Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Here's To The Next Ten!

On the island of Gozo in Malta stand the Ġgantija temples. 5500 years in age, they are the second oldest existing manmade religious structures we know of. Unassuming at the first glance, they are simply a bunch of stones arranged in a flower like pattern on the top of a flat hill. What takes your breath away is the view of endless green pastures, painted over a inky, cotton adorned sky.

As you turn to enter the structure, the large stones tower over you as if they want to make you feel miniscule. In 1840, an Englishman decided to display his artistic abilities as graffiti on one of the stones. As my hand traces the 1840 etched on this stone for eternity, it hits me that I’m probably not the first one to do this. The man just before me did this and perhaps a few hundred people standing in the line at the entrance will do it too. Each one of us with our own little story to tell. 
How many eyes have seen the view from these temples and gasped at the sheer beauty nature has to offer? How many feet have walked these steps and wondered at our amazing ability as humans to dream, create, discover and destroy? 

In this very brief magical moment, I realise that even though I am a tiny speck in the vastness of time, I am so lucky to be a part of this insanely beautiful thing called life. 

This year and probably most of the last decade has been about movement. Sometimes slow but most often a whirlwind with bits of balance thrown in-between for sanity measures. 

Moving out of the homeland, creating a space called home, filling it with friends and family, watching a little boy grow up to be a teenager and our parents get older, overcoming fears, owning a car, falling in love, breaking someones heart, having my heart broken a few times, embracing the joy of solo travel, checking off bucket lists, learning to be alone and loving my own company, discovering where my soul is at peace, dancing, dreaming, exploring and when the chance presented itself, packing and moving again. 
As the decade ends, I have come full circle, once again, I am on the brink of a new adventure. 

As I walk away from the Ġgantija temples just a few hours before the decade ends, I wonder what the next ten years will bring? 

With the new adventures, places and people, I hope life continues to surprise. It never becomes boring and always makes me awestruck at its splendour. 

I hope I can find more time for things and people I love. I hope I can stand up to what I believe in and fight for what is right. 
I hope as a race, we overcome differences and break walls that are being built around us. We become better, stronger and happier individuals. 

I hope that a thousand years from now when another soul stands at the Ġgantija temples and traces the 1840 etching wondering at the millions who came before her, she is living this insanely beautiful thing called life in a green, happy, violence & hatred free world. 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Singapore Love Affair

A few weeks ago, Singapore and I celebrated our first anniversary. It wasn’t a fancy affair. In fact, I wasn’t even here to celebrate it. I danced the night away in Phuket, only raising a silent toast to our blossoming relationship from afar.

Like lovers who make inspirations for romance novels, we’ve had a classic partnership that feels like forever and yet so new.

Around four hundred days ago when I sat in an empty apartment with three suitcases and a dozen brown boxes, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I tried to predict how my life would turn out in the coming year and I drew a blank. 

I was starting from scratch, yet another time. I wondered if I was too old to make the change, find new friends and throw myself in to work that I was not acquainted with.

Leaving familiarity is one of the hardest things to do. We end up staying in relationships, places and jobs because we are accustomed to them. We take the same route to work, pick up our coffee from the café where the barista prepares our order in advance, we know the buttons to press with our colleagues, round up at the regular bar for a drink and have repeated conversations with our friends about jobs that suck and dreams that remain unfulfilled.

I was breaking my current rut but something inside me hoped that I wasn’t getting myself into another one.

When the plane took off from Dubai and I glanced at the fading lights for one last time, I wished on them. 

A year and some later, I think about that day in the apartment. I try to remember the uneasiness, but it’s gone. 
I try to picture myself, but I can’t. I see another person sitting around the brown boxes – anxious and confused.
I’m glad I don’t know that person.

Love should feel like home. It should be easy and yet make your heart beat just a little bit faster. It should make you smile even when it’s gloomy because you know that sunshine is right around the corner.

When I landed in Singapore and we exchanged glances for the first time, I didn’t expect to fall in love. It happened slowly, and it was in the long-drawn process that I tried to find little reasons to smile every day.

Waking up in an apartment that overlooks the river.

A short walk to work.

Learning to cycle again

New friends who feel like forever.


A job that doesn’t feel like one.

Embracing dim sum for breakfast.

Hundred and fifty dollars return tickets to Bali.

Happy hour.

Bartenders that know that you need gin & tonic at 5pm on a Friday evening.

The joy of having Sunday off.

Whatsapp calling.

Traveling for work.

Packing away heels and fancy clothes - embracing shorts and slippers.

Cooking at home.


Becoming content with nothingness.

A gym with a hair dryer that’s better than the one I have at home.

The unfamiliar is frightening but we seldom realise that it’s in the unknown that magic happens.

On the 15th of June 2017, seated in that plane, I wished for playfulness, I wished to discover a part of me that got a bit side lined over the years.

By searching tiny reasons to smile every day and through this exciting, surprising, playful ride over the past year, Singapore has taught me to be grateful. To give, receive and embrace love, once again, unconditionally.

I can't wait to see what you have planned for me next. 
Here’s to us, Singers.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 - The Year Of Living Unconditionally

I’m sitting in a café with a glass of prosecco, the view of the Singapore River and my New Year notebook on one of those beautiful, rainy days that force you to reminisce. The notebook has documented my year-end thoughts and resolutions for over ten years. I read what I have written year after year and finally accept that an exercise regimen might not be my cup of tea. Travel to far off lands and random things like working towards fulfilling my dreams are more achievable. It’s just a matter of when they manifest in my life.


