On a normal day when it rains I just sit near the balcony for at least 2 minutes, thank the nature for her kindness and just watch the rains. Today I was back after a long walk and was just sitting idle and relaxing when it started raining all of a sudden. Though I stay a few floors above the ground I could smell the sweet wet earth. It enticed me into the balcony and then I saw the water splashing on the leaves and the railings and could not resist myself from capturing those sights. So here you go, all cheers to the beautiful and forever giving nature!
The last few weeks have been mostly spent with nature, one of those few occasions when I feel like thanking the changes that COVID has brought. It definitely changed my perspective about life, everything just changed in the matter of a few months. At one point life just got so hectic and monotonous. That is when we started taking more nature walks and exploring the umpteen nature parks in Singapore.
Coming from India, to me nature was what I got to see in Kerala, North-Eastern India and the likes. I never thought Singapore had such treasures too. Though these nature parks are not extensive and vast, they definitely help take a good one-day break any time. And yes, that feels refreshing too. For me, it works like medicine to a lost soul. It helps me connect with myself, overcome my insecurities, find peace and not to forget, it gives me my much needed workouts too. So now we explore at least one nature park per week. Sometimes we just repeat the same park, but even that does not feel boring. Nature has new sounds, smells, sights, weather, experiences to offer each time, though the place essentially remains the same.
Have uploaded a few pictures in here, a few more more are in my story posts and a truck load is still in my phone, waiting to be released. I doubt if I will ever be able to share all of them, because there are so many. So many aspects of nature mesmerize me every time and all I can do in return is to capture whatever little I can. They cajole me into exploring their wilderness over and over again. If I could trap those moments and bring them back home with me, life would have been so much more different and fuller. Well, some wishes are better off if they just remain wishes.
Well, for nature lovers in Singapore who are yet to explore these parks, please visit https://www.nparks.gov.sg for details. As for me, I have only covered a few yet – McRitchie (half a day trail and has a reservoir for those who love to see water bodies), Chestnut (little less tamed, shorter trails, has a decent biking trail too), Pulau Ubin (an island in Singapore, houses the Check Jawa Wetlands and offers long and short trails, and looks almost like a little village not much tampered by humans), Lazarus Islands (has beautiful beaches, lots of history and long trails too, and if you visit Kusu (Turtle) island too it feels almost like a mini island hopping trip), Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (has long boardwalks and bird watching spots), Bukit Batok (has a few small playgrounds and a quarry lining the reservoir, this one also offers short trails), Tampines Eco Green (not too great, was deserted and not well-kept), Botanical gardens (more of a garden, organized and great, has such a vast spread of flora within that it definitely soothes your mind). Most of these parks have biking options too, some even have separate designated trails for biking.
More organized flora can be encountered at Gardens by the Bay too. Though this is mostly man-made, especially what you get to see inside the domes, the colors just feel so enchanting and enticing every time. Even walking around the gardens on the other side of the domes feels great, there are some huge pieces of art amongst the plants and trees, little water bodies here and there and it is definitely worth multiple visits.
The beaches are great too, by the way, especially Pasir Ris, East Coast Park and Changi Village. Most of these places have biking options and most of them have good playgrounds for children. Just be a bit careful about the weather though, especially when headed to the beaches because heat can impact your moods in rather funny ways. Otherwise beaches are great natural hangouts too.
I am hoping to cover every single nature park that I can around here and stay connected to nature while COVID runs its course and while I am still around. Not sure if this article might really help as a travel guide of any sort. Nevertheless, hoping to add more details and one-line summaries about every other park that I visit in the future, this would be more like a running post and will run for as long as I can tread.
When starts each day giving birth to new hopes-
And you partake in new moments and memories to remember, some to cherish. Some that leave a burn that might be short, some long lived; Some that shine like a star for a second, some forever.
With every another encounter you wonder why so, why this moment, why does it have to be me?
Who should I trust and who should I not? Why is there never a clear answer, why am I so lost? Who can I fall back on and who has my back?
Why are these experiences, people and encounters sometimes tough to fathom?Wish it were all straightforward like moments spent with an innocent child.
Why do we lose our innocence as we grow up in life? Why do we stop loving and forgiving like we did as a child?
Learning is a process and it seldom ceases. Keep learning how life works and some day you will master its uncanny ways.
If it takes too long, never lose hope. Trust in yourself like in no one else. There must be someone somewhere who wishes you well and would be forever willing to help you master the tricksy art of life.
