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Unconditional Vidya Sury

Today, on Day 21 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I am pleased to welcome Shailaja Vishwanath, who is a freelance content writer and prolific blogger. She blogs at Diary of a Doting Mom where she writes about parenting and life lessons while dabbling in creative fiction. Shailaja likes to swim, teach music, read and network with other bloggers.

Shailaja Unconditional Vidya SuryI met Shailaja recently when one of the largest Indian blogger networks was shortlisting bloggers in various categories for their annual blogging awards. Her blog was listed among the top five parenting blogs in India and we instantly hit it off. To make it even better, we live in the same city. If you are thinking – what can be better than taking a fun online connection offline – you are on the right track!. Add a coffee, laughter and a leisurely chat followed by a walk – and you’re on to something solid. Shailaja is fun and enthusiastic about everything she does. Please do visit her blog – you’ll enjoy her writing. Connect with her on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter.

And now, here’s Shailaja with one of my favorite concepts: Unconditional – A state of being

Unconditional – A state of being

by Shailaja Vishwanath

When Vidya asked me to guest post on her blog, I was overwhelmed, for two reasons:

One, this is the first time anyone had ever asked me to write a guest post on their blog, and I know what an honour it is to be asked.

Two, Vidya and I met only in January this year, but the warmth with which she welcomed me into her world, touched the core of my being. We still haven’t met in person, but I hope to remedy that soon! I am so glad that we got to meet offline just this last weekend. Vidya, hoping to have many more

With that I come to today’s theme: Unconditional. That word can be a really loaded one, so I am going to keep it simple. To me, it means just one thing: Do what we can with every fiber of our being and expect nothing in return, not even acknowledgement.

Unconditional love can extend to our relationships and our actions. Some people seem to have this in natural abundance. Others learn, through life experiences, that to be truly happy, we must do what we do with no expectation.

Unconditional Vidya Sury 2

In our relationships:

You know the friend I am talking about. She is the one you don’t talk to everyday. She is the one who is busy juggling the roles of a mother, a wife, a daughter-in-law, a working woman and a friend.

But she is the one who will warmly respond when you land up at her doorstep unannounced. She will take your phone call in the midst of a deadline and let you pour her heart out on her shoulder. She will rush over to your house with a pot of warm soup when she hears that you are nursing a terrible cold.

And for all of this, she expects nothing in return. She will brush aside your gratitude and tuck you into bed. She will sit by your side and listen patiently while you rant about an insensitive colleague. She will throw open the master bedroom and insist that you make yourself comfortable, while she curls up on the couch.

I have not one or two, but many, many people like that in my life. People I can call up and ask for a favour, without feeling awkward.

We have people like that in our lives. All of us. We just don’t realize it all the time.

In our actions:

I once saw a potter at work. The way he dipped his hands into the clay and then placed the lump on a spinning wheel. I watched as he carefully spun the wheel and started lovingly give shape to that lump. With skilled fingers, he nudged the edges, smoothed the surface, added more water when needed and brought out a vase from that lump. At the end of it, he looked at the finished product with that quiet smile of pride and satisfaction. He didn’t worry about the fact that there were spectators around him or that some people admired his handiwork, while others walked by without a second glance. No, the work of art was prize enough for him.

Unconditional Vidya Sury

As I watched this, I was reminded of the word ‘amateur’. Did you know that it means one who does something for the love of it? So different from what we associate with that word today.

Every single thing we do ought to be done for the love of it.

Like cooking? Do it with a passion.

Enjoy writing? Take up a pen or a laptop and let the words flow.

Love to travel? Let your feet take you where they want to go.

Look at every single person who excels at his/her art. The reason that is so is because they love what they do. They have an unconditional love for the art. They have an unquenchable passion for that experience. That passion gives them what they need- Satisfaction and nothing else matters.

A great person once told me this: The reason you feel disappointed is because you have expectations.

If I clean my home with the expectation that I will get a nod of praise, it defeats the very purpose of the exercise.

If I write because I want to be widely read and loudly proclaimed, I am not doing it for the love of writing.

If I do a good deed in the hope that it will come back to me some day, I am negating the very effect of goodness.

I am not saying that it is wrong to have these expectations. We are, after all, human. And it feels good, even wonderful, to be acknowledged. Truth be told, my heart fills up when efforts are appreciated.

