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I give freely..

I give freely
I give with my heart
I give a part of my soul.
But there is only so much me.
And there is only so much time I have here.

The people who love us most
Are always the ones who go before us.
We miss what we have
Only once we have lost.

Life doesn’t teach in a lifetime
What Death does in an instant.
I am here today and now.
But there is only so much me.
I give freely with my heart.
But someday there will be no more.

(First written on June 19, 2012)

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2015 in General, Life, Love, Poetry

 

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Journey to the end – and beyond

Had fallen in the deep end…
was floating there for long.
The limbs are tired..
it’s tempting to just let go and drown.
Left alone, am going to learn to swim; find myself an island of peace and tranquility.

To leave my footsteps on the sand.
Leaving traces of me behind..
You can pick up the pieces, the ones you broke… And follow me to another world.
A world that has no tears to drown,
No pain, no sadness but also no love.

Have walked up the mountains.
To the other side of the hills..
A voice inside tells me to stop;
To look back with wonder & smile..
I see Life – and sweet suffering
A world so dismal, yet full of hope.

Have completed my journey..

And yet have a long, long way to go.

(Written on May 25, 2012)

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2015 in Poetry

 

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‘Don’t lose your mind, lose your weight: Rujuta Diwekar’ – part II

This post is a different take on an earlier post “Don’t lose your mind, lose your weight: Rujuta Diwekar” (you can read it here : http://bit.ly/pa80lf ).

Beauty is not skin deep? “I want him/her to take a second look at me”. “I want to put up my best profile pic on Facebook/twitter”. Or, “oh quick, let me change this profile pic – its been 3 days but no one has liked it.” We’ve all been there. As much as we appreciate inner beauty we all love it when it comes in a nice package. There are many diet sheets out there that will make you lose weight quickly. We all want to do it fast. Heck, I went to Rujuta for that reason alone. I just needed to kick-start. But please, please do NOT fall for that trap. You can follow the Rujuta diet for two months – no harm in that. But please don’t make it a way of life. The diet she prescribes is fairly balanced but it is NOT sustainable. You can’t and SHOULDN’t be popping vitamin pills everyday. It is just not right. Think healthy. Think long-term. If you sit down and try jotting down the good stuff you eat and the bad stuff you eat, don’t you think you can do it? Don’t you know that you need to go for that walk or that gym or yoga class? Look inside you and you will find all the answers.

I promised a fellow commenter on this blog (See comments section on the ‘About Me’ post) that I’d put down some general do’s and don’t on healthy eating. So this is for you Aradhana (and for all those lovely people who take time out to read my rants here). I am sharing the stuff I do. I hope it helps :

Do’s:

– Eat one fruit everyday.

– Eat small meals throughout the day.

– Drink lots of water

– Include green vegetable in all main meals (lunch and dinner). This is one rule I never break. I eat salad if nothing else is available.

– Have a bowl of curd everyday. If, like me, you don’t like curd- make raita. (I make cucumber raita, dudhi raita, palak raita, mint raita, white gourd raita, yellow gourd raita). No, boondi raita doesn’t count🙂 If it is particularly hot, I drink buttermilk instead of curd. No salt, no sugar, no ice. Just water and curd.

– Reduce the intake of salt as much as possible. Slowly reduce the amount of salt you add in the cooking, you will get used to it. No table salt at all.

– Cook in olive oil. I know its expensive. So feel free to ignore this tip. For those who want to use it, do NOT use virgin olive oil. For cooking you can’t use virgin or extra virgin olive oil. Thats only for salads. If you are going to heat up the oil use regular Olive Oil. Remember the green bottle of Figaro? The one your mom oiled your hair with? Yup, you can use this for cooking. No the food taste doesn’t change if you use little oil to cook.

– You can also use Rice Bran Oil (I personally use Ricela). So what I do is I cook in Figaro and use Ricela for frying stuff. Once in a 4 months, I stop using Figaro and cook in Ricela for about a month.

– You have to have protein in your diet. Chicken curry, egg curry, paneer, dal, legumes (like rajma, chole, etc.) any one will do. But please cook in less oil. I often add pureed palak to the gravy. Try it for any of the above. It tastes awesome.

– Whenever you use Palak (Spinach) add a few methi leaves. It won’t taste bitter. The colour of the gravy changes to a dark green. It will add the much needed iron to the diet.

– Switch from white rice to brown rice. Brown rice takes time to cook, is sticky and tastes different but trust me, it tastes very good. I don’t like it for pulao though.

– Eat dinner as early as you can (the most difficult one)

– If you feel bloated, for two days just have lots of fruits, curd, salads and water. Add a slice of bread to give you the requisite carbs though.

– Bread – Buy multigrain only. Brown bread is different than wheat bread. Buy wheat bread not brown bread. The bakery will have it. Anjali Mukherjee brown bread is NOT wheat bread!

