Wordless Wednesday – 102

… which is a bit wordy!

A few days ago, just after the rains that evening, I was out in the park adjacent to our apartment complex for the evening walk. A family stays at one end of the park in a makeshift hut. The husband and wife are the care-takers cum gardeners of this park.

After the hard day’s work of mowing the grass and sweeping the pavements, I saw the woman make food for the family. And yes, it was awesome weather which was perfect for…


… Pakoras and Chai.

Seeing her serve hot Pakoras to her husband and 3 kids, my heart smiled.

And a thought struck that simple pleasures of life certainly hold universal appeal… age, creed, class no bar!


Linking this to July 2014 Ultimate Blogging Challenge and NaBloPoMo

Finding the Right Balance

The Ultimate Parenting Question: How do you Find the Right Balance Between Protecting Kids & Letting Them Explore?

Every parent has a different parenting style, and each one of us knows a cautionary tale about a parent going to the extreme – being too overbearing or too passive can have equally negative effects on your child’s self-esteem and equilibrium later in life. With these issues, no one has the perfect answer for you and your kids – there’s no textbook to read, no teacher to mark you right or wrong, and what works for someone else may not necessarily be right for you. Online, you can find advice to suit every approach, from parenting tips on getting kids outside, to advice on avoiding the real dangers out there – so how do you translate the sea of parenting advice out there into something that works for you?

Research Parenting Styles

This is all about getting the right balance for you and your child, passing careful judgement on what you read and how it applies to your reality, and avoiding going too close to either extreme. A recent Times of India article points out the dangers of one-dimensional parenting styles and the long term impact they have on kids. For example, pushing our children to succeed is often rightly perceived as a positive thing; but set your expectations too high, and your child could end up feeling as though they have failed as an adult. Likewise, overprotected children can struggle to make independent decisions as an adult, and find it difficult to deal with real life once they’ve grown up and the cotton wool has been removed.

Trusting Parental Instinct

But how do we know when to step in and protect our children from danger or distress, and when to stand back and let them learn from their own mistakes, fight their own battles, and experience failure for themselves? Well, the truth is, we don’t. No one can predict how a situation will pan out 100% of the time. That’s why being able to tell the difference between a justified instinct and an irrational paranoia is such an important parenting skill to have. We must use our own knowledge of the world to make a judgement, and use our instincts to determine how best to parent our children in any given situation.

Building a Trusting Parent-Child Relationship

New technologies such as personal tracking devices make the question of how far we should go to keep an eye on our offspring more relevant today than ever. Social media profiles make it more and more tempting to check up on what the kids are up to. But where does one draw the line between virtual stalking and remote protection? There’s numerous benefits to be gained by just asking our children where they are going and what they are doing and trusting their answer, but how do you know they’ll be safe if you don’t know for sure what’s going on?

What modern parents need is a respectful, truthful, and trusting relationship with their children – and this must fostered from early childhood. One way to build this, as well as help develop aChild-parent child’s logic and understanding of the world, is to let them play and explore for themselves. It can be a daunting idea, but it’s easy to let them run wild whilst ensuring their safety (and your peace of mind!) if you know a few local play spots that provide a protected environment. And it can make a huge difference to the way your kids feel. You only have to look at the recent Kids Today project to see exactly what it’s like to be a child in a modern environment: head cameras on real kids show them enjoying exploration and play. Luckily, you can find tips on safe play environments even in the city, and you’ll soon see what it means to a child to be able to feel safe while they discover the world for themselves.

Letting Your Child Get Messy

Equally, it’s important to a child’s development to let them play and have the freedom to get dirty as they try new things out. Although your input and support as a parent is undeniablydirty_child_playing_outside essential at times, letting a child play and make a mess without interference is a confidence building exercise on both sides of the relationship. For the child, a bit of independence and freedom helps to boost their self-belief, and for us, finding that a complete mess results in a happy child and a quick clean up reminds us that a bit of muck isn’t the end of the world, and certainly has its benefits. Research suggests that eating the odd bit of dirt is actually good for a child’s immune system, and modern cleaning products make sorting out almost any mess relatively easy, so there’s really no need to worry about a bit of mud anymore.

