It’s amazing to see what wonders a little experience can do for perspective.

Last night I hung out with a friend of mine who, like me, has had his share of life’s experiences. That interaction has been glued to my mind since. As we were chatting, having our heart to heart, he nonchalantly asked me a question regarding my opinion on a matter whose long answer from any one else’s perspective would have brought judgement… but he asked it so sincerely and with so much innate understanding that I noticed! Oh my gosh! I’m sitting in the presence of someone who GETS it!

10 years ago admittedly I’d have judged myself for my answer to this question. Heck, maybe even he would have! Because back then 100% the world was black and white and right or wrong was dictated ONLY by society’s standards. Now, for me, they’re dictated by experience. What happens and whether it is justified or not is based on why it happened.

This friend got that… and it had to be the growth from his own life’s experiences. It has to be because in contrast, recently, someone I once used to consider a safe safe close friend was faced with engaging in the same question. That person’s reactions, needless to say, were the complete opposite. Judgmental, disrespectful, two dimensional.

Last night gave me tremendous perspective… and truly I am always so blessed and excited in the face of such epiphanies.

I realized, there is no sense in building close bonds and wasting time on two dimensional thinkers because they simply will never understand what lies behind doors they have never unlocked. So of course, they are right in their place and I certainly cannot judge them for what they do not know. But being someone who has been enlightened beyond those two dimensions… I now must exclusively seek the close company of multidimensional thinkers.

For they know and understand the things that I know. And that sort of synergy only grows.


“Tu phukat hastes!” (You laugh so easily!) someone I used to know once told me. I didn’t know whether to be offended or not. “No I don’t!” I had exclaimed back but that person wasn’t convinced… and then a few weeks ago my friend who lives in Canada, Saurabh Pendse, told me the exact same thing as we played ping pong in Virtual Reality. I mean really that’s all we were doing, playing table tennis, and yet I too had noticed that the two of us were having fits of giggles here and there. Pretty sure he had started it but of course he had blamed it on me. I’m pretty sure I was only laughing when something funny happened… but then again… I could be wrong, it easily could have actually been me because then I remembered those words from a few years ago… “tu phukat hastes”.

It’s funny because this image that both of these people have of me is so seemingly different than how I thought I saw myself. Brooding perhaps? Internally struggling? I’m that trauma survivor, the “strong” woman who managed to pick herself up but is still afflicted with the PTSD. But you know… come to think of it that comes with a certain type of vibe. I remember the vibe I used to put out when I was going through the so called ‘dark ages’ and it’s nothing like the vibe I feel today which is identical to the vibe I had before.

Perhaps these young men were right. Perhaps I do laugh easily. Perhaps at my core, the essence of Sayli Natu is to be happy. To take enjoyment… pleasure… happiness from the smallest things in life. “Small happinesses” as I call them. To love, to care, to be present in the moment with the friend, family, or acquaintance whose company I’m enjoying at that moment. I’ve noticed even during those so called “dark years” when physically away from what was inflicting my trauma, I was still always smiling and the smile admittedly had come naturally.

So perhaps I do laugh easily. It makes me feel good. Laughing makes everyone feel good… doesn’t it? And I’ve especially noticed that when I start laughing (usually over something others don’t even find funny) – others start laughing too! But just before they do, I always observe their eyes light up in joyful amusement… and then their faces… and then what?

The most beautiful goofy grins spread across their faces before evolving into fits of laughter.

Then… I’m happy. You’re happy. Everyone is happy.

And if that’s the case… then so be it!

Laughter is the best medicine, after all… so we should all engage in it! And we should all engage in it easily ❤


(For non Marathi speakers -Tai translates to “older sister” in English, but it’s often customary to call any older girl (or woman) “Tai” out of respect.)

To be a role model. What does it truly entail?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been “Sayli Tai” to many. Whether they’ve actually gone so far as to calling me ‘Tai’ or not – the weight of that role and the responsibility it holds has always been on the forefront of my mind.

About 15 years ago, a friend of mine (also an older sibling) and I were talking about our younger siblings and discussing what it means to be a “Tai”. At that time she put it beautifully – “You’re not their parent so they can confide in you like a friend, but you’re not their friend so you can guide them like a parent”.

That conversation has stuck with me for life, not only to be applied to my biological little but every little that has come my way for any sort of confiding or guidance. And I believe that is the essence of what it means to be a role model. Then of course everything else follows, i.e. practice what you preach, lead by example… etc.

Last year I had a very sweet young lady reach out to me, initially finding me through dance, but eventually more so because of her curiosity revolving around my blogs and life. Soon thereafter, her questions started to flow in asking for life advice. “Sayli! What did you do when….” or, “Sayli what would you do if…”

So much life advice requested. And so much life advice given. So many stories shared. She grew on me and I found her questions and curiosity endearing. Over time, I started seeing her like a younger sister.

