What to do!?

I try not to post anything related to politics not because I don’t have an opinion, but because I do. Combined with the fact that I don’t know enough about the histories of various countries including mine (history never was my strong subject) and politics (don’t understand any of it either), I think the best thing for me to do is to keep quiet about it.

But once in a while, you are in a situation that is not about history or politics but more about humanity and that throws me for a loop too. Like now. I cannot imagine the speed with which the situation in Ukraine has escalated. There were news about it for a while (if I remember correctly since the beginning of the year) but to get into a war mode this fast was something I hadn’t anticipated. More so because I have a friend who is Ukrainian. She was there in her home town for Christmas (which they celebrate on the 6th of January every year) and she was so happy to be there with her family enjoying the holidays, especially after the relaxation of pandemic related rules. And now, she is disheartened, worried sick of her parents and doesn’t know what to do or how to help them. And I am sad that I don’t know how to help her in this situation. Interestingly, she was explaining to me the history of her country only a few weeks ago, especially the conflicts of 2014. And now this.

Her parents are still in Ukraine and she is finding it hard to concentrate on anything given the current scenario, but wanted to keep doing something to keep herself occupied otherwise she is afraid that her fear for her parents is going to bring her down and she won’t be able to cope. Obviously, as her team member and as a friend we are there for her and she does have a lot of support, but the support can only do so much, I feel. She messaged me the other day that she is grateful for all the support but can’t help but feel that people don’t really get it, that she is exhausted by it all and all she wants is for this to end so she can just get some sleep.

I am at a loss here and feel that there must surely be more to do to help my friend but don’t know what. I sincerely hope and wish that this conflict comes to an end sooner rather than later and there is some sensible solution to it all because I cannot help but think that if it isn’t resolved fully this time, there is a high possibility that history might repeat itself in the near future and possibly very soon too and that would be disastrous to not just people directly affected on the ground zero but also everyone else around the world.

2021 – In Images

Some interesting finds this year are:

It’s been a year already…

Ever since I moved to Swansea, I guess I have fallen off the blogging bandwagon and have been posting here only once a year (approx), which is sad really. Because so much has happened since we moved here and I could have kept the record of all the stories behind it if only I took some time to post about it. Here is hoping to do more in the new year.

2021 hasn’t been any different to 2020 to most and I am not going to add to the doom and gloom of it because we have had enough of that. I have kept myself busy with my post-graduate certificate course in higher education, started training in yoga (online), prepared two new courses when I had a break for a term, visited a few places (safely and within the permitted guidelines) etc. etc.

Now coming to the end of this year, I have successfully completed my PGCE and am now a qualified yoga teacher. I have already started teaching yoga to a couple of my friends and have been doing so for the past few months (online, of course). I recently finished writing all about my travels on my other blog. I have thoroughly enjoyed travelling in and around Swansea and making sure we take breaks whenever we can and as safely as we can. Neither of us is getting any younger but the year-long training of yoga has kept us in good shape. I should say that I have never been better, health-wise, than now and may long it continue. I have also never written so many essays in my life. This year has seen me write so many essays (both for my PGCE and for my yoga training). I think that is why I didn’t feel the need to write anymore in any blog. People are surprised when I tell them about the essays in yoga teacher training. Those essays have enabled me to read various classical texts on yoga and have given me a lot of things to think about and reflect on. It also reiterates the fact that yoga is an all-encompassing thing, a way of life, not just a physical exercise.

I have also witnessed a few heartbreaks, a few disappointments, a few sad events, but who doesn’t. It is part of life and growing up, I think. Just recently my nephew had a breakdown because he wasn’t happy with his Christmas present 😀 and he thought that Santa could have done better. I had to tell him that his message to Santa about his gift was very ambiguous and in future, he would do well to remember that ambiguity would lead to heartbreaks and he better make it super clear as to what he wants.

At work, after being together for almost three years, slowly things started to change as and when folks moved on to better prospects and I ended up finally identifying who my friends are and who are just acquaintances and I am glad for my friend’s circle, which is very small but very good. I also had a good term recently where a very difficult module was totally redesigned and there were no tears. That is a huge success in my book. Even though I wasn’t super happy about going back to face to face teaching this autumn term, we did it and touch wood, no one got ill during the term. We maintained social distancing, face masks, letting people learn from home when they had any slight symptoms etc. What the next term is gonna be is anyone’s guess at the moment. All I know is I am ready for both online and in-person teaching and I have managed to keep the learning experiences similar-ish either way.

Another year without any choir to attend (not even an online one like last year) which is sad, but at least we were able to visit a few churches and see their nativity displays and enjoy a couple of Christmas markets. This is the first holiday where I haven’t been working or even thinking of work. All I have been doing is relaxing, doing odds bits and pieces that needed to be done at home, doing my regular yoga, and finishing some last-minute books for this year (according to GoodReads, I have read 130 books this year, which is quite good) etc. Just chilling out really.

To top it all, I have finally been offered a teaching job back in India in my hometown which I would be started during the next academic year (Indian academic year). That means that we will be relocating to India next year, which is going to be very exciting more for Mr M than me, as it would be like going home after a very long break I guess. The move might not be as smooth as it was when I moved to the UK as it was just me then and this time we are moving as a family. There will be so many things to sort out and on top of it I would have to start my work without much break, but I guess I deal better when I have things to do and Mr M is more than capable of dealing with the admin stuff anyway. My nieces and nephew are quite excited about my move back and are looking forward to it very eagerly.

