Action Replay + Gratitude List: April 2020

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Are we all used to the new normal yet? I'm slowly getting there and have made my peace with it now. There are some things that you cannot control in life. You just need to let it take its course and pass. Sub-consciously we carry a mask everywhere we go now. We sanitize frequently when we're out of home and wash up thoroughly when we get back. We hardly go out though. We only leave the house to buy essentials and meet my in-laws who live close by. Apart from that, we stay put. Both of us are now used to being at home while we were never homebodies earlier. But, it is important to understand the situation, accept it and adhere to it. Even after being together for close to a decade now, we have a lot to talk! These conversations keep us going, lock down or not.

Among all this chaos and uncertainty, I have managed to strike a balance in most areas of life. My mental space is much better now and I feel calm and sorted to a large extent. Office work continues to keep me busy and so does the household chores. My husband is very hands on when it comes to house work and he's become quite a pro at cooking now! One of the things that binds us closer is our love for food and we have been cooking a lot together. When you have ample help in the kitchen, household chores don't seem too much. This gave me quite some extra time to read, write and workout.

One of the reasons why I have become a bit more calmer is because I've been pursuing yoga seriously now. While I used to do yoga regularly a few years before, the past few years I've mainly focused on cardio. Since I'm a hyperactive person, cardio suited my mojo. With time, I've come to enjoy yoga and I love to see the flexibility and balance in my body now. I'm still a beginner and I have a long way to go, but now I know that this is something I would want to pursue for the longer run. I try my best to do an hourly session everyday and some days I even do two sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening. I look forward to them and it has helped me become more calm and more comfortable with my body.

With my mind clearer to a large extent, I could focus on reading this month unlike last month. Once you accept the situation in hand and learn that you have no control over it, your mind eases. Reading provided me a place to go when I couldn't step out of the house. Like I've said many times before, books are magic! I read six books in April and almost all of them have been great reads. The books I read in April are:

~ The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah.

Kristin Hannah is an author I trust blindly and I have loved all her books that I've read so far. This one was a delight as well with rich and vivid descriptions of a story set in picturesque Alaska. This was a 4 star read for me. Check out my review here.

~ Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev.

I'm not a fan of Indian authors and books like these are the reason why! So cliched, so Bollywood. This was a 3 star read and you can check my review here.

~ Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo.

A tough read but when you persist, you see the beauty of it. A celebration of women in all its glory, this surely is worth the Booker Prize it received last year. A full 5 stars from me.

~ Untamed by Glennon Doyle.

This was Reese's book club pick for April. This is the author's memoir and an out and out feminist book. I loved every bit of it. This book has some of the best writing and it hits you like a much needed punch on your face. This book has the maximum highlights I've used for any book ever. A 4 star read for sure.

~ The Huntress by Kate Quinn.

Historical fiction is a genre I cannot say no to. The stories that came out of it is both heart-warming and heart-wrenching at the same time. Having strong women as protagonists is always a plus and that is why this book was a 4 star read for me.

~ Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

My first book by Marquez and apparently it was a pandemic favorite although I picked it up for total different reasons. I listened to this one on Audible and it has prose like music. Beautiful narration and a good story when read with an open mind. Else, it is very easy for one to hate this book. This was a 4 star read for me.

Have you tried Audible yet? Read my experience with it here.

Follow me on Goodreads or my bookstagram page to follow my reading journey.

Writing was good too this April, thanks to various blog-hops and book reviews. I've been writing less personal posts and I'm not too sure if it is a good thing. I need to get back to writing the way I used to before. Whatever I felt like. Random topics I had a say on. Life experiences. The good, the bad and the ugly. I'll plan more such posts from now on.

April with all its cons did come with a good share of gratitude. Here's what I'm thankful for this April:

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~ Work: Gives life a purpose and meaning. Also helps differentiate workdays and weekends in these times.

~ Yoga: Helps my body, mind and soul. I have made a life long commitment to it now.

~ Food: Apart from the fact that we can't go out to eat or order in, the lock down hasn't affected us in anyway. We're getting all the groceries and the freshest of ingredients. Having a hot, fresh home-cooked meal is sure a blessing.

~ Mangoes: Our apartment community had organized a mango drive where farmers from the country side can come and sell their produce directly. We got some fresh and delicious Alphonso mangoes and have been on a mango eating spree hence.

~ Books: No one in my family has the habit of reading, so I'm not too sure where I got it from. I'm not complaining though. Reading has given my life a new meaning since childhood and it continues to be the same. In my heart and mind, books > company.

~ Plants: Some of our plants have died due to the harsh heat and some have been infested by mealy bugs. I'm trying my best to salvage them and have also managed to successfully propagate a few plants. Having plants at home adds such good vibes!

~ Entertainment: We have lost count of the number of movies we have watched this past month. I cannot list them all but a few favorites of ours were:

Hindi: Section 375, The Accidental Prime Minister, Batla House, Madras Cafe.

English: The Hannibal movies (re-watching), Seven (re-watching), Shutter Island, Zodiac, 21, Now You See Me.

Malayalam: Njaan Prakashan, Trance, Helen, Android Kunjappan, Varane Avashyamund, Lucifer.

Spanish: The Platform, The Occupant, The Invisible Guest, Mirage.

~ Love: Having the right partner by your side is so important at all times and more so in times like this. I don't understand the husband/wife jokes doing the rounds on Social Media because I married someone I respect immensely and fall in love with everyday. He's been by my side at every step of life and he has made these tough times so easy for me. As long as I'm locked up with him, I have no complaints about how long this will go on for.

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April brought with it the news of deaths. Not only of that from the virus, but of celebrities we've watched on screen. Irrfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor passed away in two consecutive days and it was heartbreaking. I normally do not get affected by the death of celebrities, but in some cases it does get to me. The last was that of Michael Jackson, Paul Walker and Steve Jobs. That hit me hard. Then it was Kobe Bryant this year, followed by the recent two. It goes on to show that life is so fragile. No matter who you are, when your time is up, it is up. This messed up my emotional balance a bit, but it settled down eventually. Sleep cycle is still all over the place thanks to not having a fixed routine, but it is getting better. Hopefully, a routine will be established in May.

April was a tough month, but turns out I was tougher! How was your April?

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Linking this post to Vidya's Gratitude Circle for this month.

8 comments:

  1. Love the reading list! Stay safe Soumya.

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  2. that's a beautiful list. Iam missing mangoes here in USA. You have read some great books! I want to read the Love at the time of cholera. May be soon I will.

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    1. I hope you get to eat some mangoes soon, Ramya.

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  3. April has been tough to be frank. Working in an ICU and operation theater, there is the constant risk of getting infected as we get the worst of the worst patients and not enough testing is done.

    On the plus side, food has not been an issue at all since almost everything is available nearby. There is more free time (while also a reduced paycheck) so yes, I've been watching more movies and TV shows :D

    Haven't read enough books in April... got stuck with the A to Z challenge.

    Godyears.net


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    1. I can't even imagine what all you would be seeing first hand, Doc. Hats off to you!

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  4. Glad to see how you've toughened out April. Sounds like you've got a good routine going there and I'm very impressed at the reading and blogging in April. Good going on the yoga! I have enjoyed Vinyasa/Flow yoga in the last few years but personally, nothing compares to strength training for me and I miss the level at which I was doing it! Hope you have a good May!

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    1. Thank you, Sanch! I hope the routine stays.

      Stay safe!

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