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Action Replay + Gratitude List: May 2020

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Another month ends and the situation doesn't seem to be in any control. Waking up to alarming numbers day after day is becoming the norm and all one can do is hope that the next day would be better. I never thought that our generation would have to see a pandemic like this. New found respect for people who have survived pandemics and epidemics earlier. I guess every bad situation does come with its share of lessons in one way or another. Apart from the virus updates, the news coming in from other countries or even within our own country isn't great. Racism, animals being mercilessly killed, the callous attitude of political leaders, cyclones and what not. Was all this always around and 2020 is bringing it to the foreground? One can never say. All we can do now is hope that the situation gets better and we find the strength in us to survive and come out of all this as slightly better people.

May was a dull month. Looks like the monsoons have hit Bangalore early this year and the weather is gloomy. As much as I love watching the rain and the slight nip in the air, it kinda makes one feel dull. Life is going on as usual. Work kept me busy providing me with the much needed distraction from the situation around. Lethargy is back, but I'm trying to keep it in check. Everything took a step back in May and I'm glad. I did not want to force myself to read, write or workout. These things come naturally to me and I did not want to forcefully try to strike a balance between all of them.

I did get some workout in the month though, but the attitude of some people just put me off! It is sad to see that something that is supposed to be healthy and motivating has become all about competition and comparison now. I'm a paid member of this fitness chain and I have been working-out with them for more than a year now. Thanks to the pandemic, they have been conducting free online classes for everyone with the idea of helping keep everyone fit. It is a brilliant idea and yet people are misusing it so much. A workout is for the self and for no one else. It is all about pushing one's body and mind and feeling fit after that. Since some of these classes have an energy meter that shows you where you stand at the end of the workout, for most people it is just a number game or a screenshot to gloat on social media platforms.

Someone I know wanted to join and I asked them to install the app and choose their workout and enjoy it. After their first class, they share their report with me and I was happy for them. The next question they asked was "Where can I see your report"? Why do we humans have this inane sense of comparison and competition in every area of our lives? I stopped sharing my workout reports after that. I used to share them before to thank the fitness instructor, but it was being misconstrued in innumerable ways. Didn't feel the need to since then. I say this again. A workout is for yourself alone. Give it your 100% and feel good about it. Don't care much about the rank or where you stand in a class.

Reading took a major backseat too as I wasn't in the right frame of mind. My sleep cycle was all over the place and I felt exhausted throughout the day. I only read three books in May and two of them were on Audible. I'm loving the platform so much and I've been buying more audio books of late than physical or Kindle ones. The books I read in May are:

~ The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi.

This was Reese's book club pick for May. I was excited to see an Indian author's book being picked and was looking forward to reading it. I'm not a big fan of Indian authors and this book once again showed me why. The story was a drag. Everything about it felt dull. Like the faint orange yellow tinge the henna leaves before it fades away for good. I gave this one 3 stars.

~ Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield.

Diane Setterfied is turning to be one of my favorite authors. While her first book 'The Thirteenth Tale' made it to the top 3 of my favorite books of all time, this one was no less spectacular. Her stories have a haunting touch to them and this one was a mythical, magical folklore set around a river. I listened to this on Audible and loved every bit of it. A full 5 stars to this one.

~ Normal People by Sally Rooney.

I've been wanting to read this one since it made it to Obama's best books of 2019 list. But I heard reviews that this was a book that was hard to read. Devoid of punctuation and dialogues, I'd heard that this one was a tedious read. So, Audible to the rescue! I listened to it and loved it. Such a simple story woven with such intricate prose. What a delight this one was. I gave this one 4 stars.

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 a dud in May with only blog-hops but I'm glad I got something up. This blog is a sacred space to me and I feel bad when I leave it deprived. Hopefully in June, I'll make up for it.

As dull as May was, it did come with its share of gratitude. Here's what I'm thankful for this May:

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~ Work: Kept me busy. Kept me active. Kept me going.

~ Plants: I did a fair bit of gardening this month and we got in some new plants as well. I love watching these babies grow and it gives me a sense of satisfaction watching them bloom.

~ Work-out: I didn't do much of it this month but I'm glad it showed me the true colors and intentions of some people.

~ Friends: I had video calls with most of my best friends this month and it was such a fun experience. We are all scattered in different parts of the world or within the same city, but coming together for endless talks is something else all together. Kudos to the concept of video calls!

~ Netflix & Others: There is so much of excellent content out there! Keeps us occupied when we feel dull and in no mood to read or do anything else.

~ Celebrations: The blog made it to the directory of best Indian blogs for the eighth year in a row. I really need to come up with some good content to do justice to this win.

~ Love: Being loved and having a safe roof over my head is such a privilege. You tend to realize it more in situations like these.

