February has mostly been about silence, quietude, classified thoughts and reclaiming personal time. I went back and forth into my shell, spoke less, read more and let life wash over me. It felt good to not push the trite moments away while embracing the pristine. And in between the two, I picked the empty ones to refine the roadmaps to a life I never want to stop being in love with. Personal goals, however, seem fragmented if they don’t cause at least a tiddly positive ripple that extends beyond self. As I went about setting intentions for the coming year, questions kept inadvertently popping up: “Do the benefits of a minimalistic life extend to society?” “How can I make a significant change?” “What kind of trail am I leaving behind?” Because regardless of who we are, each one of us has a wisdom that the world needs.

When I bid adieu to the corporate world, the first lesson to put into practice was to draw a line between needs and wants. When you make a decision to go from clutching at bits of life in between the frenzy, to enjoying a deliberate life, little changes become mandatory. In retrospect, that’s when the shift had subtly begun. My daughter was five at the time, and her first lesson in ‘Enoughism’ was to be mindful of what she picked up at the supermarket. We called it the ‘one dirham’ rule. If it’s one dirham or less, she could have it. When Barbie became a rage, she was encouraged to play with simpler, chubbier dolls. Without even realising it, the micro decisions were adding up. Now as a 22-year old, when I see her spend wisely or choose character over status while picking friends, it seems like we did something right. Raising a wholesome, thinking person does add value to society.

IMG-20180222-WA0022Minimalism is not about deprivation, you just need to know when to rein it in. And it’s only human to slip sometimes. But we have to understand the consequences of our actions. The undercurrents of consumerism run deep. Like termites that stay hidden from sight until the rafters come crashing down, it has eaten away at the very fabric that is supposed to hold us together. How did we morph into a perpetually stressed lot, always running around, always distracted and always in the quest to accumulate more? A bunch of robots so busy holding on to devices that we don’t even realise what we have let go of? The litter we are leaving behind is grim and worrisome. It’s overwhelming when you think about making amends, but we can start small and still make a difference.

The other day I asked my daughter what her dream home looked like. “A well-kept studio apartment”, she said matter-of-factly. It might sound strange but it’s mighty sensible. When we live in small uncluttered spaces, conserve energy and buy less, what happens is this: “We bring down the CO2 levels, caused due to the burning of all the fuel needed, to power the making of crap that we don’t really need”. So the simplest way to add value is to change the way we live. This is the easiest way to reduce our carbon footprints and the most precious gift we can leave behind for posterity. It’s how we can pay it forward.


Recently, I dined at a new restaurant in my neighbourhood. It turned out to be a beautiful experience. The music was lilting, the staff friendly, the menu handpicked and the food fresh. The server explained every dish to me right down to the sourcing of the ingredients. Their USP was ‘fresh, organic and simple’. That meal was poetry in motion and seemed like a perfect synecdoche for the life I was aiming at.

One of life’s simpler pleasures has always been dessert. When the tiramisu came, the proprietor, a young man in his 20s, threw me a challenge. “Identify the five spices in this dessert and you earn a parting drink for free”, he chimed. As I rolled a spoonful of the dessert on my tongue, the spices stood out enough for me to name them correctly. I got the free drink as promised. But the most valuable takeaway was this: Whether it’s food, possessions or life, when you eliminate the superfluity, what remains is the essence.


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41 thoughts on “A DELIBERATE LIFE

  1. Life is led uniquely by each Individual…. …the waves of thoughts too range high n low… You are so blessed Ren to identify and discern your key thoughts in a month….. …..so glad your realisations are so inclusive and in benefit of others…
    Both your thougts 1. Personal goals, however, seem fragmented if they don’t cause at least a tiddly positive ripple that extends beyond self.
    2. Minimalistic approach to life…

    Must say are in larger Interest of human well-being… Thanks for keeping Our thoughts n actions in check with your intense blogs….. Thanks for everything Ren…. Keep writing keep sharing… We eagerly look forward…..


  2. Well written but I have a different perspective. Minimalism is when a fully satisfied person retrospects and tries to understand the need for it. Every person is a minimalist regarding 80℅ of his needs/expectations. For the balance 20% none of us is willing to compromise and each one of us wants to squeeze in 100℅. In summary, what I mean to say is the minimalist breed is depleting and possibly exists only in the Himalayas.

    Still I love the way you presented it.


  3. Very well written, Renica, I keep looking for your posts… It’s been long since you’ve penned, please keep posting and illuminating our lives…


  4. Lovely blog sis!! We all want that perfection in our lives which makes us go beyond our needs.
    Very well penned thoughts on the journey called LIFE!!


  5. Hi Renica , I really enjoyed your writing , the choice of words and construction of the sentences filled with deeper meaning . You shared the philosophy of life in a very sweet and subtle way . It makes an impact and evoke a thought process.
    Please writing your thoughts as you have the gift of expression with compassion which is a delight for reader. God Bless You .


  6. Long time
    Nice write Ren loved the topic 🙂
    For me though minimalism is very debatable
    Coz it’s difficult to be minimalist all the time
    Can be according to situations and needs
    Can we give up on basic electrical appliances which emit so much of poison into the atmosphere
    That’s what I mean
    In short it’s all situational
    So let’s try to be minimalist at least in smaller things
    So that some guilt is waived off


    • Appreciate your feedback, Mavis. Minimalism is not about deprivation. You just have to figure out ways to contribute to the cause in small ways. Reading up on the topic is a good way to gather ideas. We started with small changes. Like conserving energy as much as possible, saying no to plastic bags, sorting waste, using the car only when absolutely necessary, etc. My focus now is on consumerism. So clearing my home of all unwanted things and buying only what’s required is what I find useful. It’s a gradual process, definitely not easy, but totally worth it.


  7. Well written Renu. Kids mostly follow what they observe at home. So the best examples are those that we set for them as parents. I am sure as parents you have succeeded in setting the right examples.


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