30 Days of Gratitude (Chennai Edition)

This Thanksgiving was different just like this year was. I spent it away from my kids and family in the US. I didn’t cook a Thanksgiving meal with mashed potatoes and pie (both regularly feature in my Thanksgiving feast). It’s not a holiday in India although Wednesday was a public holiday thanks to cyclone Nivar pummeling the coast of Tamilnadu. So here’s the list of things I am grateful for.

Day 1

Starting off 30 days of gratitude, today. Remember it’s hard to be grateful when things aren’t going great (like all of 2020!) but it really shifts our focus! I encourage you to join me. Start small, start with the obvious. The more you focus on gratitude, the more you will find things to be grateful for. So blessed to be alive today. It means I have a purpose to fulfill.

Day 2

Thankful for the gift of healing and the ability to share it with others. I thank all the people who trusted me and the Divine in this past year.

Day 3

Thankful for the gift of writing and my blog. This year saw me writing two pieces of fiction after nearly a decade. One story was published today.

Day 4

I love rainy days in Chennai. Such a welcome respite from the heat. Reminds me of running in the rain with my friend, Geetika and also wading through flooded streets to get home from school or college when auto drivers turned us down.While I welcome the monsoon, I also pray to the rain gods to be kind and spread the precipitation over the rest of the month. Incessant rain means flooding in the slums.

Day 5

Today I am thankful for electricity. I don’t think electricity ever featured in my gratitude posts but when you are in India the list of things you take for granted shrinks. Just two months ago we had to survive for 3 days without electricity. I couldn’t sleep at night because of the heat. We had to buy drinking water and our dear neighbors supplied us with water for washing and showering.

Day 6

Today I’m grateful for a beautiful garden full of flowers and greenery that helps me relax. The wide open sky that makes me feel expansive even as I stay confined to my own terrace. And the twinkling stars that remind me to shine when everything around me is dark. Special thanks to my parents for creating a beautiful garden.

Day 7

Thankful for books that take me on magical adventures and for the amazing libraries in the U.S. Nothing, nothing comes close to the feeling of holding and absorbing the words in a beautifully written book. The Ivory Throne by Manu Pillai is what I’m currently reading.

Day 8

Thankful for all the pets I grew up with and the ones that are in my life. Sparky, Kulfi, Diana, Priya, and Max. They are pure unconditional love! Remembering the lone cat in my life, Lucky, who I haven’t seen in years after we rescued her as a kitten. I love you and miss you. You showed up when I most needed you.

Day 9

Dear Dadima, As the years go by, my love and respect for you grows. As I face challenges in my life, I remember how the odds were stacked against you but you still fought hard for your success. You are my role model, my idol, and my loving Dadima. Thankful for your shining example and your everlasting love. Thank you for so many reminders and signs that let me know you are always guiding me. Blessed to have had the good fortune of being your granddaughter.

Day 10

Happy anniversary to you, Papa and Amma. I had the good fortune of spending almost a year with you. This year was tough on many levels for me but you made it easier for me with your love and care. Blessed to have parents like you…honest, hardworking, spiritual, and good people overall. Wishing you health, happiness, and lots of time with your loved ones!

Day 11

Dear Ganga, you left us this year and I wish I could have hugged you one last time or seen your face light up with a smile. I will always remember your warmth, generosity, and unconditional love for me. The delicious food made and served with so much love. Your love for animals, your compassion for those who were suffering and your big heart, I will never forget. Thank you for adopting me as your granddaughter. The world is a little less sparkly now that you are gone. But I’m sure you are lighting up the heavens with your beautiful soul. I miss you and I love you with all my heart. Until we meet again…

Day 12

Thankful for a new medium (YouTube) to reach you all this year. Thank you for watching my videos, liking, and sharing. I will continue to make these as long as there is at least one person who benefits from it. In this video I talk about how I started doing my 30 days of gratitude thingy.

Day 13

Thankful for my little brother Dinesh and the time we got to spend together earlier this year. Here’s to more fun times with Rohit, more concerts and road trips with you. Happy 40th birthday and welcome to the 40s club. It’s gonna be stellar!

