Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Baby on Board

Traveling with a kid and worried about how to pack up everything? No worries! Okay, honestly, worry a little, because there is a good news and a bad news! Lets get done with the bad news first. There is a lot, literally lot of packing to do. And here is the real bad news, if you forget even a single thing, it will leave you with quite a few panic stricken moments! Now the good news! I have a check list of things to ensure you pack everything! Rest assured it has everything as I travel almost every month with my child. He stays put weekend-to-weekend at his grand parents' place and I continue my work travel plans during the weekdays in between. I have been doing this since my kid was one month old. So trust me when I say I have everything on this list, I do have everything on the list.

Last minute packing (Say about 30 mins before you start the journey)

  • Feed for the journey 
  • Feed after the journey (I am always prepared with an extra feed, just in case the journey gets prolonged)
  • Regular medicines
  • Medicine measures and feeders
  • Water bottle / Sipper 
  • Potty/ Potty Seat
  • Sterilizer (until feeding bottles are used) 
Journey packing (I suggest start packing the night before)
  • Day out bag*
  • Food kit*
  • Bath kit*
  • Grooming kit*
  • Cleaning kit* (Laundry and utensils)
  • Clothes kit*
  • Sleeping kit*
  • Car seat
  • Selected few toys (preferably small in size)
  • SOS Medicines + Medical File
  • Pram (Optional)
  • Camera (Optional)
* Day out Bag
  • Diapers
  • Wet wipes
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Dusting powder
  • Diaper disposable bags
  • Water bottle / Sipper
  • Hand sanitizer
  • One set of change over clothes
  • One cuddler
  • Feed
  • Laundry bag 
  • Favorite toys or books
* Food Kit
  • Spoons
  • Bowls
  • Glass or Sipper
  • Bibs & Napkins
  • Multi purpose seat (only for babies under 8 months)
  • Sterlizer (only if the baby is using bottles)
* Bath Kit
  • Massage oil
  • Massage mat
  • Tooth brush
  • Tooth Paste (Baby)
  • Soap + Shampoo
  • Eau de colon
  • Towels sets
  • Potty/ Potty seat
* Grooming kit
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Body lotion
  • Moisturizer (Nevia)
  • Antiseptic cream (Kailas jeevan)
  • Nail Cutter
  • Nose cleaner
  • Hair brush
  • Dusting powder
* Cleaning kit (Laundry and utensils)
  • Bottle brush and scrub
  • Utensil cleaner (better have your own)
  • Detergent (If you use a different one for your baby)
  • Dettol/ Savlon
  • Tray to store your utensils
* Clothes Kit
  • Home ware
  • Party ware
  • Warm ware
  • Nappies/ UGs
  • Diapers
  • Socks
  • Shoes/ Floaters
* Sleeping Kit
  • Blankets
  • Bed covers
  • Cuddlers
  • Quick Dry (Till your baby is not potty trained)
  • Cushion (If your baby needs one)
Happy journey and a super peaceful mind! The feeling of being prepared and all set is indeed very good! 

Monday, 30 November 2015

Interdependence is a Virtue!

I  have spent too much time distinguishing between independence and interdependence. Spent more time in confusing between the two and further more time on justifying how independence was the winner. But fighting against something so profound and true is a lost battle even before it begins.

Almost 10 years back, while doing an exercise with my mentor on "Personal Values", we had this discussion. I still remember every little detail of that conversation! He had asked me to write down what I stand for. "Independence" happened to be among the top 3 choices on my list. With a curious smile my mentor asked me "Why independence?" I had a long list of reasons why I chose independence - how I want to be on my own, not dependent on anyone for anything, have a solid career, and a lot more. He was still smiling (That smile, so curious and yet so assuring!) He asked me "Are you mixing up Self Sufficiency with Independence? Why are you not choosing Interdependence? It is a real virtue you know?" I certainly had a moment of rethinking my choice, but then, gave up as I was in the justification mode! I said interdependence calls for dependence and I don't want that. His smile transformed into a little laugh and he said "I get your perspective, but try to find why interdependence is a virtue and independence is not!"

Since this conversation, I have experienced every bit of it to be true! Why interdependence doesn't mean you depend on someone, as I thought it would be when I justified against it. The first requirement for interdependence is being able to fly solo! Interdependence cannot flourish in the absence of self sufficiency! You have to be self sufficient in order to benefit the true effects of interdependence. It is not complementing, it is co-creating. It emphasizes that 'we' is better than 'me'. Only when you are truly self sufficient, you understand the efforts of another self sufficient person and this type of team works wonders! On the other hand, independence has no scope for accommodating someone else. It is isolation and indifference to everything else but oneself. Sometimes I feel realization is that one thing which causes enlightenment and embarrassment at the same time!

