A tale of 1000 origami cranes

Last week marked the half-way milestone for one of the craft projects that I’m currently working on. I thought I’d share my experience and the outcome here.

So it all started off with my google search on fun things to do for my birthday (like a wish-list or a bucket list). And I came across this bucket-list idea (from this blog) of making 1000 origami cranes and instantly, it made its way to my bucket-list. I decided to make it for someone special for their birthday in October. I learnt how to make an origami crane from this website: http://www.origami-instructions.com/origami-crane.html

The end result that I had in mind was to make 1000 origami cranes and hang them from our ceiling in the living room. I decided to make in yellow and blue as I thought they would look colourful and bright against our white ceiling. I did not work on my own on this project and instead took help, given that I had my normal full-time job to do everyday! I did not use the ready-made origami paper and instead cut the paper to size from scratch! In hindsight, that was not a very wise thing to do but I’ll talk about it a bit more in the ‘What I’ve learnt’ section below.

Here is a brief overview of the process and the end result of this fun project:

IMG_0467 IMG_0468 IMG_0471 IMG_0476 IMG_0482 IMG_0488 IMG_0496 IMG_0514 (1) IMG_0518 (1) IMG_0519 (1) IMG_0520 (1) IMG_0526 (1) IMG_0528 (1) IMG_0530 IMG_0531 IMG_0533 (1) IMG_0541

Needless to say, they looked beautiful. My favourite part is watching them cradle when the wind blows (which is my happy corner (#11) for this post). They are still hanging from our ceiling and remind me everyday that no matter what, its important to keep going and that success will automatically follow 🙂

Now some insight into what I’ve learnt from this project:

  • Do not underestimate the time-scales. I’m usually good at planning but I did not pay much attention to the time this project would take since I thought 3 months would be ample time to make 1000 cranes. That turned out to be quite destructive as I could not make 1000 in time and had to compromise with 500 by October. I should have been more careful in my estimation.
  • Think efficiency, efficiency and efficiency. Due to the repetitive and mundane nature of the task, I made sure that I improved with each repetition and constantly looked for ways to increase the speed and quality. One costly (and related) lesson that I learnt was: outsource where you can. I should have bought the ready-made origami paper and saved time. This is an important tip for anyone looking to take a similar project.
  • Perseverance and ‘enjoying the journey’ are the crux of such large scale projects. Worrying about the end result and deadlines is not going to make the project finish any sooner. Enjoy every bit of the process. I discovered how much determination I had inside of me – to make one crane after the other.

I’m still working on this project by the way and I am still determined to complete 1000 cranes. I’m excited to see the finish line and check the box against this bucket-list item.

Just to reiterate, for anyone interested to learn how to make an origami crane, this website has a step-by-step process: http://www.origami-instructions.com/origami-crane.html. Enjoy!

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A birthday holiday

It was my birthday in August! And we (a bunch of close friends) went on a holiday to Goa for five days surrounding my birthday. We had a wonderful time there, particularly given the fact that mobile phone connectivity was poor and we hardly had any access to internet. It was such a refresher not to think about work or have any urges to check fb/mails/instagram.

Some fun facts about Goa and a few favourite snapshots from our lovely time there:

Of potted plants and lavender toe nails

It was such a nice change to experience little or no traffic in Goa. Unlike most other places in India, we did not find ourselves stuck even in a single traffic jam.

People in Goa are sweet, kind and friendly. I don’t remember anyone behaving rudely with us. May be because they’re so much used to tourists and outsiders being part of their everyday life?

Tunnel after tunnel in the train to Goa

The 3 arches in Goa

It was quite a mission to find proper Indian chai in Goa. After 4 days of hunting, we stumbled across a coffee shop which served Mumbai-famous ‘masala cutting chai’. Monsoon and chai…Mmmmmmmm 🙂

Masala cutting chai in Goa

Cakes and hot cuppas at Mocha, Goa

On my birthday, I decided to ride a motor bike! I wasn’t sure how long I would take to learn riding one. But after a short lesson which lasted less than a minute, I took control and voila! I drove like I always knew how to drive. It was so much fun! This is a definite addition to my happy corner (#9).

Driving a motorbike in Goa

While we waited for the rain to stop

It rained all day on my birthday. So while we waited indoors for the rain to take a break, I blew some bubbles in the air. Blow a bubble, watch it float in the air, chase it and then finally watch it burst. Repeat ‘n’ number of times. I promise it never gets boring.

