Monday, 1 August 2016

The insurmountable grief of losing a kitten

Grief is a path you walk alone,
So I've been told.

But you're not really alone, are you?
The dark, uneven road is plagued by scary monsters, those that freeze your bone marrow and leaves you paralysed.

There's Sadness, with a stench of rotting eggs. It weighs more than you can bear, sitting on your shoulders squealing and demanding a piggy back ride despite your unsteady balance and weak knees.

There's Anger, holding your left hand, making you wanna hit something, hit it really hard.
It's scales and spikes are hot as hell, burning your flesh.

Frustration has your right hand, making you feel so helpless and vulnerable.
It's suctioning trunk steals hope out of you.

And Loneliness, that's the ball and chain hampering each step.
It's steely, icy grip leaves you constantly shivering.

There's Guilt, making the path slick and slippery with its oil-like emissions spewing from it's fanged mouth.

But despite it all, take a step. Take it, you hear! Maybe you'll have to shuffle along. But this road needs to be treaded. And you know what, it's gonna be a slow, lonely, and arduous sojourn.

When you reach a certain point, maybe it'll be an end of some sort, Anger won't be as intense because it'll have cooled off,  Frustration a fraction of what it was because it's suction as diminished, Sadness and Loneliness dimmed to almost nothing. Guilt, a remnant.

All of it will probably always be with you, though, especially Sadness. But you have to have faith you'll be all the better for it. Believe in this journey, embrace the hurt, and keep on moving.

Even on those days you feel you've moved backward, or you slip and fall, pick yourself up, breath, and shuffle along. Pick. Yourself. Up.

And when you feel okay again, that cute, furry, black as coal kitten will most likely be proud of you.


RIP Coal, my darling kitten who died of FIP
Gone too soon on 25 July 2016.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Coal is here

I wrote this post, It's Time for a Cat in early 2014. I ended it off:

I need to get a cat...stat. He/she will be black and dubbed "Coal". And I shall love Coal forever more.

I am so thrilled to announce I've gotten her. Coal is real and has invaded my heart, mind and soul. I already love this little furball with everything I have, and more. 

Because memories can so easily fade, I'd like to chronicle Coal's adventures as she skittishly explores her new home. 

Coal's Chronicles - Week 1 

On the morning of 16 April  2016, I woke up with nervous excitement, butterflies causing a riot in my tummy. I had good reason - I was going to pick Coal up from the shelter. 

During the last week of March, I strolled into Cat-a-holics, the shelter in Rosebank and asked if they have a black female kitten for adoption. They did. Merien, one of the owners, directed me to her cage. There were three other kittens there too. Coal was shy, and she ran behind her bed. The other kittens were suckers for attention. I liked Coal because she was shy. It reminded me of  myself. I paid the deposit for her and told Merien I'll get by 16 April. In the interim, I visited her twice. Once, with my editor, Mary, whom Coal hissed at. It showed me how feisty she is.  

I spent the two weeks chatting to my good friend, Alysha, and Mary, both cat owners and self confessed cat lovers, about what I should get. Their knowledge and expertise proved invaluable. I felt I could prepare for the little one's arrival more than adequately. I spent two weeks slowly shopping for her things.

Alysha and I went together to the shelter. For years, she's been sending me pictures of black cats in pet stores, asking if she could get me one. We agreed  when I do find my cat, we'll go together. And so we did. 

I set up the downstairs bathroom with everything Coal needed: litter box, a scratch post, toys, covered bed, blankets, food and water bowls. She immediately sought shelter behind the toilet. I thought I should let her be, but Alysha has experience with cats, she has one of her own, Loki. She retrieved Coal, and trimmed her claws for my sake since I had to admit, I was a little afraid. 