Now I know why his smile was so curious, and what he meant! Independence comes from arrogance and Interdependence comes from modesty. Modesty that stems from contributing to a greater cause and respecting someone else's contribution to that cause! Someone rightly said, a true mentor shows you where to look, but never shows you what to see! It was for me to find out that you achieve nothing doing everything alone, it is the other way round, you cannot grow without people around you!

p.s: Sorry Sir, it took me so long to understand what was hidden in your curious smile! 

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Little joys of life!

Rush hours, back to back travels, year end pressures, ups and downs in performances, unexpected breakdowns, juggling family and work life, craving for that get away with your partner... Stop! I said to myself a few months back! This is always going to be like this and it is endless. More often than not, I do love it this way, that is the reason it has been working and fulfilling me for almost a decade now! But not accepting it is an overload sometimes, isn't going to stop it from being an overload sometimes! Since then I decided to stop finding time for a few things and just do them instead. Initially, I thought I was wasting time, but then, why kill yourself for a few moments spent randomly? Self criticism can sometimes hold you back a little too much! Honestly, doing these things have given me a great booster and raised my spirits instantly!
  • Having "Our" time - My Partner, Kid and I! (This is one of my favorites and we do it every weekend!)
  • Take a few photos or videos of my child and share it with his grand parents (I do it almost every week more because it makes the grand parents happy!)
  • Snuggling up with my partner (We get to do this only on the weekends and try not to miss it!)
  • Writing as a break between work (One of my frequent little joys!)
  • Sleeping a little more than other days
  • Pick up my child early from the day care and have"Our Time"
  • Having bed tea with my partner
  • Chatting with an old friend just out of the blue
  • Walk my dog and talk to him
  • Dress up for a party without the party
  • Make myself something sweet and have it sitting in my window box
  • Give away at least one item not in use from my home or wardrobe (I am a neat freak. Check my post on this over here!)
  • Browsing for the destination of our next vacation (We plan to travel 2-3 times a year)
  • Updating my list of "To buy" things from discounts (I buy only during discounts)
  • Update my gym music playlist
  • Download and sort the photos from phone and camera
  • Visit the rarely viewed folders on my computer, sort them, revive a few things
  • Read blogs or articles online
I do these things in no particular order and never more than one on the same day! In fact, the effects of doing one of these lasts for many days! What is more, they are not at all time consuming! Come to think of it, they are so little things but are incredibly joyful! No wonder you don't need money for little joys of life!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

For the love of Local Food

In the last few months, a lot of people I know are traveling abroad for a vacation. This also follows suite the "big problem" - packing food supplies. In fact, that is exactly how I came to know that they are traveling soon and needed my advice on stocking up food. (Clearly a wrong choice to ask someone who lives on local food where ever I go!) They might be asking because I have visited the places on their itinerary. I am always amazed by the need to stock up on food while traveling for pleasure. I mean, isn't exploring a new place includes the local food as well? Since, my experience of people needing food stocks during travels are much more than people who rely on local food, I am dedicating this post on my love for "Local Food" and its benefits.

Health benefit of local food is that it is grown, cooked and consumed in the same region and climate. It is fresh, cooked with the recipes of that region (lets not forget, staple foods are tagged that way for a reason!) so naturally you digest them better. Someone once told me, "The only feeling better than emptying your filled bladder is emptying your bowels!" Jokes sometimes are hilariously true! Processed food, packed food, preservatives may satisfy your inhibition of trying new flavors, but they will ruin your pleasure when you'll be constipated or gassy or upset with food arrangements all the time! Honestly, if your reason of not wanting to try local food is uncertainty about the tastes, you are only fooling yourselves. Something which is passed on by generations together, plus treated as delicacy of that region has to be brilliant! It is only a matter of how you let your inhibitions rule your mind!

Financial benefit of local food is that it is cheaper than carrying food or eating at places where they serve non-local food. You may call such restaurants as "Exotic Cuisine" or something equally fancy, but when you get the bill, it does disturb your pockets! You'd rather spend that money on experiences pertaining to that place than on food! Personally, I always love to eat at the little local food outlets where you not only get delicious food at reasonable rates, but also get a hang of regular city life! It makes your stay that much more amalgamated.

Think about this, food is something that adds spice in your life (Pun intended!) Keeping mind games to mind can help you make your stay and experience totally worth it! We carry baggage, inhibitions and prejudices in so many areas, sometimes even unknown to us. At least, eliminate food from that list and be open for new experiences! Set your taste buds free! There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind! (How I wish I said that, thank you C. S. Lewis!)