Can’t remember any more for now. Will put them in the comments section of this post as and when I remember. If you have tips, please share them with us. Looking forward to hearing from all of you. Btw, I have not added the Dont’s section here. I think we all know what we shouldn’t do🙂

Here’s to sensible eating and life-long good habits!

mYm

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2011 in Diet & Fitness

 

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Message from a Working Mom

I met somebody today who looked down her long nose at me and said “I’d rather die than leave my child with a maid all day”. I wish I had hit back at her with a smart retort but as usual my wit deserted me at the crucial moment and I was left staring at her rude back. I bristled all the way home, muttering rude expletives that would make my grandmother turn in her grave. But the moment I saw my child and my home, all my anger left me – leaving me with a quiet sense of peace.

Here’s what I saw today when I got home: a beautiful, happy, warm child who came running into my arms the moment I stepped in. She wasn’t crying that her mom had left her with a nanny all day. She was in fact bringing out cards (little wisps of paper with colourful scribbles on them) that she had made for mommy. She asked me to close my eyes. She held my hand and pulled me excitedly to her room which was full of little drawings & paintings that she had made all day. After a lot of exclaiming and hugging she sat in my lap telling me which books she wanted me to read. And yes, I was tired from a long day at work and yes all I wanted to do was escape into the bath and get a few quiet moments. But thats the beauty of being a working mom- when you are with your child, you are WITH your child. So we sat together, reading books for over an hour. We did homework together. We played while she bathed – the soaking she gave me was more relaxing than any bubble bath soak I’ve ever had. I changed her clothes, fed her dinner and after a lot of cuddling and kissing put her to bed.

I came home to a clean & happy house. I came in feeling guilty that I was away from my child the entire day. But what was prodding at me all day was obviously not bothering my little one. Just as I grew up accepting “daddy goes to work & mommy takes care of home”, she is growing up accepting “Mommy & daddy go to office & I go to school”. Not all lessons can be taught in theory. My daughter sees me working and she knows that when she grows up she is going to be independent and successful. That she owes it to herself to pursue her dreams. That she can only teach her children the lessons of contentment when she herself is content. That work life balance IS possible. That different things take priorities at different times in life and that it doesn’t make the other things less important.

When my mom was teaching me life lessons she taught me the value of respect. She always emphasised that if I didn’t respect others they wouldn’t respect me back. To those many life lessons that I was taught, I’ve added one more for my daughter – “Respect others. But don’t ever lose your own self-respect and/or self worth. Nothing in the world can make up for that. If you lose that you have nothing left.”

This is what I wish to say to the stay-at-home mom who insulted me – “We working mothers work hard to balance our lives -Our careers, families and homes. It seems that we leave our children unattended the whole day but we call several times a day to check that they are ok. We are not at home but we know exactly what our children are doing at each moment of the day. When our mobile flashes “Home calling” our heartbeats stop. We live with constant fear that an accident might happen & we won’t be there with the child. It is not easy to live with such fear and guilt. It is a question of choice. Of defining our self worth by our own measure. My self-worth comes from working, yours comes from being a home maker. Doesn’t make me better than you or you better than me. I respect you for what you do – it cant be easy. In return all I ask is you give me my space”.

– A Working Mom

 
 

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Fairy Tales – do they have a purpose?

Have you read aloud “Fairy Tales” to your child and wondered why they are so full of evil and sadness? Have you skipped over the bad parts or read them quickly? Have you hidden a book coz every time your child listens to a particular story, he/she cries? Have you wondered whether these “fairy tales” have a purpose?

Like most parents, I have read out Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel,etc to my daughter and have cringed at the description of the stepmother/stepsister/witch. I quickly look up to see whether Tricia’s eyes have teared up and her lips drooped down😦 So, when these stories are meant for children why do they have to talk of evil spells and poisoned apples?

Stop for a minute and remind yourself how long the fairy tale has been with us – in every nation, in every culture and civilization. How and why has this tradition survived? Surely there must be a reason?

Well, the fairy tales re-enforces what the child has known all along and what we as parents and teachers have tried to shelter them from – that there is a cold, cruel world out there. And the world is just waiting to eat the child alive. Fortunately the fairy tale doesn’t end at this re-enforcement. It teaches the child that the good wins over the bad and if he/she has courage then he/she can overcome any obstacle in this world. It gives the child hope while acknowledging his fear. And by doing this, the fairy tale presents the child with a means by which he can understand the world and himself/herself.

It does not help to try and shelter the child from the dragons and the witches. For there are more than what the world needs out there. To send your child out into that world unprepared would be a crime.

Yes, the temptation is there to avoid reading books or tell stories where there is a problem, conflict or drama. But give in to that temptation and you will see that the child has lost interest in the books. Wonder why? Well, of all the things that we ask our books to be, few are as important as “believable”. Fairy tales, fiction, non-fiction, biographies- the only ones that work are the ones that are believable. A world that is “forever pink” doesn’t work because children eventually realize its fakery.