So after my first week having Coal, these are some of the highlights: 
  • She managed to wriggle her way out of the bathroom by early Tuesday morning. While doing yoga, I saw her paws push out from under the door, then her head. I had to let her out, and left her in the house for the day. I worried and fretted about both the state of the house and Coal the entire day. By Tuesday evening, S.O and I managed to barricade the bathroom door so she can have her two weeks in there, as recommended by the shelter. 
  • I bought her a covered bed, but the roof zips off. She managed to topple it face down and spent I-don't-know how long trapped in her bed. I felt really bad, I should have checked on her before I slept. But she was fine, and when I let her out, she bee-lined for her food and water. Poor little thing! We've now put in a heavy door stopper in the bed so it cannot topple over and so far, it works. 
  • She's slowly, skittishly and bravely exploring the house bit by bit. She's still very nervous when I take her out of the bathroom and won't easily come to me. But in the bathroom, she is oh-so-loving and responsive. She calmly sits on my lap, purrs, and even rubs against my legs. She feels safe there, and it really shows. 
  • We've established a spray bottle as a disciplining tool. While cooking one afternoon, I found her hanging by her claws on the curtain. I shouted and sprayed her face with water. I hope she learns. 
  • I've seen moments of intense energy where she'll go mental with her toys, and bite her bed with all her might. It's the most adorable thing ever. 

Monday, 18 May 2015

Respect is earned, not given. Get it?

Growing up, I was never surrounded by strong women. Instead they were too caught up in their misery. They allowed their problems overcome them so they became a mere shell of themselves. They, not once, thought about seeing the better side of things, nor did they seek to better themselves, their lives or skill set. To be in their company became (and still is) intolerable. They were the ones who wanted someone to swoop in and save them, to make their lives better.

No. Things do not work that way. Everyone is responsible for the choices they make.

“Never be a prisoner of your past. Become the architect of you future. You will never be the same,” wrote Robin S. Sharma in The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams and reaching Your Destiny.

Luckily, I have managed to find many strong women in my life as I got older. I admire them for their perseverance, their can-do attitude and their infallible resilience. I admire them for making me want to become a better person, to strive to do more and achieve more. From housewives, to singles, a few mothers, and even career women, there is something in all of them that screams bravery and courage. Yes, they come in all forms, and roles.

I feel privileged to have these women in my life to depend upon, and form a secure support structure. They are always there to lend a helping hand or simply answer any sort of query and share their infinite wisdom.

To these strong women who help mold me every single day, I salute you.

Monday, 11 May 2015


Image: PostSecret
At least I am not the only one. 

Monday, 4 May 2015

People can be so damn nice

Unexpected compliments and acts of kindness always leave a warm and fuzzy after effect. I noticed strangers have been rather kind lately and when I think about it, it leaves me with a lingering smile.

Incident 1:
I walked through a popular street lined with cafes and restaurant in Greenside, Johannesburg during lunch one day. A lady ran up to me and said she is studying at Carlton Hair and wondered if I would model my pixie hair cut for them. I smiled, declined, and told her I am too shy. But I did thank her and I passed on the story to my hairdresser. She is the magician behind making my thick, curly hair viable for a short pixie cut. 

Incident 2:
The S.O* ran a race in Benoni and I went to pick him up thereafter. Amidst the crowd, I walked around the finish line a few times hoping to spot him.
"You're dressed so nice!" A lady yelled at me as I walked pass. I hollered back a thank you. 
All I had on was a floral dress, plum woolly panty hose, and red boots. 

Incident 3:
I was at Checkers buying a few urgent groceries. After I picked out the tomatoes I wanted, I handed it to the guy at the scale so he could weigh it. 
"You have a very nice haircut," he said. I told him thanks, despite thinking I needed to desperately wash it. I was glad it did not look as bad as I thought it did.
This is another anecdote I need to pass on to my hairdresser when I see her again.

*S.O - Significant Other 

Monday, 16 March 2015

A crazy three months

It turns out, 2015 has already had it's fair share of surprises.

It is only March, and I already started 2 new jobs this year. The first job turned weird really quickly. In retrospect, I am glad for everything that happened there, even though I felt awful at the time. The truth is, that company was not the right fit for me, including the nature of work.

I was lucky enough to also have 3 weeks off between jobs and that was pure heaven. I slept a lot - I think my body was hoarding rest at the time. I spent a lot of time in my kitchen, making many things I've been meaning to do but never had the time for. For that short period, I was also a 'lady of leisure' who lunched with friends. I got to catch up on a myriad of errands, and do some of my favourite things like go to charity shops. I also got training for my new role, and it always helps to be prepared! All in all, those 3 weeks was just what I needed to refresh my mind, body, and soul for the new career path.