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Tummy Talks

This blog's photo is not what you think it is. It's really not what you think it is! I am not at all promoting over eating! In fact it's just the opposite! I have around 6-7 meals every day and hence the need to plan. Unfortunately we realize weight gain rather late (No, it does't happen suddenly!) and so it feels that losing weight takes hell lot of time. In the pursuit of losing weight, we forget that most difficult is to maintain your ideal weight! My grand father once told me that consistency in your weight for a long time is a definite sign of being healthy! It is good to remember that as I have always been in the normal BMI band (even as a chubby teenager!) I have been in the 2 kgs plus minus ideal weight since the year 2000. I put on 12 kgs during my pregnancy and lost all of it in the next year going back to the ideal weight I had since 2000. The only reason I am sharing this is to emphasize what I am saying is tried and tested! If it worked for me for almost 15 years now, chances are more that it might work for you too!

A few of my rules that have worked wonders!
  • Eat within first 10 to 20 minutes of waking up in the morning. (This is the time I usually eat a fruit or cereals)
  • Eat every 2-3 hours! Sometimes even less if your body tells you to! 
  • Eat 2 hours before you sleep at night. 
  • Only eat while eating! No multi-tasking please. You don't realize you are eating and how much you are eating if you eat on the go, in front of the TV, while reading something, are you getting what I mean? So sit down and eat, this takes only 5 minutes if you are having a mid meal or 10-15 minutes if you are having lunch or dinner! 

Breakfast, Lunch, High Tea and Dinner 
  • Eat everything! Food is heaven and can be healing if you let it! 
  • Moderation including moderation is the key! There's no point in eliminating some food items just because they are supposedly fattening! Have them in moderation, break them up as your mid meals! 
  • Serve yourselves. Pick up only how much you want. It saves you the guilt of over eating under the pretext of not throwing away the food on your plate. 

Mid meals that I pack for the day -
  • Fruits (I have mostly Apple and Banana - its just very convenient to carry.)
  • Phutane or Channa 
  • Dry fruits (1 Date, 2 Almonds, 2 Walnuts, 1 fig and 10 black raisins)
  • Cheese slices 
  • Cereals and milk
  • One glass of whole milk
  • Khakra or dried rotis
  • Sandwich
  • Roti roll
One last bit for this post - please wait for at least 4 weeks before you judge if this eating pattern works for you or not! Remember, slow results are long lasting results! 

Friday, 9 October 2015

Beating around the bush

"I feel my day is wasted if I do not work out. I shouldn't be eating so much if I haven't worked out today. I am a loser that I stayed up till late last night and now I am waking up tired. Look at my face all bloated and dark circles under my eyes due to the party night..." and my list of cursing myself at the beginning or end of the day used to be endless. In spite of being regular at fitness regimes and good eating habits, I used to beat myself up so bad that, such days exhausted me! In a nut shell a seemingly insignificant reason costed me a good day, then that night started on a bad note, ruining my next morning because the previous night was bad. This cycle continued until that point when I had my "Aha" moment.

Workouts are supposed to make you feel energized and de-stressed. This type of self-beating only did the opposite. I was confusing discipline with being hard on myself! I do not miss workouts because I am procrastinating. I clearly didn't have discipline issues neither I was struggling with being committed to fitness. It was all there, then why was I exhausted and stressed out all the time?
  1. Is it so bad if I miss workout for a day if it is clashing with a meeting, a help to someone in need or even doing a chore to make time for a long weekend for myself?
  2. Isn't eating with guilt causing me more harm than eating something I like without guilt?
  3. What is wrong in treating myself with a good book after I have finished a demanding week and stay up late at night?
  4. So what if I hosted or attended a party and had some fun once in a while?
I am a full time working woman with a big family and a mother to a toddler who's under 2 years of age. It is okay not to be okay sometimes! We need to stop judging ourselves at every point and give ourselves a break! My only reason to share this is because I know, many may have gone through these struggles. I see them around me all the time and I have gone through them myself! Even if one person is rid of the pressure we put ourselves into, my sharing this would be worth it! 

