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Action Replay + Gratitude List: April & May 2019

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It was a conscious decision to not write much in May, but, I never thought that I would end up with no post at all. While April was a hectic month in terms of work as well as the A to Z challenge, May was all about work and moving into the new house. April was a crazy month for me. Work was at its peak plus I had signed up for the April A to Z challenge and had to write a blog post everyday. I'm not the one to schedule posts, so every post was written on that day and posted. However, when I did travel towards the end of the month, I had to plan ahead and schedule my posts. It worked out well though. The theme was very close to my heart and I wanted to see it through successfully. I'm glad I did. Six successful years of A to Z, I can pat myself on the back now!

We finally moved into our own place last week and we couldn't be more happier. It never is easy to set up a house though. It needs thousands of decisions to be made and hell loads of shopping! Thankfully, we knew exactly what we wanted and went ahead with it. For all the other miscellaneous things, we just had to wing it! It wasn't easy, and we are still in the process of setting up the place. I'd give it a month or so before we completely settle in. Everything in the house has been handpicked by us and has our own personal touch. That's how we made it our home.

Thanks to the A to Z challenge, reading suffered in April and continued to be a challenge in May. The only time I got to read was on flights and just before hitting the bed at nights. I did manage to read six books in two months though. Decent enough, I guess. The books I read were:

I've Never Been (Un)happier by Shaheen Bhatt: This is the book where Alia Bhatt's sister talks about her battle with depression. I had bought a kindle copy of this a while ago and was looking for a short read on the flight. Honestly, this is a pretty decent book. She writes from her heart about the struggles she had to deal with. Though terribly cliched, it does come across as genuine.

Ikigai by Hector Garcia Puigcerver: I'm not the one for non-fiction books, let alone like a self-helpish book. This book had garnered a lot of praise and people were all gung-ho about it on social media, so I finally gave it a try. I'm so glad I did. It is such a happy book! The Japanese come across as such simple, happy people that I have now put Japan on my travel bucket-list! Highly recommend this one.

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami: This was my first ever Murakami book although I have wanted to read him since forever. I picked this up at the Goa airport on an impulse. Although I'm not a fan of short stories, the seven stories in this book was quite something. I loved the writing style and the subtle hint of magical realism in it. I'll do a detailed review of it soon.

Birthday Girl by Haruki Murakami: Still hungover the above book, I wanted to read more from him. I found this really short one and loved it too. There is a sense of magic in his words and I love this ideas and the execution. Very unconventional and yet easy to digest.

The Boy In The Striped Pajamas by John Boyne: This book broke me, just like 'The Book Thief' did. Absolutely heart-wrenching. I have a lot to say about this one, so I'll be doing a review on it.

What Alice Knew by T. A. Cotterell: I don't even know who recommended this book to me or how I came across it, but I did buy it a few months ago along with a few other thrillers. This one clearly is one of the most disappointing books that I've ever read. Tedious writing, exhaustive descriptions and meaningless characters. I would not get into the other details, but would say this; stay away from this one.

Writing was obviously good in April thanks to the A to Z challenge. This was my sixth consecutive year of being a part of it. I had sworn not to do it again after last year and I thought that five years were enough, but sometime in December last year the idea of the theme struck my head and I wanted to do it again. Writing 26 posts a month is never easy, especially if you are someone working full time and have a multitude of other passions. Since I was talking about inspirational women, it somehow gave me the push to go on day after day. It might seem funny but writing about these women inspired me to go on with this challenge. I wanted to talk about them. I wanted everyone to know about them. It just had to happen and I'm so glad it did.

As busy and stressful as April and May was, it did come with an abundance of gratitude. Here's what I'm thankful for:

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~ Work: I know I put this out first, month after month, but that is exactly what my work means to me. This is an area of my life I would never compromise on. It is not only about the recognition I get or the money I make, my work gives me a purpose to get out of bed day after day.

~ Health: I started working out regularly from April and I'm so glad to see the changes in my body. I've managed to stay away from junk food as well. Healthy eating does most of the work, only a tiny amount depends on your workout. Put both in motion and you'll have a healthy body soon.

