Thirteen Years of this Space! Happy Birthday Blog

It has been 13 years and over a decade that I have established this space for me and for myself. Back in 2008, I didn’t know that the world in general and my small world in particular will change this much. What an ordeal we have faced together, oh dear Blog! Looking back at an imaginative twenty year old me, created this space and named it “The Coffee House Revival.” This was and has been a room of my own, a space of my own, and something that I can say my own ~ my blog. It has allowed me to share, grow, and create a path for my PhD. Thank you, WordPress for existing and allowing women like me to excavate freedom. It still feels like a dream on what I have become today and how this blog created a path for me. I have grown with this blog and I know I owe to many people who read me, liked my blogposts, and encouraged me to write more. I wish I had done more, I wish I had kept on writing. But then life took many turns in this one decade and more. I decided to move through many jobs including getting a PhD. It feels very different to think of myself as Dr. Sweta Baniya who is now an academic, a researcher and has locked her poetic, imaginative, and dreamy self away. I wish to get back to it. I noticed that the last post I made on the blog’s birthday was three years ago, it felt like I had stopped celebrating the existence of this space in my life. I feel I have forgotten how much this space meant to me back then, and for many many years.

Picture of dark pink tulips
Picture of Tulips from Floral Library in DC

I do believe on this space and the path it created for me. I know I don’t post much or the posts are small enough, forgettable, and I barely write. Trust me when writing is a whole job, I feel like getting a break from it. Though in my head I do have so many things I want to write, share, and tell to the people and I know I have space to do so but I don’t know what stops me to do so. I guess I don’t have time is the most cliched excuse but I think to be honest, I think I have forgotten myself, my love for writing, expressing, and my desire to do so. The pain for that loss is unbearable to me but this pain comes as flashback on various moments. I do think, I want to go back and revive this space somehow and go back to various moments and memories in my life to make them alive. But I don’t want to make promise that I can’t keep. Once the semester starts then the pace of life changes quite a bit. That has been happening with me for past five years as I started my PhD journey and finished one and to start another again as a Professor now. It seems like past five years were a dream that I dreamt for long time. Well, don’t we dream and imagine good things more than bad things? But what is the value of good if there were no bad. In this mixed bag of life, the balance of good and bad things we face, suffer through, and finally emerge from maybe creates who we are.

Picture of lily leaves at Lily Pond in Chicago
Picture of lily leaves at Lily Pond in Chicago ~ sadly there were no lilies

The WordPress itself has changed quite a bit and the technology that continues to change around us. I feel privileged to have been engaged with technology for past decade and more and it has shown me so much. However, I agree that the fast pace of life, the importance and addiction to emails, the addiction to phones and this desire to know and be part of the whole has never been so stressful as before. Amid this, I still try to find myself, who am I, my voice through various expressions, research, writing, and maybe photographs that I took all the time on my phone. I think the allowances provided by various media to be able to share and express, and to be able to get a quick feedback and thumbs up, and replies are the ones that made the presence of the blog less endearing. But I remember how much I loved when people read and commented on my blogpost, it gave me great joy in my life, it made me feel seen, heard, and appreciated. Then I put that part on hold for many years. As you can see, I haven’t written for many many years or I have written very few posts that don’t really tell my story, experiences, and my voice that much.

For past year, we have lived in a global pandemic. We have lost so many many of friends, families, and loved ones. The way it started and the way it is now is completely different. Amid all this I think survival is the most important, safety is most important, and keeping all of the lost ones in our memories alive is most important. They didn’t deserve this~ no one deserved to die from this virus. I hope and wish so much that this will pass soon. And, it will pass soon!

Finally, I don’t know if I will be able to commit so much time to write~ but I really wish I will write more and keep on using this space for something good.

Happy Birthday, Coffee House!! Happy 13th anniversary!

New Beginnings

What a year we lived through! With the Global Pandemic Covid-19

Prophetstown State Park, West Lafayette, 2020

As days blend together and become weeks and to months and to a whole year ~

Where we tread into the unknown with little knowledge and fear ~

With the most scariest emotion fear ~ we lived by while

We bid farewell to all the loved ones who went to another world into another space

Where we could never touch them but relive together with them with the memories we have made

As we navigated how to stay safe, keep on living, and keep on having hopes alive

Through our phones, laptops, and let’s not forget the hours of zooms

As we intertwined within the objects to reach to our lovely humans across time, space, and geographies

We lived through this!

Navigating the ambivalence with resilience and diligence

And, here we are a year later~ stronger like never

Cheers to the new beginning and the new year

West Lafayette, Indiana 01.01.2021

Wishes & Dreams

Some Deja Vu.

Some reflections.

Some dreams lost.

Some dreams gained.

Some wishes fulfilled.


Some that remain

~ Puerto Rico, 2019

Waiting for.

the night.

to fall.


dreams to.

knock on.

Flying away with the dreams.

Some day.

I try to fly.

to catch some dreams.

to search here and there.


continually fly.