Thursday, 8 October 2015


Parenthood is a sophisticated word for happiness, multitasking and believe it or not, chaos all at the same time in your life. I really don't think happiness and multitasking need any contextual explanations here. But chaos, well, the chaos in this case enhances your happiness, because a baby makes your world inherently happy. It teaches you to cherish little things as they happen, because they are going to change as the kid grows. And it makes the mess around you seem reasonable, because this is the only mess that won't harm you in anyway! You know you are experiencing Happy-mess when:
  1. You are leaving for work and your baby does potty in his pants. You ditch everything, pick him up and run to the bathroom when he starts kicking in air! (Its so much fun!) While joining him in his laughter and noises, you are deep down hoping the potty doesn't fall off on the way, or worse, on you! Somehow you manage to remove the underwear without increasing the mess it has already made. Flush the potty while holding on to your kid. Again joining your kid in telling you that "The potty is going! Bye bye potty!" Finally cleaning him up, putting another underwear and kissing him good bye for the day!
  2. The ironed clothes have to be put in the drawers before your kid finds them but he takes interest in the open drawers instead. He comes up to the open chest of drawers and starts picking up everything and throwing it out. You join him in identifying each and every item that is being thrown out. "What is this? This is a shirt, what is this? This is a sock..." Ting ting!! You get an idea and show him the hangers for distraction. Wow! He takes the bait. While he is engrossed in the hangers, you quickly put everything back in the drawers. Hush.. Oh no wait, all the hangers are on the floor along with everything that was hung on them! You start jumping with him and laugh while finding another distraction! 
  3. Its meal time and your baby wants to play hide and seek. Fantastic, you tell yourself that it is way better than hooking him up to the TV! Wait for it, your kid runs and goes to places where you can only manage to put your head! You join him in his loud peek-a-boo game and carry his feed in one hand, find a place near by to put it and get a spoon full for feeding, bend down and quickly feed your kid. Thank your stars for not letting this moment clash with your kids head, hands or even toys moving about in superlative vigor! Then you look at the feed bowl and realize its been barely a few morsels till now. Brilliant! You start jumping and running behind your kid with loud noises and dramatizing every bit of your moves!  
p.s. My kid is 19 months old, yet it feels like a lifetime of happy-mess for me!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Loudspeakers & Amplifiers

There is a human species where loudspeakers and amplifiers are builtin features. I know this for sure, because I might be one of the first members of this club! I am guessing I was born with a loud voice. If not, I certainly took after it at an early age as even my vivid childhood memories have me speaking loudly.To bring in a few facts, on an average I speak loudly even when there are few people in a small room. When I am talking on phone or in a crowded place, save yourselves, I shout! And, when I am excited or emotionally stimulated, run for your lives, I yell!

Thankfully, I am surrounded by people who compulsively correct one another. Given my history, I get nudged at my voice too often! I practice breathing exercises, anticipating my triggers in advance, and I have even gone to the extent of recording my voice at different emotional states for revisiting and then correcting myself. What it taught me is this - Introspection is great, Controlling is detrimental. All the above activities were driven by controlling my volume and not understanding myself. And it failed me over and over again. Every time I tried to control it, it became worse. First, I got angry at not being able to control myself. Then, I got angry for getting angry at myself. And somewhere between this chaos, I got emotionally hijacked!

Changing my motive to understanding myself, the same activities gave me an entirely different perspective. Being able to hear and experience yourself breathing is a sign of being healthy. Anticipating your emotional triggers in advance saves you from a bad mood instantly! Finding out that you are a loud speaker isn't necessarily bad if you can make it pleasing to hear. Now, I also celebrate multiple advantages of my volume which I refused to even acknowledge earlier. A loud volume makes me effortlessly audible in a very large audience, it gives a good dimension to my presentations or stage performances, I am able to express very clearly with a stable audible volume, and so many brilliant advantages that I experience at unexpected situations! On a lighter note, no one can ever say that "I didn't hear you"!

In closing, I would like to share my three point learning - Understanding over Controlling, Acceptance over Refusal and Celebration over Criticism! 

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Pre-Get Away!

The thought of a get away in itself is so relaxing! It doesn't really matter if it's long or short, I am already on a vacation at least 3 days prior to my travel emotionally (who isn't?) and also for preparing to get set go (which I rarely see others doing.) And when there's no preparation, there's so much pressure at the last moment which affects the quality of one's vacation. Hurry actually ensures you forget something even if little, later turning out to be a huge problem during your vacation. If that's not the case, then disastrous at your home while you are enjoying your vacation. Either which way, it lands you in trouble. And believe it or not, the pleasure of our journeys are determined more by the mindset with which we travel than the destination. So to rid yourself of half done things, it is a good idea to have a preparation countdown too!

Here's what I do before I leave. Good News! It's just 5 tasks each day with a last 30 minutes of run through. Hope this gives you the right state of mind before, during and after your vacation! -

Count down 3 days. Check (Just in case you need to step out and buy) -
  1. Clothes sets for miss matches or additions
  2. Medicines kit (Expiry dates of existing contents and status of SOS medicines)
  3. Toilet kit (Shampoo, toothpaste, tooth brush, deodorant, sun screen, moisturizer, etc.)
  4. List of things to buy and people you intend to buy for (If shopping is on your mind. Save yourself the pain of spending on things you already have)
  5. Gifts for visiting members (optional)
Count down 2 days. Arrangements for -
  1. Care taking of your pet (if you have one)
  2. Care taking of your garden (if you have one)
  3. Handing over home keys to your friends/ neighbors in case of emergency
  4. Intimation of receiving mails to neighbors
  5. Intimation to daily supplies like milk/ papers/ etc.
Count down 1 day. Final preps.
  1. Out of office intimation with alternate contact 
  2. Print outs or photos of your travel and lodging documents
  3. Set of travel documents (Passport/ ID profs/ Currency/ etc.)
  4. Charging camera batteries and checking for adequate memory
  5. Booking your cab or transport up to the means of travel (air, train, bus). If going by your own vehicle fill up the fuel tank
Count down 30 mins. Run Through -
  1. Dispose the garbage
  2. Lock all doors
  3. Switch off lights, taps, gas supply and all other electronic gadgets at home
  4. Cover furniture to protect from dust (if traveling for a long time)
  5. Lock your bags 
And get set go!! Happy Journey!! :-)

