My Guest Post @ Everyday Gyaan

A few days ago, I went to a party hosted by a friend. My friend works with a company which is into multi-level-marketing of cosmetic products. As part of their business model, a group of ladies are invited for a get together. The agenda of the meeting is fun and business. So, along with some fun games and activities, details of the cosmetics are shared with the group.

We were a group of 15 women who were meeting each other for the first time and our hostess was the only common link between us, so introductions were in order. The hostess asked us to introduce ourselves.

The round of introductions started….

Hop on to Corinne’s Blog Everyday Gyaan to Read More!

Jaipur Literature Festival 2013

Jaipur Literature Festival, the most prestigious literary fest of Asia-Pacific for all the book-lovers kicked off yesterday at Diggi Palace, Jaipur.

Like last year, this year too, I went to this much talked about fest with my bogging friend Kadambari. We decided to go for HH Dalai Lama’s session. As we were getting ourselves registered and getting the security check done, HH Dalai Lama’s convoy arrived at the venue. He was sitting on the front seat of a SUV and was greeting the Tibetans who were standing on the other side of the road to catch a glimpse (or seek blessings) of their spiritual leader.

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The decor at the entrance

On time, we reached the Front Lawns, and what a sight it was. It was jam packed, there was not even an iota of space to move. Of course all around us were not literature loving people, there must be many who would have come to just see the celebrities! But what a disciplined audience it was! Even before His Highness could come on the stage, there was pin drop silence.

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The ‘elite’ crowd

The spiritual leader was in conversation with Pico Iyer on Kinships of Faiths : Finding the Middle Way. His talk was interesting and enlightening. It was interesting to note that HH Dalai Lama as a young Buddhist, when he was about 7 years old, was not interested in his studies, but the fear of his teacher forced him to learn. And now, in his 77th year, he still considers himself a student of Nalanda University. He talked about secularism, similarities between science and philosophies of Buddha. I expected HH Dalai Lama to be a great orator but that was not the case.

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The close-up

The next session was a tribute to Sunil Gangopadhyay by Sharmila Tagore. Sharmila Tagore looked very graceful and was extremely well-read on Sunil Da’s work. She read some excerpts from his famous novel ‘Sei Samoy”

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Saw Shashi Tharoor in conversation with Tarun Tejpal too. During the break between sessions we saw yesteryear actor, Vijayendra Ghatge. There were so many familiar faces too. That was day one at JLF.

Hail Winters!

They say, don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn’t start a conversation!

It seems every year, I keep hearing, “This year the winters are more severe than the last year!!” Or “Never before were the winters so harsh!”

Ah, whether it’s harsh or severe, mild or very cold winters are meant to be braved and enjoyed!

A quick “Can you answer in one-word (or sentence, yeah some of us love to talk) survey” on “What keeps you going in the winters?”, with the people in my neighbourhood revealed some diverse and interesting responses.

For the Uncle, with a wonderful smile, its loads of warm woollen layers.

While ‘it’s only Pashmeena or Toosh’ for the ladies in my building. Ok, let me clarify, this information I got from the last get-together we had in our building complex.

A friend’s daughter’s friend who stays in a hostel, yearns for piping hot, tasty and delicious home-made food, especially the gajar ka halwa and sarson ka saag and makki ki roti. And her friend loves the moongfali, revari and gajjaks which are synonymous with winters.

And the grandparents on the 8th floor look forward to sitting out in the balcony or garden to soak in all the warmth provided by the Sun God.

While the lady in pink wants to just snuggle up cosily in a blanket with a nice book and a hot cup of masala chai. Wow, I’d love that too!

As for mothers like me, it means some more entertainment management for the kids. While Aaryan is having his winter vacations, his building friends are busy with schools and exams. So, his friends come out to play only in the evenings. For rest of the day, Aaryan has to be kept busy. TV dominates and keeps him engrossed for long, PlayStation games, games on laptop and books holds his interest for a short while. When I banned my child from watching Cartoon Network and its brethren for some time (I feel he should watch something sensible rather than Doremon and Nobita’s gadget stories) and focus on something creative. Inspired by what he saw on Animal Planet channel, this is what he made yesterday.

imageThese are the Walrus, Penguin, Seal and the Shark toys enjoying themselves in Antarctica. By the way, this Antarctica was created in our refrigerator.

And as for the watchmen, it’s the warmth of the fire in the cold of the night that keeps them going.

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What keeps you going in this cold season??

Of W and W!!

I hate it.

At the same time, I am very concerned about it.

Seeing the growing proportions gives me momentary panic attacks.

