When I wrote my first post on 8 July 2003, little did I realize that blogging would become one of my most enjoyable activities and help me grow as a writer, connect me with amazing people, take me virtually across the world into the hearts of so many people. It’s been a joy collecting smiles.
July is an auspicious month for me, in terms of new beginnings—all my job changes during my corporate career have happened in July.
July also happens to be the birth anniversary of one of my uncles (my Mom’s brother)—someone who was seen as THE good Samaritan by all who had the privilege to know him. Of course, he would argue that the privilege was all his–because he was that kind of person. Generous, always helping others, fantastic sense of humor, suave, well-dressed, and an absolute pleasure to be with.
Sundays during my childhood were especially fun for the whole family because of him–there was music and delicious food and family time that’s all so preciously memorable. I remember when I woke up in the morning, there would be a tray next to my pillow with postage stamps for my collection–he worked in international purchases and brought me the stamps from the envelopes. He is also almost wholly responsible for my love for chocolates and limericks.
He passed away when he was exactly 60 and was mourned by far more people than just our family–people whose lives he had touched, people he had raised, supported financially simply because he could, people for whom he had made the time to sit and listen.
Even if it is pure serendipity, I feel proud today to think that I began this blog on my uncle’s birthday. He was certainly someone to look up to and aspire to be like. He gifted me my first Dr Wayne Dyer book and also my set of Rugby jokes books.
He lived to be of service to others and certainly collected smiles all the way.
I cannot say I am anywhere near that, but I like to think I am a work in progress.
Since this is a time for reflection, words cannot express how wonderful it feels to be doing what I enjoy—writing, editing, blogging. It is true what is said about not having to work a single day in your life when you are passionate about what you do.
I am often asked what my blogging goals are. I have two goals.
One: my aim is collecting smiles
By creating a positive space that people enjoy visiting and reading, and leaving with a smile—hopefully with the intention of coming back.
Two: to change the world, a word at a time.
I donate all my blogging income to charity which includes supporting our local welfare homes, bearing the educational and medical expenses of children who can’t afford it and doing what we can for people in our community.
It is an honor to say that I have been accomplishing my goals of giving back, paying it forward. My Mom showed me by example that we must always try to make the world a better place in our own small way. We don’t need an audience for every good deed we do, do we?
While I’ve personally and professionally grown over the years, the rules I set myself have remained constant. Of course, I add a new one that’s in sync with these every now and then, but let me share the basic list here.
- I will always treat others with kindness. No shaming anyone.
- No negative vibes—no ranting. I am better off collecting smiles.
- I will treat my friends like photographs—show them in the best light.
- I will focus on those who love me.
- I will always be open to learning.
- My actions will be consistent with my goals.
- I will always strive to offer value through my writing.
- I will spend my time online wisely.
- I will raise others whenever I can.
- I will not waste time comparing myself to others—because I know my path is different.
- I will not hold grudges or keep score—I have better things to do.
- I believe that no work goes unnoticed, no effort goes unrewarded.
- My health, family and friends will always come first.
- I will not stress over social media stuff. No FOMO for me.
- I will never be forced into writing about something I don’t believe in.
- I will live by this quote:
“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.” – Harold S. Kushner
The list is longer, because I am a work in progress. I have smiles to go before I sleep.
I will always be grateful for my family’s constant encouragement in everything I do. Super special thanks to Vanita Cyril–friend, sister, mentor all rolled into one–I am not at all sure I’d be where I am without her unwavering support and always having my back. She rocks!
And of course, as long as I am blogging, I’ll be collecting smiles. Here’s what I want to know from you:
“Did you smile today?”
That’s me during my recent trip to the Andaman Islands at Kalapathar beach on Havelock Island.
Thank you for your presence here, today.