I am not sure if this might be applicable for everyone. This will definitely be applicable to introverts though. We tend to have few friends – maybe even as less as 1 or 2, but they are the ones who have our back always and we have theirs too.
Again, we do not classify acquaintances as friends. We have our well defined criteria normally and people who do not satisfy most of those criteria simply do not qualify for the post. So I have had at least a few people at work trying to force fit themselves into my criteria, to mostly garner benefits. Be wary of such elements, you never know what plans they might have up their sleeve.
The problem with introverts is that when someone tries too hard to make friends, they find it difficult to ward them off, simply because they imagine that that someone will get hurt, offended, etc. Believe me the kind of people who I will be referring to here, will not even care about such feelings. That is the kind of metal they are made off. In some cases you simply cannot ward them off though. Will talk about one such case too.
Case 1 – The one that can be avoided
So, a few years back there was this guy in my team who made me believe that he is the best friend I could have ever had. He used me to play his filthy office politics, to get his work done perfectly. He was incapable of thinking, he only knew how to act and by act, I mean act, literally act! He was so sweet and seemingly genuine that I ended up finishing his half-baked stuff, doing his certifications and backing up for him at work and finally realized that he had been using me all the while to get his promotion and get ahead of me. Is that not funny? What is more funny is the fact that I could not even sense what was coming. You do not expect a good friend to behave or even think half as much as he did. My usual friends use their thinking powers to do stuff that is generally beneficial to everyone, and normally intend to cause no harm to anyone.
So it happened that I did not have any more friends at work until I met my husband – which turned out to be a blessing though. He came in as an acquaintance, became a close acquaintance, then a friend, then a great friend, soulmate and finally husband. He is not a colleague anymore, but that is one relationship that has gotten stronger with time, like fine wine.
Case 2 – The one that cannot be avoided. For instance, your boss.
Life kept happening. We forget, forgive, move on, have fun, get fooled again. Yes, we do. So I was back to work after an episode of post partum depression and totally into this new phase of life. Here came a new acquaintance. She is not my kind, I know it as soon as I saw her, but she did not leave me alone. She said that she needed company to go to the nearby store, to walk to another building. She shared a lot about herself during the walks and extracted a lot of information about me. She had tears in her eyes every time she said that she missed me after a long weekend. At times I felt like a leech was sucking at my blood and refusing to let go. I remember discussing this with my mom and she was rolling on the floor laughing. This new acquaintance started taking so much liberty, all so soon and even tried real hard to come home and make the relationship stronger. Well I brought her home, but made excuses every time she called me to her place, because I was just not comfortable around her. Only I knew the kind of stress I went through when I had to put up with her at office, why would I want to prolong the pain by going to her place and spending my valuable weekend with her?
She kept trying. With time I started loosening down and she probably became a close acquaintance. She kept telling me how easily she could connect with me, how everyone in our office thought we were friends since school and all that shit. I even told my therapist that I think I have a friend at work now, someone that I can talk to openly. Really, I was getting to start convinced too. She would call me to her desk to get help with her deliverables. Every hour at work, she either had to talk, vent or extract help. Basically she kept bothering me so much that I felt like working from home even before the pandemic had approached. Even if I tried to concentrate on my work, she would keep talking or come over to my desk for full attention. Yes, she was sitting next to me and that made things really easy for her. She made me feel that though she was my manager I was her mentor in many ways and she would pay me back for it, which she did and it was a big helluva surprise. I kept helping her assuming that since she is my manager she would consider that while appraising me. But hell no! Here came the pandemic and everyone went to work from home. This specimen who had tears from not seeing me during weekends stopped texting, calling or even checking if I am still alive. No more informal requests to help, because of course, I could not have walked over to her house to help her. And then came our ratings and I realized what she was up to all that while. Another typical specimen usually found in office settings – the one who befriends you to garner benefits, and nothing more. I think I have learnt my lesson now. I am hoping that I will not have to go back to office ever and end up in such fake friendships ever again.
Such people just leave you toxic at the end and the toxins take some time to get flushed out. Please beware of people at work who are too keen on making quick friends with you. They are almost like those flash sales that entice you to act quick or lose out on many a things. They need quick response and you know they should not be trusted. So if somebody is trying too hard to make friends with you and you know in your head that you do not need this friend, be bold to walk away. I had to take the help of a pandemic to walk away. But you do not really need to wait for a pandemic or natural calamity to happen. Say it to them on their face – back off my dear, I am not your kind!
