#AtoZChallenge 2017- Reflections

survivor-atoz [2017] v1

This was my second attempt with AtoZ Challenge. My first stint was last year as a newbie. Though I knew what to expect this year, I wasn’t sure if I would be surviving  as I had a lot going on. But nevertheless, I tried. I wanted to try rather than giving up right from the beginning. As always, the challenge has helped in many ways both in writing and also about learning a bit more about myself.

My first AtoZ in 2016 was full of excitement and I miraculously survived by posting meaningful content and the best part- I was right on schedule! But this year was different. I remember the pressure and freaking out I did last year to post everyday before the clock strikes 12 in the midnight. Since I was a newbie, I was all stressed out. I had this in mind and wanted to take up the challenge this year without feeling stressed. I made up my mind that is okay to not be on schedule and I wrote only when I could.

I did not have a theme this year as well and chose to write on random topics. But this time, I had decided well ahead on the titles for most alphabets. I also made my posts a bit shorter for most of them. This made it easier for me to write as I already had an idea of what my thoughts should revolve around. Though I completed the challenge a bit late, I’m glad I did not stress out and somehow made an effort to complete it. The only thing I regret is not having enough time to network and comment on fellow participants of AtoZ-2017. The organizers have made some changes this year and their effort in organizing this challenge has been wonderful as always. I’m very thankful to each and everyone who followed and enjoyed reading my offering. A big congratulations to all the survivors!! 🙂

Here is the list of posts during this year’s AtoZ Challenge-2017:

A- Appearance

B- Bondage

C- Change

D- Deeds

E- Extraordinary

F- Fondness for Fakeness

G- Genuineness

H- Heliophilia

I- Introspection

J- Juxtaposition

K- Kiss

L- Lost

M- Multitasking

N- Nebraska Nice

O- Opportunist

P- People Pleaser

Q- Queen

R- Rehab 2020

S- Subconscious Mind

T- Teetotaler’s Tale

U- Uber

V- Visualization 

W- Weather Way

X- Xanthophobia

Y- Yours Truly

Z- Zentangle


#AtoZChallenge- Zentangle

Zentangle is my new found love. It is an art form where repeated patterns are drawn in a structured manner. This art is a great way to relax, rejuvenate and focus. I consider this highly therapeutic and have been trying my hand a lot on it lately. Zentangle helps me regain my long lost focus.

Here are two ‘inspired’ Zentangle versions of Disney princesses.

Say Hello to Zentangled Elsa from Frozen! I used Sharpie pointed marker to do this.

Elsa- Frozen
Here is Jasmine from Aladin in my zentangled version. I used Micron pointed tip pens for this to make subtle details pop.

JasmineI plan to do more in the Disney series and will keep posting as I do. Here is my other post on Zentangle art- Pattern Art

#AtoZChallenge- Yours Truly

An open letter to my 20 year old self:

Dear 20 year old self,

First of all, congratulations for making it this far! This 20 year old journey of yours has been remarkable. You’ve worked hard enough to reach your academic goals. I know that you are currently working towards your next one on the checklist-a good job. Well great! I highly appreciate your zeal and seriousness in life in this aspect. Though I appreciate your clear vision on what to do next, I also noticed your attitude of trying to get done with crucial things and then anticipate time for enjoyment or relaxation. It’s good to take seriousness in working towards something, but waiting for the end of it and then think about what really fascinates you is mere foolishness! I know I sound rude, but the fact is there will never be time for you to try or do anything your passionate about. I know you never studied just for the heck of it, I know you enjoyed your educational journey thus far. But my dear, life isn’t always about clearing exams or accomplishing goals with the view of seeing the light at the end of tunnel. 

The best time is NOW. You don’t have to wait to be happy only after attaining a job. Failing at an interview shouldn’t be a hindrance to your joy. Thinking about what others think about you is definitely none of your business! I know how much you hate failure, but remember this- irrespective of how hard you work, you WILL fail in the future. It may be your career, your relationship or health. Sometimes, nothing will go on as you expect, nothing will favor you. Knowing that failure is a part of life should make you take it easier. But the biggest and the greatest knack of survival in this world is to just know one thing- Have faith. Blind faith, no matter what happens. After all, failures teach the best lessons!

