enough to do what you love, every day would be the best day of your life."
Quote borrowed from The Book of Ichigo Ichie

I'd like to wish you all new and wonderful beginnings with this delightful animated illustration created by the Bohra Sisters  based on a story I wrote.  

And for a change, every now and again, it feels good to pat ones own back and say: "well done you!" I don't think it's vain. I think it's akin to acknowledging the Divine within.
Have you overcome any demons recently? 
Did 2020 surprise you in a pleasant way?
Is there something you've done for the first time recently and you'd like to share?
You know, I'd love to hear.
*****
I'll re-share one of my poems here. In case you've got the time, you may want to listen. It's in English and it's called Mohini (only female re-incarnation of Vishnu, destroyer of demons, essence of Shaktism). 

Last year, I wrote about my fearless childhood in N is for Nidar

This year, I'm participating in #BlogchatterA2Z  powered by theblogchatter.com 

33 comments:

  1. This is wonderful, Arti. You are so right about it being never too late to start and try something new. May your success grow leaps and bounds. <3
    2020 for me, I don't know. Our collective, The Hive has been going strong and I started book reviews a little more seriously from last year, so guess those count. :)

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    1. Yes, Srivalli. Those count:)
      Enjoy your book reviews. I'll catch up in May.

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  2. Ofcourse its never too late !!! Well you are so gifted, that I wonder how this did not happen earlier in life!!But I am only happy that these new beginnings happened NOW in your life happened than before! Being purely Selfish here, because I could witness it first hand. Aur yeh to hona hi tha!
    The Kali Project one is my most favorite. Cheers to many more self discoveries!! Abhi toh party shuru huwi hain.........Picture abhi baaki hain mere dost!

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    1. Cheers Vidya.
      You are the oxygen to my ego:) ha! Ha!
      Love you.

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  3. I am so so proud of you! More power to you and your dreams. You are very gracious and humble besides of course being a powerhouse of talent- and that`s the secret to your success. Much love

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    1. Thank you Arti.
      I saw such sisterhood in the last 12 months that I'm compelled to share the stories. Like you, so many friends helped me to connect the dots.
      This is humanhood. I'm so blessed to be among such kindred spirits.
      Hugs to you my blogger friend:)

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  4. Hari Om
    Nothing Nicer than discovering one's talent is real! So glad all this opened up for you Arti. No, never too late... YAM xx

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  5. This is such a lovely informative post narrating how success can happen with "New beginnings". The poem "Mohini" recitation is also very good, telling a very inspiring story!

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    1. Thank you Rajeev. I'm glad you heard Mohini's story. It's a true story.

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  6. What a marvellous year you had, filled with extraordinary moments! It's wonderful to discover talents you weren't aware you possessed. Your poem was a delight to listen to.

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    1. Thank you Keith.
      I feel like the town crier tooting my own trumpet in this post. But, it also feels good to see it all in one place. It was a fruitful year.

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  7. Oh, Arti, you continue to amaze and delight me. There is so much here to celebrate, and I DO! May you continue to find joy, continue to unfold, continue to bless us in the myriad of ways that your creative expression radiates forth. Your Mohini piece is wonderful and I will certainly be returning to it again and again.

    And what a wonderful delight to hear about those you have felt supported and encouraged by. The world unfolds and encircles with so many treasures, so many blessings, so much love. And how perfect is that?

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    1. It is perfect indeed Deborah.
      You know, it's the support and encouragement I received from strangers in the virtual world that gave me the boost.
      It goes to show--there is more good in the world that we give credit.

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  8. Some amazing new experiences since last year! Congratulations.

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  9. How wonderful that you challenged yourself this past year and found success. Your passion and talent shine through. I am a big believer in moving outside our comfort zones.

    Your poem was powerful and beautifully read.

    Weekends In Maine

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    1. Thank you Karen:)
      So glad you heard 'Mohini'.

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  10. Every day is a new day, a good day for a new beginning. Like they say, today is the first day of the rest of our lives. Treasure it. Love it. :-)
    N for Nandi Hills

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  11. Loved your take on Mohini as well as your recital of the poem

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    1. Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the poem.

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  12. Toot away! Times are dark, it is always lovely to hear about people achieving amazing things :) Congratulations!

    The Multicolored Diary

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    1. Thank you so much Csenge. I'm smiling while typing:)

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  13. Many salutes to your spirit and your achievements, Arti. As you said, it's not easy to step out of your comfort zone to mark a totally new beginning. You deserve it all and much more :)

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    1. HA! HA!
      This feels exactly like I said: toot! toot! look what I've done!
      Thank you so much:)

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  14. Let me do a little dance first Arti... For all your achievements so far... And yeah for me being up to date with most of them :D! Like Mohini I not only heard you recite and be in awe but I will always remember that powerful rendition for time immemorial. Even Papadesh's story that I had read in your earlier A2Z ....many of your open mic performances and yes the almari (cupboard) poem which I had requested you if I can share the very first time I had heard it. I am glad that I could find myself there cheering in the crowd in every bit of your success and I am sure there are many many more to come your way going ahead.

    My 2020 was a big year of surprise for me as well and yes you were there to cheer for me and that's what matters the most... To find a friend in your new beginning :)

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    1. I'll raise my glass to :"To find a friend in your new beginning :)"
      Thank you.
      Hugs. xx

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  15. What a wonderful post and inspiration for pushing beyond the comfort zone! I loved reading about the encouragement you received from others. There are so many good people in the world!

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  16. So happy and proud of all the celebratory achievements of yours. Even though your post is inspiring for anyone I must add that it takes courage and creativity to be out there and do everything you mentioned. I have seen you and heard you and you have been natural in both. Mohini however will be my favourite :). Lots of love.

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    1. Thank you so much dear Pinkz for always being there for me.
      Hugs. xx

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  17. Super happy and proud on your celebratory achievements. No matter how easy it looks to try something new....you need confidence and courage....that you have shown in every achievement. Wishing to hear many more such achievements from you. By the way, Mohini is my favourite.

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    1. I think tech glitches worked in mysterious ways and gave me two comments from you Pinkz:) Thank you. xx

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