A Whole New Chapter

I’m sitting in my brother’s apartment, where I’m crashing for the next little while. Excited to start at CAMH tomorrow!! This is the start of a whole new chapter. I updated my profile on LinkedIn so now it’s official LOL.

Last week’s walk happened on Tuesday Oct 11 – Week 41! It was Dussehra, which I remember because Neesha sent me this cute animation in the morning:

Dussehra, The Defeat of Ravan and triumph of good over evil

Dussehra (also known as Vijayadasami, meaning Victory) represents the triumph of good over evil – on that day it is said that Lord Rama defeated the great demon Ravana, at the end of a long, arduous journey to win back his wife Sita (who he later turns away because she is considered impure, but that is another story altogether), and also it represents removing the 10 bad qualities within you which are synonymous with the 10 heads of Ravan. These qualities are:

  1. Ahankara (Ego)
  2. Amanavta (Cruelty)
  3. Anyaaya (Injustice)
  4. Kama vasana (Lust)
  5. Krodha (Anger)
  6. Lobha (Greed)
  7. Mada (Over Pride)
  8. Matsara (Jealousy)
  9. Moha (Attachment)
  10. Swartha (Selfishness)

I think I’m going to need more than one day to remove these qualities!

Before I headed out for the day, I waited for the cable guy to come and hook up the internet. Poor guy had trouble finding a parking spot because of the construction and because the loading zone was occupied. He finally made it up, bumbling through, apologizing and talking away. He hooked up the high speed, and I set up a password (which Raju thought was lame and is planning to change) and I was all set. It was nice to have internet after relying on my Telus plan (which had gone over by $250 the month before!! It’s because I was in Ottawa and still using it as if I was in Toronto :p). It was using it as a personal hotspot that did it. Geeta Foi had told me how you can do that, and so I tried it out and watched shows on Netflixx which cost me like a million dollars.

The cable guy also told me that there was a gift for me hanging from the door!

Welcome to the building gift from Victoria

On Thanksgiving I’d met a girl Victoria on Raju’s floor, and I’d knocked on her door the next day – she wasn’t home but her boyfriend was and looked rather shocked to see me. Anyway, she was so nice and left me this gift bag full of facial products – a cleanser and toner and bronzer. I texted her to say thank you and she mentioned that she doesn’t actually live in the building but had just been visiting that day. Hopefully I get to see her again.

I walked out of Raju’s place, down Gerrard and to the Atrium to do my change of address (as I write this I’m slowly processing that I’ve moved out of my place – yeah I’m a little slow that way).  I did an address forwarding thing for the next 3 months… I still have to inform all the banks and stuff of my actual address (who knows where that will be come January 1). Right now I’m a bit of a nomad. I don’t mind crashing at people’s places though, I’m really grateful for it and also it’s actually pretty fun and exciting (as if I could use any more excitement right now).

I went down to the harbourfront to see my doctor, who I just missed because she only works until 3 PM, then I texted Yarina who told me to come by. First I walked by the lake and stopped to listen to this soulful singer named Woody (I will have the add the video later because it’s not uploading right now). He sang “You say it best when you say nothing at all” – such a beautiful song! After I listened to him, we talked for quite a bit and he told me his story. Over 34 years ago, he visited a psychiatrist to deal with his grief over his father’s death. Yet instead of helping him, they sent him to a mental institution where he spent over 2 years, was locked up, often with no social interaction, given shock treatment against his will, and diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and was deemed incurable and unemployable. He said that’s it taken him over 30 years to heal, and he is only now getting back on his feet and singing (he does a little bit of pot and drinks a bit to take off the edge).  He said that while he was in prison (the mental ward), he heard the voice of God speak to him ever-so-gently, telling him not to lie or steal, and from that guidance he was able to forgive his perpetrators and felt an enormous energy course through him, freeing him from his pain albeit momentarily. He has worked hard over the years, defying expectations, doing every job from lifting concrete blocks to landscaping to waterproofing roofs. His story is featured in the documentary Low Down Tracks about Toronto’s street musicians. He says that the newspapers won’t feature it because they don’t want the city to look bad, and that it would shine a bad light on the situation of homelessness in Toronto and across Ontario.

I could have spent all day by the lake, but realized I was late so I headed to Yarina’s which was definitely the highlight of my day. I love her so much! I got to play with the baby and talk about Navratri and Dussera with her and Sandro. I’m really grateful to have them in my life – it always feel like home. And I swear that baby could melt the stoniest heart – she is the cutest thing in the world!!

Omigod I almost forgot – I met a lady earlier in the day (she must be called the ‘pigeon lady’) in front of SickKids that attracts all the pigeons and sits peacefully among them. She reminded me of a man that I met at St. James park that feeds the squirrels.

Woman with the pigeons, SickKids Hospital

I really want to write about what I read in If Nuns Ruled the World, but it’s almost 10 PM and I have to get home and get a good night’s sleep before my first day of work!