On to the second new job - all I can say is I love it. I am back to writing news features again. They've let me work flexi hours, which helps my bad knee since I do not have to contend with peak-time Jo'burg traffic. And really one of the best parts of leaving home at 5:45 am for work, is seeing the gorgeous sunrise. It's hard not to feel inspired when nature bares it's glorious colour palette - a different one every morning. It is a pity though I will not see that in winter, I'll probably get to work when it is still dark!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

As 2015 takes its first steps

I did one thing in 2014 that I have never done before: I resigned from my job.

There were many contributing factors that led to that decision, things like:

1. Consistent, constant over time with no payment for it
2. Working under immense pressure
3. Working on weekends and evenings became a regular occurrence
4. Always playing catch-up with my work, despite the long hours
5. Hitting the glass ceiling
6. The nature of the work
7. The tug and pull between corporate egos versus the work that actually needs to be done
8. Not doing my best writing because of tight time constraints

Now, with 2015 still taking it's first steps into a brave world, I have taken my first steps into a new job. It feels strange to be the 'newbie' again. It feels strange to befriend an entire new office. And it feels strange to be not-as-busy as I was in my old job.

And now that my weekends will not be occupied with work, I actually feel at a loss as to how to fill my time. Then again, I need to catch-up on my to-do list that has been getting longer and longer for the past year.

I also feel torn asunder from the year that was - emotionally and mentally. It feels like my job had dragged me under a tractor for kilometres on end. And that is not a very nice sensation at all!

I can only come to one conclusion: this is a year where I need to focus on myself. I need to use my time wisely to once again engage with activities that bring me joy: like writing, cooking, doing yoga, and giving expression to my creative side.

Cheers to 2015, and here's to me!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Marriage - a retrospective

I've been married for about 1 and a half years, and in that time I have felt myself evolving, being pushed, challenged, and getting forced out of my comfort zone.

There is a strange sort of synchronicity and intimacy that develops when two people live together. I have found this initially terrifying, and now oddly comforting. The S.O* has become someone I rely on with anything and everything. It is he whom I will go to with any sort of a problem and he is the first one I want to share good news with. There are about a million little things that happen throughout the day and I think: "I need to tell him." And he is the only one who can challenge me in his unique way - he sees the world very differently from me.

But let me be the first to admit, it has not been easy, in fact, the exact opposite. I would describe the first year of marriage as being in a pressure cooker. Granted, we had our unique circumstances (for e.g: I was working every weekend, which meant we had very little leisure time together), but I am sure other couples have also experienced the 'first year marriage blues' syndrome. I am very glad to say it seems we have made it through.

Now we have settled into a comfortable routine, I am not working every weekend so we have time to do fun things together. We both still swear by maintaining our individual personalities, but are also nurturing our joint life. As a friend once told me: "A young marriage needs time to be nurtured." Never were there truer words spoken.

I still say I never wanted to get married, but all in all, its been an experience I think I needed. I have grown, so has he. It's not easy, but it is worth it, because it is great living with your best friend... and one you can snuggle up to.

*S.O - Significant Other 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Frustrations of social media

