Friday, December 20, 2013

Things I Never Say In Front of My Son

Being mindful means being aware about the situation and being aware about your reactions to the situations. The most ideal situation is certainly when you are completely mindful and in control. I don’t think any parent is that perfect, but here are a few things which I am absolutely clear of never saying in front of my son: 

Anything related to appearance: Like most women, I am never happy with my body but I never ever say anything in front of my son. I don’t even ask my husband the quintessential ‘if-I-am-looking-fat’ question in front of my son. I also never comment on other people’s looks or skin colour or appearance in front of him. I never use the term ‘good-looking’ to him either, instead I tell him he is ‘adorable’. I have been guilty of using the term ‘cute’ sometimes, but usually it is meant for his actions rather than his looks.  

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Magic of Outdoors

Every parent of my generation agrees over the benefits of spending time outdoors for kids, and laments about how kids are spending fewer hours outside. Compare the situation with our own childhood. We would be raring to go outside and play.

There are several benefits of spending time outdoors for the kids as well as for us.

1. Vitamin D
We all know sunlight is the primary source of Vitamin D [more specifically Vitamin D3] and thanks to certain advertisements, we also know how Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of Calcium in the body. Our traditional wisdom has also vouched for keeping babies in sunlight. But in reality, as more and more people are living in apartments, they are hardly spending any time in the sun. Reference this article to read more about Vitamin D.

Personally, whether it is summertime or winters, I try to take the toddler in the sun for half an hour at least every alternate day. It gives me and the toddler our dosage of Vitamin D. 

2. Taking a Break on difficult days
With young kids, there are days when nothing seems to work, no toy seems to be interesting enough, no activity seems to be stimulating enough, and then there are some days when you do not feel like cleaning up the mess. So, what is your best bet? Outdoors! It always works like a magic. It also gives you a change of scene, and there is always
something or the other to look at or play with.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Raising Boys

There is this child, who is in the habit of hitting all other kids without any provocation. She happens to be a girl. The other day, she hit 2-3 kids, who ended up wailing. All of them happened to be boys. I am talking about kids between 2 to 4 years of age. The first thing one of the mothers jokingly said to her son in the process of consoling him is “What! How can you get hit by a girl? Are you going to bring dishonor to us?” She is a friend, more of an acquaintance. But still she is like you, me, people we know, people we are friends with. In other circumstances, I find her condemning the abuse cases, crime against women and generally the status of women in the society. This is how we are. We don’t see the connection between the two.

Image source: Huffingtonpost
Honestly, I don’t feel we can change the mindset of current and past generations because it has taken shape over a period of time, influenced by numerous factors. But, future generation? Yes, I think so. As parents of the future generation we have big roles to play in shaping their attitude towards women.    

At the cost of sounding politically incorrect, let me confess that I wanted a son because frankly, growing up as a girl has taught me enough lessons to understand that I would not be able to offer her the opportunities and freedom that she deserves. But it looks like I have bargained for myself a much bigger task. There is no wisdom in teaching your daughter to not get raped. It is more relevant to teach our sons to respect other [men or women] individuals, and their opinions and choices. And this calls for a certain mindset which needs to be inculcated right from the time they are born.   

Sure, our sons will learn a lot from the outside world but there are several lessons that begin at home.

Perception of women
I have a house help who is a chatterbox. She will discuss all her personal issues and her thinking at length. She is sometimes accompanied by her 10 year old son. I get extremely uncomfortable when she starts talking about how she sees women responsible for every man who strays, how she believes a man is right in hitting his wife if she does something wrong? Is it any rocket science to foresee how her child would grow up to perceive women?

Status of Women at Home
I am a stay-at-home mom by choice, and I take immense pride in it. I am empowered to take that decision and my decisions are respected in my household. Nobody tells me my job is to cook and raise children. My husband and I have chosen our roles according to what we wanted. I wanted to raise our son my way. My husband cannot imagine he could stay home without going out to work. For the record, I don’t cook. I know how to cook. I have trained my help to do that for us. But I want to save that time for our son and myself. The thing is when a child sees that women are respected in his home, he would naturally imbibe that as a reality.

Relationship between parents
A child learns a lot about relationships from the relationship his parents share. How do they address each other? How do they fight? Are they respectful towards each other and each others’ views? Do they make sexist comments? Do they put each other down?

The language we speak
Like the example I mentioned in the beginning, there are several examples of sexist comments that could pass our lips if we are not careful and aware. For example, you would find many men commenting on women drivers on the road. It is clearly stereotyping and completely unjustified.

Communication with them
At the end of the day, no matter how careful we are, our sons would go out into the big bad world. They would meet uncles who would say, “Why are you hiding behind Mamma? Are you a girl?” He would meet friends who would pressurize them to “be a man”. Only a strong bond with their parents can give them confidence to swim against the tide.