However, what I must strive for, is enjoying the task for the pleasure that it affords, all by itself. And I must remember that anything else that comes from it is a pure bonus.

Unconditional Vidya Sury 2

Thank you, Shailaja!

When the pressure of expectations is off our minds, we truly bloom!

What is your reaction to Shailaja’s perception of “Unconditional” as a state of being? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Today, let’s visit

Susan Scott at Garden of Eden (loving the sound of that!)

Sitara Nair at Rendezvous with life (has a great story going on there!)



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KP April 24, 2014 at 5:52 am

That was a nice guest post.If we keep expectations low and do things that we undertake,not necessarily those we love,with heart and soul,every praise or positive outcome is an unexpected bonus.
Thank you Vidya for making Shailaja write here.
KP recently posted…Murari’s gift

Shailaja April 24, 2014 at 6:54 am

Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment, KP 🙂
I am so happy to be here today. Vidya, your words are so beautiful and warm and I am grateful for the love <3

Such a pleasure when an online connection turns into a friendship
Shailaja recently posted…A little understanding

Proactive Indian April 24, 2014 at 6:59 am

Superb post, Shailaja!
I’m reminded of Zig Ziglar’s words:
“If you go out looking for friends, you’re going to find they’re very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”

“People I can call up and ask for a favour, without feeling awkward.” To me, this is the test of a genuine relationship.

I fully agree that doing anything only because of one’s passion for that activity gives satisfaction and delight. Acknowledgement from others, if genuine, is an added bonus.

“I am not saying that it is wrong to have these expectations. We are, after all, human.” I loved this dose of reality!!
Proactive Indian recently posted…Underdogs should not be underestimated

Shailaja V April 24, 2014 at 10:41 am

That is a beautiful quote by Ziglar,Pro and so appropriate too. Striving to be more selfless is always a good goal. Thank you for your kind words 🙂
Shailaja V recently posted…A little understanding

usha menon April 24, 2014 at 7:51 am

A wonderful post with reality oozing out of it. Shailaja, you are correct that we must do what our heart wants us to do. If we perform a task under compulsion or with an eye for appreciation, it will not turn out to be our best. Thank you Vidya for inviting such a talented writer.

Shailaja V April 24, 2014 at 10:42 am

Usha Madam, my heart is full when I hear words like yours. The more we follow our hearts, the more we can choose to be happy. Thank you so much <3
Shailaja V recently posted…A little understanding

Sreeja Praveen April 24, 2014 at 8:05 am

Very happy to see two favourites uniting over U 🙂 😀

A wonderful post from Shailaja, as usual. Unconditional is more of a state of mind, is it not ! But as you rightly said, we’re all human, so we have expectations almost all the time. We love genuine appreciation , and it encourages us towards greater performance. But the greatest satisfaction comes when we do things because we love doing them, and that’s where passion overrides expectation… loved the message and the quote!!

Thanks, Vidya for bringing her over 🙂
Sreeja Praveen recently posted…A to Z Random Post # 21 U – Unusual, though….

Shailaja V April 24, 2014 at 10:44 am

I was reminded of this when someone I know posted an update, saying that we shouldn’t do something if we are not paid enough for it. I chose to disagree with that. As long as your basic needs are met by a job, I think it is perfectly fine to pursue your interests which you are passionate about. Without that, how can we ever achieve satisfaction?

Sreeja, you have a way of making me smile, with your comments 🙂
Shailaja V recently posted…A little understanding

Rajlakshmi April 24, 2014 at 8:11 am

I truly agree //The reason you feel disappointed is because you have expectations.// This is something that my Dad had taught me and it has been a principle I try to follow … it’s very hard but then the disappointments are lesser. Doing things because you love to brings joy that appreciation may not. But then sometimes I do have expectation specially when it comes to relationships 🙂 Yeah human nature!! Beautiful post Shailaja. I like reading your views 🙂
Rajlakshmi recently posted…The Ultra-Chic Complex

Rajlakshmi April 24, 2014 at 8:12 am

And just to add, not having expectation is one of the reasons why my friends used to call me unemotional 😛 patthar dil to be precise 😛 that always gave me a good laugh 😛
Rajlakshmi recently posted…The Tee’s and Jeans Squabble

Shailaja V April 24, 2014 at 10:47 am

Always happy to have you read my views, Rajlakshmi 🙂 That is a dubious nickname. I am glad you turned it to your advantage 🙂
Shailaja V recently posted…A little understanding