In a flash of a second, I make plans to take some remedial action. And the very next moment, I find some very important and very urgent diversions.

So, days have passed into months and the reverse is happening. The wide is becoming wider and weak is becoming weaker!

I am talking about the ever widening waistline and the weakening will power to do something about the former.

I have all the good intentions to reduce the bulge and exercise but somehow these good intentions get pushed behind other commitments and mundane things.

One fine day, I get highly motivated and dig out my track suit from the closet and take 2 rounds of the jogging track in our apartment complex and there’s never a second day which sees the repeat action.

Some days I convince myself that I am very tired. While some days, I reason with myself that I had walked up and down the 17 stair-set of office thrice!!!

Some times I have important household chores to do and while some days I am plain lazy.644092_10151310614064714_320412660_n

Also, I have seen that you put off something for one day and ten days will pass by!

Another day in another month, inspired by Smita, I take out our treadmill from the store room and clean it. The day, saw me admiring my hard work of rolling the machine to a distance of 5 meters. Next day, I sync my iPod and download new songs on it. And somehow I motivate myself to stand on the treadmill. When I listened to the songs on iPod, I realised that the sweet romantic numbers which I had chosen could not keep pace with the rhythm of the brisk walking on treadmill. So, since then, my search for fast paced songs is on and till then the treadmill is on a pause mode…

The only form of exercise that I love is swimming and I am very passionate about it. Missing even a single day of swimming is a big No-No for me. But unfortunately the swimming season is for a limited time period and for the rest of the time, one needs to focus on walking, jogging etc.

Going to a gym or walking in the park doesn’t appeal to me much and neither does dieting. So making use of the treadmill at home is the bestest viable option I have. And even availing the benefits of a treadmill in the comfort of my home eludes me.

I guess, I suffer from Exercise Procrastination. Somebody said this and it mirrors my sentiments, “whenever I get the energy to exercise, I sit down until it passes!”

Well, enough is enough and I’m going to stop procrastinating about my fitness regime… once I get around to it.Image 1

Images Courtesy : Google Images

Hate Rains

Rains! Ah! The Rains!! The sound of them, the talk of them, the thoughts of them and the memories of them, transport people into an altogether different plane. You see some with a blissful smile, some with that lost silly grin and some with that wistful look…


Some love the smell of rains, some love the freshness in the air, some the pitter patter of the rains, some love the pakodas and tea which are the mandatory accompaniments of rains, some love dancing in the rains… in short, Everybody Loves Rains.

But, I’d like to differ and suggest that You Should Hate Rains!

Hate rains?? Yeah, you heard it right…

Well, you know, I am sane (believe me, please) and I do have valid reasons to say a word as strong as ‘hate’ for rains.

Let me share my ‘Dhobhi List’ of why you should hate rains.

You should hate rains because…

1. No matter whether you carry an umbrella or a raincoat, you still get wet. Now, if you wanted to get wet, you’ll not be using that umbrella or raincoat. Right?!

2. The lower part of your Jeans/Trousers/Churidars etc ALWAYS gets wet and dirty. And it’s so dirty, that the only sound that comes from your throat is EEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKSSSS!


3. The stains on the clothes never vanish. Even ‘Vanish’ fails in its action! And that advertisement for ‘Tide’ is all crap!

4. The washed clothes never dry and feel fresh. And are mostly damp. Yes damp, even after spinning it dry in the washing machine.

5. One portion of your house/one room gets converted into a ‘Dhobhi Ghaat’ with a clothes rack or clothesline running from one curtain rod to the other with a fan at full speed to dry up the clothes.

6. Your pet dog and cat stink. And imagine if they have ticks during this period!!

7. Most of the outdoor activities result in a lot of cancellations, delays or postponements! How sad that is!

8. Your hair is all dull, lifeless and frizzy. And you know, what wonders this can do to your look!

9. The smell of the wet clothes laced with humid sweat of co-passengers in a bus or a train converts it into a musty, stuffy fume box! This gives me an idea! If the judge wants to award a ‘near death sentence’ to any convict, he/she can ask him/her to travel in such a bus/train!!

10. God forbid, if you are on foot and passing some by-lanes of Mumbai, you are sure to wade through knee deep water. And is that water clean?? Far far from it!! Don’t want to make it gross, but gross it is, because, the water that is soaking you wet has ALL the ingredients of that big drain!!

11. There are traffic jams or the traffic moves at a snail’s pace. And if you have my hubby as a driver, you can have a non-stop commentary on the driving skills of all the drivers on the road.