I feel we have the power to create a better future for our kids, but we need to remember that when we are raising sensible girls, we also need to raise sensitive boys.

Related Posts:

Saturday, November 30, 2013

When The Days Are Long, But The Years Are Short

“The days are long, but the years are short.”  ―  Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

Though I am yet to read this bestseller, but I have often come across this quote. And I am sure you must have too [especially if you are on any kind of social media]. This quote comes back to me every now and then when I realize how fast my son is growing up.

It wasn’t too long ago, he wasn’t even there in our lives, and look now, our whole lives revolve around this person. It is hard to believe sometimes that the star of our lives, little D, is already 2!

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Pseudo-Expert

Recently, a friend [fed up of all the Facebook Shares that I do of my posts on Parentous, I am sure], raised his concerns about my ‘expert advices’. I will soon complete one year with Parentous, in December; and therefore, I take this opportunity to clarify that I have always been a contributor, never an expert.

If only, I had everything worked out in my mind, parenthood would not have been as challenging and as revealing as it actually is. He said, ‘for all the advices you dole out, who knows how your own son is going to turn out in future’. And he isn’t wrong. Frankly, I welcome [if not encourage] such comments because they help me take a step back from my situation and try to look at it objectively.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Brighter Side of this Diwali

Diwali is that part of the year when festivity is in the air. It is sort of a community festival. It is the only festival which we celebrate with zest. We are rather lazy in celebrating any other festival.

In this post, I am going to talk about the brighter side of this Diwali for me:

1. Books
You cannot avoid reading about books here, now can you? Well, the day we came back from our Rajasthan trip [just before Diwali], I had a bunch of books waiting for me [review books and one from Smita, gifted via Flipkart. Thanks a ton Smita for the lovely book J]. 
And that is how my Diwali began. But that’s not all. I ordered 2 more books for myself from Amazon because they had 50% offer going on some selected books. These two caught my eyes. Hope to read them next year!

2. The Corridor Wall

Image courtesy: Google
I am sure; those who have seen ‘Wake Up Sid’ will clearly remember this lovely wall from Konkona Sen’s home in the movie. I had fallen in love with this wall, and I was just waiting to replicate it at my home. I had done my corridor in a lighter hue of yellow, some 2 years back. Just before Diwali, I decided I should finally give it a try. 

I wanted to do something new for Diwali without spending too much. Well, the best thing about my husband is he is extremely cooperative in my creative pursuits. In fact, I would go on to say that usually I am the one who ideates, and he accomplishes. I had loads of cleaning to do, and yet I threw this idea on him. He had loads on his platter too, and yet he was extremely positive on this. The day we went for Diwali shopping, we also bought some wire from a hardware store on our way back. What was available was thicker than I wanted but I took it. I got the wire for Rs 80. Then we bought some brown chart paper for Rs 10. At night, the hubby drilled 2 nails on the wall, and wound the wires around it. It was not easy because the wires were quite thick and they are still not really sticking to the wall too much. I drew the birds and put them up on wires. This was also not as easy as it sounds. The process resulted in paints chipping off from many places owing to he adhesive. Those chip-offs have been camouflaged with the strategically placed birds ... ha ha!.

Here’s how the final thing looked [below]; all for below Rs 100 and some hard work. And the more I see it, the more I love it. There are several decals of wires and birds available in the market, but such raw feel appeals to me. Even all my photo collages are handmade from scratch. When you create something together, it has more meaning to it. 

3. Passing smiles

Money cannot buy happiness but it can bring some cheer to those who don’t have much. I do not really donate systematically. I give away money as and when I feel like it. But it looks like I should take it seriously now. Recently, I gave 100 bucks to an old lady who comes to pick up the garbage and she was so happy. I was thrilled but also embarrassed at the same time. I could have given her more. I realized how much we spend on a single lunch / dinner / coffee outside of home, which can otherwise add so much happiness to a person’s life. I think this thought is worth pursuing in the days to come.

On a lighter note, here is a conversation I had with my husband:
Me: Look, I think we should think about donating now in a planned way.
Him: Sure!
Image courtesy: Google
Me: To begin with, let us donate the money we spend on crackers from next year. It is so much better.
Him: Certainly, but that's just Rs 50!
[We don’t burst crackers, but hubby gets some every year in the hope that he would. Of course, I dissuade him before, during and after buying crackers. So, he never gets around to bursting them. This year, we got 2 sky lanterns believing they were eco-friendly but I just learnt that they are no less harmful for the environment. But I am glad I am passing on the message of 'saying no to crackers' to my son. He would say 'no, no, crackers!'].