At sunset time, we rushed to Fort Aguada to see the sunset (one of the things on my birthday wish-list). But alas, dark clouds => no sun => no sunset. But I got to do something fun (also one of the things on my birthday wish-list) while we stood on Fort Aguada at the sea. I wrote a short message on a piece of paper, folded it, put it in an empty bottle, sealed the bottle and swung it into the open sea. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 (I know this makes it two additions to my happy corner (#10) in this post but hey! This HAS to go into that diary).

The message in the bottle carried one of the biggest epiphanies of my life. My most favourite part of this little act: not knowing what will happen to the message and the bottle.

Waiting to swing the 'message in a bottle' into the Arabian sea

Watching the bottle vanish

There were three other things I had on my birthday wish-list but unfortunately, the rain did not make it happen. The three unfulfilled things were: climb a tree, etch my name on that tree and watch the sunset at the sea. Adding them to my future birthday wish-list 🙂

Coming back home after the holiday made me remind myself of how much I love travelling. Sigh.

 

 

Birthday parties

Two of my very closest friends celebrate birthday in April and I’m having a hard time planning a surprise party which all our friends (who will be part of the party) will sign up to. One birthday down, one more to go. Sadly, the first birthday party was close to a disaster but the dinner, our crazy photo session followed by driving all the way to have a speciality ice-cream saved the day.

After what seems like ages (nearly 10 years), our little bunch of close friends found their way back to our city. After college, we all went in various directions (continents, really) to follow our careers and after 10 years, luckily and consciously, we ended up living in our city again. It’s absolute fun just hanging out together. This year’s birthdays were meant to be special for the same reason – all of us are together! So, in an attempt to make them special, we almost failed. Luckily, despite several glitches, we ended up having a good time – I believe the birthday girl would agree too 😉

The next birthday is round the corner and I haven’t got any plan yet. I’m usually the “organised and fully-planned” kind of person but sometimes I prefer to let go of planning everything and just take things as they come. Whatever we end up doing, I hope it will make my friend’s day 🙂

So, while having a hectic time planning and unplanning all these birthday parties, I wondered what I would to do for my birthday this year. And, just like that, out of nowhere, I had an idea in my head. A bucket list! Not exactly a bucket-list but a similar concept. I will make a list of fun/new/never-done-before/old-times’-sake things that I would like to do and depending on the time, place etc., I will pick a few things from the list to implement for this year’s birthday. If it turns out to be fun and do-able, I will carry forward the remaining list for the next birthday and so on. How exciting is this! I feel like I should have done this ages ago!

What do you guys do for birthdays and other special days? Are you the quiet type who spend the day peacefully by yourself or may be with a small bunch of close family/friends? Or are you a complete party animal? Do you do anything new and fun like sky-diving? Do you do anything meaningful? I’m not a kid anymore and birthdays are not crazy can’t-sleep-tonight exciting anymore however, I have not reached a stage where birthdays mean nothing and I don’t quite want to reach there. This idea of mine is probably going to bring some ‘eagerly looking forward to’ back into my birthdays. This is an attempt to bring some more happiness, sunshine and meaningful moments into my life. I would like to think that we should live everyday in a similar way – be happy, spread the joy and live the moment.

Ok, now happy corner time…

My Happy Corner #3

I have recently (a few months back) qualified as an actuary. I was delighted, relieved and what not when I found out that I really cleared my last exam. Anyone who is studying/has studied/knows people who study for these exams that lead up to being qualified as an actuary would know the time and effort out of one’s life that goes into these exams. I have gone through phases of loving the subjects, getting tired of the exams, failing sometimes, loathing my career choice, picking up will-power and pace again, passing some exams and continuing the journey. To me, these exams have been a test of endurance – they are like running a marathon. The difficult bit is not passing them, it is not giving up when you fail. I have a wondrously supportive family who dealt with my exam ups and downs and allowed me to willfully choose to continue running the marathon. In a way, they ran the marathon too! So, anyway, coming back to the day I passed my last exam, I celebrated on the day with family. I celebrated once more with my closest friends when all the paperwork was done and I got a confirmation that I am indeed an actuary. And just a couple of days ago, I got my certificate in post, which on my behalf, shouts out that I’m an actuary (talk about being humble and all that!). To see it with my own eyes that what has happened is indeed true – that moment was my happy corner. 🙂