12. There could be accidents on the road, due to aquaplaning. And this could be dangerous. Seriously!

13. If you cry in the rains, nobody can see it. And there are times, when you want ‘somebody’ to see you crying!!

14. If you are stranded on the road, you jump or yell or use sign language like a maniac, but no bus, no taxi, no autorikshaw will ever go your way!

15. You can have a sprained ankle or back or even a fracture somewhere, if you slip on that slippery pavement or that murky road.

16. You face God’s wrath in the form of lightning and thunder, from the heaven above and you also face the wrath of the Electricity Board in the form of power-cuts!

17. When it rains, you get wet, then cold, then sneezes and then ill, and then doctors and medicines and who knows, you could die too! 😉

So, as Geet in Jab We Met would have said, “Aap convince ho gaye, ya main aur boloon??”

The Missing Basics

This blog is on a 3 day hiatus! Will be back soon! 🙂

Last Sunday, I was at Agra Cantt. Railway Station. My train was to arrive at 5.40 pm, and I was at the station at 4.30 pm!

The weather was sizzling hot and the wind was making it worse. My coach was supposed to come at a place which had no shade. So, went in search of a place to sit in the shaded part of the platform. Standing for a long time, coupled with sweltering heat, I was soon tired and exhausted. I heaved a sigh of relief when I managed to get a small space to sit on a already crowded bench!

The tired legs got a bit of rest, I did what I like doing the most…  observing! And what I observed was a sea of people sitting or lying down, everywhere on the platform.

The platform was so very dirty, with water and god knows what all liquid matter spilled and splattered at most places. Rubbish strewn all over. And the most striking thing was that people were oblivious to all this mess around them.

This child was drinking milk from the bottle, it fell from her hands, promptly it was picked up and the nipple was thrusted again in the baby’s mouth!DSC04784
This kid’s mother breast fed her, and in the process, the baby peed on the mother. The mother coolly brushed aside the susu from her sari with her hands, shifted her position and sat just a few millimetres away from the susu, and then spread the susu further away with her sandals, which was lying in a pool, close by! A few minutes later, she smelled her sari, made a face and that was it!
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Her husband got cucumbers which were sold nearby, and everybody relished the masala salad without giving a thought about washing hands! A few minutes later, they opened a plastic bag which had chapatis and a vegetable, and had their food. The kids were dropping their food on the platform and promptly picking it up and putting it in their mouths nonchalantly! And none of the elders said anything. In fact they constantly changed the position of their slippers/shoes which lay open near their luggage. While getting up, they would rest their hands on the ground for support…DSC04801
The cucumber seller was a big hit on this platform. I saw him coming and sitting nearby with a big basket which had some 25-30 peeled cucumbers, a plastic cold drink bottle which was filled with masala and a few newspapers. As soon as he set his temporary shop near me, he was surrounded by customers. He slit a cucumber into 4 pieces vertically and sprinkled the masala from the cold drink bottle and handed it to the waiting customer and charged Rs. 5 per cucumber. Nobody washed their hands or the cucumber! Then a cucumber fell from the basket, the seller, picked it up, wiped it clean with his hands and placed it back in the basket. At times, he would keep the masala bottle on the platform and at other times he would place it on the cucumbers!! And in flat 10 minutes, he was sold out. He went away only to return ten minutes later with a fresh basket of peeled cucumbers and the same chain of events followed!

These 2 elderly villagers smoked their beedis, had something to chew and would spit out near them, regularly!
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The people around me were from lower/middle class, and where ever I saw, people were so very oblivious to hygiene and cleanliness! Spitting or throwing anything, anywhere seems to be our birth right!  The toilet (the one I passed) was emanating such a stinking smell that it could act as a natural anaesthetic.

While, maintaining personal hygiene and cleanliness is everybody’s responsibility / duty / right… ! And one does not need money to be be clean and hygienic! It’s a basic thing! But, I guess, majority of the people do not subscribe to these views. For them, it’s like germs help build the immune system! May be it does!! Or is it that they just don’t know about the issues / diseases that could crop up because of living in unhygienic conditions!

