Late Winter Stroll

 

A couple of weekends ago, Max and I decided to take a stroll around the neighbourhood, which is something we often do. The weather seemed to be getting better and it was a sunny change from the days of Winter. Here are some pictures from our weekend stroll – 7th August 2012.
The sky was so blue and some signs of Spring starting to show here and there. But there was still a chill in the air – you can see hints of this by the big blue jackets both Max and I have on and my gloves and hoodie 🙂
A beautiful golden tree against clear blue sky

 

 

 

Looks like Winter eh? Don’t be decided by the sunny day! Well, maybe I’m more sensitive to cold than others – what with coming from Fiji and all 😛

 

 

Challenge: October 2012

Last month, I made a challenge to make a decision to actively do something. Instead of sitting down and watching TV, and thinking of all the things that we want to so ( or often saying we will do), we should take the chance available right at that moment to do something.
My personal challenge was to try to include some exercise into my daily life during September. I am happy to say that I did stick to the goal and stick it out. I tried to do a few sessions of yoga at home (still working on getting a daily practise started), I attended a hip hop dance class (which I didn’t enjoy overly so did not return to it), and I enrolled in a Bollywood fitness class 🙂
The fitness class was heaps of fun and I am looking forward to attending it again in October.
In addition to keeping up with whichever activity we started last month, which in my case is the fitness class, this month we will focus on a food related challenge. For me, that involves eating more fruits – one fruit a day sounds like a good place to start.
Good luck! PS, I will post another challenge next month and come back to see what progress we have made in our challenges so far – with the idea being that through these challenges we can make small changes which we can stick to and which will make a gradual and lasting change to our habits and lifestyle

Kahaani

Kahaani is a suspense/thriller with Vidya Balan in the lead female role. As expected, she is very convincing in her role. I quite like her as an actress – she is versatile and she does not play the typical giddy, happy go lucky Indian female.
The movie starts off well and drew me in – I wanted to find out the story of this woman who’s husband seems to have gone missing without a clue. It was especially interesting to see the strength of this pregnant woman who comes to India without knowing the country or anyone there, and who goes to all lengths to locate her missing husband.
What was disappointing, however was when the movie started to introduce elements of national security and terrorists – it seemed like the directors ran out of ideas or couldn’t solve the mastery themselves so took the old terrorism route.
Great acting from Vidya Balan and the police officer but the story could be better.
Released: 2012
Cast: Vidya Balan, Parambrata Chatterjee
Director: Sujoy Ghosh

Taal

I spend a not so insignificant amount of time watching movies – Bollywood movies to be precise so I have decided to write a little bit about some of the movies that I watched recently. Some are great and some others, which I thought were good at the time, upon watching it again I realise I don’t particularly like it.
One movie that I recently watched was called Taal. It was set in a small village n the mountains and I quite enjoyed it – the scenery. The songs, the dances. It brought a kind of peaceful setting and motivates that e can be great at what we are passionate about – with hard work and perseverance.
I did not particularly want to watch his movie but I was pleasantly surprised by it. It is one of those movies that you want and then you wish you hadn’t finished watching it yet so you could watch it again. Though I have to say that the first half was much nicer than the second half – the characters needed o be developed more, but on the whole a good and motivating movie.
Release date: August 23, 1999 (initial release)
Director: Subhash Ghai
DVD release date: June 20, 2000
Running time: 181 minutes
Music: A. R. Rahman
Cast: Akshaye Khanna, Subhash Ghai, Anil Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai, Amrish Puri

Music: The Expression of Life

I am not a great musician; I am not even able to play any musical instrument. In fact, I come from a family where music and dance was looked upon as something disdainful, something unworthy to be pursued in life. A central belief, held firmly by my father, was that good girls don’t dance – especially not in public.

As a child then I did not dance – not at parties, not at weddings, not even at home. Sometimes however, when the elders were away, my cousins and I used to close the door, increase the volume on the stereo and dance like crazy.

I know, it sounds cliched. Nonetheless, it is true. My father did not like dance or music of any kind and he did not want to see it at his house. But I like music – I love it. In the mornings, my cousin used to turn on the radio at home and to me it would give a whole different feel to the morning.

It allows us to express our feelings, it allows us to lose ourselves in it and forget worries. A simple tune playing in the background can have such an effect. I grew up without having dance classes, without knowledge of the different genres of music, but I still find that when I listen to music I feel like dancing. My feet just automatically begin moving – not to any particular dance – but just moving, expressing life. Music, I think, is the expression of life.

Experiences in another Island

Early in 2011, I took my first flight out of this part of the world. Destination: Kauai, Hawaii! Hawaii – a magical land which I had only heard about and seen on movies! I was excited like a little girl going on her first airplane trip. And it was indeed an experience to cherish.