Day 14

Thankful for light and shadow. Thankful for sweet and salty. Thankful for noise and quiet. Thankful for company and solitude. Thankful for the whole spectrum of life with its ups and downs that makes it an adventure.Wishing everyone a happy Diwali. May your lives be filled with light, love, laughter, prosperity, and good company.

Day 15

Thankful for these two angels (Anjali and Nitin) in my life. Thank you for choosing me as your mom and for making me a better person as a result. I miss you and love you both more than you would ever know. Sorry I’ve been away for so long. Don’t worry babies…mama’s coming!

Day 16

Thankful that I got to spend time with my brother, Rohit, after several years. Proud of you for finishing your law degree and for carving out a life for yourself in Australia. Since this is a gratitude post I won’t bash you for your political views! Here’s to more family time with Dinesh, lots of avial and bhendi fry, and sweets made by your mom.

Day 17

Grateful for my Valliachan and Valliamma for being there for me. Got to spend 3 months with them this year. Valliamma as usual cooked yummy food for us. Valliachan and I made chapatis every evening for dinner and also walked on the terrace at the end of day. Love you both very much and wishing you good health and happiness always!

Day 18

Thankful for my aunts, Sridevi Chitta and Uma Chitta. Two strong women who have built a name for themselves. I only got to spend a day with both of them this year. Thank you Sridevi Chitta for coming down just to see me and Dinesh. Thank you Uma Chitta for celebrating pongala with us in Trivandrum. Love you both very much and wishing you good health, happiness, and prosperity always. Hope to see more of you on my next visit.

Day 19

Thankful for my beautiful friend, Namami. She is one person in the world who believes in me and is my foremost cheerleader. She has always been there for me through triumphs and debilitating sorrow. Actually, she is more than a friend. She’s my soul sister. God bless you always and in all ways. Hope we get to spend a lot more time together soon. Thank you for the gifts you sent my way.

Day 20

This year was a lot easier to deal with because of some wonderful people around me. Some old friends and some new. And a friend I met after 22 years! Thank you Jayasree for taking the time out of your busy schedule to come see me. Thank you for securing a freelance writing opportunity for me while I was stuck here. You are my hero! Your hard work, grit, and determination is exemplary. Wishing you happiness, abundance, and good health always! Until we meet again…

Day 21

My trip to Bangalore earlier this year was magical. Got to meet the beautiful and talented Reema after 8 years of online interaction. It all started with her publishing my blogs on Unboxed Writers. As a fledgling blogger, this was a major confidence boost. She made my dream of getting published in the Indian Express true. After discovering that I’m a healer, she has been freely recommending me to several of her contacts. She pushed me to start my YouTube channel. And last year when I was in a bad place, she checked on me every single day to make sure I was OK. So thank you, Reema for your friendship, for the numerous gifts you have showered on me, for inviting me to your home for a meal prepared with so much love. And thank you for envisioning a future for me beyond my wildest dreams. Wishing you love, happiness, good health, lots of time for art, and the freedom to pursue your dreams!

Day 22

Back in Bangalore again but this time it’s the lovely Hema and her delightful family I’m grateful for. It was continuous entertainment from the get go. So many laughs, nonstop chatter, great food, and obviously great company. Bonus was watching Durbar with this die-hard Rajni fan, complete with whistles and hearty applause. Hema, your laughter and joy is contagious and your ability to put everyone completely at ease is enviable. Your generosity and genuine concern for everyone fills my heart. So so happy that we crossed paths briefly years ago. Really want to see you go places. Your intelligence and dynamism are a force to reckon with. Wishing you love, laughter, good health, and success in all your endeavors. And good times with friends like me.

Day 23

Got to spend some quality time this year with my dad’s best friend from his Monfort school days. Thank you Vivek uncle for hosting us all in Rajapalayam. For the laughs and funny anecdotes from your days at Monfort. Got to see you a couple more times here in Chennai. You are such an amazing human being, so generous in spirit and so humble. Hope to spend more quality time with you next time. Until then wishing you good health and plenty of rain in your farm.

