10 Yahoo Smileys I Miss Most

A warm welcome to my today’s guest blogger Chicky Kadambari. She is the first friend from virtual world whom I had the pleasure of meeting in the real world.  And she is also the first virtual friend whom I have met the mostest. Well, that’s because  we stay in the same city and we meet up frequently for chai and lunch parties for just the two of us!

 Kaddu, as she is fondly called, is a multi-talented and has diverse skills and interests. She is a Reiki healer, foodie, bibliophile, artist, amateur photographer and of course a versatile blogger. Her writings @ miss_teerious are fun and inspiring. I hope you enjoy her fun post today as much as I did.

Okay Chicky, the floor is all yours.

Ten on Tuesdays

Do you remember those good old days when we used to chat on Yahoo Messenger? There was a phase in my life when I used to be online on Yahoo Chat all through my waking hours. I had even installed a Yahoo Pingbox on my blog’s sidebar, so that my readers could ping me on Yahoo while they were visiting my blog! Planned an entire bloggers’ meet in New Delhi via that Pingbox! But, you know what’s the one thing I miss most about Yahoo Messenger? It’s those smileys!

Yes, there are so many new smileys now, both on Facebook as well as my “smart”phone, but somehow, none of these new smileys have been able to replace some of my most used Yahoo smileys from those golden days!

Here’s my list of the 10 Yahoo smileys I miss the most:

Laughing :))

One of the most commonly used Yahoo smileys! Sometimes, used in succession… half-a-dozen :))s one after the other. For long laughs, you know! Take a look at the smiley though. See how the upper jaw moves to give the impression of actually laughing? Try to laugh that way now. Go on… try it. Hold your lower jaw still and try to laugh moving only your upper jaw. Can you do it? Hahahaha! :))

Tongue : P

Oh! That was such a cute tongue-face! It always reminded me of my cousin, Rishabh, who was a toddler back then, and often made this particular face, with quite astonishing similarity. In fact, there was a time when : P had actually become a part of my real-life vocabulary. I remember once telling someone on phone that – “Rishabh was doing a : P”! He he! : P

Blushing :”>

Look at those cheeks! Redder than the Grihshobha “sharam se laal huyi” column! This smiley was especially handy when flirting with someone. At times, it was used in conjunction with : P when, say you were chatting during your “drunk Kaddu” state (i.e. close to midnight), and you happened to make some really embarrassing typos and the other person went :)) on you! :”> : P

Devil >:)

The most I’ve used this smiley was during chats with Mahesh (a Reiki friend and ex-blogger). There was a special kind of fun in online leg-pulling of your chat partner, just so you could make this smiley at him/her. If we all hadn’t bid our farewells to Yahoo Messenger so long ago, I think I would have been using it the most on OB (the blog buddy I have bullied and ragged the most) in recent times!Nothing adds that final punch to your ragging better than this purple smiley with horns! What do you say? >:)

Angry X(

This was usually your chat partner’s reaction after you’d been pulling his/her leg for some time and had finally used that horny devil on him/her! I mostly used it just to create my “angry young woman” image. I think the only times I really meant this smiley was when Shreesh (an old Reiki teacher and friend) used to “put me on hold” during Yahoo chats, and then just… disappear! Hmmmmppphhh! X(

ROTFL =))

This was either used after a round of >:) and X( i.e. devil and anger, or just before a sequence of :”> and : P i.e. blushing and tongue-face. This is the one Yahoo smiley that I miss the most. Man! I think I’ve stopped laughing like that in real-life too now! I got to use it the most with Shreesh. He said the funniest things at times. While I happened to be in my “drunk Kaddu” state close to midnight, he used to be like that all the time! =))

Waiting :-w

I think I had to use this smiley only during chats with Shreesh! Didn’t I just mention how he used to put people on hold and then disappear? This is what us poor “people” did while we were on hold… we drummed our fingers against our monitor screen… while he attended his distraction and remembered (or not) to return on chat! :-w