Well, that does not mean that you should not make friends at work. Take your time, analyze, take a year or two maybe. Understand very well what you are getting yourself into and then take the plunge. True friends can wait and they last long enough. Again, this is from an introvert’s perspective, may not to applicable to everyone. Good riddance to bad rubbish and ring in good vibes. 🙂
Ever seen hopeless romantics?
The kind who go into depression when deprived of love?
The kind who cannot handle heartbreaks and loss of loved ones?
The kind who fall for anyone who seem loving and caring?
The kind who feel intimidated by people who cannot love or care?
Yes, such people exist. They may seem foolish to a lot of practical people out there. But, the truth is that they exist amongst us.
They are not weak. In fact they may be stronger than most when it comes to standing up for their love and loved ones. It is just that most of them come across as sweet, gullible and of course super romantic (when they are in love, or maybe even most of the time).
I have always wondered why such people cannot change. They fall in love, sometimes get ditched, take months and years to heal, but fall in love again.
We Indians loathe people who do not go by the wishes of their families and set out to find partners on their own. I remember this friend from college who was being pursued by every guy around. She was good at studies, beautiful, smart and a lovely human being. She had also had a boyfriend before coming to our college. Somehow that made everyone feel that she deserved no respect. When another filthy boyfriend of hers decided to publish their private conversations, instead of empathizing with the poor girl, everyone saw her in a dirty light and empathized with the boy. She left him for good. I know now. How difficult would it have been to live with an idiot who goes public with your private life and conversations about sex after every fight? Well, she found true love later and I am hoping she lives happily ever after like in the fairy tales. Back then in college, even I had kept myself away from her because of all the stories and storytellers who did what they best did. Later on in life, after I lived a bit longer and saw a lot more of life, I realized how wrong I was. I should have supported her instead of leaving her to the wolves. In fact, all of us should have done that. Apologies to that lovely friend if she happens to read this some day.
Th point is, we are too quick to judge. Who is anyone to judge a person in love? What right does anyone have to interfere in someone else’s love life? Do you understand how that person thinks? Do you understand how that person feels? So cut the crap, stop judging. If a good friend needs to discuss their love life with you, do it. Hear them out, keep the judge in you aside until you are done. Give sensible advise, not as a judge, but as a true well-wishing friend. That was for all the love judges out there.
And for anyone who thinks falling in love is a mistake, it is not. It is a beautiful feeling. The ” fluttering butterflies”, “fastening heartbeats” – these are a few sensations everyone simply deserves to feel at least once in their life time. And if you have had too many lovers in a life time, it is probably because you have not found the right one yet. Keep trying until you find “the one” for you. Even if you never find that one, just keep loving if you feel like it, but without any regrets. What is done, is done. Never look back and regret. If you get ditched – swear, throw tantrums, just let the steam out and move on. You have no business being in a relationship that has reached its expiry date already. Do not cling on to people who do not need you in their lives anymore. Easily said than done, but trust me. It is all in your own head. Your mind is yours to maneuver.
And for married people, yes marriage comes with a free package of families. These package might not fit into your life perfectly sometimes. Remember that your marriage gets complicated only when these package open and spills into your private room which is demarcated for the two in love. Keep your private rooms private, there is no need for the packages to get involved there. Their advice is required only to solve larger family issues and not issues within the private room.
That was it I guess – my shareable thoughts for this Valentine’s season. Keep loving. 🙂
An event that makes us remember every precious moment (good or bad) that we had with that someone who just left. We regret the time we never gave to each other. I have been seeing this happening almost every time after death. Children, parents, spouse, siblings – the list of people who tend to have such thoughts maybe even wider. It is the closest who talk about it though.
Does this mean that we will treat those left with us better henceforth? Maybe for a couple of days. It is almost similar to what the latest Covid pandemic did to us. When the lockdowns started easing there was much love, everyone wanted to meet. And then? – life just got back to what it was – I, me, myself, my time, my priorities, my blah blah and blah… People have started valuing relationships a lot more than before maybe, but we are like rubberbands. We barely stretch beyond our original measurements unless some external force plays really hard on us. Once the external pressure eases, we snap back to what we were, unless we are made of bad quality rubber. 😛
Mark Manson got me thinking about death recently, though this time the angle was different. He suggests a thing which sounds like – we should live in such a way that if we die tomorrow, we will have no huge regrets during that last minute. I say last minute because death is not always predictable unless you are terminally ill or actually ready to die. His idea of what to do with life got me thinking really hard. I am not doing a job that I love right now. I am doing it so I can be financially independent, so I can keep away from the complications of job hunting in these bad times, and I really do not know what the other reasons are. I know that I love to write, I love art – drawing, painting, music. I also love to read. I keep dreaming about that day when I can probably start living in a library, immerse myself in a vast unending ocean of books and just stay that way for as long as I can. I know for sure that this dream might just remain a dream, but I so wish it was granted someday. That is what I would love to do before I die, at least for a day or week, or maybe month, or if possible for a year. Greedy me!