This virus is not going to go away any time soon. It is in their nature to mutate and spread and then mutate some more and spread again. It is their cycle of life, just like we have ours. Having seen the worse of it in 2020 and then some in 2021, all we can ever try and do is be safe ourselves and ensure that we protect our near and dear ones as much as we can within capacity. Some things are beyond our capacity and control especially, how the governments behave during such a crisis (I am trying hard to not get political here), but we should do what is within our control and capacity and get through this together. I am getting my booster jab today and Mr M has already had his a couple of weeks ago. Here’s to hoping that these boosters help along with some common sense.

Looking back, this year has been jam-packed with loads of learning and travelling and the new year is starting with new opportunities and new experiences. Let’s hope and pray that it is all for the best.

May this New Year bring with it hope, health, and happiness to all of you. Keep smiling and keep spreading joy wherever and whenever you can. Blwyddyn Newydd Dda! Happy New Year! 

What a year!

This year has been a rollercoaster of sorts, hasn’t it? Never would I have thought that it would have so much packed in one year.

A friend of mine wants a refund on this year 😀 I don’t blame him. It has not been smooth sailing.

We were supposed to travel to India in April which was put on hold for a month without having any clue as to whether we would even get a refund or a credit note for the flight tickets we had paid for six months ahead of our travel date. We got our credit note finally after 3 months of our travel date. Now we don’t know if we will be in a position to use it before the deadline which is next year May. One can only hope.

The decision to move our teaching online which threw a spanner in the works making us work 8 hours per day just creating the necessary materials and videos for our delivery. I almost lost my voice doing those and then delivering the lectures as usual over online platforms. It was a double whammy, but at least the students were happy and we did very well with our third semester where everything was completely online.

I have had the experience of Working From Home (WFH) during my days working as software engineer, so the switch was quite easy for me and I found myself being very productive too. We also delivered three weeks of summer school online which concluded recently and it was also a huge success. Never would I have thought that I will be teaching a 100+ kids on Zoom about the basics of wireless networks 🙂

Mr M who has never worked from home absolutely loves it now. He would be a very happy person if he has to never set foot in his office again 😀 He loves his work, but he loves working from home more than working from office.

We did the whole bake during lockdown thing too, not as much as others seemed to do it. We couldn’t get enough flour to start with during the peak lockdown time. We also didn’t understand the whole toilet roll drama that happened. But at least we now know what people’s priorities are in case of any calamities or disasters.

We kept ourselves busy by going for regular walks around the block, trying my hand at Bingo for a Cancer charity (where I won a round too! yay!!!), have Zoom calls with friends, what not! We have managed to work well with each other in the same room without having the urge to kill each other 😉 and keeping clear of each other during the Zoom sessions (we have witnessed enough Zoom video disasters).

After working non-stop (Mr M had his three month break where he was furloughed), I took a week off and we decided to go on a mini trip in and around Swansea. We decided to do the St Thomas Way tour/pilgrimage. It was a much needed break and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Things elsewhere has not been going good has it?, the wide spread of the virus in India where my parents, siblings, and friends are, the wide spread fires and riots close to where my friends are in the US, the politicisation of the epidemic, the stupidity of the people who party as if there is no tomorrow, the sheer lack of common sense… I should say we are lucky to be in good health doing what we like to do (touch wood) and may it continue. But it is also important to realise that we can never go back to what was “normal” for us all. A new “normal” is going to take time and it is OK to have a new normal. This is one of the changes that we didn’t want but cannot ignore. We might as well wisen up and learn to adapt. We have done so for so many ages, so why not now? It is going to be hard and there will be people who will take advantage of it, but those are the ones who have always put their own prosperity before the general goodness anyway. That has never changed. What we can do is take care of our own in our own small way and hope for the best.

Stay safe and Keep smiling 🙂

A week later…

It’s been a week now since the lock-down was announced. We baked a ginger cake to commemorate this. I am used to working from home (wfh) and since Mr M has been working part time, he too has taken to wfh like fish to water. I will have to see what impact it has on him in another week.

With my work, we were able to replace an exam with a coursework and get the semester done, create some resources for school students for offline activities etc. Lots of work done in a week tbh. I am sure it is going to calm down a bit in another week. Keeping the children engaged and interested after a couple of weeks is going to be challenging. My second niece who is just 9 years old was horrified at the thought that she can do some learning at home. “We have got some respite from learning now, why would anyone want to learn when we can enjoy playing all day long?” she asked me. I am pretty sure, after a few more days of fighting with her sister, even their rivalry will become boring for her 😀 (fingers crossed). As for the elders, my mom is going crazy having to separate those two fighting all day long.

When this is all over, I am sure some of my colleagues who are experiencing remote working for the first time (since most of them finished studies very recently) would find it very boring to get up and get ready for work 😉 Even more boring to face people in person and not via Zoom or Skype! My only fear is I might end up putting on some weight because after a while there is nothing more to do and while watching TV I love snacking. I am making a conscious effort to be very good and use my Wii for my exercises.

Hope everyone is staying safe and keeping their distances. The restrictions are going to be more severe, which is essential. Keep healthy and keep smiling. We can get through this only by holding on to hope and some common sense.