4. Cleaning

If you know me, you would know how much I love cleaning my home. Cleaning is therapeutic for me. If I have time, the first thing I do is clean and organize everything. And Diwali brings the best excuse to do that. I completed a massive cleaning of the house, and loved every bit of it. The only thing that stopped me from going up the stairs every single time and getting into every nook myself was the toddler, who had to be held all the time as he was itching to get into trouble in all the cleaning frenzy.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Travelling With A Toddler: A Few Learnings

I know, several parents have already chronicled their travel experiences with kid/s here but I would still go ahead and offer my two pence on travelling with a toddler [mine is 2 years and 3 months old]. I am just back from an 8 day trip to Rajasthan. Barring the flights we took for reaching and leaving from Jaipur, rest all travelling involved road trips of long hours. We travelled to Jaipur-Pushkar-Ajmer-Jodhpur-Jaisalmer by road - one of the road trips lasting for as many as 10 hours! Had it been just the two of us, it would not have been as maddening as it eventually turned out to be. But sigh! You do and you learn. Not that I had not read hundreds of articles about travelling with toddlers but nothing can truly prepare you for the actual experience [much like having a baby].

Here are my learnings from this amazing trip on travelling with a toddler, which included air and road travel:

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

8 Reasons To Judge Other Mommies [and Daddies]

For this post and this post only, I forfeit all my claims of being non-judgmental of other people. I remember when I was a kid, my mom used to read a Hindi women’s magazine called Sarita. It had a section called ‘Mujhe Shikayat Hai’ or ‘I have complaints against’. This section used to be full of complaints against all and sundry on all kinds of issues. This post intends to accomplish a similar objective.  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Movie Review: Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

Image courtesy: IMDB
Ok, so this is not really a review. These are just my thoughts after I watched the movie.

Title: What is the connect between the title ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ and the story? Apart from the fact that all the main characters are young.

Genre: I don’t know where to slot this movie – coming of age? romance? friendship? I don’t think it fits in any of these genres.

Characters: There are 4 main characters and yet I don’t know anything much about any of them to empathize. I don’t know why Ranbir Kapoor’s character is running away from his family or why he sometimes becomes very irritating. I don’t feel for him at all. I don’t know much about Deepika Padukone’s character except that she leaves on a whim for a Manali trek because she suddenly realizes she isn’t having enough fun. We don’t know her past and neither do we know anything about her when they all meet for Kalki’s wedding. Kalki’s character is very cool. She is a no-nonsense girl who puts her act together enough to decide to settle down. She looked most sorted and yet we don’t get to know enough of her too. And the least said of Aditya Kapur’s character, the better. I don’t know why all the reviews are going ga-ga about his act in the movie. He looked quite caricaturish [if such word exists]. His shaking of head on every dialogue delivery was quite funny. I don’t know why he spirals into gambling and drinking, spelling doom for himself.

Story: The geek / simple girl-next-door has somehow become very fascinating for the hero, who is a charmer, a compulsive flirt and a very cool guy. Take ‘Cocktail’ or this movie. The moment this girl starts dancing in gay abandon, the cool guy falls for her. He does not know anything about her; I don’t even remember if they mentioned what kind of doctor she was. Nevertheless.

Songs: The Ghagra song was completely forced. Neither was it required, nor Madhuri Dixit was required. I love 'Balam Pichkari' and to some extent 'Badtameez Dil'. I don't recall any other song.

Takeaway: After thinking for a while, I finally decided that the best thing about the movie was the last interaction between Deepika and Ranbir, when they both argue that they find happiness in different kind of things. Ranbir feels that she or others are jealous because he gets to travel to such exotic locales but she puts him in his place by saying that she much prefers the warmth of her family and the feeling of belonging that her home provides. I personally belong to the second school of thought. I like travelling to new places, getting to know about culture and history but I like being rooted in my home for majority of the time.

Actors: I think both Ranbir and Deepika had very non-challenging roles. But after Cocktail, I think Deepika is getting better with every movie [just to digress a little, have you seen Ram Leela’s trailer? Mind blowing!]. Kalki has done well in her role. I absolutely did not like Aditya Kapur’s acting. Tanvi Azmi in her 2 frame role was super-awesome.

Moral of my story: I am always hard pressed for time. I love watching movies but they are not my priority. I prefer reading and writing in all my free time. So, I am very particular about the kind of movies I watch. I would not say that I wasted my time on this movie; it was strictly OK. I usually like movies which leave me with thoughts. My husband insists that since I am thinking so much about this movie, it sure did inspire thoughts in me; but I don't agree. 

What is your take on the movie?

P.S. I finally created my Facebook Page. Check it out Here.

Friday, September 13, 2013

10 Takeaways from 'Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids'

I just finished reading this wonderful book called ‘Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting’ by Dr. Laura Markham. That does not mean I yell. OK, sometimes I do. But the reason I like reading these books is that I don’t want my inadequacies to influence my child’s life.

Books cannot teach you how to raise a child, but they can certainly offer rational and inspiring insights to become a better parent, and therefore a better person.