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June isn't off to the best start. Sad news, natural disasters and what not. Here's hoping things get better soon and man learns not to take mother nature or anything or anyone else for granted anymore.

How was your May?


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


  1. I have yet to try audible though your earlier post had got my interest piqued... says a lot about my diminishing attention span.

    And congrats on entering the coveted Top Bloggers List for so many consecutive years :D woohoo.

    1. Do try Audible, it does help with focus and concentration.

      Thank you!

  2. I am tempted to try audible. But I think I'd like to try it with some lighthearted and fun book.

  3. I am sorry to hear that your May was a dull one. We all go through such dullness time and again, don't we?
    I haven't used Audible, but our public library offers audible books to borrow and I love listening to them.
    You read 3 books. That's wonderful, Soumya. I couldn't read even a single one last month. Oh well, some months other things get the priority.
    Hope you have a good June!

    1. I sure hope June is better! Do try Audible when you can, it is a nice experience. I hope you get some reading done in June.

  4. I love the sheer honesty with which you write, Soumya. Kudos girl.

    "Everything took a step back in May and I'm glad. I did not want to force myself to read, write or workout. These things come naturally to me and I did not want to forcefully try to strike a balance between all of them."

    These lines resonated so much, as I am slowly but surely unlearning to not forcefully strike a balance. It's okay to let go sometimes and do what your soul and body craves. I've been practising yoga almost every day, but there are some odd days, I feel like just sitting and reading in the morning, or having a leisurely cuppa with the DH, and yes I give in to it. Like this morning. This was today.

    But I must say I did in-between I did have this niggling thought that maybe I should have done the yoga. It's good for my back and my soul, you see. :))) But I reassured myself by saying, "this evening, if that's what's good for me." And your post reiterated the thought. Thank you.

    I feel social media has created unnecessary insecurities. Therefore comparisons tend to creep in, as do numbers. I am not in the favour of number games, whether it is any form of workout (I've seen it in running and cycling), unreasonable targets at work. They suck the Mickey out of us, literally! As they force us to be what we aren't. To each his/her own.

    Congratulations on all the things you achieved including, always being consistent on your blog. Way to go, you winner. Well deserved.

    I'd like to try Audibles. Though I had got a subscription to two audible apps a year back, I barely managed to use them twice. So I'm a bit iffy.

    For me May was still an easy peasy month. June seems to be the month with an armload in store.

    Bring it on, I say! :)

    1. Awwww Natz, you are the kindest <3

      I'm letting go of targets now and I'm just taking things at my own pace. It has helped me so much! Do whatever feels good, that is what we need in times liked these.

      Kick some ass this June, Natz! <3

  5. Haven't tried audible yet. I think, once I heard free version somewhere, but with kids, cooking and lot of distractions, it doesn't work out well for me. But, will add your book suggestions to my wishist, may be I can read on kindle. I wish you a Happy June.

    1. I mostly use audible when I'm cooking or cleaning! Do try it once.

  6. Awwww on the workout end babes - sad to hear about the competition and how that made you feel. You go at your own pace and do your own thing. I hear you on the social media thingy- I am guilty of it too and I do it to push myself. It used to give me a high to be able to post that report. Been wanting to go back to walking and trying to get up at 5 in the morning to do that as its bloody hot right now and early mornings the sun is killing too.

    Audible is been my bane- I am so tempted everytime I read your post about it. So downloaded the Diane setterfield and now wish me luck. This month I plan to get back to either writing or reading- cant do it all but made a list to get back to a hoard of things. Will do it one thing at a month kinda stuff to make it a habit.

    Been loving your insta feed with all the food and book pics- simply stunning stuff!!!

    Here is a big hug for June and hoping it turns out better than May though I know its not seeming so at the moment. XOXO

  7. I was getting tired of the questions and the comparisons, so I stopped sharing my workout plans. I workout regularly, but that is only for me now. I hope you get back to it too, soon.

    I'm having my fingers crossed for you to like 'The Thirteenth Tale'. Take your time with the reading and the writing. No compulsion at all.

    Thank you so much my darling! You have a fabulous June too! <3

  8. Indeed it is annoying when anything is focused on comparisons! I hope June is a much better month for you, although, going by the current situation, not really sure. We'll have to bring our own sunshine, no?

    I have The Henna Artist but haven't gotten around to reading it. I guess it is a matter of perception as we have different tastes as individuals. Let's see how I like it when I do read it.

    Take care of you, Soumya. Life isn't easy by any means, particularly now. And things can get on our nerves pretty quickly. That's why I've minimized social media even more. Sending you good vibes and love. Stay healthy.

    1. Oh you said it! People are so annoying when it comes to health and other things. I'm doing what I need to do on my own and absolutely loving it.

      You take care too, Hottie! Hope things get better for all of us soon.


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