Aditi April 24, 2014 at 8:18 am

This was so so beautiful Shailaja!! Unconditional – love coz it fills your heart ; write, sing, dance coz you enjoy immensely the creation of it. Do not expect…. Yes definitely you are happiest when you unconditional becomes a part of you!
Aditi recently posted…Quinces – the smell of Friendship

Shailaja V April 24, 2014 at 10:49 am

Thank you Aditi. The more we learn that primal truth, the more we can enjoy the beauty of life 🙂
Shailaja V recently posted…A little understanding

Beloo Mehra April 24, 2014 at 9:43 am

Uber-nice post. To work towards inculcating in ourselves such unconditional, no-expectation-in-return kind of love for all that we do can be a full-fledged sadhana/spiritual practice in itself 🙂 Easier said than done, for sure. But then all things that are good for our souls are generally not easy 🙂 The example of potter is super appropriate. Thanks Shailja for this wonderful post, and thanks Vidya for having her on your blog today.
Beloo Mehra recently posted…U is for Unity, Unity in Diversity and the Indian-ness

Shailaja V April 24, 2014 at 11:08 am

The bitterest medicine is always the best for us, isn’t it, Beloo? 🙂 The hardest of lessons are the most valuable too. Thank you for that comment <3
Shailaja V recently posted…A little understanding

Obsessivemom April 24, 2014 at 10:21 am

Hmmm Geeta gyan coming from you Shailaja. A great thing to strive for… To do things without expectation. Loved loved that potter’s example. I hadn’t ever noticed but now that I think of it, that’s exactly how he works.
Obsessivemom recently posted…U is for Upamanyu Chatterjee

Shailaja V April 24, 2014 at 11:09 am

Yes,Tulika. Like most great artists and bloggers 😉 They create their art and any appreciation that comes along is an extra benefit. Thank you for stopping by:)
Shailaja V recently posted…A little understanding

Corinne Rodrigues April 24, 2014 at 11:21 am

You’re so right, Shailaja! My husband told me how he learned in Vipassana that having expectations is what leads to pain and discontent. Trying not to have any, takes a lot of work, doesn’t it? But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try!
Thank you for this lovely post – just what I needed to read today. 🙂
Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…The Secrets Of Happy Families

Shailaja V April 24, 2014 at 11:24 am

Corinne, I can’t tell you how full my heart is right now. To hear that from you, someone whom I greatly admire, is so fulfilling. I thank Vidya for having me here today and all of you lovely people for taking time to read my thoughts. Feeling blessed 🙂
Shailaja V recently posted…A little understanding

Suzy April 24, 2014 at 12:54 pm

You hit the nail on the head Shailaja. Expectations breed discontent and disharmony. Nicely written.
Suzy recently posted…LIfe’s Jigsaw – Universal Divinity Speaks

Shailaja V April 26, 2014 at 7:15 pm

Yes, Suzy. Right as always 🙂 The more we expect, the more dissatisfied we are 🙂
Shailaja V recently posted…An addiction too strong

Prasanna Rao April 24, 2014 at 1:25 pm

A wonderful post. But being unconditional is something that only few people can manage. But I guess with writing and blogging has taught me to be unconditional to an extent. Now I write without expecting to get some comments on my post 🙂 A very insightful write-up Shailaja 🙂

Shailaja V April 27, 2014 at 8:46 pm

I think that is the core of every activity, Prasanna. I feel thrilled when my mail pings and notifies me of a comment, but over time, I have learnt that not every post will garner the same enthusiasm or not everyone will necessarily express their appreciation through words. Sometimes a stranger mails me saying they like reading the blog.That feels great 🙂
Shailaja V recently posted…The power of Kinship

sunila April 24, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Love the post Vidya and Shailaja 🙂 Every word rings true. Love what Hafiz say’s about unconditional love and the Night sky.

Shailaja V June 1, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Thank you so much,Sunila. It was a pleasure to write the post.
Shailaja V recently posted…Why you need an #FAQ page for your #blog

nabanita April 24, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Beautiful thought…It is so true whether in relationships or anything we do… It’s hard to not expect but then it’s not impossible no?
nabanita recently posted…U is for Uncanny

Sulekha April 24, 2014 at 4:47 pm

When I had gone for the Art of living course, my teacher had written this down for us to remember…Expectation reduces joy…I have not forgotten them ever 🙂 Lovely post, Shailaja. Thank you Vidya for inviting this lovely writer at your place and sharing her writing with us.