This book essentially believes in the simple philosophy that kids are people too, and they deserve empathy, respect and connection. See, on the face of it, we all agree with this philosophy but when we are really having a tough time, we get caught up in ‘trying to discipline’ or ‘teaching the right thing’ or such trappings of being a parent. 

Friday, September 06, 2013

An Eye for An Eye?

The other day, we were on our daily evening stroll – my 2-year old son [D] and I. We met another lady from our building with her son, who is 2.5 years old. I was aware about her son’s habit of hitting other kids, but I let the kids play. All my son, who is yet to go to school or properly be in the company of other young kids, wanted to do was run around with the other kid. Let us call him P. His mother is a nice lady, of happy disposition. Now, D would call out to P to run around and hide and generally play. But every time he would be close to P, P would push him. Twice my son fell because of being pushed, but he did not pay much attention to it, got up and continued playing. Thankfully, he wasn’t hurt.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

The Good News. The Bad News.

Note: I must tell you right away that the 'Good News' has nothing to do with babies :-)

Image courtesy:
Let me get 'the Bad News' out of my way first. I have often declared my absolute love for the Indian edition of the international celebrity magazine 'PEOPLE'. Well folks, apparently, only I have been reading this magazine; and they decided even if I subscribe it for the rest of my life, it is not going to be profitable enough.So, I get a message that the magazine has been discontinued and the subscription money has been converted into gift voucher. Now, what will you buy with an Outlook Group's Gift Voucher? Outlook Magazines! I thought I would subscribe to Marie Clare atleast, and then I started imagining how it was fate leading me to this magazine, and how I will fall so much in love with this that I will completely forget about PEOPLE. Nothing of that sort happened because even Marie Clare India has been shown the door. So, I was left with only Outlook, Traveller, Business, Money or Hindi options. Marta Kya Na Karta, I decided to go ahead with the Outlook. There is far more chances of reading Outlook than any other of its sister magazines. To be honest, I read the last few pages usually - the movie review, the book excerpt, Glitterati and last page. 

Now 'the Good News'. Well, few days back I received an email from Indu Sundaresan
Image courtesy: GoodReads
herself. Her 'the Feast of Roses' and 'the Twentieth Wife' are my absolute favourite books. She gathered that I had reviewed both these books on my book blog and she wanted to check if I would like to review her latest book 'the Mountain of Light', which is due to be released in October. Needless to say that I jumped at the opportunity. Would you believe that I added her books to my wish list on GoodReads, the same day? Anyways, another embarrassing thing was that apparently she had also read my impulsive outburst on the news of 'The Twentieth Wife' getting made into a TV-serial called Malikaa. But I hope she understood that it was only my love for the book that made me so skeptical. She assured that this particular series is time-bound and not expected to spiral into never-ending drama, and it has also been produced well. The best thing about books getting translated into serials or movies is that it improves book's sales.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Need of the Hour

The issue about which I want to write today has less to do with Parenting and more to do with the Society at large. But you cannot deny that it is closely related.

In the wake of the recent rape cases in Mumbai, Delhi, everywhere; I strongly believe that apart from strict laws, there are 2 things we must focus on.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Roots & Wings

"There are two things we should give our children: one is roots and the other is wings." Hodding Carter

Sounds so beautiful, doesn’t it? But what exactly does it mean? I found this beautiful interpretation by Dr Laura Markham that says as parents we must provide a strong foundation or anchor to our kids so that they feel emotionally secure, and therefore feel confident enough to spread their wings [be independent].

Now ‘independence’ in kids is often misconstrued.   

Friday, August 16, 2013

Letting Go

Image courtesy:
Letting go is not easy, especially of the things which have been part of your personality for long. But sometimes in life, you have to let go to make room for something new, something more important, sometimes more fulfilling. 

There are a few things I am extremely passionate about. I have been very rigid about those things. Till now. But I have been thinking lately about them and thought it is time to let go of them - fully / partially / for now whatever!

1. Books
Yes, I am planning to let go of a few of my books, to make room for so many wonderful books which are finding way to my home. With the pace at which I buy books and receive them for reviews, I am in desperate need of more space. Moreover, I hardly ever re-read my books, not even the best of them. So, why hoard? Today, I even found time to go through them and take about 50 of those out [also because I have bought the most number of books this week, easily above 20]. Not surprisingly, 98% of the books which are going away are from Fiction. 

2. Keeping things in Order
I have been extremely fixated about it, for as long as I can remember. Hubby would be waiting at the lift, to go to office together, and I would be quickly putting the last few cushions on their places. My husband would ask me why I cribbed all the time about not having enough time to read, and I would be embarrassed to tell him that I used most of that 'free' time in putting all things on their places, even if it was only till the toddler woke up. I was also getting worked up in the process because at the end of the day, the fact remains that in a home with a toddler things are not going to be at their places. So, I decided, instead of wasting too much of my energy on this, I would rather focus on basic cleanliness and order; and ditch the need to keep things in absolute order for a few years. I should rather use that energy in keeping up with my toddler son who is in a very exciting age right now. And absolute orderliness can make way for precious memories that we will build together!

