2011 The Year in Review

by Sharell शारेल on December 31, 2011

in Inspirational India

Post image for 2011 The Year in Review

For me, 2011 has been “The Year of the Book”.

With the exception of a pilgrimage to Haridwar in April, a couple of trips to Kolkata with my husband for his work, and an intimate family Diwali, the book has dominated my life. The first half of the year was taken up by editing with my publisher, and the second half with launches (both in Australia and India).

This year has been one of the three most challenging years of my life (the previous one being my first year in Mumbai, with these struggles and these realisations).

Having a book published has been far from an exciting experience for me. Perhaps, if it wasn’t a book about myself, it may have been. But then, one of my main goals in writing the book would never have existed and been achieved. That is, the aim of conquering my fear of judgement and what people may think of me.

I found the whole prospect of presenting my story to the world so daunting that I ended up consulting an intuitive healer and returning to meditation as the best way of dealing with it and retaining some sanity.

I’ve either forced myself, or been forced, into doing so many things that I would’ve much rather avoided. But of course the largest leaps in personal growth come from the hardest situations. No pain, no gain — as the saying goes! I can happily say that something has definitely changed in me as a result of my experiences. I’ve gained so much confidence and self acceptance. It’s like my irrational fear that people will think the worst of me, and indeed my compulsion to think the worst of myself, has simply been switched off. I’m finally permitting myself to like and appreciate me. It feels so darn good!

I also feel amazingly humbled that I’ve been able to contribute a bit of myself to the world, and that so many people have been touched and inspired by it. I feel grateful that I’ve been given so many opportunities and have been able to make a success of my life here in India. And I feel thankful that having the courage to write my book has also brought me closer to the people who love me, particularly my parents who understand me a lot better after reading it. As for my husband, he just thinks it’s a wonderful love story!

Now, I really need to take some time out from work, take a break and recollect myself. Although I feel very positive and inspired, my energies feel scattered. I have to gather them together again, to direct them towards what is to be achieved in 2012.

I’d like to thank all my treasured readers(friends) here, who’ve accompanied me and supported me along the journey of 2011. And, here’s hoping that 2012 will be a fulfilling year for all of you!

Photo credit: Feeb.

19 people like this post.
© Copyright 2011 Sharell शारेल, Diary of a White Indian Housewife 2008-2014. All Rights Reserved. Do not copy and reproduce text or images without permission.

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

DA December 31, 2011 at 2:42 pm

A happy new year to you all. We are having a fantastic hot weather in the Sunshine Coast. Went to a pool party this afternoon so a bit tipsy.

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Sharell December 31, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Oh what fun! Yes, you have made me envious. :-) Last NYE we were in Australia — in a friend’s outdoor spa.

Enjoy!!

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Annie December 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Dearest Sharell,

You are indeed an amazing, caring and very very special individual !
You can be proud of yourself and what you’ve achieved !
India has opened her arms to you and will keep you close to her heart !
Have a blessed and wonderful 2012 !

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sagar (the ocean) January 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm

(om)
100% in agreement with Annie’s words.

I don’t want to sound cheesy but here it goes anyways:
Sharell, I am not sure if you believe in karma and rebirth. I do not believe in religion but I believe in God (God made man and man made religion).

Anyway, I was reading a book called ‘shivlilamrut’(chapter 11), it is very long devotional prayer to God by a 16th century poet, and came across a para that applies to you. “When parents get a good child and when husband
gets good wife with all virtues(kindness, compassion, beauty, loving,intelligence etc), it is because God is rewarding them for the good karma they did in their past birth”. In other words, I think your husband and your parents did a lot of good karma. The om was added at the beginning and end of my message to protect the words from being jinxed (protect from evil eye and jealousy) :-)

(Sharell, yes, I am the same ocean who has requested deletion of my forum account – I dont want to be part of the discussion forum. But please allow me to post on your blogs, I will add positive comments only . But either way, it will be OK with me- whatever your decision)
(om)

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Sharell January 2, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Hi Sagar, yes I do believe in karma and rebirth very much. I’ve done quite a bit of reading on the matter (more spiritual dabbling) and I actually had a past life regression experience because I was so convinced I’ve been Indian in a past life. ;-)

Of course, you’re welcome to post here. I’ll delete your forum profile when I figure out how to do it!