Rolling Eyes 8-|

This one could represent one of several things… impatience, exasperation, disbelief. It was actually used quite commonly. I miss this one a lot too. Hasn’t anyone (Facebook or android) come up with a substitute for this? I actually have to write “[rolling eyes]” now, every time I want to use this smiley! [rolling eyes] See! 8-|

Confused :-/

Chats used to be (still are) very confusing at times, and not just because of the typos. That’s when this smiley came in handy back in the Yahoo Messenger days. It was so much easier to just type :-/ than ask “What do you mean?” I think this was another smiley I used the most during chats with Shreesh. He used to share some heavy stuff at times. Even after all these years, I still haven’t got a clue about some of that stuff! :-/

Wave :-h

And that’s how we used to end our chat conversations back in “those” days! All nice and proper… with a goodbye wave! 🙂 I miss this as much as I miss the ROTFL smiley! It’s been so long since we waved proper goodbyes to our chat partners, hasn’t it? At times, I still use the characters on gchat or whatsapp or Facebook, even though they don’t convert into the actual smiley. But, it’s so good to find a Yahoo chat pro occasionally, who remembers what these characters meant!

And that brings an end to my list of the 10 Yahoo smileys I miss the most! So, on this note, I must bid you goodbye! :-h

Which one of these do you miss the most?

Here’s more in “Ten-On-Tuesday”!

Sending your Child to Boarding School

No matter how young your child is now, at some point you’ll need to start thinking about their formal education. For some of us, this means asking ourselves one crucial question: should I send my child to boarding school? While there are many great sources for online parenting tips on child development and schools (especially if your children are younger) the question of boarding school in particular is worth a closer look. So what are the pros and cons of sending your child to boarding school? Are the stereotypes really true? Is it worth the cost?boarding

The first thing to realize is that while boarding school fees may be high, some schools do offer scholarships and bursaries for talented students. If your child is lucky enough to get one of these, the costs won’t be as prohibitive as you might think. Regardless of the cost, many parents believe boarding school is worth these fees, because of the benefits your child will reap. Here are some parenting tips to consider:

Pros of Boarding School

  • Excellent academic education: One of the main reasons parents opt for boarding school is the academic reputation of these schools. With dedicated teachers and an optimal teacher-student ratio, your child will be able to intellectually thrive in an encouraging environment. Attending one of these schools may increase your child’s chances of entering a prestigious university.
  • Wealth of extracurricular activities: At the same time, if your child is inclined towards athletics, the arts, community volunteering, or other non-academic activities, boarding schools often boast fantastic resources where students can explore these interests. This may include extensive playing fields and athletic spaces, art studios, orchestras, choirs, or connections to professional organizations.
  • Independence and confidence: Your child could become much more independent at boarding school, without the immediate presence of his or her parents. In some ways, your child may grow up faster, leading to increased confidence for university and beyond.
  • Networking and reputation: And yet, your child will also form long-lasting friendships at boarding school, which can extend into their careers. The strong alumni community and good reputation of top boarding schools could prove to be a boost for your children as they build their professional lives.

Cons of Boarding School

  • Less time with your child: If you’re a parent who savours every moment you spend with your child, boarding school may be difficult for you, because you will naturally have less time with them. However, it may mean that the time you do spend together will be even more meaningful, and your relationship may become more positive as a result.
  • Conformity may be challenging for your child: Some children do not respond well to a strict environment, as it confines their unique view of the world. A child like this may suffer at first at boarding school, which often stresses conformity. If this is the case, try to find a boarding school which caters to your child’s interests (the arts, for example), and remember: any school (boarding or not) will have some element of conformity to it. There are also plenty of parenting tips available to help you choose an appropriate school.
  • A different social world: Boarding school students may come from a more privileged socioeconomic world than your child is used to. This may be daunting for your child, or may create a sense of envy for him or her. This isn’t any different from the adult world, though, and your child will be learning early on how to behave and succeed among people from different backgrounds.

These parenting tips should give you some food for thought when considering whether or not to send your child to boarding school. Whatever you choose, you want to give your children the best possible education, to prepare them for success and happiness in the future.

