What is life to you? To me, life is a mixture of people I love, things I hate, the places I travelled, chances I missed, memories I made and of course the breaths I take. 🙂 A month ago I decided to list down the 5 things which I think I can’t live without, other than my family and friends. I could list down more than 10 and the difficult part was to pick the top 5 from it!

Here’s the list:

  1. Books to read – Reading became a habit just 5 years ago. Prior to that, I used to read a little, but I hadn’t taken it seriously and never listed reading as a hobby on my resume. 🙂 Nowadays I follow famous personalities on social media to know what they are reading. I also scan through Amazon ‘Best Reads’ and ‘Editor’s Picks’ sections now.
  2. Laptop to write – For writing blog posts I depend on my laptop, though I always keep a book and pen handy.
  3. Phone to connect with my family and friends.
  4. Tea – Just a hot cup in the morning makes my day. I add a little ginger and cardamom to spice it up. 🙂
  5. Veena to relax – I had to start and stop my veena learning more than three times, but I still lean on my veena whenever I need a break.

Now, if I were writing on this topic a few years (say 5 years) ago, my list would have been different. It would have included watching TV, mall-hopping, and so on. Now I think I have gone beyond that phase. 🙂

While I was working on this post, the electricity supply failed without any prior intimation. And this affected the water supply and my internet connection too. As it was a Sunday I had taken it easy and hadn’t cooked lunch yet. So I had to order some home-delivery food as well. I could not do anything the whole day other than waiting for power and water. This made me think again about the things I can’t live without and I decided to rewrite the list.

Here’s the modified list of 5 things:

  1. Fresh Air – Now that we have proudly invented nasal filters, I can easily visualize our children and grandchildren with that accessory on a daily basis!
  2. Clean Water – As we are making tremendous progress in the digital world we tend to overlook the water scarcity. I am sure, soon we may have to find alternative methods for bathing, maybe similar to dry-cleaning of clothes!
  3. Healthy Food – They say you become what you eat! We get the energy we need from food. The ideal diet not only makes us feel good but also keeps us healthy. I follow pure vegetarian diet these days and avoid onion and garlic as I read somewhere that these are negative-energy food. I also try to consume organic food as far as possible.
  4. Uninterrupted Electricity – Urban people’s  lifestyle and their misuse and addiction to more electric gadgets are badly affecting the villages, depriving them of a continuous power supply. I feel the more privileged people should act more responsibly.
  5. Uninterrupted and fast Internet – People, me included, can’t imagine a world without the Internet. I completely rely on the internet for communication, news, entertainment, shopping and, of course, blogging! 🙂

Looking at the list I found a strange analogy between my list and the Pancha Bhoota, the five basic elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space. These have different characteristics and account for different faculties of human experience. The correlation of each item on my list to one of the Pancha Bhoota astonished me, especially the Space-Internet pair!

I had taken all the above for granted before I prepared my list. We think we will always have an abundant supply of all these. Now I think we need to practise living at least one day a month without electricity and tap water. (Of course, some of us are already doing it unintentionally!) We can store water in vessels and use it. At night we can use candles or oil lamps. Ask your kids to practise this too. At least then we (and they) will realize the value of these essential things, and the wastage will reduce automatically!

A few weeks ago I was suffering from neck and back pain. It was due to excessive laptop usage and some extra travel in January. I had to take bed rest for a few days. This was a chance for me to look inward. It gave me some idea of who I really am. I am my own greatest critic. The ‘5 things I can’t live without’ came to my mind again. And I realized I had to revise my list again!

Here’s my third and final version (hopefully!) of the 5 things I can’t live without:

  1. Health – I need the energy to follow my passion and do my day-to-day activities. I can’t do anything without good health. I can’t even live a single day without good health!
  2. Happiness – This is a habit we all need to cultivate deliberately. The secret of being happy is accepting where we are in life and making the most of it. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that it makes you happy. I love laughter. Without happiness, I can’t have laughter, and so I can’t live without happiness!
  3. Freedom – It’s everything. I can’t live without freedom of expression, freedom of travel, freedom of reading, freedom to eat what I want, freedom to wear what I like, and freedom of being myself! So I can’t live without freedom.
  4. Passion – Without a passion to follow, life really sucks. Passion motivates me daily to take life forward and live life fully! ‘I would rather die of passion than of boredom‘ is one of my favourite quotes! Whatever I do I prefer to do it with passion, else I just won’t do it. So I can’t live without passion.
  5. Love – It’s the most important of all. Being a mother I can say that the purest form of love is mother’s love. Being loved by my children, husband, brother, sister, sister-in-law, parents, and friends give me confidence and courage to follow my passion and has made me what I am today. So I can’t live without love.

When I first decided to make my list I thought it would be very easy. To my surprise, it was not only difficult but also kept changing as I dove deep down into my inner self. I found a huge difference between the needs of my inner self and my outer self. I realized that the things I thought that matter the most are not really so. I had to rewrite the list not once but twice!

Thanks to the power shutdown list 2 came into being. Thanks to the neck pain the 3rd and final list materialized! Everything happens for a reason. 🙂

Please list the things you cannot live without and let me know how many iterations came your way as life took you through various experiences. Also, try to spend a day without each item on your list, one at a time, to confirm whether that item is really inevitable or not!

Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show!

Happy empty nesting 🙂




  1. Mini brilliant..!!! I liked the flow of favourites in all the lists..
    Panchabhoota connection was astonishing.
    Third list was the ultimate. I think that part may be the favourites of our readers too
    It was a pleasure reading this and the curiosity to know more was mounting line after line. I VL also try to list down my favourites. Not an easy job I guess….
    Keep writing… Waiting for the next positive nesting experience of yours…

  2. Hello Mineetha,
    I loved your writings. I was wondering how you are getting great ideas. Hats off to you.
    The five important needs of mine is 1. Health 2. Happiness 3. Love 4. Family 5. Friends. I am sure i will be sad if i don’t have one in the list. Keep writing. I enjoy reading your blogs.

  3. Mineetha enjoyed reading your writing on your 5 favourite things in life. To prioritise our favourite things is not that easy. I last list is the ultimate choice. I too agree with you. Keep writing.


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