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prashanth December 31, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Happy New Year’s Eve, Lady Maya! :P

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Makk December 31, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Greetings to white Indian house wife. Enjoy the time.

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sagar (the ocean) December 31, 2011 at 7:24 pm

“And I feel thankful that having the courage to write my book has also brought me closer to the people who love me, particularly my parents who understand me a lot better after reading it. As for my husband, he just thinks it’s a wonderful love story!”

Best two sentences in your blog!
Very happy for you!

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Hélène December 31, 2011 at 9:38 pm

You did a great job with the book and you can be proud of yourself, that ‘s sure !

I wish you and your loved one a very happy New Year 2012 ! (and maybe a few nice challenges so you don’t get bored) ;)

Sending you hugs from cold damp France :)

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Piu December 31, 2011 at 10:45 pm

I purchased your kindle book from Amazon and enjoyed it. I found it quick paced and it was to my liking.

Next, (I have said this before and I will say it again as comments get lost) a prequel to your published book, about life as an 8 year old in Australia with lots of animal friends.

I enjoy your posts on fauna very much.

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JAYESH - G January 1, 2012 at 12:56 am

HAPPY NEW YEAR, Sharell to you and your family.

Wish you a Happy, Healthy, Safe, Peaceful and Prosperous Year of 2012.

Lets hope we all survive through it and the World doesn’t end!

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Cathy January 1, 2012 at 1:10 am

Happy New Year Sharell !All the very best to you and yours in the 2012
May life in India continue to be good to you .

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Veronica January 1, 2012 at 4:23 am

Wishing you all the very best in 2012 and ever!!!

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Arti January 1, 2012 at 6:22 am

Wish you and your family a very Happy and Joyful 2012 Sharell :)

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Sig January 1, 2012 at 6:37 am

Happy New Year Sharell! Hope that 2012 brings you even more happiness, love, laughter and success :)

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Manny January 1, 2012 at 10:21 am
vinod January 1, 2012 at 11:41 am

YAYYYY Happy new year to everyone.

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Bronwyn January 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Happy New Year Sharell! I hope that you are able to take a little bit of R and R to start off the new year.

It’s incredible to think of how much work and how many long hours you put into writing your book and just how much effort the entire process is… but it’s equally amazing that you did it, and can now reap the rewards! You’re a huge inspiration. Sending love from Bandra :D

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prashanth January 1, 2012 at 7:34 pm

┊┊┈HAPPY┈NEW┈YEAR┈┊┊
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Masala Bou January 1, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Happy New Year and thanks for all you have done!
I know the feeling – it’s one of those paradoxes in the end that people like you more when you are less worried whether they like you or not. The more you try, the less genuine you are and the fewer real friends you make. BUT the courage to not care doesn’t seem to come automatically to everyone. Certainly didn’t / doesn’t to me. The only thing I would say is that maybe you were afraid of your own self judgement rather than that of others and that what you have found is self acceptance rather than the acceptance of others. (although you clearly have found those too, non-judgementalists and acceptance!)
I also think you have done all this a very brave and bold way but it is possible to do it more gently. I’m doing some therapy and I came across something quite interesting and Yungian (if I can spell it). Basically that according to your type an aspect of yourself eg thoughts or feelings goes into the shadows. As it/they are in shadows, you start to become afraid of it/them. For me, for example, I’m a thinking type so my feelings became enshadowed and repressed. Very true! I was scared of looking closely at any of my feelings. If you were scared of being disliked or judged that strikes me as similar.

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Sharell January 2, 2012 at 12:01 am

Wow, it’s all very fascinating isn’t it, how the mind works! I love trying to unravel it all. I definitely think I’m a much harsher critic of myself than what anyone has been. For sure, I’ve finally been able to give myself a break. :-)

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James January 2, 2012 at 10:47 am

Happy New Year, Sharell.