This station had so many foreign tourists too, I wonder what would be their impression about us and our country! Having a mobile phone is everybody’s necessity now-a-days but hygiene and cleanliness is not!!
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MOLOs

  • We are at an electronics store. We are waiting while the gadget that we want is being organised. A 3-year old child is constantly pulling his mom’s dupatta and saying something in a whining mode. The mother tries to say some soothing words. There’s no effect on the child and he continues to whine. She ignores him for a while. And the clinging, whining and pulling of dupatta continues. She explains patiently. Still, the whining continues. I ask, “What does the child want?”. She says, “A charger!!” I am amused. A charger which he does not need, but since he has seen it, he wants it and no amount of cajoling, explanation will soothe him. And the whining continues…
  • At a get-together, a 4-year old wants to play with Mom’s hair. It was hot and unlocking the hair clip and pulling the hair back in the clip in an unruly manner, again and again, was a bit irritating for even the onlookers. The mom tells the child to stop, calmly first, then in a bit stern voice and finally she lost it!!
  • At a home, a 4-year old is crying so loudly, that it worried even the neighbours. Reason for crying… the child wants to wear a particular T-shirt which due to some reasons, the mother didn’t wanted him to wear! A firm ‘No’, different options, diverting his attention to something else… everything failed to stop the balking child!
  • A mother tells a 3.5-year old to sit on the dining table and finish her milk. She argues that she is responsible and a big girl and will be able to handle her milk glass on the bed. A few minutes of arguments and counter-arguments and finally, the glass ends up with the child on the bed! A few seconds later, the milk is on the bed… the mattress, the sheet and even a pillow is soiled!! The frustration and the anger on the mother’s face was worth capturing!

All these incidents clearly show that the kids are simply being themselves, ie kids!

Sometimes, it’s the temper tantrums, which is a part of growing up and which is age specific too ie most of the children in a particular age-group do go through this… sometimes it’s the fatigue which makes them feel so irritated… sometimes it’s just like that. They don’t call the Terrible Twos or Whiny Threes or Horrible Threes or Threatening Threes!! without any reason! It’s all part of the natural progression in the growth and development of a child!

While we understand the child’s learning curve or the growth pattern, my heart goes out to all the mothers of the little ones… MOLOs

It’s summer vacations for kids here and where ever I go, I see a common expression or state of mind with all young mothers… they are the harried lot!

Their patience is being tested every moment and all through the day as well as the night! This kind of a behavior of the kids can be very nerve-racking! And having to deal with it can put them under a lot of stress. They just can’t wait for the schools (Play schools/Pre-schools) to reopen so that some regular routine would follow and they’d get some time of their own!

No amount of pampering, reason, firmness, patience can calm these screaming, whining, difficult, whimpering kids! And imagine the plight of mother who has to handle such tantrums at irregular intervals in a day! They are at their wit’s end when it comes to dealing with their little ones. And am sure that these mothers can’t wait for their kids to enter the age group of Fortunate Fours! Of course, for some kids, the Terrible Twos and the Horrible Threes last a lil’ longer than specified!

I’d like to make a small prayer, for all the MOLOs…

“God, we give you thanks for having given us children. They are our joy, and we accept with serenity the worries, fears, and labors which bring us pain.

Help us to love them sincerely. Through us you gave life to them; from eternity you knew them and loved them. Give us the wisdom to guide them, patience to teach them, vigilance to accustom them to the good through our example. Amen”

Mummy Ji!!

A few minutes late for an impromptu all women get-together and I am greeted with “Here comes the lucky one!”
“Now, what did I do?”, I ask. My question is ignored and I am asked to quickly settle down.

The hot topic of the moment… Mother-in-Laws(MIL)!

Each had so much to share…

  • A MIL who had chosen the bride for her son, herself, after ‘screening’ a lot of girls and whose only desire for a long time was to see her son married. And when the bride came, she does not have a small or even a fake smile for her. Reason, she is upset that her son and the husband dote on the new member of the family and that now the son spends less time with the her. No matter how much the girl tries to please her MIL, it all goes down the drain!
  • A MIL who creates misunderstanding between the son and his wife and is glad when they fight/argue and is upset when they are happy together.
  • A MIL who would like to accompany the son and the Daughter-in-Law (DIL) for every outing. And the poor guys do go along with her 90% of the times, but that one evening when they make their own plans, all hell breaks loose in the family, cold treatment to snapping at every thing follows!
  • A MIL who would not allow the DIL to do anything in the kitchen. Kitchen is the MIL’s domain. So, after initial attempts to assist her in the kitchen resulted in snubbing , the DIL took the best option… to stay away from kitchen. Even that was frowned upon by the MIL. So, it’s a everyday struggle, comments, snide remarks in the kitchen now…
  • A MIL has only frowns and a long face for the DIL while her happiness knows no bounds when her daughters are home!
  • A MIL drops all the pending household chores as soon as the DIL enters home after work. It’s like now ‘it’s the DIL’s responsibility to look after the home’. The poor girl is not allowed even some 10 minutes of relaxation.
  • A MIL who is so very dominating and everything should be done as per her standards, her desires and her wishes, even the menu for breakfast!
  • A MIL who is never in sync with the DIL’s child-raising abilities, who would reprimand her when she is reprimanding the child, thereby creating so much of confusion for the child and immeasurable heartburn, irritation and frustration for the DIL.