Success In The First Round

Week 39! I woke up at Jasmine’s place where I was staying and felt good about the day, although nervous as hell since I had an interview in the afternoon with Critical Care Services Ontario for a Senior Business Analyst position. I listened to CBC radio to keep me occupied, and made myself a simple breakfast which included Mom’s yummy carrot bread (normally she makes zucchini bread but she made it differently this time). I sat down to watch TV but couldn’t figure out how to work the remote controls! (later discovered I was using the wrong ones hehe).

Breakfast at Jasmine’s

The evening before, Jasmine and I had been watching New Girl (the one where Jess and Cece try and recruit sorority girls to vote for Hilary) and I was trying to just relax and enjoy myself, but I kept thinking that I hadn’t prepared enough for the interview. So when Jasmine went to bed, I stayed up for a couple hours and reviewed my notes and it felt great. I knew I was prepared, although it didn’t seem to help with the nerves.

In the morning I walked along the harbourfront. It was windy, the lake was choppy and felt almost like the ocean. I stood out on the dock and felt so alive with the wind blowing in my hair and listening to the sounds of the waves…

I walked to my apartment and waited for Mandeep to arrive. As soon as she got home, I ran in, grabbed my black Waterloo clipboard, and a few samples of my work. I was glad I remembered that because it turned out to be useful during the interview.

I walked up University I think and stopped at the Starbucks in 525 to grab some water. I got to the interview and waited in the lobby of Lucliff place, reviewing my notes and I think my teeth were chattering I was so nervous. Luckily I got a message from Roshni wishing me luck which helped. Lately I feel like I need support every step of the way! The interview went pretty well – I talked a lot which is a good sign, and was happy to share my experiences and learn about the role and their plans for critical care services in Ontario. I was free to be myself which was nice. I had been feeling pretty self-conscious about being out of work for almost four years (which is crazy because I’ve done so many wonderful things and grown so much), and so I found one question particularly funny. One of the PMs asked me why I wanted to give up my ‘exciting’ life and go back to a mundane everyday job. I told the truth, which was that I was an I.T. geek at heart and I am actually craving doing something analytical, applying my project management skills, and working in a team. I want to do it all, although maybe it’s not possible to do it all at once! :p Too bad I’m not like Krishna and can’t replicate myself. I really wish I could, then maybe I wouldn’t be suffering from so much FOMO.

Afterwards I sent a message to my support group (aka my family chat group) to which I got this great response:

Family chat group, The Patels

In the evening I met up with Jasmine and while she was at her naturopath appointment, I facetimed my sister. At first the screen was black, but then Chris walked in and turned on the light so I got to see how cute she looked!

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Evening FaceTime chat with my sister

Jasmine and I went to her favourite store, Naked Red. I couldn’t afford anything but happily tried on a few things – I love this pic of us wearing the same tops!! (image above) Then we went to Local for dinner in Liberty Village. I had the fish and chips and she had a big juicy burger. Melinda and her friend Lauren joined us too. Melinda was telling us about her crazy schedule and how she has to commute two hours each way to get to work. At night I read a bit from If Nuns Rules the World. I’m glad that I bookmarked the page. Jo asks Sister Jeannine if she ever regrets not having a husband or kids. She says “Not at all!” I, along with Jo, am impressed that she is so certain about her future and what she wants. God knows I’ve gone back and forth a million times. Sister Jeannine acknowledges this indecision and lack of commitment in most people.

If only we could all be that brave. If only we could all choose not to live up to everyone else’s expectations and do what feels right to us.

I would add one additional thing: if only we all had the courage to speak our truths, however painful (or humiliating) it may be. It’s a bitch having your life out there for others to judge, but sometimes it takes more energy not to tell it. Or sometimes you just do it because you said you would, or because that’s how your fingers move. I remember I would always be amazed when writing my diaries how the pen would just move effortlessly across the page.. it is such a beautiful motion. I haven’t written in awhile… perhaps tonight I will have the energy and time to return to it. Or maybe I should get back to packing! Hope you are all having a wonderful night!







If You Tell The Truth, You Don’t Have To Remember Anything

Last Saturday seems like forever ago, like a dream. Yet it did happen and it was wonderful. I went to the Reference Library as per my regular Saturday routine, and then got back around 5 PM to walk around Harbourfront and catch the Flamenco show presented by the Esmeralda Enrique Dance Studio, where I have previously taken flamenco dance classes. It’s been so long and I’m hoping to get back to it this summer or in the fall. This was the atmosphere at the Harbourfront:

Pretty chill huh?! There was lots of yummy food, including this paella which made me wish I ate meat.