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

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

What’s it Like to be a Kid?

Being a kid is much more complicated than we may think. While there’s plenty of playing, having fun, and socialising without a care in the world, it’s these childhood years that shape our future, and make us who we are. New research is starting to show us the importance of everyday experiences during childhood in terms of development, including family time, learning, and activities for kids. The problem is that, while children on one level know what they need to thrive, they’re often unable to articulate exactly what it is.

Do they need more structure or more freedom? Do they need more play time or more educational activities? As parents, it can sometimes be difficult to know what to do for the best. If only we could see the world through a child’s eyes…

Kids Today

Surf Excel have recently launched a new project, called Kids Today, which really does let us see the world through a child’s eyes. Using bespoke state-of-the-art technology, Surf Excel have opened up a whole new world of to us parents, giving us an insight into childhood from a kids’ perspective. The insights from Surf Excel’s research into kids’ activities shows us how our children learn from their environment and the people around them, and, most importantly, directs us towards those all important factors which shape our kids’ experiences.

As you may have guessed, there is no single thing a child needs in order to be happy – it really is a blend of different aspects and activities, which work together to create experiences that kids build upon to become well-rounded adults. Based upon the findings of Surf Excel’s EyeView camera, five essential subject important to kids today have been captured:

Play Face

Play may seem like fun, but it can also be highly educational to children. Studies have found that play ‘contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children’, whether that be structured indoor play, such as building a tower out of bricks – or unstructured, messy, outdoor play, where kids are given the ultimate freedom and encouraged to use their creativity, to make mistakes, and to learn from their surroundings.

Busy Kids

As we’re starting to understand the association between childhood experiences and successful, happy adulthoods, many of us are encouraging our kids to have a wide range of experiences, such as partaking in after school activities, signing up for extra classes or courses, or taking up a hobby. It’s really no wonder that (according to research done by Surf Excel for the Kids Today project) an astonishing 74 percent of us think our kids are busier than we were at that age.

City Kids

More than half of all mums interviewed for the Kids Today project reported that they would like their kids to spend less time watching TV or playing video games, but many kids living in big cities simply don’t have much opportunity to get out and about and to play in designated safe areas. These areas are important, however – footage captured by the EyeView camera demonstrates just how hectic urban environments can seem to young kids. Fortunately, there are plenty of outdoor activities that can be enjoyed in the city; we just need to use our imaginations.

What’s it Like?

Things have changed a lot since we were kids, making it challenging for us to identify with children today, and understand their thought and action processes. As Dr Jansari, the psychologist behind the Kids Today project, states: “What might look like messing around can really be a learning experience”. Just because we don’t understand a child’s behaviour doesn’t mean that it isn’t a vital part of their development.

Learning is Messy

Learning isn’t as straightforward as we once thought. Years ago, it was thought that the most important factor in creating successful adults was a school education, but now we’re seeing that children learn everywhere, not just the classroom. The process is quite complex and messy, but new technology is helping us to understand the complex spider web of learning more than ever before.

So, what’s it like to be a kid? It’s complicated! However, with major brands such as Surf Excel making childhood development a major focus, and with the introduction of new technology, we’re finally starting to be able to make more sense of this complex yet magical time in life.

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

Encouraging Creativity can Help your Kids Succeed in School

In schools, and amongst parents, there seems to be a very definite consensus that creativity and academia are separate concepts. Describing kids, or hearing them described, it is quite common to label them either as the creative type or as the intellectual type, and there very rarely seems to be a crossover between the two. The question we should be asking is – are creativity and intelligence mutually exclusive, or can they actually benefit one another? The association, or lack of, between creativity and academia has long been the focus of psychologists and researchers, and many believe that imagination and creativity helps to develop the type of logical and rational thought needed to understand complex theories and ideas. If you are looking for fun and exciting ways to help your child succeed at school, art and craft ideas may be just what you’re looking for.