In short, we have MILs here who are very manipulative, control freaks, who treat their DILs as competition and believe that they are not good enough for their sons. These are the mother-in-laws who specialize in back-handed comments and constantly bash their DILs with words! These are the mothers who are constantly forcing their sons to prove their loyalty or forcing them to choose between them or the wife.

Both the MILs and DILs are educated lot here and there are no dowry issues or the physical abuse or… but the days are a big drudgery for these DILs.

The pain of the mind is worse than the pain of the body. The stress, the emotional trauma these MILs bring in their lives is way too much. Gritting teeth or maintaining a cool facade is not a long term option. For these DILs, dealing with their MILs is exhausting and all this pulls them down both physically and emotionally. The MIL’s insecurities and the negativity that brings, results in sleepless nights for the DILs. Some of them are at their wits end and find themselves in such a messy situation.
And their pain is so much so that one DIL has decided that she will have a Live-in Son-in-Law for her daughter (who is just 5), as she does not want her daughter to go through the emotional stress like the one she is experiencing because of her MIL.

Though these DIL’s every sentence starts with, Mummy Ji, but these are not like their real Mothers but are Mother-in-Laws from Hell for sure!!

Ok, why I am the lucky one, as per these women!? Well, I don’t have in-laws!!
What about you?? How is your Mummy Ji??

When Self-Help is No Help…

Last week, a phone call from my father’s friend, shattered all of us in the family.

He called up to inform us that his 36 year old son-in-law is no more.

Since the last 2-3 months, his son-in-law had fever and body ache, and like most of us, he took it lightly and suppressed the fever and ache with self medication or at the most going to the local GP, a couple of times. When his condition deteriorated, he was admitted in an hospital and after all the lab tests, he was found to be suffering from an advanced stage of Bone Tuberculosis. By the time the treatment started, it was too late!!

He is survived by his wife and 3 young kids!

And last year, a cousin’s husband suffered from fever and general malaise. He ignored it for a while and then later took the usual pain killers etc. A few days later, he suddenly collapsed. In the hospital, the doctors diagnosed it to be Falciparum Malaria. After a few days in the ICU, he succumbed to his illness. He was just 30 and had a 2 year old daughter!

Both the incidents made me realise, as to how so very casual we are towards our health. Why do we find quick solutions with self medication rather than going to a doctor on time.

A headache and in goes a Saridon or a Disprin. Somebody’s coughing and we open the medicine chest and hand over a cough syrup and sometimes even an antibiotic!! Acidity?? We go to  a chemist and buy a Rantac or a Omez. And, of course, we all are experts in taking care of fever!

While, the self medication that we practice may help in alleviating the symptoms temporarily, it might have severe and dangerous repercussions in the long run! Now as a case in point, both the gentlemen had fever, but a regular Ibuprofen or a Paracetamol was not what they needed. They needed medicines which were specific for their illness.

Similarly, for a cough, any regular cough syrup will not help. If it’s a dry cough, it could be due to some allergy, or cold or flu or bronchitis. A wet productive cough could be due to pneumonia or bronchitis or flu. Likewise, the treatment for wet non-productive cough would be different than the one for a painful cough.

I know, we all have sufficient knowledge and experience with doctors and medicines and we now know that a standard prescription of a doctor for an infection is an antibiotic with a pain killer. But, do we know that different infections in different age groups need different antibiotics and also the dosage (250 mg vis-a-vis 500 mg or 750 mg of an antibiotic : once a day or twice a day) and the duration of the therapy (3 days or 5-7 days) depends upon the acuteness or the severity of the infection??

Leaving an antibiotic course mid-way could lead to resistance. In other words, the same antibiotic will not be effective in taking care of the infection next time or may be higher doses would be required.

I remember, a friend was suggested (by another friend) to use hot water fomentation for an injury. It worsened her pain. A visit to the doctor suggested cold water fomentation!

Another thought that comes to my mind is how long should one wait to see a doctor?? Immediately or a couple of days or even more??

I know, Aamir’s Satyamev Jayate programme is still fresh in our minds and we might be sceptical about our medical systems. But still, we must visit a doctor on time and follow the prescribed therapy rather than practicing self medication!

Life is too precious to be wasted on trial and errors because the errors could be very fatal here!

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