There was an Aboriginal festival going on at the same time, and I approached just as an Indian chief started to speak about the seven spiritual directions. When they pray, they offer their prayers to the seven directions: East, South, West, North, Sky, Earth, and Here. The very last one struck me as he explained that the seventh direction is inside of you, the centre of your own heart. My heart has always been my greatest strength. Here is a woman performing a traditional dance – I love her movements and the drumming!! Dancing has a way of liberating your spirit and connecting you with the earth. Ok the video doesn’t seem to be uploading, I will add it another time.

I walked along University and eventually to Yonge where I encountered an awesome party for gay pride in the little park off Isabella street. It felt surreal and I was entranced by the energy and the vibe.

Got to Balzac’s where I read from Veiled Threat. It’s been hard for me to concentrate lately because of everything going on and all the uncertainty in my life so I actually have no idea what I read, but I’m sure it was inspiring and informative.

Upon leaving Balzac’s, I saw these flyers for Raja Yoga, the type of yoga that Neesha teaches. I have my whole summer to explore different things, so I’m going to try it out and let you know how it goes. I wish I could join the children’s choir to be honest. It encompasses my two favourite things: children and singing! Lately I’ve been starting the day off singing every morning, to Sam Smith’s I’m Not The Only One and The Heart Wants What It Wants by Selena Gomez. I wonder if everyone on my floor can hear me. I hope I sound good!! It would be the worst to start your morning off listening to bad singing.

Flyers at Balzac’s, Yonge and Bloor

I went to Chapters after and read a bit from Joan Collins daughter’s book about her mother. I love this quote (image above) by Mark Twain: “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” So true! In my interview with Cota, I was totally myself and just talked about my own personal experiences and volunteer work. I made jokes and even teared up a little. I never would have dared to “just be myself” before – isn’t that funny? Isn’t it funny that we find it so difficult to do what is completely natural – to communicate, be authentic, and express love. It is amazing how it’s been flipped around in this world where it feels more natural to hide your true self and conform to what others expect you to be.

On my way home I walked through Queen’s Park which was lovely at night as always and there was a Happy Canada Day Tribute by the Chalk Chick. She also did the Beaver – so very Canadian!

As I passed through Nathan Philips Square, I was so happy to see the TD Jazz Festival was still going on. I caught the tail end of Joe Jackson’s concert. He is a British musician who now lives in New York, and is known for his hit single “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” which he wrote in 1979, the year that I was born. Here is a clip from his performance:

I also ran into my friend Charlot at the end, which was quite a coincidence since we had decided to meet for lunch the following week. He said that the camera loves me. I guess it’s true; since I was young I have always loved to pose. Which reminds me, I need to get some headshots done – I want something good for my LinkedIn picture. I was really inspired by Sherry’s headshots awhile ago. It will be my intro back into the corporate world.

Me and Charlot, TD Jazz Festival

Finally made it home – what a day!!


When Will and Grace align, anything is possible

I woke up at around 10 am this morning, the after effects of last night’s evening of magic still on my mind. My friend Gosia threw a fabulous party, where we danced and sang and enjoyed each other’s company. The sounds of the guitar and the rhythms of Ella’s dancing filled the room. I sang “I’m not the only one” by Sam Smith and “Hello” by Adele, and was elated to hear that my voice was strong, that I could reach deep within myself and sing the tunes of my heart.

I went to Raj’s class and he talked about Will and Grace. (individual will, and the grace of God). It was quite uncanny that this morning I had watched an episode of Will & Grace, which I hadn’t watched in so long. Coincidence?! I was kind of led to watch it, because my internet stopped working and I couldn’t watch Netflix, so I turned on the TV and watched the episode where Will and Jack pair up on a business venture that doesn’t end up working. Today was the last of Raj’s class series on finding inner balance. The theme was the story of Jesus, and Raj told the story of the crucifixion. It is a beautiful story.

I went to Casa Loma after class, since it was close by. I love it there! I made a wish and tossed some coins in the fountain – Here’s to hoping my wish comes true.

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Then I made my way to the Khalsa parade,  in celebration of Vaisakhi, and got there just in time to hear mayor John Tory speak. I love going to the parade every year. Usually I go with Jasmine, but she was busy so this year I was on my own, dodging through the crowds, having my hot chai and channa masala. It is such a peaceful gathering, and I feel right at home, and so grateful for the free food!

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Following the parade, I walked down Queen West, where I saw a beautiful tribute to Prince that was painted by my friend Victor the street artist. I can’t believe that he died so suddenly. The songs “Purple Rain” and “When Doves Cry” are two of my favourites, so haunting and beautiful. May he rest in peace.

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My brother told me about an event happening at 567 Queen West – Drake was promoting his new album “Views from the 6” and giving away free t-shirts. I got there and tried to bypass the line by telling the bouncer that I write a lifestyle blog and that I was covering the event. Unfortunately it didn’t work – he said I could cover the event from the line. Haha! It was such a cool vibe though – here is a video of the scene outside the shop:

On my walk home, I saw this beautiful wedding shoot by the lake. So pretty!

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Magical wedding photo shoot, Harbourfront