A Flashback of the Lessons I've Learned - Common Sense Living Newsletter
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A Flashback of the Lessons I've Learned

Dec 24, 2014


The other day, a friend told me that she was feeling bad that the year had come to an end so quickly. She felt she hadn't ticked off everything on her bucket list. And in my usual positive tone I said, "But you have your whole life to complete your bucket list."

Really, what is the big fuss about the year ending? And why does December make some of us feel so dull and dreary, when it should, in fact, make us feel cheerful and optimistic. A year well-lived or a year less-lived is just like a glass half empty or half full right? It's the way you see it.

For me 2014 was a momentous one, and I refuse to see it in any other way. It gave me wonderful opportunities, I worked and met with diverse people and I gained several more lessons that will serve as useful oars to help me row my boat in the coming years.

I'm sharing some of these lessons with you today... Because you too have been an important part of my journey this year. You've pushed me to be a more rigorous writer, a more receptive listener and, most importantly, a more evolved person.

As I share with you the little knowledge I have, I push myself to higher standards too. And thus I take this opportunity to thank you very much dear reader... most of this year would have been incomplete without you.

So now you're a part of my inner circle, and you're the special ones privy to some of the lessons I've learned in the last year.

Travel opens up your mind, brings you closer to nature

My most memorable trips this year were to Kashmir and Kerala. I moved from the north to the south of India and saw two very diverse states, both culturally and geographically. From snow-peaked glaciers to the lush green backwaters of Kerala, my eyes had a veritable feast. And more than anything, I felt a greater sense of pride in my nation.

I was amazed by the grit of the Kashmiris, who showed a firm resolve to transform their lives and state, and I was intrigued by the people of Kerala, whose knowledge of natural healing and spices explained their love for life and learning. And to top it all, in both places I was close to nature, so close that all I could hear were the whisperings of the mountains and the murmurings of the insects in the spice gardens. And in this picture, you'll see how close I got to my favourite animal too.

In Thekkady, Kerala

It's more fun with people than going it solo

Whether you work or you travel or you live, being together with people, even just one more person, is more fun than being alone. People add a lot more joy to your experiences. They help you think harder, they push your comfort zones and they challenge your levels of tolerance. You may get along with some, and you may fall apart with some. But they all eventually make you stronger and more complete.

One of my biggest rewards this year was being part of organisations and groups that helped me do just that. I travelled with a bunch of cackling women, I worked together with people from across the country and I wrote for thousands of people from all walks and ages of life. And through it all, I never once felt alone.

When you have an idea, allow it to bloom on its own

I believe that the true power of any idea is when it gives life to itself. The best ideas are those that come to you naturally. Moreover, once the seed is planted in your mind, it will grow in the most organic and beautiful way. You, of course, have to water it on time, but it will unfold on its own, allowing you to capture its light and radiance in due time.

As a writer and editor, the last year saw me explore many ideas. I'd often start out wondering if they were any good, little knowing that they had a mind of their own. So I went along with them, experimented and let them work themselves out. The results were not always the same, but they egged me on and today I don't let a thought go by without exploring its tiniest potential.

What can happen tomorrow is best done today

These are fast-paced times, when you don't know when the day begins and when it ends. As you grow in your personal and professional lives, the things you have to do just keep increasing in scope and scale. Thus responding to the urgency of time and opportunities is becoming the need of the hour, literally. Sometimes doing also means simply sitting back and enjoying the current moment, as it's going to flee so very soon, just like butterflies.

And in the last year, one of the biggest lessons I learned was to not only respect time and discipline, but to also unwind when necessary, to let go and enjoy life's small and big experiences. Time does not repeat itself, moments seldom return, like the waters beneath your feet in a river, dipping your feet in them just once is a treasure. 

Stand by who you are, being true to 'you' is a reward in itself

The other day my eight-year-old nephew told me, "You should be women empowerment". I don't know what exactly his phrase meant but I knew he was trying to say that I symbolized a strong woman for him. My heart swelled with pride... I have never overtly stood up for women's rights or made a case about upholding womanpower. But here was a small child who made his own conclusion by simply observing me.

And for me that's being true to yourself, when your life truly echoes what you believe. You don't have to make an effort to be who you are or fake anything, you simply have to "be". The truth you feel internally will automatically get reflected to the world at large.

Celebrate ordinary moments... you'll make an extraordinary life

This year I consciously made up my mind not to celebrate my birthday the way I used to in the previous years. I chose to celebrate myself by being with myself. Because I realised that every day is a celebration, and what was more important was making the whole year more meaningful for you and for those around you, rather than just celebrating that one day.

Festivals come and go. New Year's Eve too will come and go. You'll make resolutions and you'll break resolutions. But what gives more joy is living each and every day to the fullest... of knowing that you've not "spent" one more day of your life but you've "gained" one more day in your life... with more experiences, more memories, more wisdom and more love.

So I may not have ticked off everything on my bucket list in 2014... but optimistic I am... because 2015 is another year... that I can't wait to see unfold.


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9 Responses to "A Flashback of the Lessons I've Learned"

Mahendra mehta

28 Dec, 2014

Your writing are quite inspiring and relevant on day today basis. I enjoy reading the articles. Please keep it up. Regards, Mahendra Mehta


28 Dec, 2014

Being true to oneself, under any circumstances, is a great challenge and also an achievement. God bless you for more achievements in 2015.

Like (1)


26 Dec, 2014

Ritikaji ,your article on Mahabhrat teaching is excellant. i have forwared to my daughter who is in NY at Cornell university. It reaches a way of living and let others live their lives. WISH you and your family avery wonderful 2015.


26 Dec, 2014

Enjoyed reading the column. The line "You are Women Empowerment" brought a smile. Reminded me of a new Titan Ad that is playing these days. Kasmir is on my list of places to visit, and Kerala is home, so want to do a Sadya to Wazwan.Cheers.

Rakesh Chandra

25 Dec, 2014

Your positive approach to life like glass half full nor half empty,be yourself not fake and live in present not wait or postpone your actions or ideas ,these helps to enjoy your life in full.I feels 70 years young not 70 years old and thinks in every happening in my life good or bad something good is planned by God for me.

Dr Vijay Rane

25 Dec, 2014

Dear Ritikaji The ideologies you have put forth are truly inspiring. However the social peace disturbances in our country are so huge that it has ruined all the speculative strategies that one tries to materialize to make one happier. Blame it to the overgrowing,unrestrained population with no proper guidence , or loss of civic sense. All is so depressing that one cries with happines if at all one experiences it - Dr Vijay Rane

Dr. Yogender Sharma

25 Dec, 2014

Thanks Ritika. I am not a regular investor but I have enjoyed reading your articles. I just wanted to send you my best wishes and greetings.

Surendra Kumar

24 Dec, 2014

Your "Common Sense Living" is of immense value to me. Kindly keep up your good work. Best wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year. Surendra Kumar

CK Swarnkar

24 Dec, 2014

Ritika ji , Wonderful article in the year end , Happy New Year 2015 to you & your family . Regards CK Swarnkar


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