 I know that you feel as if you are at the crux of your life. You feel that your decisions now might be the final ones and the consequences are all dependent on this crucial phase of now. But trust me, you will be feeling this way throughout your life. Every year will feel like a crucial one. So take it easy and let go off things, people or situations that don’t matter. Last but not the least, DO NOT ever take anything for granted, because you may not have all this in the future. Even if you have much more than now, never forget this! Keep this in mind, ALWAYS have faith and you’ll be much better than you’ve ever been!

– Yours truly,

   Your wiser, saner self


#AtoZChallenge- Xanthophobia

Jason was seven and was waiting at the bus stop with his dad for his bus. After a few minutes he was excited to look at the school bus approaching. But in a fraction of few seconds, the yellow school bus was hit hard by a speeding truck with a rash driver. The bus immediately burst into flames and Jason froze with shock, though his dad tried hard to take him away from the spot.

He was in extreme shock and cried in pain for months after the incident. He couldn’t go to school and feared going out, despite his parent’s best efforts. After several months, he started feeling a bit better, but his anxiety wasn’t gone completely. One morning, his mother gave him a banana for breakfast and the moment he saw it, he despised and threw it far away. He locked himself up in his room but came out running in a while. He was all sweaty and gasped continuously. After inquiring what was wrong, Jason told his parents that he is getting extremely scared when he looks at anything yellow.

His parents panicked and they went to see a doctor regarding their son’s condition. Upon consulting the doctor, they realized Jason has developed a rare case of chromophobia, fear of a color and his condition was called Xanthophobia. Jason was reminded of the burning yellow school bus whenever he saw anything yellow. This made it hard for him to even go out as he would have to see the sun. Though medication could help alleviate fear to some extent, the condition could get better only with time.

Xanthophobia is fear of the color yellow. It is a type of chromophobia and it is a strong aversion towards anything of the color yellow. Sometimes people suffering from Xanthophobia have the extreme cases of fear from evening hearing the word yellow. As strange as it may sound, the fear causes extreme levels of inconvenience and anxiety. 

#AtoZChallenge- Weather Way

When I moved to the States, I found many things, habits and practices fascinating. One among them has to be the inevitable role played by the weather in everyday life. Coming from a tropical country, weather was never really an issue, apart from heavy downpour once in a blue moon.  The transition from a hot and dry climate of South India to cold and snowy weather of Mid Western United States hasn’t been easy for me. Climate was a huge part of my culture shock during the initial stages.

Coming from a warm place, I never really cared or even acknowledged much about weather changes. I hardly had a track of the temperatures except for the summers as it got too hot, but event then, not very often. Well now, weather has become an integral part of my life. It decides my outfit, my plan for the day and also my mood!  Dressing as per weather has been fun during the honeymoon stages in a new country, but then that did not last long. I was welcomed for the first time to the United States in the month of December, just ahead of New Year’s eve. The moment I stepped out of the airport, imagine my direct first hand experience of being hit by snow on my face and the chilly wind sweeping through my hair! It was priceless! Yet intimidating. For a person who used to wrap up in blankets at 13 °C, it wasn’t easy to adapt to temperatures as low as -30°C.

However the miracles of the human body made me cope up and finally get used to the harsh winters with layers of clothing to keep myself warm. The beauty of this transition was that I learned to acknowledge the weather changes very much. Checking the weather forecast has become the first thing I do every morning. I eagerly wait for Spring and Summer during the winters and yearn for Fall colors during the summers. Though snowy winters are beyond beautiful, they are still not my favorite. But they made me realize the importance of sunlight. My cravings for a sunny morning make me appreciate the very basic existence of sunshine and it’s value, which I never really acknowledged for the most part of my life. I realized that Weather is also the most common and easiest way to start a conversation with a stranger. Thus a very non-existent and ignored phenomenon according to me like the climatic change has finally made me realize and appreciate the value it brings to our lives.