Image courtesy:
3. That no matter how much I try, my son may not eventually become a book lover
I thought I should stop obsessing about making my son a book lover. Of course, I am doing everything that is possible but I should stop believing that if I did not raise a reader, I would fail as a parent [ok, that is taking it too far]. The only thing I should care about is that he should have passion in life, whatever it may be for. Reading is a wonderful habit but only one of many.

When you let go, you feel empowered. I am ready to embrace the new things life brings. And of course, letting go makes you free :-)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Crafty Dad

So, far I have blown my own trumpet for sometime now, about how crafty and creative I am [without showing anything to support my claim]. But let me tell you, the dad in the house is super hands-on. He is the kind of guy who loves his tool boxes, in all shapes and sizes. He also loves building / making things. 

Sample this: a paper cutter and some thermocol pieces from the packaging of our washing machine...and voila he made this neat little plane. 

I am so much in love with this cute plane. This picture does only partial justice to how good this looks in real life. No amount of cajoling and persuasion could make my husband click this for me. He sometimes get really bugged about my near-obsession of clicking everything. But can you blame me? Once this goes into the hands of the toddler, I don't think it is going to look like this ever again :-)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Is Woman a Property?

It was a simple incident but a sort-of an eye-opener. My neighbour called me up to sign as a witness in her passport application papers. The police men who had come for verification asked my name. I told them my name. Then one of them asked me to tell him my full name. I repeated my name. He wrote my first name and then asked my husband's name. Then it dawned on me that he was going to write my husband's name as the middle name. I have noticed my father's name in my mobile bill earlier as my middle name.

Image courtesy:
Although it was obvious, I still initiated this discussion with my Bai [help] since she is from this State. She said this is the norm here, and it has always been like this. You have your father's name with your name before marriage and your husband's name after your marriage. I said "wow! as in the case of property transfer?" She was bewildered. But tell me, isn't it so? First you are the property of your father and then your husband! In fact, more importantly, among Bais, several are married to good-for-nothing guys. So, they run the household with their money, and yet are essentially properties of their husbands!

I told her 'isn't it wrong?'. She said 'but it has been so forever now, and this is something which will never go'. Frankly speaking her thoughts are amusing to someone like me. She comes up with gems like 'a woman is always responsible when a guy has affairs outside of marriage, either the wife or the other woman. But always the woman'. I will dwell into this some other time. 

She was most surprised to know that I mostly used my maiden name. She said she has never heard this before. But frankly, this is the norm these days for several working women. There are too many hassles in getting the name changed on all the places. Some part of retaining our maiden names is convenience. 

I have also heard of certain castes where the girl is given a different name after marriage [in a way new identity]. When are we going to stop being someone's properties, I often wonder?

Friday, August 09, 2013

Why I Decide To Quit?

… my job, that is. It is a question I often get asked, explicitly or implicitly. I have addressed it many times in different places in different ways.

Let us just begin with the fact that it is easy to get stereotyped in this world. No offence. I have also been guilty of judging other people on perceptions.

So, here’s the story of a Stay-at-home-Mom [a.k.a me] who did not quit her job because she was about to have a baby; but one way or the other that’s what eventually happened.

Social Media and Parenting woes

Facebook Parenting is destroying our child's privacy - I read this article few days back, and it almost echoes my own concerns about rampant use of social media in general, and Facebook in particular, for sharing personal information. I have written about it in my post titled 'How Much Should We Share' earlier. 

I wouldn't say I haven't done it myself before. In the beginning I was extremely cautious of what I share on internet but later on, after I got used to the social media platforms and more importantly, when I saw others sharing their personal photographs and details, I considered it OK too. 

But being a parent is a different ball game altogether. You start looking at things differently. You start questioning your every move, about its implications on your child. 
Image courtesy:

When I see so many mommy bloggers around, sharing such beautiful moments with pictures on their blogs; I feel like doing it too. But I resist. I have a physical diary, to similar effect. When I discussed with my husband, if I should write a mommy blog too; he convinced me that a physical diary in my own handwriting will be much more precious for my child to have later on. 