Arts & Crafts for Logical Thinking

If you can’t quite see a clear link between arts and crafts and academia, it can be difficult to know what sorts of activities to carry out with your kids that will help them perform to the best of their ability in school. However, here are some excellent ideas that are suitable for kids of all ages:

T-Shirt Decoration

images 2All you need for this is an old white (or light colored) T-shirt, and a wide range of crafting materials, such as odd pieces of material, glue, glitters, paints, pens, buttons, stickers, and anything else you have lying around the house. The idea is to essentially overwhelm your kids with choice, encouraging them to make decisions about the best materials they should use for their chosen T-shirt design and about the most practical colours. Being able to see the picture as a whole, take it all in, assess the choices, and narrow them down to those that would fit the situation best – these are excellent skills, not only in the classroom, but also in life!

Homemade Jigsaw PuzzlesJig saw puzzle

For kids who are a little older, putting together jigsaw puzzles is a piece of cake – something they can do with their eyes closed – so why not make it a bit more challenging? Using some thick card, pens and paints, and safety scissors, ask your kids to draw or paint a design. Then, cut it up into a set number of pieces that all fit together perfectly. Then, they can put the pieces back together again – this is an excellent task for encouraging problem solving, and your kids will get a great game to add to their toy boxes at the end!

3D Sculptures

spaperchaincaterpillarThinking about the holidays, what is one festive decoration that you always made at school? Paper chains! They seem so simple and straightforward from an adult perspective, but when you’re a kid, they’re like magic! Using strips of colored paper, make paper chains with your kids. You can hang them from the ceilings or walls in your home. Seeing how 2D materials can be transformed into 3D artwork promotes logical information processing, and opens your kids up to a whole new way of thinking.

To give our kids the best chances, it’s just as important to promote imagination and creativity as it is to promote the sciences. Why not come up with your own ideas for fun activities you can do with your kids at home?

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

Images Courtesy : Google Images

The World Is Yours?

I am delighted to welcome, Corinne Rodrigues on my blog, today. If I were to describe Corinne in one word, it will be… Inspiring! Her writings, which are words of wisdom from regular events of everyday life, reflect that.
Please join me in welcoming Corinne to my space here and I hope you enjoy her thought provoking and inspiring post as much as I do.
Over to Corinne…

Last week, we heard a woman screaming out a string of insults at the workers in the apartment opposite ours. As we listened closer, we realized it was a neighbour from upstairs, calling the workers ‘animals’ etc. Their crime? They were doing their work – breaking the plaster prior to painting. Her reason for being upset? She couldn’t sleep in the afternoon. My husband had to remind her that the whole building had suffered similar discomfort when the work in her flat (and subsequently ours) went on. And the workers in her flat worked late into the night. She argued that her workers didn’t make that much of a noise! How would she know – she didn’t live here at the time. But in her mind she was entitled to her afternoon nap and how dare anyone disturb her!

Later that evening as I went for a walk, I kept almost bumping into people who while walking on the busy roads just had to keep looking at their mobile phones. It didn’t matter that people coming in the opposite direction had to move into traffic to avoid them – it was their phone and their time and they were entitled to do that – no apologies needed!

A sense of entitlement is described an unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable treatment at the hands of others.

It’s easy to say that this type of behaviour is typical of the Generation Y or the Millennials. Why, we even think it’s typical of dogs these days! 😉

16 CanineEntitlementSML

But seriously I’ve seen this attitude across different age groups, backgrounds and professions. When the passenger next to you in the airplane thinks it’s his right to keeping buzzing for the airhostess for no reason at all, or the your colleague regularly expects you to complete their work, or the neighbour thinks it’s okay to leave his garbage outside the door and have the cats make a mess, or when you’re walking down the street and someone throws a used can out of their car, or when a celebrity commits a crime and expects to be let off lightly, then you know that a sense of entitlement is alive and well! Sadly, so.

What makes people feel this way? I think it’s pretty simple. It’s a basic lack of empathy towards others. When life becomes all about ourselves and our needs, then the feelings of others get trampled upon.