Day 24

Delighted that two of my friends joined me this year in 30 days of gratitude. Thank you Shomita and Radha. Hope the blessings of this practice are beginning to show up in your life. Hope and pray you have more and more things to be grateful for in the coming years.

Day 25

Dear God, thank you for keeping me and my family safe through hurricanes, cyclones, and tornadoes, through floods and the current pandemic. I pray for this cyclone Nivar to weaken and not cause damage to the state of Tamilnadu. The excessive rain over the past couple of days has already affected several people. Please show mercy on us. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thanks to everyone reading this and sending a silent prayer for all of us.

Day 26

Happy Thanksgiving! It’s a cloudy day in Chennai and a working day. Thankful for my family and food on the table. Thankful for friends who are like family. Grateful for a healthy body, a sound mind, and a soul that wants to be in service. My heart is full and cares are few. Sending infinite blessings to everyone.

Day 27

The storm clouds have passed and the sun is smiling down on me. So grateful for the sun today after a week of gloomy weather. I’m typing this while soaking up the warmth of the golden sun. Reminds me of a song the kids used to sing. Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me… Thanks to everyone who prayed for us as we weathered the storm in Tamilnadu.

Day 28

Thankful for our farmers who feed the nation. God bless them and keep them safe from the greedy hands of politicians and corporates. Try growing some vegetables or fruits in your garden and you will quickly realize how much work goes into growing the perfect cucumber or juicy tomato.

Day 29

There’s a writer, healer, and teacher trapped inside me. Teaching is in my blood given that my mom’s side of the family all the way to her grandfather were teachers. So I’m so grateful for the opportunity to teach Sapna, our house help, English for the past 3 months. She’s a quick learner and earnest student. Such a joy to teach her. Here’s to more opportunities to teach and share my knowledge.

Day 30

Today I’m grateful for all the organizations that have given me a chance to volunteer. I volunteered in school and college and now try to volunteer as much as I can in my adult life as well. Thank you Brevard Public Schools (Quest Elementary and the Math Superstars team), Africa ICT Right, Rise Against Hunger, E Carolina Food Bank, and Team Everest. I thank God that I am blessed with enough, so I can donate to causes that are close to my heart. Currently, I’m a volunteer with Team Everest in their Bridge program, working with first-year college students who come from single-parent households. If this year has been kind to you, I urge you to reach out to the needy. Even if you have no money to spare, you can give of your time and expertise. Someone out there will surely benefit from it. Thank you Facebook friends for reading my gratitude posts and for liking, sharing, commenting, and most of all for your love and support.

4 thoughts on “30 Days of Gratitude (Chennai Edition)

  1. Very inspiring! I always enjoy reading or hearing about what people are thankful for. In 2006-2007 we lost our home and cars because my husband lost his job, and a couple years later millions of people were going through the same thing. I was actually grateful for what we went through. The good and the bad.

  2. I don’t know that we used gratitude to turn our lives around. They were already turned upside down, but because of that we were in a position, prepared where others weren’t. We could comfort other people.
    Even now when other people find themselves in what they might consider depressing circumstances for the holidays, we find normal. We don’t normally celebrate the holidays, however this year I visited my parents because my dad has cancer and you don’t know when his time will come, so I’m redeeming every moment I can. Anyway I’m having a great holiday while everyone else I know is down and out. They have entirely too many expectations for the holidays which is why they’re depressed. I’m thankful. I’ve learned to be abased and to abound, in whatever state I’m in, and to be thankful. It’s not always easy. It definitely can be stressful, but I’m not caught up in all the material things in life. I’ve made so many sacrifices. Over and over again. Because life is so much more than the material plane.

    1. Thanks for your comment! I started doing this 4 years ago when my family was going through a really tough time. No jobs, we were living in a rented place with no furniture. It was hard to be in the holiday spirit but I was thankful that we got to start over in a new place. The kids were in a good public school and we were getting interviews at least. Fast forward to March of the next year, we both got jobs and things started looking up. Yes, you are right. It’s not about material things. It’s about family, love, and support. Things money can’t buy. I got back to my family this year just in time for Christmas. Being together again was the biggest gift this year!

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