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Published: Fri 16 Jan 2015, 3:43 PM

Last updated: Fri 26 Jun 2015, 12:26 AM

Best Letter

Organising Spaces

Spring-cleaning can be therapeutic (Order In, Jan 9). Declut-tering your personal space and organising your belongings can also help clear out the negative energy in your life, and setting straight what is essential to a healthier you. It’s currently the happy and hopeful phase: the time of year when everyone is making their to-do and to-achieve lists. The first step to ensuring we follow right through our plans is to prioritise and organise our lives and our living spaces.

For an expat living in a foreign country, it is so easy to go overboard and accumulate goods over the years, albeit in our cramped quarters — versus what we would have accumulated over a lifetime in our hometowns. And for most of us, we are clueless about where to begin when we need to declutter. The tip given in the article, where we are advised to begin with three boxes named ‘garbage’, ‘donation’ and ‘recyclable’, was a great solution to our organising woes. I personally used this trick over the weekend and finally managed to clean my house, which now appears much bigger and more comfortable than it has in the past four years I’ve called it home.

Another idea I gleaned from friends was the concept of swap sales, where the ladies get together with clothing, jewellery and other treasured items that were impulse buys or no longer fit like a glove. Everyone then looks for items that catch their fancy. It’s a win-win situation; we get new items at throwaway prices and declutter our space in the process. Surround yourself with plants, paint a feature wall a vivid shade to give your room the jazz you desire, but resist all urge to collect clutter once you’ve rid yourself of it. Simplicity is, after all, the ultimate sophistication.


Rising to the Challenge

‘Move out of your comfort zone’ is the advice that we have always heard. Reading the inspirational stories of people who had successfully taken risks and reaped the rewards (Taking Chances, Jan 9) just reaffirmed that fear of the unknown should not be what holds us back.

The best antidote to fear is to take action. It’s not only about taking a huge leap of faith, but even small decisive steps to progressively break routine and venture into uncharted territory would help us to gain the confidence needed and feel empowered. In the beginning of this new year, I’ve decided to do just that.

After gaining inspiration from Eleanor Roosevelt’s words (“Do one thing every day that scares you”), I decided to make it my motto. Even though it’s just been a few days, I have tried doing different things, albeit small, like trying to bake for the first time and even sending in this letter! These actions do not require a great amount of risk, but it makes me push myself out of my comfort zone and do something I have never done before.

We desire consistency and become stagnated emotionally, spiritually and financially. It’s time to start small and then eventually prepare ourselves for the big leap. After all, we will never know what we are capable of doing, if we never do it.

Batul V, by email


The Little Things Matter

Helping someone is one of the best experiences one can have and leaves a lasting impression of joy and deep contentment. The article Locks of Love (Jan 9) illustrates this beautifully.

Early last year, a dear friend of mine had gotten diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It came as a terrible shock to us all. My friends and I unanimously reached a silent agreement to do whatever we could to help him through this terrifying ordeal. It was during those days that I experienced the worst feeling: that of helplessness. The realisation that we could do nothing to cure him of the disease itself was overwhelming, as he was a dear friend who had been with me through thick and thin.

Being high school students, there wasn’t much we could do besides just being there for him. So we always tried to find the right words to encourage him, maintained a sense of normalcy around him, and organised group activities more often, especially when he had to stay overnight at the hospital. When his treatment required him to move back home to Chennai, we sent him a video message from all his friends and family, with words of encouragement from loved ones, to let him know we anxiously awaited his return.

Our few attempts to help a friend and his family through their suffering seem to emulate Janice Rodrigues’s article of trying to do your best to help those close to you. Sure, we were unable to cure our friend but we learnt that the only help he ever needed was the continuous support of his friends and family.

My friend did eventually come back, a few weeks after being cured, with a shaven head and a brave new outlook to life. We were overjoyed to have him back and I was grateful for the life lessons that made me grow. 

Royston Pinto, Dubai

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