Kauai is one of the smaller islands of Hawaii. Needless to say, it is beautiful! The island is lush, green and surrounded by golden sandy beaches. Now when I think back to it, the most memorable and striking parts of the journey were:
 
Tranquility 
Looking outside our window or balcony, we saw mountains, lush green grass and coconut trees swaying in the slight breeze. Having nothing pressing and urgent to do, being free of all obligations and care, I felt at ease and calm. Lying in bed and reading a book in the morning while watching the curtains flutter lightly in the cool wind coming in from the window, I felt the preciousness of the moment. This moment, I thought, is not going to return. It is so wonderful, such a gift to be able to experience life like this: without worries, without plans for the day, without pressing concerns and tasks. Just being there, enjoying life and all that surrounds us.
 
Coconut Trees 

 

Since I grew up in Fiji, where coconut trees abound, I always associate the presence of coconut trees to tropical islands. With the warm climate, sunny days and relaxing atmosphere found in the islands. And in Hawaii there were MANY coconut trees, everywhere! Strangely though, it was not easy to find an actually coconut for eating/drinking. We travelled far and wide (the entire island) looking for a place to buy coconuts as my boyfriend had never tasted fresh coconut before. We did finally find a place and had a nice refreshing coconut each 🙂
 








Grand Hyatt 
 
Magical, luxurious & a bit hard on the pocket. The Hyatt in Kauai was amazing. The reception was beautiful, looking out to the ocean and it had a little place with trees and parrots (and even a bunch of banana’s hanging on a banana tree).
The hotel had a huge area surrounding it and we explored all of it – just like a little girl on a big exploration – we set off and walked around the whole place. We found right at the border of the Hyatt a place with hammocks but no people and there we lay our things and enjoyed a nice relaxing afternoon swinging gently in the hammocks with a book.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Golden Sand
 
The beaches in Kauai are just magical! Stretches and stretches of golden sand. The sound of waves gently (or sometimes not so gently) crashing and the clear air. We spent hours at a beach that I found particularly nice – there were no other tourists there and the golden sand stretched as far as the eye could see. There was a young boy on the rocks looking for crabs and I tried to do the same. I found many small crabs that were perfectly camouflaged in the sand; but I did not find any bigger crabs on the rocks. The beach was complimented by looming mountains in the background shrouded in misty white fog – completing the magical picture.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Roosters!
 
As weird as it may sound, Kauai has a rooster and chicken invasion! They are everywhere! Literally, in the middle of the streets, on the foot paths, in the forests, at the beach, outside the hotel, in town, outside shops. Everywhere you look there is a chicken, a rooster or even complete families – mummy chick, daddy rooster and lots of little fluffy chicks! It was a comic, and unexpected, sight.

A decision at every moment

Many a times, we may catch ourselves complaining about the dulness of life, about the mundane routines we go through. But we don’t seem to contemplate all the opportunities available to us in every moment of our life.

Every day, at every minute, we made a decision about what to do with that time; what to do in that minute. And the choices, the menu of things we can do, is almost endless. So, if our routine becomes mundane or the ‘same old, same old’ it is due to our own choices.

We happen to just choose the same things from our menu of choices, which is most of the time a choice to do nothing. A choice to spend the time browsing the internet or sitting in front of the TV mindlessly, aimlessly.

If we want meaning in our life, if we want a life less dull, we must make the decision to do something instead of nothing.

So I make a challenge: choose a new ‘to-do’ and do it consistently for the next month. The next time you have a decision to make, choose to do this new thing instead of letting the minutes tick by. For me, I will make a positive decision to exercise. For one month, until 19 September, I will exercise regularly.

Maybe by the end of it, it will become another of my ‘routines’ and then I can add a new thing in. So can you!

An Introduction

I have thought of many topics with which to start this blog, many ideas for posts but it does not seem right to just start writing about something without first setting out an introduction. A view of not only what this blog is about, but a little bit about myself, a little bit about why I’m writing this blog and of course, what I hope to write about.

So here it is. An Introduction:
My name is Shalveena. I am a 25 year old woman and I’ve recently started practising law in the biggest city of a little country known as New Zealand. New Zealand, a country with its own little corner of the world – a corner which is better known for our bigger (and some say better) neighbour, Australia. I have lived in this corner of the world for all my life, surrounded by the endless Pacific and beautiful islands such as my home country – Fiji.
Recently, though, I took my first steps (flight) out of the Pacific, out of New Zealand’s corner of the world, and into the world. What I saw made me realise that there are so many worlds surrounding us, so many worlds just outside our doorstep, yet we go about our lives without ever giving these worlds another thought. I saw ancient architecture, lost cultures, beautiful temples, historic monuments but most importantly I saw people. People all living their everyday lives, all in their own way, all in a world so different from mine – from what I had once thought of as normal.
It was amazing, and it made me realise that this world is so much more than we make of it, so much more than we can ever see or experience. I want to explore all these worlds, all these wonders that life offers us everyday, and I want to record it.
I wanted a space to write about the emotions and thoughts that my travels and life experiences bring up. Also, I believe that we are always changing, always growing, and I wanted a space where I can write about and explore what is important in life and my own path of self-discovery. I wanted to have this space so that my family (who are far away from me) can feel connected to me and so that someday my children can read it (if they want) and understand how their mother was when she was younger.
So here it is, a record of thoughts, experiences and explorations of the worlds that surround us.