#AtoZChallenge- Visualization 

Visualization is a great way to improve the path to success and to make it easier to achieve our aspirations and goals. It has the power to subconsciously make us stronger and more inclined towards achieving  what we strive for. Visualization is nothing but a process of visualizing something that we want to gain or become. Apart from working hard, visualizing that perfect shot if you’re a sportsperson, that ideal weight if you’re struggling to lose weight or that dream house if you’re planning to build one, will lead to higher rates of success in your chosen path!

The power of visualization is directly linked to our subconscious mind. The subconscious mind processes our thoughts in images, hence visualizing in imagery highly boosts our subconscious mind to grasp and store. This aligns your thoughts and your actions, both consciously and unconsciously towards your goal. There are various ways of visualizing what you aim for. Constantly imagining your success is one way, whereas developing images and making sure you look at those images so well and frequently, that they are captured in your subconscious mind is another way.

The second method proves to be more efficient as you are making sure to stick to one kind of imagery, instead of a bunch of random images floating inside your head. This can be achieved by Vision Boards. These appear to sound like they’re ineffective, but the fact is most of us have no idea how much they help in making us focus on what we want to achieve. Vision boards make our visions come to life and this is no joke. We’ll have to paste pictures and quotes of our goals on a board or a chart. For instance, paste pictures of a dream house, a dream vacation destination, picture of your favorite actress or role model whose body you’d like to achieve, your dream car, dream university, the list could go endless. Place this vision board full of your vision imagery or dream pictures at a location where you tend to look at often. May be at your desk or hang it on the wall opposite to where you work, the idea is to keep looking at it quite often. This makes our subconscious mind capture these images and makes us feel good and motivated whenever we think about them. This motivation drives your focus towards your goal to be achieved amidst all the clutter.

Scrap books are similar to vision boards. You could paste your to-be accomplished images in your scrap book and look at them everyday before you go to sleep. This helps with your subconscious mind storage and the generated positive energy will pave way for positive reactions from your side to work towards your goal. Does cutting and pasting images in a scrap book sound something familiar to you as a kid? Just like how kids paste pictures of their favorite cartoon characters or cars or toys and keep yearning to want them, is what exactly we as adults forget to do. We forget to have blind faith and endless hope, without any doubts and fears inside our head. It is not immatured or uncool to do something like this, as the fact is, it works! Because the universe loves and helps people who are childlike. Now go bring that child out of you again!

#AtoZChallenge- Uber

Uber conversations are sometimes like a breath of fresh air, surprisingly enlightening and sometimes, even a life saver! Ben was having a hard day, he had to leave his car at the service center after it broke down. He requested for a ride on Uber and waited helplessly at the auto service. He notice a white Lexus car approaching and realized it’s the Uber driver Jack. He gets in..

Jack: Hey there Ben? How’re you doing?

Ben: Hey, how’s it going?

Jack: Heading Downtown?

Ben: Yup

Jack: How was your day?

Ben: Mmm…, wasn’t great. My car broke down, had to leave it at the auto service.

Jack: Oh no! Was it that bad? 

Ben: Well yeah, should be done by tomorrow. Until then Uber it is!

Jack: Haha, Cool! So what do you do?

Ben: I’m into Digital Marketing and I work for…., sorry I used to work. Recently I lost my job as they had to cut down resources.

Jack: I’m so sorry, that’s too bad. Was it all off a sudden?

Ben: Well, technically yeah. They gave us a heads up before two days that we could expect lay offs. But that wasn’t of much help.

Jack: Hmmm, so currently looking for a job?

Ben: Yeah, job hunting. Gave a few interviews but still waiting to hear back. Can you please take left here?

Jack: Oh sure, the GPS on the app wasn’t taking me left, sorry about that!

Ben: Haha, that’s alright! You can stop here.

Jack: Alrighty. Hey Ben.., I have a…small Digital Marketing firm, may be you can find something that interests you. 

Ben: Oh that’s great!!

Jack: Here’s my card, give me a call and later we can set up an interview for you if interested.

Ben: Oh, thanks a lot Jack! Will surely give you call, thank you very much for the offer!

Jack: No problem man! Have a good night!

Ben: Sure I will! Good night and see you soon!