Four years ago, on the last day of 2013, I promised myself that 2014 would be the year when I would leave Dubai for a new city. I spoke to my colleagues, found some contacts and secured an interview in Singapore at the start of January. As luck would have it, on the 1st day of 2014, I met a boy. It was love at first sight. Through my trip to Singapore and Bali later that month, we chatted continuously. I told him how much I loved this city and could see myself living here and he told me how he couldn’t wait to have me back so we could start dating. “If I can’t make it work with you, I can’t make it work with anyone,” he said to me a few weeks later.

The interview went well and they even made an offer. But, I was smitten. Everything he did was perfect. The way he called out my name, how he would cook for me on weekends, his plans to travel the world, his frown, his smile – everything. I decided to let go of the job because who needs a job when (you think) you’ve found your soulmate, right?
Many blissful months and an amazing holiday in Spain later, he suddenly got a job transfer, broke up with me and left Dubai in a week.

He moved to Singapore.
While my heart was trying to process this, what pissed the rational part of my brain was that he moved to Singapore.
That was supposed to be my move. He couldn’t steal that from me.

I stayed on in Dubai, cried for a few months - first for losing him and then for being silly enough to let go of the job. Eventually, I dated some nice and some weird people, I learned to drive, bought a car, climbed a mountain, rode a horse, started speaking Spanish, danced the tango and took a sabbatical to study art among other silly pursuits and resolutions in the years that followed.

I started to thank him a little each day for hurting me. The only way I could recover was to learn that I couldn’t take my one, precious life for granted.

Every day, my belief that the pieces of the puzzle would come together became stronger.

I was in Greece when I finally forgave him. It was early December, a few days before we were supposed to leave the island to go back to normal life. I was sitting on the rocks next to the beach with my New Year notebook, ready to document what life had meant to me in the past year. It was the feeling of coming out of a storm to a place and people who made me feel complete.

I wanted to write about the new experiences, the creative process, the family I found, the capacity to love I discovered, the absence of the need for validation from everyone and the purity of the island but each time I started, I burst out crying. I had no words to describe it. I was full gratitude and content but the words wouldn’t come and the tears wouldn’t stop.

I was happy.

Overjoyed to the brim, there was no room or reason for pain, hurt and grudge in my heart.
He was just someone who came and left. But what I felt at that moment and everything that led to it, was forever and truly mine.

I wrote what I was feeling – ‘Unconditional’

No resolutions or promises. 2017 would simply be unconditonal.


I stare at the scribble on my notebook for a long-time tracing back the past 54 weeks to that time on the rocks in Paros.

I’m not sure if it was letting go, my conscious effort to embrace everything that came my way, fighting for what I wanted or the butterfly effect but somewhere, a star was waiting to shine on me. Life came full circle and there I was a few months into the year, fitting my life in ten boxes and taking back what was always mine – moving to Singapore.

This year is special not only because I moved to a city that I always wanted to live in but it is also a reminder for so much more -

To relentlessly chase dreams no matter how hard or far-fetched they may seem.

To take risks.

To believe that there is a better version of you just waiting to be peeled off.

To not give up when you feel like the stupidest person in the room or that all your choices were a mistake - To learn and come back stronger and with faith in who you are.

To ever so often, say, “NO, it’s not good enough,” – when it isn’t.

To embrace new friendships and find missing parts of yourself in people you’ve just met.

To have gratitude because everything comes together when it has to.

Most importantly, a reminder that it is inevitable that at some point again, doubt and fear could engulf me and I might feel everything is amiss.
I might end up stuck in a job, relationship or place where I am not appreciated.
I might become unsure of what I want to do with my life and who I want to be.
But amidst all this commotion, competition and things that might happen, I will let go.
There is a place I call home – where the beach is rocky, the sea has myriad shades of blue, people love without judgment or conditions, where none of this exists and I carry that unconditional love with me, all the time.

Here’s to living even more unconditionally in 2018.
To sharing, spreading, and embracing absoluteness.
To new cities, friends, experiences, and stars that are just waiting to shine.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Rebirth in Italy

The Villa

I stand in the corner of the dining room with a champagne glass in hand listening intently to the toast Jane is making. My eyes, trying to hide the tears that are developing look deeply into the bubbles that surround the rim of the class. My heart, open and full speak to the smile that forms on my lips.

For the first time in years, I am present in a moment created by someone else that reflects everything I feel.

In the past few weeks, I have been asked several times to explain how my sabbatical is coming along. People expect long and detailed answers and all I can give them is a simple – ‘it’s going great’ reply. I haven’t found a descriptive word to describe this experience.

All I can say is this.

From drawing straight lines to understanding the depth and reason behind Bellini’s Madonna and Child to letting myself free in theater and seeing shapes between objects – In the past one month, I have learned how to learn. It is bewildering what being a child again can do to you, when the fear of not knowing is taken over by the wonder of discovery.

I have sat in the same squares of Tuscan towns where I sat a few years ago with a gelato in hand and realized that places don’t change, people and circumstances do. And perhaps that is why we move on.

I have broken out of my comfort zone and surrounded myself with youth to relish the truth that age is in the mind. I have felt blessed when young women have told me that my life is a #goal for them for that is the one thing I usually take for granted.

Feeling like a tiny speck in the grandness of the universe and adorned by the power of art, I have shed tears of gratitude in a man-made wonder.

I took this sabbatical to discard the entrenched feeling of stagnation that has been reigning over me for a few years. Trapped in the corporate world, I have been a slave to my monthly salary that never leaves me content. My growth, often restricted by my own inhibitions to try new things, has stunted year after year of my so called adult life.

My thoughts are interrupted as Jane toasts to our individual renaissance in Italy and that is when it hits me. The one word I have been looking for to describe this journey.


Here’s looking forward to what Greece has to bring and looking at the world from a new set of eyes and wonder!


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