As parents, we all know that there are dangers – like stranger-danger, or busy traffic — things in the world that we really do need to be worried about and should protect children from. But it’s not impossible to balance this awareness, and taking all the necessary precautions, with a realistic perspective. It’s important not to end up controlled by endless “What if?”s. We learn, as parents, by putting these fears into a real world context, and by talking to others with the same concerns and perhaps helpful experiences. So why not share your thoughts? What things in your child’s life do you worry about, and how do you deal with them?

The above post is a guest article from Surf Excel Team.

Linking this to July 2014 Ultimate Blogging Challenge and NaBloPoMo

The Zestful Experience

When Harish from Blogadda mailed me recently, inviting for a special event with 50 amazing bloggers at GOA!! Boy! Was I thrilled?

After sending him a confirmatory mail, immediately, my head started brimming with plans, thoughts and ideas for this gala event. The thoughts that dominated my days thenceforward was the excitement of meeting the virtual friends in real life and the exhilaration of being part of an exclusive event.

The experience of #ZestUpYourLife, Bloggers Meet at Goa courtesy Tata Motors in association with Blogadda at The Zuri White Sands Goa Resort & Casino was simply a ZESTful experience.




The spirit, the warmth, the enthusiasm and the passion that the three teams comprising of Team Blogadda, Team Tata Motors and Team Zuri displayed in making our stay comfortable and enjoyable was simply remarkable. We were indeed treated like royalty. Our every query or concern was handled promptly and patiently and with a smile. 1



It happened finally! Yes, at last we met the faces behind the blogs. With some, we hit it off like a house on fire, while some took a few minutes to open up and then there was no looking back. The laughter and the chatter over cups of tea and coffee and yummy food happened non-stop. They say, laughter is a great beginning for a friendship, and it was wonderful to connect with bloggers from different streams and passions. The group selfies and photo sessions are a testimony of the happy moments that we shared.WT @ Goa



 … was the event, The Tata Zest Launch Meet. The Master Class which was taken by the Product Specialists from Tata Motors was simply an enlightening one. Tata Zest truly is a technological advancement. The surprise of the day was meeting the charming and down-to-earth, India’s first F1 driver, Narain Karthikeyan who shared about the engine technology in Tata Zest. Every little detail was well planned and superbly executed.2



… in every sense.

  • Goa… the greatest place to be in monsoons.
  • Friends… connecting with some amazing bloggers and making some new friends too.
  • Food… a lavish spread that was delicious too!
  • Hospitality… that was warm and generous
  • Experience… that was truly one of a kind.DSC_0262

Thank you Blogadda and Tata Motors for an experience that #ZestUpOurLife!!


Images courtesy Deepak Amembal and Roshan Radhakrishnan! Pls click on the pics for a better view :)

Test Drive with Zest

Tata Motors’ new car Zest is just about to make its debut in the Indian market.

After seeing the looks and test driving the Tata Zest, I must say that the team @ Tata Motors has done a spectacular job, as the car not only has a grand stylish look but is also a step ahead in technology.

Tata Zest has contemporary youthful design. It has a design that reflects emotions. There’s a power bulge on the bonnet and sculpted and athletic body side with a signature Tata grille. The LED tail-lamps with homogeneous and wrap around looks along with projector headlamps are some new features that give it a distinct look.

Tata Zest

The interiors are modernistic and snazzy with a good leg, shoulder and headroom space. The dual tone look with beige and black color inside the cabin gives it an elegant look. There are accessory power sockets, cup and bottle holders, glove box unit through I feel that the car boot is a bit small.

This new car from Tata Motors is truly made to give a connected driving experience. It comes with an amazing and never seen before infotainment system. Zest comes with a Harman infotainment system which has a 5-inch touchscreen display. DSC_0299The music system supports AUX-in, Bluetooth, USB, SD card, iPod and FM/AM connectivity. So, howsoever you listen to your music outside the car, you can listen to it in the same way inside the Zest too. There are 8 speakers in car including both woofers and tweeters -installed at different locations throughout the car, each one producing its own sound to give a kind of concert quality of music.

At any given point of time 5 devices can be connected through Bluetooth in the Zest Infotainment System. The Infotainment System can be operated through voice commands. Through voice commands one can tune to FM stations by just saying, ‘Tune to 98.3 or FM Preset 3′ , play song in the Media by song name or album name or artist name. With voice commands even the contacts in the Phone Book can be dialed by just saying ‘Call Kshitij’ and SMSs can be read aloud too.  Even the Climate Control can be done by just saying ‘Set speed to 4 or set fan speed maximum or set temperature to 24′. The best thing about this voice command feature is that it recognizes Indian accent. The audio-visual driver assistance during reversing is an additional feature.