You might want to include on your blog the link to Kobo’s website where your book is also available in epub/ebook format for those of us who don’t use Kindle.

http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Henna-for-the-Broken-Hearted/book-H1-_pl8d20iez1YLzSpnHA/page1.html?utm_source=indigo&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=retailer&ikwid=sharell+cook&ikwsec=Books

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Sharell January 2, 2012 at 11:53 am

Good one! Thanks for sharing that. 8)

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Anuya January 2, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Hey Sharell,

First of all, A very Happy New Year to you and your family :)
And now a good news…I just finished reading your book…yay!!
I must say it was darn good…and you inspire a lot…interestingly I could find so many similarities between you and me :D
Congrats and all the best for all the things that this new year holds for you :)

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Sharell January 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Oooh, so glad you liked it! :-D Thanks so much for the good wishes.

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Hardika January 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Hey Sharell,

First of all a very happy new year to you. My copy of your book reached me just after xmas, and I’m loving it so far. I too moved to Kolkata 18 months ago, so I can kind of relate to how strange it can feel in the city, and how you can grow to love it. It was really like sharing an experience with you. Thank you very much for sharing it with everyone. :) And yes, i do hope you write that book about animal friend you had as a child.

Hope you have a wonderful year ahead.
love, hardika :)

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Sharell January 2, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Hi Hardika, I’m so happy to hear that you’re enjoying it, and that you could relate. I miss Kolkata a lot! It seems so magical to me now, because it was such a transformational time.

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Chanakya January 2, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Happy new year to all.

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Vani January 2, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Sharell, Wish you a very Happy New Year!

I finished reading “Henna for the broken heart” on 31st Dec. It strikes a cord with every woman who wants to follow her heart, against the norms set by the society. It is frank and unpretentious in its language, and I couldn’t put it down without having finished reading it.

After having read your book, I feel that you are certainly more Indian than most of us, who are Indians by virtue of being born here. Congrats for writing a lovely book, looking forward to your next book (probably a sequel to Henna…)

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Sharell January 2, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Hi Vani, thanks so much for the appreciation and encouragement. It means a lot to me. :-)

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backwhereitallstarted January 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Hi Sharell…congratulations! You’ve done very well in facing one of the most challenging years of your life. While on the note of thank yous, I’d like to thank you too.

2011 was a year of big changes for me as well. I moved back to Mumbai after having lived abroad for many years. It has been a demanding year and there have been forces at work to make it harder for me than it should be. Amidst all those challenges, your blog has been a calming haven, where I can swing by and just spend some time reading your views and those of your other friends. Thanks, again!

So here’s to a wonderful 2012! May be it bring you lots of cheer and success and peace!

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Sharell January 3, 2012 at 6:28 pm

It sounds like we both survived a challenging year, in different ways! I’m so happy to know that my blog helped get you through it! :-D Hope 2012 is a much easier year for you.

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reader January 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm

It is easy for a white woman like you to get a husband in india. Pale skinned woman is treated like a moviestar by dark skinned men all over the world. Indians even use whitening cream to look like europeans. Indian and african men prefer light skinned women and ultimately will choose white women if they can meet them. It is a self-racism.
Check this article:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/skinwhitening-adverts-ignite-race-row-in-india-863936.html

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Sharell January 3, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Hi Reader, I’m well aware of what you’ve pointed out, and it has been discussed many times on this blog. However, you seem to lack understanding of the complete picture. Just because Indian men have a fascination with white women/white skin, doesn’t mean that they want to in fact marry these women! There are many cultural barriers that prevent it. White women commonly aren’t taken seriously, and are seen as good for fun times only. So no, it’s not always easy for a white women “like me” to get a husband in India (but quite frankly, I think I’m a decent enough person that I wouldn’t have a problem finding a husband anywhere!). ;-)

You may want to have a read of this post and comments for more discussion on the matter, and in future direct your comments to the appropriate topic:

http://www.whiteindianhousewife.com/2010/02/do-indian-men-generally-like-white-women/

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Barns January 4, 2012 at 7:21 am

Wonderful to hear you’ve gained something so positive from the whole book experience. Stay strong!

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Manny January 5, 2012 at 7:22 am

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