Archana April 24, 2014 at 5:36 pm

good to have read this precisely when I needed it… lowering expectations is so hard, but I guess thats the way to go to achieve happiness..

Shilpa Garg April 24, 2014 at 6:40 pm

It’s good to see you here, Shailaja! A fab post with a fantastic message. They say, blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed!! Doing what you love without any expectation will lead to happiness always!!
Shilpa Garg recently posted…U is to Understand

Susan Scott April 24, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Thank you so much for these wise and beautiful words Shailaja V – I am still smiling!
Have no expectations, just do it from your heart. Love unconditionally and all else follows. Thank you Vidja for this inspiring post of Shailaja’s.
Garden of Eden Blog
Susan Scott recently posted…U – Unconscious

Pixie April 24, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Loved the post Vidya and Shailaja..
to have unconditional love in our life makes us fortunate
And to love someone unconditionally is truly a blessing 🙂

Kathy April 25, 2014 at 12:09 am

I have learned over the course of my life that having any form of expectation is a bad thing. If I expect people to like my writing, and they don’t…then I am crushed. However, if I don’t expect any readers and receive some with favorable comments I am happy. If I expect to go on vacation and then don’t get to it is simply the end of the world. You get the idea. It just doesn’t pay to expect much. You set yourself up for too much heartache as a result.
Kathy recently posted…U is for Ultimatum

Tarkabarka April 25, 2014 at 12:51 am

It sounds lovely to have such a great blogging environment! I follow quite a few Indian blogs and I always learn while reading wonderful things. Thank you! 🙂
Very true post about unconditional passion and expectations. I am definitely guilty of expectations. It is not easy to reach a mindset where you can do something with a passion while knowing that there are limits to what you can achieve. Definitely needs work 🙂

@TarkabarkaHolgy from
Multicolored Diary – Tales of colors
MopDog – The crazy thing about Hungarians…
Tarkabarka recently posted…U is for Umber, Umbra, and Wolves

Vidya Sury April 25, 2014 at 10:08 am

🙂 Welcome again, Csenge! As humans, detaching ourselves from expectations is near-impossible! 🙂 Aspiring for that state is worth it, though! Thank you for visiting!

Birgit April 25, 2014 at 12:59 am

How profound and so true. I have to say i have been guilty in expecting to be acknowledged for what I did (for my hubby). You strike a true chord…I did it to make him happy not to be acknowledged and it did make him happy. I usually love to do things for people not to be noticed but to be a true friend-I feel so good and calm and wonderful. You expressed it wonderfully

My Inner Chick April 25, 2014 at 1:26 am

**If I write because I want to be widely read and loudly proclaimed, I am not doing it for the love of writing***

I love every single word about this post.

Excellent. WOW. Thank you, Vidya and Shailaja xx
My Inner Chick recently posted…22 Things I Totally Believe

Betsy/Zen Mama April 25, 2014 at 7:36 am

I just love what you wrote about “unconditional”. I’m a big believer in unconditional love but I’ve never thought about it in other ways. It really hit me when you wrote, “Do you love to travel?” I do. Recently my husband and I have made a commitment to travel as much as we can. That was a great example for me to read.
Thank you for a beautiful post. I’m looking forward to checking out your blog.

Vidya, It’s wonderful to catch up with your blog. I’m a little busy these days… at least for one more month. So today’s blog post really lifted my day. I have to check in with you more often!
Betsy/Zen Mama recently posted…Wisdom of the Mayans – The Road Less Traveled Part 2

vishalbheeroo April 25, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Beautiful post, Shailaja about passion in life and the story of the Potter is striking. Love reading this post and those lines remain an inspiration, “The reason you feel disappointed is because you have expectations.”
vishalbheeroo recently posted…A to Z Challenge: V for Vaishali adventure

Damyanti April 25, 2014 at 7:39 pm

Unconditional love– so easy to expect, and so difficult to give 🙂

Impressive post, Shailaja!
Damyanti recently posted…#AtoZchallenge #flashfiction: V for Vagrancy had always been his calling…

Michelle Wallace April 28, 2014 at 3:15 pm

What a beautiful post! 🙂
Michelle Wallace recently posted…W is for Wallbook


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