As a co-passenger during this test drive (Yes, I don’t drive!), I believe that Zest is a spectacular car from Tata Motors which is  a class apart with innovative features, connectivity and comfort.

The Slim Punjabi

Title: The Slim Punjabi The Slim Punjabi
Author: Harmeet
Publisher: Amaryllis
ISBN: 978-93-81506-27-1
Number of Pages: 283
Price [INR] : 350
Genre: Food and Culture

The Slim Punjabi combines Punjabi culture and cuisine, and brings alive the fact that one could almost taste a culture through its food. The chapters, interspersed with the weaves of phulkari, poetry of Bulleh Shah, legends of Heer and Sohni and verses from folk songs hold within them traditional yet simple to – make recipes for classic Punjabi dishes. From phirni set in a mitti ka kulhad to a barbecue party under the winter sky, this book is a love story. It’s a love story of a Punjabi and her food, when the food went beyond filling her stomach to her senses as well.

When I read the blurb of this book, I knew I HAD to read this book. For a Punjabi who has stayed at 4 states of the country other than Punjab and the stay at Punjab was limited to a visit of few days for vacations or marriages/functions in the extended family, I knew that this book would bring in nostalgia and would be like an education in the culture and cuisine of this exotic land which we have heard/seen from far. And am I glad that I picked this book?!

The Slim Punjabi is divided into 5 sections and are named after the 5 rivers of Punjab.

  • Jhelum gives insights about the staple foods (viz Rajma Chawal, Chitte Chhole, Stuffed Paranthas, Matar Paneer among other dishes); Punjabi music and dance.
  • Chenab shares the exotic foods (viz Dal Makhani, Kadhi, Sarson da Saag, Butter Chicken etc); legendary love stories of Punjab
  • Beas gives the glimpse of the snacky foods (viz Aloo Tikki Chaat, Kulche wale Matar, Mitthe Chawal, Dahi Bhalle etc); and Punjabi festivals
  • Sutlej offers the quick foods (viz Khichdi, Paneer Bhurji, Punjabi Rotis, Panjeeri etc) and Punjabi fashion and dressing
  • Ravi is all about accompaniments (viz Mattha, Pickles, Papads, Chutneys, Raitas and the unforgettable Langar wali Dal etc) and Sikh traditions.

What I loved about this book…

  • It took my heart to a time travel.  Though I was reading the various bolis (couplets from traditional Punjabi folk songs) and tappas, my mind was actually singing them as I remembered listening to these during the vacations over the years, at the two set of grand-parents’ homes in Punjab. The recipe of Masala Gur simply tantalized my taste buds as memories of my Dadi making it from the scratch came live in front of me.
  • While I was nodding my head in agreement at the various traditions and the festivals shared in the book…
  • I was awe-inspired by the insights I gained about the rich mythology and folklore that included folktales and romances. It was interesting to note the myths and the popular accounts of the love stories of Heer -Ranjha, Mirza -Sahiban, Sassi Punnu, Sohni-Mahiwal. Though I have been listening to the verse and the hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib all these years, but I was not aware as to why ragas and music have been used to communicate the deeper meaning of this holy book. And when I read about it in The Slim Punjabi, the only word that came to my mind was ‘Ingenious!’
  • The author has used a conversational and a humorous tone in this book. So, even reading recipes is a pleasure and am sure it would be enjoyed by even those who are inept at boiling water! There are more than 75 recipes in the book and they all come with the Harmeet’s tips and twists.
  • Even the information shared on various festivals, traditions, fashion and dressing styles in Punjab is not at all preachy or dull.

What I believe could have been better…

Just one thing… coloured pictures of the dishes and may be the book as a hardcover! I understand this could have changed the commercials. But for me The Slim Punjabi is a book that will not just stay as a decorative in my library cupboard. It will be on my kitchen table on many evenings as I’d refer it to cook some authentic Punjabi recipes or my side table as I read it again to re-tell something about the traditions or culture of Punjab to my son.

The Slim Punjabi is a well researched and wonderfully presented book. A must read for all those who would love to explore and enjoy this rich culture of Punjab.

Rating : 4 Stars

This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com

Linking this to July 2014 Ultimate Blogging Challenge and NaBloPoMo

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