Here are a few reasons why I don't support putting up excessive information or photographs of our children on the internet [or any platforms for that matter]:
  • I don't want to put my child's life out there in public domain. Sharing embarrassing situations are definitely a no-no, but I am much more cautious beyond that, in the amount of information I am posting on the internet. Because as the article also says, once you have put some information online, it stays forever. It is not so simple as deleting a post. If you need a proof, go and Google your images. You will find a lot images which you have deleted from your profiles.
  • I don't know how my child is going to turn out. He may become an introvert. In that case, will he like me sharing every piece of his life to public? I want to protect that right of my child to decide what kind of information he wants to share with the public. Who am I to decide?
  • And most importantly, what I find most disturbing is: "Children grow up learning that posting pictures of one's self and sharing personal information is typical. We've created a sense of normality about a world where what's private is public. The sense of being entitled to privacy has been devalued." [text in inverted commas quoted from the article]
Having said that, I am not going to keep my child away from internet. In fact, I plan to introduce him to blogging as soon as possible. If used wisely, it is an excellent medium to express without being judged. What more can a child ask for!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

A Few Good Friends

Friendship Day, unexpectedly, turned out good this year. I have 4 close friends, who have been part of my life, one time or the other. I have some very special memories of them, with them. When I think about special friends, it is them who I remember.

Keeping Memories
A & S: They are my childhood buddies. A has really been one [our dads are also best friends] while S has been a buddy who I have known since childhood. I got close to S after we went separate ways after Class 10th. With them, I am in a space, where I can pick up my phone and call them up even if I haven’t called them in a while.

S messaged me on Friendship Day, and that really set me into action. I could not talk to her but I let her know that she remains one of my favorite friends.  I always enjoy our easy banter whenever we talk, and god willing, I might meet her this month.

I did manage to call up A before the day ended. I had been guilty of ignoring her calls for a while [not really ignoring but not getting time to call her back]. I admire her a lot. She has literally picked up the pieces of her life and turned things around. She works in a Public Sector Bank now and doing well professionally. Though I often pull her leg about being the khadoos aunty types of Public sector bank, but in my heart I respect her to take up the challenges life threw at her and come out with flying colours.

L & E: They were my room-mates during Graduation. L was my batch mate while E was a year senior. Both are married now and have a daughter each. Both of them are around the place where we studied but not at the same place. 

I messaged E remembering the old times [she had recently spoken to me]. I hadn't spoken to L for about 1.5 years. I don’t know why! I had her number which I wasn't sure was working. I asked E for her number. Luckily she sent me 2 numbers. The first number was switched off but the second number was picked up by the lady herself. It is called destiny. If you are meant to do something, you would. Anyways, we did a quick catch-up on what was happening in our respective lives. It was good to hear her voice.

Although all of them are my close friends, Friendship Day specifically reminds me of L. When we were in hostel together, Friendship Day used to be special. We would always get something for each other – small things but memorable and special. Every year, I would write something for her, which she would get emotional reading. We always made it a point to talk to each other on Friendship Day, after we passed out of college. But life took its course. Things happened in my life and things happened in her life. And we lost touch. But I know, on Friendship Day, she waits for my call as I wait for hers. She has called me up when I was hoping but wasn't expecting; and this year I made it even.

I have written about L here and here.  

I have written about all 4 of them here also.

You may wonder, why I don't have any close guy friends. I don't have any logical explanation. I had only one guy best friend ever, which was during my post graduation. I was wise enough to marry him ;-)

I have written about him here.

So, how was your Friendship Day?

Friday, August 02, 2013

Now TV serials inspired by Books

I am a big fan of Bollywood gossip, but I avoid reading about TV stars. I don't recognize most of them. So, yesterday I almost didn't read this article [see pictures on the right and below] about how 'the Twentieth Wife' by Indu Sundaresan is being adapted for small screen. The serial is called 'Malikaa'. All I could find on the net was these pictures from the launch of the serial.

I am a huge fan of the book 'The Twentieth Wife', and Indu Sundaresan's writing in general. 'The Twentieth Wife' is the first book in a trilogy based on Mughal era [predominantly the story of Noorjahan]. The second and third books are called 'The Feast of Roses' and 'Shadow Princess' respectively. I have reviewed 'The Twentieth Wife' and 'The Feast of Roses' on my Book blog

I am ok with a movie based on a book. It is interesting to see how a book is adapted for celluloid but I am extremely wary about such wonderful books getting adapted for TV serials. Many serials are started with a basic idea. Usually the idea is novel and exciting but you cannot dole out a daily serial out of one novel idea for a couple of years, which is the usual duration favoured by production houses. It loses steam after sometime, and since it has good TRP, the makers would want to make the best out of a winning serial on hand. Unnecessary, unreasonable and illogical twists and turns eventually spoils the essence of serial. I would hate that to happen to my favourite book :-( 

Ammaji [Meghna Malik]
Image courtesy:
Of what I have read, Noorjahan or Mehrunissa was a powerful and intelligent woman, but this is not how I have ever pictured her. That posture is too masculine [see picture above on the left]. Why must a woman need to behave like a man to claim power? Is that the assumption with which we are starting this serial? I am already depressed. I know, I know, I am sounding too cynical without having seen anything of it, but still. Moreover, if you look at the book cover images, they show a beautifully decked up, very feminine woman. So, I find a disconnect. And that posture reminds me of Ammaji of 'Na Aana Is Des Meri Laado' [see picture on the left].
The Twentieth Wife
by Indu Sundaresan
Image courtesy:

I don't watch TV so I am not going to watch it anyways but I will be looking out for the reviews and friends' opinions. I have written only about 'Malikaa' but the newspaper article says quite a lot of serials are taking inspiration from books due to the dearth in new ideas. For example, Saraswatichandra is an Indian soap opera currently airing on Star Plus & DD National. The series is based upon the Gujarati novel Saraswatichandra by Govardhanram Tripathi [source: Wikipedia]. To me, it looks like a cross between Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas. 