We can’t change the behaviour of other people. But we can certainly check our own. We can work on looking at things from the other’s point of view and cultivating empathy within ourselves. When we go out of ourselves and realize how much other people suffer, then we can begin to be empathetic.

And if you are in a relationship/s where others are taking advantage of you or exercising their sense of entitlement, make sure you take care of your own needs while taking care of theirs. Also, think before you make commitments and don’t feel pressured to give into their demands.

While I was thinking about this post on my evening walk the other day I saw this : 0212tumblr_myymb0NVBU1r3jsrko1_500

Picture credits: Cartoon Wall in Bandra

Linking it to January 2014 Ultimate Blog Challenge and NaBloPoMo

To read posts by fellow friends and UBC and NaBloPoMo participants, click here JairamKajal, Kathy, Michelle, Nabanita, Richa, Suzy Que, Sheethal. Yes, we can do we with some more cheering and support. :)

Psstt… I Heard Something…

Today, I have the pleasure of hosting Mrs Usha Menon on my blog.  Ever since I started reading Mrs Menon’s blog, which was sometimes last year, I was intrigued. I was amazed to see a 77-year-old retired educationist, discover blogging and taking it up so passionately. And in this one year I have seen her evolve, as she explored the art of writing a Haiku and stories in 100 words to poetry and prose. I am yet to come across somebody who is so keen to learn and explore at this age. Is there any age for learning new things in life? Thank you Ma’am for showing me that learning has no age limit. And today I’ve invited her to share a little of that passion in a guest blog post.

Welcome, Mrs Menon…

If we were to list the sin that is most commonly seen in all societies, gossiping would surely find its way in that list.  We find people who gossip everywhere, in offices, schools, colleges and even within the four walls of a house. gossip

Do you remember a game which we all played while we were children? A group of children would sit in a circle. The game starts with one child whispering something in the ears of a child, sitting next  to her. Let’s say that the first child says, “Pizza tastes great.” This sentence is whispered  in each child’s ear one by one. The last child announces what she heard. Can you guess what the last child heard and announced? She said , “Pete’s a great ape”. Can you beat this!! This is how gossiping works. It starts with one person and is passed on from one person to  another. In the process it assumes  a different  meaning altogether!

We find gossip columns in many newspapers, where we can  peep into the personal lives of  high society people. Generally people are curious to know about the personal life of  famous  movie stars,  politicians and other well known personalities.

However much we may disapprove in theory, gossiping is a very common behaviour.

Why do we gossip? Whatever we talk about another person, he is not present to defend himself. We gossip because
(a) we feel superior
(b) we feel we can have more control on power
(c) we want to take revenge against the person
(d) we want to attract attention
(e) or start some activity when they feel bored.

In the corporate world, gossip plays an important role. The top most executives have their own hired gossipers or informers who blend the ‘inside’ activities of the chosen one according to their own judgment. It can sometimes prove to be dangerous. But strangely gossip is the best means to collect or disseminate information.

In recent years much research has been done in the field of gossiping. Many psychologists have concluded that generally when two people speak to each other it is more about a person who is not present.

We all know that gossiping is wrong then why do we indulge in this activity? In a conversation between two individuals, words spoken about others give them a feeling of mutual trust. It gives a boost to their language and to a great extent; a bond is established between them. Such bonding is natural because shared dislikes bring them closer than shared likes. It is a method in which they share their sense of humour.

Is gossiping good for us? Gossip can be put to good use also. Through this we can judge the aggression hidden within us, which can lead to self introspection and we can correct ourselves to a great extent. Gossip varies according to the persons practicing it. If the gossip does not harm the person, who is being discussed in a group or by two individuals, it can be laughed away. But if the gossip is an evaluating and demeaning comment on someone who is not present, it amounts to spreading rumour against the person. Such gossip leads to heart burns. We can easily differentiate between malicious, mischievous and mean-spirited gossip as opposed to innocuous, innocent and harmless gossip. Gossipers enjoy mutual bonding, as it is colourful and juicy.

So, tell me what’s the latest buzz in the blog world? I am all ears…

Images Courtesy : Google Images

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