West Lafayette, 01.02.2020

One Summer Day in Life of Queen Anne Lace

Queen Anne Lace swaying in the cool summer breeze~ Lafayette, IN 


Like Queen Anne Lace looks at the cloud~ Lafayette, IN


Who’s tallest? ~ Lafayette, IN

Ode to Gulmohar / Flamboyan Trees

Like these leaves


Make me fall in love



Over again

Bayamon, Puerto Rico

And, my cheeks


like these orange leaves

when I heard you

calling my name

Bayamon, Puerto Rico


I fall

Like these leaves

Over and Over Again


Note: All pictures were taken by me in wonderful summer in Puerto Rico. 

Screw New~ I want my Old me!!

My Ama said: You seem to have lost all your confidence~ you were very different when you were young~

I think this sentence at the end of this year, is changing my whole perspective on life. Screw new me, thin me, better me, I want myself back, the old me, the courageous dreamy ambitious energetic and happy and confident me.

Often times, I have been so much busy judging my past life and experiences as well as struggles and trying to focus on the present in the hope of a good future that I think, I have stopped listening to inner-most self and my own inner voice that led me to become who I am today.

When Ama told me that, I tried becoming defensive and told her- all graduate students are like this, we are depressed and we have imposter syndrome. Years back, I didn’t have that or if I had, it was very less. I am someone who battled my way into some really awesome work in Nepal, among toxic people, toxic environment, and moreover really difficult personal life.

But, wasn’t Grad school above everything for me? It was something for which I left my decade-long career, my identity, lifestyle, everything behind~ it was and is still my passion. But why did it cost me my confidence? Why my well-being?

I think this is because I don’t know how to do Grad-school. This is because my research on grad-school and imaginary things presented on the fancy websites and happy faces of the students weren’t enough. This is because I am a first-gen Graduate student in my family of four and my mentors back home had overconfidence in me I think things would be easier for me.

Grad school can be fun! And, I think these two and half years have been the best phase of my life in terms of the things I always wanted to do: study and write and teach.

Years back during my teenage days, Ama and I would talk and dream of a life full of books, writing, and teaching. And, right now, I am living our dream and she is so true, I might have lost some of the confidence because I believe in others more than myself. I have been harsh to myself, I have been pressurizing myself like crazy as my BFF says and thus, I have suppressed who I am to become the idealized me and it has cost me to lose my confidence.

So, screw that idealized me! I want myself to be back~


Fairfax, VA

Secret ~ No More #RageAgainstRape


That’s how it started

And, was supposed to end.


Deep in the corners of my heart

Your thumbprints all over my skin

Was supposed to be the “secret”.

You made me the in-charge

Of keeping your deeds over my body a “secret”

Your “secret”. You made it my “secret”

Made me believe that

it would shame me – not you

it would shame my family – not you

it would make me lose everything – not you

Your audacity

On believing that~ I will keep an eternal silence amazes me. 

But, I stand up to break the silence

I always knew it~ It wasn’t my fault

I always knew it~ It wasn’t supposed to be a secret

And, my voice ~  will make you lose everything not me

I stand to display your thumbprints to everyone

One by one,

Everyone will know it

Once~ it is secret no more

it is your shame- not mine

This poem is written for all the survivors of sexual assault and any kind of gender-based violence. And, against all the perpetrators!


#metoo #RageAgainstRape @RiseAgainstRape #JusticeforNirmala #Justiceforallrapevictima

 #Speakup #Listentosurvivors #Lovesurvivors

Ten Years of Blogging~ Happy Birthday Blog



I just finished my preliminary exams for my Ph.D. today and wrote so much but I still have to say you Happy Birthday- Dear Blog!!

Thank you, dear blog…for being there and pushing me where I am today!

Thank you, dear readers and the community back home…whom I am indebted to for believing me that I can write!

Here, I am … I have been writing for the past ten years!

With love,


Finding the Inner Compass

Lost? Maybe? 

I had promised her that I will write her an email and I haven’t even started that email. It has been nearly two years. I want to tell her everything. But I took many steps back. Stopped writing – blog, poem, letters, sending cards, pictures, text, chat!

Resettling could be hard~ could be worse~ could be fun~ could be anything and mostly could be something that you are unable to communicate. Maybe because you are still waiting to find that inner compass that led you somewhere initially. And, now it is lost? Maybe?

How could I tell, I have been losing and finding, finding and losing the inner compass? 

I think I haven’t completely lost it but have been doing this back and forth, on and off. But there are so many things to keep track of ~ and the inner compass gets buried deep down in dark and eventually, you forget where it is.

I couldn’t write an email to her! Couldn’t share that I have been trying to find something that is lost inside me and searching elsewhere and everywhere outside me.

One thought in my head says: maybe she could have helped, maybe she could have suggested, maybe she could have guided as she always does. But, I had decided not to talk to anyone including myself.


There was an urge to have this silence. I couldn’t even go back to the meditation days, where I could put myself down into hours of meditation and then heal myself.

This time~ healing was far far away because I was letting myself suffer – don’t know if it was the pain, irritation or a complete apathetic moment for me ~ I wasn’t healing because I didn’t want to heal. Just like I didn’t want to email her. 

But, now I think it is that moment~ to find ~ to search ~ to achieve the inner compass again! And, gear up on writing her with the truth of how lost I was…and how eager I am to find my inner compass

It has been long!

Calm~~Can we be anxiety free ever? Maybe not!