So, what do you think about this new trend?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Retrospection [UBC Post 31]

Participating in 'the Ultimate Blog Challenge July 2013' was an amazing and rewarding experience in more ways than one. My thoughts:
Image courtesy:
  • 31 posts in 31 days! In fact, I have written 10 posts in 3 days, and they all are proper posts. That in itself is a feat. Didn't I tell you I am the most productive at the last moment?
  • Writing so much was fun. I love writing. I was never skeptical that I will not be able to complete it. It actually made me realize that the more we write, the better writer we become, and more ideas keep flowing. So, need to keep the momentum. I might just take up another Challenge, who knows!
  • These Challenges have breathed a new life into this blog. It was neglected for so long. I have been writing here since my MBA days, so I never thought I would abandon it. 
  • I found some new, interesting blogs. I am yet to read them properly but they have been added to my reading list. 
  • When everyone was writing a post daily (on an average), there was very less time to hop around the blogs. So, that is on my agenda right now.
  • This Challenge was much better than the others because everyone was free to write what they wanted. So, I read some very interesting posts. 
  • Book reviews are the top priority next month. I need to finish a lot of reviews fast. And I am a little behind in my GoodReads Challenge, so need to get focused on that now. 
  • And the best part is that my IndiRank has never been this good. I am at 82, and loving it. 
So, lovely people, thank you for reading. See you around :-)

Note: Special thank yous for Smita and Shilpa. They always pick up the Challenge. I follow.

5 of My Most Favourite Gifts from the ever thoughtful Husband [UBC Post 30]

My husband gives most thoughtful gifts. He would consider the personality, interests and orientation of a person while gifting to him or her. And therefore, the onus of buying gifts for anyone and everyone lies on him. 

I love all his gifts. He usually gives a couple of gifts so that if I don't like 1 thing, I would have other things to fall back on. But that situation hasn't come. I have loved everything that he has got for me - bags, shirts, t-shirts, jewellery, furniture, even book [once]. 

But a few things top the list:

1. Bookshelf
I have a bookshelf which we bought the year we got married. Considering the rate at which I buy books, it was overflowing. So, we discussed, we would get another one matching our bedroom wardrobe. This discussion was at discussion stage only. And voila, I get this bookshelf, delivered on my birthday as the clock struck 12 am. When the bell rang, I was anticipating the usual cake and flowers; but when I saw this I did not know how to react. It has been the best gift ever, from anyone for that matter.

2. Mangalsutra
I am not a jewellery person. I hardly ever wear any jewellery much to my
mother's dismay because I don't look married enough (or prosperous enough I guess). I have never bought any 
jewellery ever for myself. The only piece of jewellery I ever bought was a diamond ring for my husband when we got married. But I was thinking of buying a short Mangalsutra which will go with everything - jeans, casuals, salwar-kurta - for everyday wear. I had shared this thought with my hubby. And I got it on our Anniversary, after a couple of months. I wasn't even expecting it. I love to wear it all the time.

3. Laptop
I got a laptop on my birthday this May. I was kind of expecting it, what with hints thrown everywhere. But I really wanted a laptop for being able to write more comfortably. Writing on a Tab is really cumbersome.

4. Samsung Tab
After I had baby, my days and nights were spent in feeding or taking care of the new baby. It was difficult, rather inconvenient, to keep a laptop around. The ever thoughtful hubby bought this Samsung Tab for me so that I can keep myself occupied in internet surfing or reading during those long hours. 

5. Kurta
I had bought red cotton trousers from Cotton World, on a whim. But I did not like anything to go with it. It kept gathering dust in my wardrobe because I had not got anything to wear with it. My anniversary was approaching and I had nothing to wear [as usual], then I suddenly remembered these pair of trousers. But the same problem persisted. Nothing to go with it. I had only a few days in hand as we were going out-of-town. Hubby told me to order something online. I would surf all the sites - from Jabong to Yebhi, from Inkfruit to Myntra - but nothing seemed perfect. I had lost all hope about wearing it. Finally when we were packing for the trip, the husband gave me this kurta, which he ordered from Inkfruit [I think]. I love it. It goes perfectly with these trousers.