From working on many social media accounts, for various reality TV shows, channels, and companies, I have learnt the following (and forgive the rant!):
  • The audience assumes there is an omnipotent presence monitoring the accounts 24/7, 365, and said presence has all the answers related to the brand on that social media account. No, people, it is just a normal personal employed to manage and maintain these accounts. Most of the time, answering queries is a back and forth process between departments to get just the right answer. 
  • It has made people lazy to search for the information they want. Ever heard of google? Its an ingenious search engine, that will help you find anything on the web, really! Want to know what time a TV show starts, or when is the repeat? Here's a tip: Look in the TV guide.
  • In relation to the above, people do not read the updates with the attention it deserves. For example, if the status update reads: "Tune into the show tonight at 17:00 on [insert channel]." We will no doubt see comments like "when is the show?", "what channel?". READ. THE. UPDATE! 
  • Online, people have no filter, they say anything, and I do mean anything! It has actually made me loose a lot of faith in human kind. I wonder if such people would ever say those things in person! Highly doubtful...
  • And the spam! Stop with the damn pornographic content, xenophobia, racism, ponzi schemes, and get-rich-quick cons. It makes moderating pages a nightmare! 
  • People are forgetting how to spell and structure proper sentences... the level of deterioration of English is scary!
  • It astounds me how the audience invests so much into these shows. Its a TV show, that is all. Get over it. 
  • Audiences are rarely happy with anything that happens on a show, we've seen it all: "The judges are crap", "voting is rigged", "I won't watch the show anymore", "bring back the ousted contestant". Yawn! 
It has altered my personal approach to my accounts, and how I deal with brands too. So before you fire off on any social media platform in the future, please remember these points. 

Monday, 30 June 2014

On Brazil 2014

There have been many thoughts running around in my mind since the World Cup Soccer started, hosted in Brazil this year. Hop on over to The Football Journal, to read a little bit of it.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Mother City beckons

There's something about Cape Town that makes me feel it is the beautiful Cinderella of South Africa, and Johannesburg, it's ugly step sister.

The S.O* and I went to the Mother City for a blitz, first year anniversary trip.** I once again fell head over heels in love with Cape Town... the ease of transport, the location, the beach, the vibrancy... there is an atmosphere there that allows me to breath easier, where I can be more myself, and enjoy more outdoor activities.

Johannesburg, however, does have its perks as well. There is a great work ethic in this city, and if there is anything you are looking for in South Africa, you'll probably find it in Johannesburg (except the beach).

The gorgeous Bo Kaap.
Charly's Bakery... 
An early morning walk on the Promenade, with a sea gull to keep me company.  
A trip to the Aquarium. 
All pictures taken by myself. 

And as I publish my blog post, I find this read, "15 Reasons Cape Town Should Be No. 1 On Your Travel Agenda" on Huffington Post. 

*S.O - Significant Other 
**The company I work for sent us on this trip, after I had what I like to call a mini break down due to the intense busyness we were experiencing. 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Who Would Have Thought?

It's been a strange couple of days...

The past weekend, I went to Sun City for work. I do not usually share stories about work but this experience is an exception to my rules.

The company I work for produced the Miss South Africa pageant, and televised it live!

I never before experienced the intensity of this sort of a production. I have mainly worked in print  media, but my current job combines online, production, and broadcast... all immensely busy platforms.

In any case, it was quite a hoot to see burly production guys cheer and jeer... for a beauty pageant. It was as if they were watching a sports match in a pub. They all had their favourite finalists, and some were surprised by the results. I never thought I'd see the day when men were invested in beauty pageants... and in fact, neither am I.

But, the thing is, when you work so closely on a project, you unwittingly become invested in it. We have been working on "The Road to Miss SA" from August 2013. And because it has been so long, you feel you have held the contestants' hands through their incredible journey. And I suppose that is the lure of reality TV, as fake as it is, audiences are still able identify with the characters.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

A Good Day

Some days are better than others, period. I am happy to say yesterday was such a day, and I am so glad because recently, I have been sick, and feeling down and out.

Back to yesterday, it started off with my boss giving me this chocolate:

And any day is a good day when you get free chocolate! My S.O* also bought me some, so I had a double dose of free chocolate! HAPPINESS!

After work, I popped into the shops. Another customer complemented my dressing, saying how she can just take me to an African function "because I looked so nice." In the fridge, I finally found a coke bottle with my name on it. This is after many friends and family have found "Priya" but it has eluded yours truly.

Finally, in the evening, S.O called me outside. Why? Because this cute, little kitten was in our backyard: 

I tried to take a good picture of her, but she was so energetic and jumpy. I managed to hold her and pat her for a minute or so, then she was off again. 

So there you have it, a few small things that made me feel a whole lot better, and not dwell on those things that are bringing me down. 

Can I have more of these days, please universe? 

*S.O - Significant Other