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Fitness begins with being happy with "Me"

The significance and place for Fitness has been in my routine ever since I remember my childhood days. What is funny though, is the way I learnt its importance - As a defense mechanism. I am a chronic asthmatic patient which was detected at the age of 9-10 years or may be even before that. As a toddler and pre-adolescent, I was plump-ish in shape in spite of having sports in my routine which affected my confidence in a very adverse way. Funnily enough, being committed to sports wasn't difficult for me even at that age. What I struggled till I reached mid 20s was the comparisons!

From the teens I have always been quite lean! Unfortunately by then I had associated so much anger to the comparisons that my fitness failed to show its great effects in my spirits! I had lost all the confidence long time back, so I could never recognize that I am enough fit that it looks very good to be in my own skin! Today at 30, I can clearly identify how my perspective, training regimes and its benefits have evolved over these years!

If I can turn back time, I'd tell myself these things and correct what went wrong in my approach towards fitness.

  1. Fitness is a means of self discovery. Any other reason to resort to it is going to affect its results.
  2. Stop taking your anger out on work outs, it is a by product, not a motive to exercise.
  3. Being happy in your own skin will elevate the quality of fitness to a level you can't even imagine! 
  4. No one is perfect! The imperfections in your body actually add to your beauty as it is natural!
  5. Slow results are actually long lasting results. Never settle for short term gains! 

Monday, 6 July 2015

English Breakfast

Nothing works like a Sunday Brunch at home! You save so much time in cooking on the weekend and can use that extra time to indulge in something interesting! The spread was selected from this link which distinguishes the Traditional English Breakfast items! Although the eggs in a typical English Breakfast are fried eggs, our members for brunch loved scrambled eggs. So that's the only personal preference change. The ingredients are from the authentic spread, though! :-)

Our Brunch had -

  1. Toasts (brown bread)
  2. Eggs (scrambled)
  3. Sausages
  4. Baked beans
  5. Mashed Potatoes
  6. Cup of tea

Trust me all these items are made quicker than you think, but are very filling! I enjoyed looking at the happy faces at the brunch!

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Your Place!

Click to enlarge

I was surprised to see many people get surprised with the fact that I do not feel the frustrations of finding the things I need, just in time. Or even feel that the space I have is less than what I actually need. After seeing a lot of people struggle with the lack of space and frustrations regarding it, I deliberately extended my observations to understand why that happens! Because, honestly, I do not feel these things!

Our homes and offices are the two places where we spend most of our time. If we discount frequent travelers, many of us fall into the category where 85% or more of our time gets spent in these two places. A terrible frustrating impact is inevitable, if these places do not have what we really need. Or if they did, but don't have any order, it will surely be inconvenient for us to use them just in time and experience their benefits. In my opinion, the problem isn't in the lack of things we need, but, because of its excess. Neither it is in the lack of space but the overload on the available space! Our supplies of things are perpetually exceeding our demands. And then our available space losses its efficiency to contain the things we have. The supposed causes of frustration - lack of space or mismanagement or untidiness or the likes, seem futile when we look at it as an 'excess' of what we need. Why does that happen? If you bring in things without taking any stock of what you have, you are actually buying the frustration that comes with clutter and lack of space.

Identify what we need!
First of all, we won't really know what we need to buy until we take a stock and decide what to do with the things we already have. A major reason why there is clutter in our home or office is because of those pending decisions on existing things. A simple trick I use all the time is distribute the existing things into these 2 categories -

  1. Keep here 
  2. Don't keep here 

How do you decide to sort your things in these categories? Only one basic question - When was the last time I used this? (Anything which was used 3 months back or more goes in "Don't keep here") You will be surprised with the number of things falling in this category! The things you have used in the last 3 months are the things you truly need and there is ample of place for all of them! Put those things back into the available place as per your convenience! Smile when you see a lot of place left after arranging these needed items! Trust me, you will suddenly start seeing vacant spots you never imagined actually existed!

Sort the "Don't keep here" category!
Spoiler Alert - you need severe introspection for sorting "Don't keep here" category! Now is the real challenge, what do we do with this excess lot? Please catch yourself when you may get carried away in these emotional traps! If you do, try the alternatives mentioned against these emotional traps!