Toddler Times [UBC Post 29]

Life with a Toddler is challenging, fascinating and thoroughly entertaining. What they are capable to do and able to grasp amaze me every single day!

Here is a list of things the toddler in the house does these days. This one is for memories’ sake:

Alphabets: We bought the mega blocks set after much thought and it turns out to be total paisa-vasool. For last couple of months now he has been playing only with these blocks for hours. Saying 'Papa aao, Mamma aao, tower'. Now we have  moved on to making Alphabets. I don’t really remember how it all started. Perhaps I made ‘T’, I don’t remember. Perhaps he joined blocks and it looked like ‘T’, so I said so. I showed him in his ABCD book what ‘T’ was. And then there was no looking back. Barring a few alphabets, he recognizes most of them. Obviously that feels good because I never tried teaching him ABCD in terms of rattofying it. It is better when they learn from their own interest and free will. He makes simple ones and asks me to make the ones he can’t, with his blocks.

Colours: Like alphabets, I was never hell bent on teaching him colours. But we consciously asked him to hand us over certain colours when playing with blocks. Few months back, we had observed that he would match colours while playing with blocks. So, we knew he understood the different colours but could not really identify them. And guess which colour he started identifying first? Orange! He pronounces it as ‘Anela’ for some reason. It is his favourite colour at the moment. He says Orange, Yellow, Purple, Green, Black in his own language but no Red. He hasn’t come around to saying ‘R’ properly so far. So, he can’t pronounce Mumma’s name but that’s Okay.

Vocabulary: It is amazing how his vocabulary is expanding leaps and bounds. He repeats almost everything that we say. In order to have a discussion between us, we now have to spell out the key words so that he wouldn’t understand what we are talking about. Ha ha! One day he told me ‘hat hat’ [move]. May be he picked it up from our cleaning bai. I told him, ‘you should say hatiye’. Another time, I told him ‘hato’. You know what he told me? ‘Hatiye’. It was so cute. One day he was asking for something from his dad [he needs everything that we pick up and that very moment]. He was saying ‘do do’ [give]. Daddy asked him, ‘shouldn’t you say something else when you want something?’ Then he remembered and said ‘Papa pease [please] dijiye’
I would like to think that reading to him from when he was only a few months old, helped him. Because I have read and heard from friends and family that boys start talking much later. It is how they are wired.

Identifying alphabets: Now he tries to identify alphabets everywhere – newspaper, books, packaging, toothpaste, magnets, t-shirts, keyboard! It is incredibly cute. Of course, all kids do that. But it is an exciting phase for us. He will pick up my books and read the upper case alphabets.

Mock reading: He mock-reads these days. You just have to tell him to read something, he would start yapping gibberish. It is actually a good sign. Sometimes we find him looking intently at newspapers as if he is reading. Many times when we are reading, he would pick up the newspaper and start pointing the text and start mouthing gibberish. He would point t every single text, even going back to something he missed.

Mimicking us: Like all kids his age, he mimicks us all the time. He would do dusting like the aunty who cleans. He would try to fold clothes, arrange things like Mumma. He would put clothes in the washing machine like us. And he would do things with complete attention and focus.

Doing chores: We have always involved him in putting his toys and books back. Sometimes he likes to do, sometimes he does not. That’s okay. But I make it clear that Mumma is only helping him. Many times he would clear out toys and books on his own, putting them properly back to their respective places. We would ask him to arrange cushions or get the bowl or glass or put the bowl near sink after he is done or hand over washed clothes for drying, etc. Kids are naturally inclined to do things out of curiosity. We are just trying to get him into the habit of doing chores around the house like all of us. 

Image courtesy:
Favourite Food: He likes rice and daal. He can eat chapatti on his own and on good days he would also eat chapati with vegetables, otherwise we feed him chapati and veggies separately. He absolutely loves dry fruits and all kinds of fruits. Even if by mistake we dropped ‘kaju’, ‘kishmish’ in our discussion, we have to give it to him. He loves Milk. He is very open to tasting new food. He likes Pasta in white sauce, cheese, etc. The only thing is if we feed him something remotely spicy, he will not eat another morsel. But surprisingly, he will keep on hogging bhujiya sev despite being spicy! I have not given him too much of chocolates, biscuits, packaged namkeens, wafers so far. Of course, he has tasted them and eats them every now and then but that’s about it. I stop everyone from handing him chocolates. Ya, I know I am very mean, but what to do!

I have stopped reading about developmental milestones because I feel they are different for each child. My experience so far tells me children naturally learn whatever skills are required. I never put him in walker, he started walking on his own and quite early. I never supported him to sit; he started doing that on his own. No sleep training either. I love walking him around to sleep when I am not too tired. Sometimes he will tell me ‘Mumma, aaa aa aa”. Many times he will doze off on his own. So, I know he is doing fine and he will keep doing so. After all, it is a natural process.