~ Dance Fitness: I'm someone who get bored with the same workout form, hence conventional gyms are not for me. Dance is something that I have always loved and a form of fitness involving dance is something that I cannot say no to. I've got the husband hooked to this as well and together we do rock the floor! This intense cardio workout is my favorite followed by boxing. No amount of anger management classes help you the way boxing does. Trust me on that.

~ Travel: After seventeen years of friendship, my girls and I took a vacation together in April. Just us, no partners, no children. Goa was surprisingly kind to us, in spite of it being April. We had a ball of a time there. Although I did have to come back to the stress of work, it did give me a much needed break from work and household chores. There was also a family road trip to Wayanad in early May. My husband's family has some religious work there and we go there every year for this. Back to back weekends of travel did tire me out, but the fact that I was away in the midst of nature made up for it.

~ New Home: It definitely is not easy to turn a house into a home, especially since it is just both of us running around for everything. Still, watching it fall into place bit by bit is so satisfying. It has just been a week, but we have memories in every corner of it already.

~ Love: No matter how much I say that my life is stressful, coming back to my husband takes all my tiredness away. One look at him and I feel energized. It does help that he's like an energizer bunny! With each passing day we realize how different we are and that only brings us closer. Setting up a house together can be considered an ultimate test for a marriage, with the choices to be made and the difference in opinions, but he has made it so easy for us. He knows the tensions I have at work, so, he's handling most of the work when it comes to the house. This automatically brings down my stress and helps me focus on other things as well. We each have our moments of weakness, but, we take turns in being weak and strong. It works out beautifully for us. That's what a marriage should be all about.

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April and May were testing, but the fact that I survived matters the most. June will continue to be about the home and getting everything into place. Work too continues to keep me busy and I'm hoping to manage my time well enough to indulge in some reading and writing. Fingers crossed!

So, tomorrow is June and we're almost halfway through the year. Wow, is 2019 swooshing by or what?

How was your April and May?


  1. Congratulations for the new house, Soumya! SO happy for you! Also, for the trip with your girl friends. These trips recharge us so beautifully!

    About the books, I am adding the Haruki Murakami ones to my TBR list and also Ikigai. I have read 'Boy in the striped pajamas' and as you did, I too broke down just like after finishing The Book Thief.
    Such touching words in both the books, and the topic ....always always makes me wonder what the Man achieved by doing such ghastly things to innocent people!

    1. Thank you so much, Shilpa.

      Do read the Murakami ones, they are very different.

  2. Moving into your own home is an amazing experience for sure. Also you are packing in so much and doing it well. Keep rocking it!

    1. That feels so reassuring, thank you, Rachna!

  3. I feel happy and inspired reading your Action Replay posts. Congratulations on the new house! I know setting up a house is a big big problem. Good luck :)

  4. The year really seems to be swooshing past. I'm amazed at how much you got done during April and May. Your happiness in your new home is so contagious and, might I say, inspiring. We shifted too last month and there's been just so much work that it took half the pleasure away from the new home. Your post reminded me what a blessing this it was.
    That you managed to read six books despite it all is wonderful. I'm tempted to pick up Ikigai - I wasn't reading it for the same reason as you - I'm not a self-help book person, but I will now, also the Murakamis. I've read Norwegian Wood and didn't find it worth raving.
    Goa sounds wonderful. It always is. That you went with friends must have made it better. We've planned an year-end visit and I'm really looking forward to it.

    1. You said it, Tulika. The amount of work actually takes away the happiness of owning a home!

      Ikigai is interesting, a very happy read, do give it a shot. I've heard Murakami is an acquired taste, so.... :)

  5. Congratulations on the new home, Soumya! Even with a jam packed schedule you were able to read 6 books in 2 months, which is admirable. Adding a few books from this list to my TBR.
    It’s nice that you took a vacation with your friends. I would like to do that someday.
    Wishing you a fantastic June! :)

    1. Thank you, Vinitha :)

      Wishing you a fantastic June too.

  6. Sounds like a wonderful and fulfilling couple of months! Congratulations on the new house! It's always exciting to have your own place and make it home. And congrats on completing yet another A to Z challenge. I loved the boy in the striped pyjamas - both the book and the movie. Heart-breakingly beautiful! Getaways are great especially with friends. Hope you have an amazing June!

    1. It sure was :)

      Wishing you an amazing June as well, dear Sanch!


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