  1. It is expensive! (Give it to your relatives or friends who would be more than happy to use it/ Sell it)
  2. It has sentimental value! (Make pictures, frame them, display on a wall for memories and pass on the item/ Try and find a relevant use of that item/ Decide a limit of memory oriented items and pass on the rest)
  3. For the "just in case" times! (Just in case is valid for only for first aid items, everything else is a trap)
  4. I shall need it for an up coming project! (Is it a project I am realistically going to complete? Is there a structured plan where this item is really necessary?)
  5. It is such a rare thing! (Is it worth the time to clean/ the place it occupies?)
Once your emotional trap items are identified, ensure that they are out of your home or office within next 2 days. If you fail to do so, this entire sorting will be in vain! 

"Rarely needed items" Rules!
If your things pass through these trap filters, then you might consider allotting them places meant for "Rarely needed items". Seasonal or occasional items are potent members of this club. To mention a few choices in this section - seasonal clothes, seasonal shoes, umbrellas, suitcases, monthly stationary, etc. Now to control this category please follow the rules mentioned below!
  1. Put in 4 basic store areas - Kitchen, Office, Wardrobe and Common Utility (If they do not fit in either of them, trust me, you don't need them! Please get rid of them!)
  2. No duplicate items (Use emotional trap questions and their alternatives!)
  3. When in doubt, just give it away! Retaining doubtful items will only increase your clutter and confusion!
Good Habits!
It is important to recognize this is not a one time thing. Keeping your place free of clutter is by all means a good habit! If you don't want to spend so much time again on sorting and arranging, please respect the place and things you already have identified as needed.  A few tips for developing this good habit!
  1. A super management tool tells us to "PEEP"! Place for everything and everything in its place!
  2. When you bring in a new thing, make place for it by letting go of an old thing. (For eg. when you buy new shoes, give away an old  pair.)
  3. Don't forget to give a designated hour a week to check on your clutter! 
For me, these activities happen to be stress-busters! But I can very well imagine how difficult it can be for some! I hope this helps you to find a lot of space you already have and make you feel happy! 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Admiration forever

You don't need to experience attention, approval and admiration in a particular order to know the difference. When you do, you will mock attention, find approval unnecessary and be among those who admire you. 

And eventually reach a place where you will carry with you the admirable qualities of people, give up the conditions applied relationships, and finally, attention seeking tactics will no longer work on you! 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Life City

There is no such phrase as "Life City" so there is no reason why an opposite of, say "Lifeless City" should exist! But, I have come to believe that given a deeper thought, there might exist such phrases. In colloquial English language, they are already called as 'Small Cities' and 'Metro Cities'. In much sophisticated words, they are also addressed as  'B' Tier Cities and 'A' Tier Cities in India. If we go into describing them briefly, the so called 'B' Tier cities have relatively slow lifestyles, distances can be covered on an average within 20 minutes from any point, and most importantly, people have time to indulge in a lot of interests after work. If we compare 'A' Tier cities on these points, obviously the life is super fast (read insufferable delays), average distances are 40 minutes from any point and people are half dead by the time they finish their daily work.

I have had the privilege of experiencing a life in both these types of cities. The privilege extends to the depth of learning with my own experience that, "there is nothing glorious about night life, busy extended working hours and time consuming travels"! In retrospect, those were my precise childish reasons for moving into a Metro city - "I want to live a fast life! There is nothing a small city can offer! People are not free-minded in smaller cities and constantly judge someone who chooses unconventional ways of living!" There were many more reasons that I listed not even worthy of mentioning, to convince my parents for letting me move out. May be they knew, someday I will really understand this myself and return to my roots, and supported me. Till my last day, I will forever be grateful for that moment which was one of those turning points that taught me "We land up, where we really intended to be after all!"

Living in Metro cities for around 5 years taught me once and for all, that people will judge you no matter what; You don't need others to be free-minded for finding freedom within yourself, also, people from bigger cities are not bothered about who lives next door (that does not mean they are free-minded!); Your fitness and interests are as important as your work and they need their due time which the small cities actually offer; Lastly, the fast life style offers nothing but frustration at the end of the day! So, they were pathetic reasons to actually move out of a wonderful small city setup! You may be earning big packages in bigger cities, but the cost of living there exhausts every bit of that extra money, or may be even more, you might earn over a smaller city's standard package. Savings is something like a dreamland in bigger cities - it requires so much efforts and control, while in smaller cities, you land up saving much more with better ease, it's just pure city dynamics. You don't run behind trains or buses or get stuck up in traffic to add to your already delays and frustrations. You don't have to compromise on your fitness regimes and settle with processed foods or untrustworthy canteens. In short, you live like a machine if you want to be a part of the incessant race bigger cities inherently demonstrate. Again, its pure city dynamics - no life, only work - the word "Lifeless" suits even better than Machined life! I have also shared my rather strong views on this topic earlier here.