And then one day as we were talking a rather funny image struck my mind. I imagined someone who had lived a full life sitting under a tree in a chair, and a young pigtailed girl laying on the grass head propped up on her hands, elbows to the ground, as she asked questions about life experiences and the elderly woman patiently replied.

Anyway, as time went on, there were many advices I gave her based on my own experiences, many fun snippets of my life that I shared with her – the ups and the downs, and some guidances I gave her – either for or against whatever it was that she wanted to do.

What I did realize from these encounters was that she wasn’t the only person processing and learning from our interactions. The more we interacted, the more I started checking myself because I didn’t want to be that person who didn’t practice what I preached.

One night she said to me, “Sayli, when you’re telling someone ‘no’ you explain ‘why’ so well that we get convinced”. This statement took me back to my 15 year old conversation – “not a parent, but not a friend”.

So then what does it mean to be a role model? I would guess exactly that – To be someone who can be confided in without fear, someone who has an understanding of the world, has experiences of the world, leading by example or from experience while ALSO being able to explain why… not just what.

Not a parent but not a friend… like a parent and like a friend.

And I said to her, “One day I’ll have kids who will be old enough to face various forks in life… and that day perhaps you’ll be able to give them the type of guidance that I am now giving you”

How much is too much?

Just a thought:

Competition. Perfection. Grades. Success. Lessons. Growth. Karma.

We’ve always been taught to strive for the best. To work hard. To stare every one of life’s challenges square in the face. We’ve been told to keep getting back up every time life knocks us down. To keep going. We’ve been told to accept everything bad that happens because… hey! Maybe it’s karma! Maybe we did something in a yester-life that resulted in today’s punishment… or maybe it’s a lesson… a challenge to help us grow!

Sometimes, YES we do grow. We do learn. We do advance a level as a human.

But not always. Sometimes, it is too much.

Over this lifetime, we’ve heard so many comments on “oh karma, from a past life” or “Don’t worry, God is watching, god will take care of you” or “God is testing you” etc etc.

Eventually hearing this on repeat gets exhausting. First of all, How many times do you have to keep getting back up before life stops knocking you down?

Secondly, the concept of Karma across lifetimes is completely senseless. If the whole purpose of life (religiously or spiritually speaking) is to attain spiritual perfection then how does being punished for something you don’t even remember doing make sense? We learn and grow when we learn from or are punished for our mistakes… but when we are constantly “punished” and don’t know why… it tends to push us away from walking a so called ‘straight line’.

Sure, the downs are just as important as the ups… but there’s a limit to how much a person can handle. After all, we are only human.

Everything(one) needs polishing. But over polishing can also lead to mishandling causing something or someone to break.

How many and how strenuous of tests must a human go through in life in the pursuit of perfection… before they finally break?

Hugs – the most healing thing ever

Three years ago when I moved to the bay I took part in a local poetry slam (A poetry competition where you recited poems you have written). It was in a dingy diner in some odd part of town… and it was exactly how we see artsy people hanging out on TV and in movies. Guess that’s one thing they would naturally get right. It was a very different, but amazing experience to say the least. I ended up placing that night, but while it was my second round poem that secured me the prize it was what happened after my first round poem that has forever been etched into my mind.

My first round poem according to me was better than the second, it’s a dialogue between a disheartened individual and their reflection, attempting to remind the individual of who they really are. It was a poem I wrote about the moment that turned my life around when I was at my lowest. Amongst the three judges that night, two liked the poem, the third was completely lost (poem was pretty obvious so I’m quite surprised). But it didn’t matter I was just excited to be able to read.

After the first round ended and just before they were going to announce the finalists who would proceed to the second and final round, a girl approached me through the crowd and suddenly threw her arms around me. I was taken aback initially since I don’t usually hug strangers, but then she started to speak. “Thank you for writing that poem” she started, “regardless of what happens next, I want you to know that it meant SO MUCH to me, I felt it!”. I remember suddenly feeling tears well in my eyes. Not because someone understood my poem, but because my poem had understood HER. Here was someone who was potentially going through something hard, and something I had written had touched her. As a poet and writer, I cannot describe the feeling we get when someone not only understands what we’ve written, but actually FEELS it!

In that moment I reached around her and gave her a tight hug back. Because I figured she probably needed one. Because hugs truly are the most healing thing in the WORLD.

Finally, pulling away she looked me straight in the eyes with an emotion I cannot describe. “Thank you” she said squeezing my hands… before disappearing back into the crowd.