I am sure everyone out there has a dream like me. And yes, we all have our constraints, inhibitions and comfort zones. I am not too sure if the self help books can help everyone. I am not sure if I will live the life I want before I die. Of course, I will not after I die – that is the only thing I know. Maybe I should start keeping aside some time for the stuff that I actually like, enjoy and would give a lifetime to. Not sure if that would happen, but I am definitely going to try. If there are other people here who have actually made time for yourself in spite of work and busy schedules, please do share your experience here. Let us share ideas and share some happiness!
Have you ever felt that aggressiveness is mistaken for assertiveness in the corporate world? I have – not once, multiple times. People oversee good performance, but never fail to see lack of aggressiveness. Compassion is seen as a weakness. Being nice is inappropriate, being rude and unapproachable is cool.
I am an introvert by nature. I am wired that way, and beyond change as per science, but this world says otherwise, and so do my fellow beings. They keep insisting that I change. I should break myself and mould myself into an aggressive person so that I can fit better into their space, so that they can accept me and consider me one among themselves.
Would you believe me that our system is to be blamed for this whole concept? Yes, you should, because I can prove it to you. Let us go back to as far as school days. Quiet and timid children keep getting bullied, sometimes by friends and even by teachers. I have heard multiple teachers make remarks like “She is always in her shell, good at studies, obedient, good at a lot of thinks, but not outspoken. She has to be louder and make herself heard.” I wished they could see my skills through my accomplishments, but they always yearned to see me as a rockstar…meh.
Now let us travel a bit farther ahead into college. Here comes class participation. If that was the only way to get marks at college, I would have flunked every subject. I am incapable of adding on to noise. I do ask questions, but only if I have a genuine query, not for the sake of it. I would rather ask a doubt after the class, so that I can save my sound energy from being drowned in the chaos. Finally placements, and you have group discussions to brutally murder everything you built in all those years at college. I cannot bite the bread from somebody else’s mouth. That explains why I could never get through any group discussion that did not endorse a written or spoken summary. Did I ever feel ashamed about myself for not being capable of getting through group discussions? Not really, but the system ensured that I did. At that point I realised that my capabilities do not really matter, I should know how to make myself heard, I should learn how to sell myself. And I did try, not just try, I tried really hard, until it dawned upon me that this world is not prepared for me. I am invisible here.
Want yourself to be valued? Talk, talk and talk. All you have to do is impress by talking. I know at least a few people who can do just this, not an iota of work, but have created a space for themselves in their workplaces, because they can talk, shout, fight and do all that loudly, very loudly. I have been bullied for my feeble voice every other day. It makes me a good singer, maybe that is why god gave me this gift, but that does not matter. I have to shout my lungs out to impress the system. I cannot do that consistently for more than 5 minutes. I will be drained out. Give me a mic and put me on the stage. I can speak, make myself heard and I can impress, because the stage is all mine. There is no noise to conquer, other than the inner voice which understands me totally.
Compassion is not a virtue in the world I live, definitely not at work. Nobody, except your subordinates value it. Your peers take it as your weakness and your superiors see you as a misfit in the organisation. No matter, how good the quality of your work might be, no matter how fast you can accomplish tasks, you are still not good enough, because you cannot decorate yourself the way they want you to. You are just not that talking Christmas tree. I live in an age where people give lectures on acceptance of introverts and fall back when it comes to actually practicing what they preach.
As an introvert and as an ambitious individual I feel it is important to create awareness about the existence of introverts in the first place. Stop telling us how we can change ourselves. Stop coaxing us into changing ourselves. Maybe the system can help by adding another category to the definition of diversity at workplace and try not to measure all human beings using the same standards. Let the introverts co-exist on this planet.
I am an introvert
I love solitude
I have my choices
I cannot assimilate all humans
I cannot endure fanfare of some sorts
I conserve my energy,
to think deep and wild;
to spend on things I value,
and on people I adore.
They are not a crowd,
but I have their back, and they mine.
Empathy is my strength,
compassion is my being,
I wonder why it bothers you,
Just let me be, I am fine.