I am glad I returned to my small city, where I really live a life. Although, unconventional for many, it gives me the time and space for everything that makes me truly happy! People here, wake up early in the morning not because they have to start early to be on time for work, but because they have had a good night's sleep. There are sounds of birds chirping and not cars honking in desperation. There are also big malls to entertain oneself, yet, you find more visitors to the local libraries, theaters, concerts, etc. to enjoy. There are jogging tracks, sports grounds and fitness centers where people enroll in bigger number rather than just walk on the weekends (As there is very little time through weekdays in bigger cities). It is one of the most pleasant sights to see children playing in beautiful parks rather than gaming zones; See, touch and learn with real trees, plants, birds, etc. rather than only in books; Pet an animal in your homes rather than just see them on TV shows. People have time for each other at leisure and not based on appointments and stop watches. This available time also gives them the choice for indulging in what makes them happy which is but a luxury in Metros.

I do not wish to criticize Metros here, but just analyze them with a holistic point of view. Of course, they do have their own exposure, glamour and opportunities. They make you realize where you stand in competition at a much grand level. They also taught me how to live all by myself as against the protection shell I had at my parents'.  But the lifestyle you compromise for all this is not what I would personally want to give up.  All those things could be made available to me without having to live in those cities all the time. Besides, I may have never understood the importance of "Healthy Living" the way I do now! By all means I term my Metro stays as "Golden Period" in my 20s, one of my most learning, growing and turning point period. For all this and many more reasons, I am truly thankful for these metros for letting me find my way back to the place where I truly belong! 

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Tiffin Ideas and Breakfast

Kids in school, you are racking your brains for the tiffin ideas, you narrow down a dish only to realize it was sent yesterday - seems like a real struggle daily, isn't it? This happens even when kids are not in the equation! The point is, whoever is running on a schedule is always worried about the breakfast. In kids cases, moms ensure something is packed, but the same moms ignore themselves and skip this important meal! Others just land up compromising the breakfast for millions of reasons while you just need one to have it - "Health is wealth", respect it!

If you are an Indian, it is actually an irony of our lives, because there is so much variety in our food. But when it comes to packing the tiffin boxes or making breakfast, we are left blank! In my opinion, the problem is not in the available options but the fact that we do not have them written in front of us while making the meal plans. (I know I am a compulsive list maker! :-D) It is very easy to plan your meals when there is a list available; say, on your fridge! When you see it daily, the cycle of checking the ingredients, purchasing the required ingredients and making it all works on a schedule. With this, the morning is really smooth, trust me!

I have given the list of items you can make, bringing in some variety on your table! Most of you may not need the detailed recipes as you may have had them so many times already! For others, they are readily available on net, or just leave me a message with your email and I will share the recipes we follow in our house hold!

Finger feeds -

  1. Aloo paratha
  2. Palak paratha
  3. Gajar paratha
  4. Paneer paratha
  5. Gobi mutter paratha
  6. Egg franky
  7. Veg franky
  8. Roti Gud laddo
  9. Dosa
  10. Uttapa
  11. Rawa Dosa
  12. Appe 
  13. Pan cakes
  14. Moong Dhokla
  15. Idali plain
  16. Mix veg Idali
  17. Aloo corn tikki
  18. Mix veg tikki 
  19. Omelet toast sandwich
  20. Cheese toast sandwich
  21. Veg sandwich
Spoon feeds -
  1. Poha
  2. Upama
  3. Daliya
  4. Sheera
  5. Sanja
  6. Phodani cha bhat/ Chitranna
  7. Phodani chi poli
  8. Egg pudding (Caramel Custard)
  9. Scrambled eggs
  10. Fruit custard
  11. Steamed corn
  12. Steamed peas
  13. Chick peas salad
  14. Cereals/ Muesli with milk
Dry feeds (Ideal for travels and advisable as side dishes for break fasts, NOT the breakfast) - 
  1. Pop corns
  2. Lahya
  3. Makane
  4. Cheeze cubes
  5. Almonds
  6. Dry figs
  7. Raisins
  8. Ragi/ Nachani biscuits
  9. Wheat biscuits
  10. Futane
If you run out of supplies (which is absolutely okay when you have to multi-task all the time) a fruit is always a savior! Fruits sellers are at every corner in India, so just pick up one on your way and you are set for the day! 

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Pregnancy Crises and my Coping Tricks

The making of a baby inside you and actually giving birth, is indeed an ennobling feeling. I have had the chance to experience it and have loved everything about it! In spite of that, I deliberately use "crises" in the title. With utmost honesty, I am sharing my reasons of pregnancy crises and what actually helped me cope up with it.