If only there were a happy ending at the end of each tale..

mYm

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2010 in Child Development

 

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eBooks or Paper Books?

According to the Association of American Publishers eBook sales made up 9% of total consumer book sales in 2010. There is intense competition amongst eReader manufacturers and the consumer is spoilt for choice. Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iPad – the eReader just gets better every time. I personally love the iPad. Not gotten around to reading an entire book yet but have read several magazines. And I gotta admit, I have enjoyed the experience.

So the big question is – which do you prefer? eBooks or paper Books? eBooks have there own advantage- you can write notes, you can tweet and Facebook excerpts from the book, you can buy them from the comfort of your home, no storage problem, read it anywhere without having to carry the physical book, environment friendly, etc etc.

Personally for me, the paper Book is a winner any day. My house is overflowing with books, but I love it. I love going through aisles of books in a store and choose a book. I like the feel of a book in my hands- however heavy it might be. I like the fact that I can dedicate it to someone. Reading for me is a way of life. It is an experience and not just about reading the text. There is no soul in reading an ebook. It just doesn’t FEEL the same.

I love it when in my living room my husband and I and my daughter are sitting in three different corners each with a book in our hand. It gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling. An eReader wouldn’t be the same- it just feels so cold. A cup of hot cocoa, a book in my hand and thunderstorm outside my window- thats the stuff my dreams are made of. And the best experience in the world- to put a child in your lap, hold a book together and flip the pages slowly pointing at pictures. No eBook in the world can beat that.

For me it’s the difference between talking face to face and video conferencing.

Here’s to old, yellowing books…and here’s to good old fashioned reading.
mYm

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2010 in General

 

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The Idiot Box

The pride of the living room has slowly penetrated the bedrooms, the children’s room, the kitchen. It has invaded the lives of people. Go to a friend’s place for  a dinner hoping for good conversation and the Idiot Box encroaches. God forbid if there is a darn cricket match playing. The entire nation drops work and sits in front of the Idiot Box a.k.a. Television.

I have listened to mothers complaining that their children do not eat without watching television. I have seen children (and adults) fight over which channel to watch. I have been the clueless witness to discussions over “saas-bahu” episodes. No prizes for guessing how I feel about the idiot box.

When my daughter was born, my husband and I took the decision of disconnecting cable TV. The poor cable guy thought I was haggling for price. It took me a better part of an hour to convince him that I wasn’t going to take his competitor’s cable connection and that no it didn’t matter how much it cost – I just didn’t want it.

A lot of people have asked me why? I have never been a TV fan. For me the television has always been a device to watch DVDs. Call me a snob but I look down upon people who can tolerate the saas bahu dramas that are doled out one after another on Indian television. But the one thing that I detest most is how people use Television as a baby sitter. Bored housewives who apparently stay at home to take care of their child, happily plonk the child in front of the idiot box for hours and proudly announce to whoever is willing to listen how well the child knows the moves and the lyrics of the latest Bollywood song. Yikes!

My daughter is 3 and a half- she has never seen a cartoon show. Neither has she seen the insides of a theatre. I did try taking her to the movie Ice Age 3 but she refused to sit in a place that was so loud and begged to be taken outside within 5 mins of the movie. She has a modest collection of Dora, Pooh, Barney, Noddy, Leapfrog and other DVDs but her interest in TV is very low and she doesn’t want to sit still for more than 15 mins to watch something. I go to work and am out of the house for the entire day but I am not worried whether Clara (my daughter’s nanny) and Tricia are watching TV. Yesterday, they sat together and did some glass painting. Two days before that they made a Lego fairy castle (it did not look like a castle but the description given for it matched perfectly :)) We are always looking for activities to do together – painting, gardening, cycling, reading, craft, cooking, cleaning – we have done it all. Sometimes it is difficult. Sometimes I am tired and just want to curl up on the couch and read a book and yes I could have done it if Tricia watched TV. But it is a small price to pay.

A lot of my friends have asked me what I am going to do when Tricia slowly realizes that she is missing on something that her friends have. I do not have an answer. I am taking every day as it comes. I am thankful that 3 years of her life have not been wasted in front of the television. I am hoping that like her parents she will grow up preferring books to TV. We always take the time out to explain to her why she can’t do something coz she is young and how there are things that she can do but grown ups can’t – she understands and respects that. I hope this theory can be extended to what she can and can’t watch.

I am not a perfect mum. I don’t even claim to be close to perfect. But I am doing what I think is right for my child. And I am hoping that this post will influence more mommies to keep their children away from the idiot box. Instead of cartoons and videos, lets gift our children our time. For we shall cross this path only once.

Humbly,

mYm

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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