Stories to warm your heart


These stories are from my recent visit to what seemed to me & my hubby a magical place.

We were visiting India to see my parents & his. I have been nursing a desire to go to Rajasthan. A place we have never visited during our 35 years living in India. It holds a promise of romance. I don’t know quite why I think that way.

I want a month or so to truly explore Rajasthan and know it is going to be a while before I am able to do that. So I decided to sneak in a couple of days to see Jodhpur.

We stayed at Bal Samand Palace Hotel that is owned by Hh Maharaja Gaj Singh Ji Jodhpur

My cousin runs a travel business GeTS India so we knew we were in good hands! We were received at the Railway Station by his team and taken to the hotel. We were escorted to our room and in a few moments eagerly opened the door that led into the garden. My hubby visibly sighed as he sank into the chair on the verandah. “Wow” he said. We both sat there quietly soaking in the tranquillity. It is as though we were transported into a different world and everything slowed right down.

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Our driver was Prem Singh, a very well informed and philosophical guy. He was our self appointed guide and had many stories. These stories warmed my heart and is the reason for this blog. I would like to share them.

I hear that Maharaja Gaj Singh is a very generous man. In the days when kings ruled, villagers were required to pay “lagan” – a form of tax. This tax was intended to work as a social security; i.e., in times of drought, the money would be distributed to the farmers that would help when the income was not enough to sustain their families. Lagan obviously no longer exists. However in a recent drought, a bunch of farmers got together and approached the Maharaja. He spent his own money and got 40 water pumps installed so the farmers could water their fields and save the crops.

Today, this beautiful palace has been converted into a hotel. It truly is a magnificent creation that has been built with a lot of respect for the surrounding land.


This is only one of the properties that has been converted into a hotel. The Maharaja is committed to develop tourism as a way to create opportunities for income generation for the people of Rajasthan. Jodhpur in particular, seems to stand apart. I did not notice any beggars on the street. I shared this observation with our driver. I had some left overs packed from our breakfast that I thought I may have been able to give to someone on the streets. There was none!!! It appears as though no one goes hungry in Jodhpur. People who have plenty to eat, will go and feed the few who don’t … they sit by the wall of the Railway Station. There is no need for them to go begging. They get fed!!!

We visited the Mehrangarh Fort which has a stunning collection of artefacts, paintings & collectibles from a long time ago. We enjoyed roaming the rooms and equally, loved the vibe. This gorgeous woman is a police constable. We met a few women – a couple of them were studying for a promotion. It was such a delight to see women who were ambitious for themselves. And other women, employed at the Palace Hotel, who were on a small wage and talked about their ambitions for their daughters, wanting to give them the best education.

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We left Jodhpur in a couple days. Our hearts full of hope. And joy. I am a dreamer, after all! I feel privileged to have met some other people who are too!


Why Women Can’t Have it all

There were many heart tugs as I was listening to the utterly gorgeous Indra Nooyi talk about why women can’t have it all.

I agree. 

And I wondered why I do.

For me, it was because I wanted more. Always. 

When my Aditya, my first born came into our lives, I was in a small town called Vadodara after a business degree from one of the most prestigious business schools in India in the field of Human Resources. In Vadodara they had not heard of XLRI and I was on a pay that was a fourth of what I was earning in my first job which was based in New Delhi. Even so, I wanted to work. And when Aditya was all of 7 months old, I went to work as a “Management Trainee” (after three years under my belt). And I remember coming home and breastfeeding practically “on demand” through the night because I could not express milk!!! I missed what would have been happening through the day and as soon as I came home, there were a million questions… “what did he eat, what did he do, what did I miss”. And I wanted to be in both places!

I missed being there when he bumped his forehead and had to get stitches. 

And then, Sanj came along. I was not there when she casually walked into our underground water tank and nearly drowned. Of course I was a couple of times when she did something similar right under our eyes, but that does not matter. 