The life of both the parents changes for good, but the mother has to give up everything for a certain period of her life to encompass this new phase. The maternity leave doesn't begin with the birth, it begins from the time you declare "you are expecting". On Professional front - your organization starts excluding you from new developments. On Personal front - you start losing your hard earned body (Yes, I am a fitness freak! You can check my page on this topic here!), your food habits (luckily I didn't have to make much changes, but I have seen many struggle with this too!), your sex life (Only safe time is mid-trimester. Some couples have to give it up for all the months!) and lastly, your deep slumber (I am almost a year old mother, and I do not see myself sleeping well in the near future!) I would love to dedicate a different post on how I coped up with the professional front - I was able to work till the last day literally. After delivery, I was back within two months.

Coming back to Personal front, I constantly struggled with the thought of how I am going to balance my personal and professional lives?! What happens to the relationship with my partner and how we still manage "us" along with parenting and our already busy routines?! In all this, how am I going to even think about my own health and fitness?! There was no way I was going to give up on work - an essential part of what I am! At the same time, becoming a parent was my own decision, so everything that goes with it falls in my scope of coping up! Knowing that I am not alone in this, isn't always enough to actually find answers to these struggles! Here's what I did, it worked and I am happy! I am not going to deny the tremendous over burned working round the clock reality, but I definitely have more happy days and very rare frustrated days in a month! All the experienced parents would know, this means, it's already time for a celebration!

So here are a few of my major coping up mechanism.
  1. Have a Support system. Family, friends and day care centers are instrumental! My family knew that I was going to be a working mother even before I decided to have a baby. I needed all their support to make it work. Day care centers are one of the biggest investments you give to yourself and the baby!
  2. Accomplishing something is way too important than perfection at it. At one point, I realized, it is okay to be good at something and not fret over the inability to make it best! When you have a long list of "must dos" in a day, it is important to do them on that very day and not carry forward to the next day. In the pursuit of completing the "Must do" list, I eventually learnt that doing them is more important than how perfect you do them! 
  3. Babies don't come with working manuals. Parenting is a state of bliss but it can be equally confusing. You have everyone telling you different ways of bringing up your child and it induces a lot of pressure (At least it did to me). While it is important to acknowledge what everyone is trying to preach, it's equally important to insist that its YOU (parents) who decide the upbringing of your child. Every child is unique and so are the parents raising one. So implement what suits you best and have your own research to try your own ways.
  4. Disagreements do not mean disrespect. When you disagree on some points with the important people in your life, it surely causes deep guilt and tension within your relationships. Talk it out and convey that it is better to agree to disagree on somethings rather than attach emotions to it. Having different view points is individual and it's best understood that way. You can always try to bridge the gaps but expecting someone to completely surrender is actually disrespecting. I know it is difficult to convey sensitive issues, but it's better to start the communication channel than ruin one of the most pleasurable experiences for all!
  5. There is more to your life than motherhood. This isn't a bold statement at all, it's reality even for the women who think having a child is the only best experience of their lives. Many don't accept it, I am just being bold enough to articulate it! So please, do not slow down under the pretext of parenting. Remember, you are the first example setters for your children and this is your time to take a call of what kind of example you want to be! 
  6. Your condition determines the baby's condition. If you are happy, the baby is happy and vice versa. Do everything that makes YOU happy. I have had people yelling at me for not resting after delivery. But in my defense, I only focused on what was making me happy. I never really enjoy sleeping as a form of rest, not that I don't sleep when I really need it. But I'd rather sleep for sleep and not for "do nothing" sleep. I am happy when I am organizing closets, setting up rooms, cleaning difficult areas, writing, reading and anything that would call for an addition of something different! And that is exactly what I did while I was at home when the baby was sleeping. I even resumed work withing 2 months because that made me happy!
  7. Your fitness will give you everything that it takes to multitask. Parenting in my opinion, is that one thing which will ensure you will multitask for the rest of your lives. On top of that, if you want to be a working mother, you really need to be faster than others at the same things to fit in every bit. I hit the gym as soon as I was one and half months postpartum. And given my genes of obesity, I had to struggle a lot to lose the mummy fat! I accepted the body shape that changed due to delivery will be forever, but I can still attain a good BMI and body to gain confidence of looking good. Once I lost the pregnancy weight, it was nice to fit back into my old clothes! It is absolutely possible to give yourself that time to bring back your fitness. If I can do it, everyone can! And bonus, it will help you sustain your schedules in a great way!
  8. Do not forget "Us". Parenting is inexplicably time and energy consuming. Even if you are prepared for a lack of "us" time when you decided to have a baby, you should still have a time out for yourselves. Having babies does not mean end of your life as a couple! Go on couple dates or just a day all by your selves or if you can manage even mini vacations. Post delivery, you are expected to not have sex for the next 3 months. Lucky couples get to have sex mid trimester of pregnancy. But many couples have to go off sex for a year! And bringing your sex life back on track needs that time and attention. Something as instinctive as sex needs to be given that importance in order to experience its brilliant effects on your happiness quotient. 

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