I remember getting stressed because my Dad who was visiting would sit patiently at the table with a bowl of cereal because I asked him not to nag me in the morning. He sat there not saying a word, looking down, hoping I would snatch a few mouthfuls before running out of the door. And now, I find myself asking my grown kids if they have had breakfast. 

I missed being able to joyfully run into the open arms of Sanj who would come racing down when she heard the sound of my car drive up back home, in the dark winter nights of Sydney. “Oh, I just want a moment to breathe”… was my head. And I remember how Sanj was doing multiple cartwheels in our home and calling me “a tired little monkey” as I sat on the couch wondering how much more tired I could feel!

I miss the calls for “can you tuck me in and read me a story”… really, gosh you are 13 Aditya. Yes mum, “it is not like you are home to make a snack when I come back from school” he says with a twinkle in his eyes. “I will tell your friends you want a tuck in when you are 13”. Quiet. Emotional Blackmail never worked in my house. I would beg them to come to the beach with us on the weekends, so we could get some quiet together time.

“No Mum”.

“Please, for my sake”.

“No Mum, no emotional blackmail.”

And of course, hubby dear always wanted sex! Really?

My fondest memory is of my son utterly traumatized the day I said I will stop washing his clothes. I found myself on the weekend running through loads of washing and then nagging both kids to put away the clothes I had washed.(And folded).  It occured to me that I want to enjoy my kids, so let’s remove the cause of the nagging, shall  we!

So my stoic resolution kept getting stronger as the pile of clothes grew taller and I had to navigate Mt Everest to go give my kids a morning hug. I loved it. It was fun. 

Work always gave me a high. And was also always a source of nervous, aggressive energy. I remember presenting a case for investing in Leadership and slowing watching people shift, move, being thankful for the experience. I wanted desperately to bring World Cafe into the organisation to prepare our people for transformational changes in the industry and to get them excited about what the future has to offer as opposed to fearful of change… it was big, exciting and I knew exactly how it would play out… so stayed on my bandwagon, getting fretful and frustrated with all the concerns being expressed around the exec table… short of the much needed compassion and belief that may have made the internal stakeholder management so much nicer for everyone. On the day, it was as though time stood still and it was magic as people flowed in and out … the palpable energy in the room and the genuine, heartfelt thank you from my Manager at the time, the MD…and the unending comments after about how powerful the experience was.

And it is at work that I also met some wonderful people. People who I have looked at as mentors, friends, fellow journey people. 

Where I learnt to stay a bit. Linger. Like when Sanj crawled into my bed and I was thinking I have to get out and shower and run to work. I just stayed. Felt the warmth of the hug. And in a moment, she left. And slowly, I got out of bed, went into the shower, replenished.

And it continues on … the constant search for more. I think I learnt it from my father… no fear of consequences. High need for change. Very little ambition. A desire to explore the world. Even if it is only from my armchair!

I have hope. I hope that in India, over the next two weeks I find progress. I can connect to the strong, smart women who are creating and leading change… the Sarpanch in our villages. The woman who decides to leave an unhappy marriage. The woman who dreams big. 

And I think yes, women can’t have it all. And I say thank you. Because if we thought we did, we would not be who we are… constantly looking and fighting for a bigger, better world. 


Eye Candy… roses, garden, rustic shelves, inspiration from nature…

Super Sensitive

I would pick sight over smell… though this rose geranium soap has both… luscious rose petals scattered over a freshly made soap laden with goats milk, organic virgin coconut, olive, sunflower oils, shea butter, oats and decadent rose geranium essential oil.

The succulents happily growing in a pot that someone discarded in our neighbourhood… spices ready to be cooked in a the home made by my hubby… 


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The making of a soap

ImageThere was some bright orange carrot pulp in the juicer… crying out for some TLC. And I had not made soap for a while… am hanging around for some to get sold… maybe people will wander on the internet and find A Wicked Scrub soon!

I also wanted to use some of the beautiful organic botanicals I just got from Austral Herbs… Chamomile, Calendula flowers… so came about the beautiful carrot goats milk treasure.

I cut it up today… into extra chunky bars and am hanging out for 6 weeks so they can do their work on our skins…