Monthly Archives

March 2018

LifeStyle

Life is All About Creating Balances – #GratitudeCircle March, 2018

posted by Anupriya March 31, 2018 1 Comment

Different phases in life bring in different lessons. One such lesson that keeps recurring in my life is ‘Life is all about creating balances’. The month of March, 2018 that just went by was all about this very lesson.

The month began with high pitched preparations for my husband’s first cousin’s wedding. It was the grand Indian wedding with 5 days of preceding celebrations, dance performance practices, majestically set-up venues and ravishingly dressed people. It took some planning to manage home, Nik’s school along with attendance at all the functions. I made myself present at all the do(s) but made sure that I was home in time to give Nik ample sleep to be able to attend school next day. It was one hell of a fun week of meeting the extended family and exchange notes beyond the regular whatsapp updates. Continue Reading

DIYKids FunKids Learning

A Quite Book for Some Quite Fun and Learning Time

posted by Anupriya March 30, 2018 1 Comment

I first came across Quite Book on the internet while searching for DIY activities for kids.  The colorfully assembled books immediately caught my fancy and I set out to make one for my niece, to gift the same to her for her birthday.

Oh for those who are wondering what exactly is a quite book, a quick search on the same will tell you that a Quite Book is nothing but an ensemble of activities for kids that they can work on alone or with assistance. Quite Book is also known by names such as Soft Book, Busy Book or a Cloth Book. The best part about quite books us that they are extremely colorful and can be customized as per the kid’s age and interest. The activities mostly focus on skills like matching, sorting, imaginative play etc. Continue Reading

LifeStyle

Life Lessons from Our Travel Diaries – #SayYesToTheWorld

posted by Anupriya March 25, 2018 2 Comments

When I shifted to Kolkata by virtue of marriage, I was bombarded with questions about how I was able to cope with the slow life if the City of Joy. Everyone knew that before marriage I had studied and worked in the fast paced city of Mumbai. Thus everyone expected me to have a wry opinion of the laid back lifestyle that people lived in Kolkata and complain about absolute absence of night life as compared to Mumbai.

What they did not know is that in a span of 8 years preceding my marriage I had lived in 6 different cities for work and study. These excluded my native city where I completed my graduation. Of these cities two were fast paced metro cities of Delhi and Mumbai, while others were nice friendly ones (Lucknow, Pune, Mysore) that enabled me to decided my own pace and live a more comfortable life.

So yes, let me come back to the question that every family member seemed to have for me. After the first few instances I was so bored of explaining to them why the cities’ culture did not bother me and that instead I love the city as much as I loved my previous city, I coined a new term as my standard answer. I told them that I was ‘Geography Neutral’. And I really enjoyed the startled look they gave in response.

But I realized the true meaning of being geography neutral last year when I took our first overseas trip with my husband. As a matter of fact, my husband too has had a similar life to that of mine, as far as the concept of being ‘Geography Neutral’ is concerned. Our experiences of living alone in various cities and frequent domestic travelling for work, family and leisure culminated into travelling lessons that I had garnered. These lessons helped us in numerous ways and made our holiday more fun. Here are snippets from our travel experiences that made us realize that traveling and exploring more helps one #SayYesToTheWorld

Finding the Way

Finding ones way to various destinations within cities wasn’t as easy 15 years back because GPS wasn’t as accessible. Yet I have managed to learn by heart the routes to all important destinations, in all the cities that I have lived. To an extent that when we were in Paris for three days, we decided to give our GPS a break and traversed across the city only with the help of maps. It was like two kids playing treasure hunt with the real world. And I must tell you it was real fun.

Using the Local Transport

When we initially moved out of our home cities as students, we were generally on tight budgets and thus could not afford the luxury of private taxies or even 2 tier train tickets. I most preferred to take the fastest moving public transport of the cities i.e. the local passenger trains. Somehow I found these inter-city journeys spiritually exhilarating. The agility to change platforms, hop on to the just about to leave trains and rush to the next destination within limited time are some skills that came accrued. Oh! And whoever has travelled abroad will vouch for the fact that these skills can be vital when in a foreign land.

Using the Bus No. Eleven

While in hostel, when we did not get an auto-rikshaw to reach the station, we took to walk the way and jovially consoled each other for taking the Bus No. Eleven (that’s the two legs on which we stand and walk). Somehow, in India we undermine the importance and need to walk and take offence on being forced to walk. A research says that we Indians are the laziest walkers in the world ( the ones who dwell in the cities that is). I was completely oblivious of this fact until I had to walk during my time in Paris and Nice. We walked an average of 4 km every day. Once back, I have been trying to walk atleast over a kilometer everyday. The prior average was 400-500 mts. It isn’t a news that walking has its benefits!

Food adjustments

Prior to our travel we were advised by friends who had already been to Switzerland about the best restaurants to have ‘Indian Home Style’ food in all the major cities. We politely accepted the recommendations that were forwarded to us, but sighed at each other with a knowing look. What’s the use of travelling so far and pine for Indian home style food? I understand that many people especially vegetarians find it difficult to get any culinary satisfaction when travelling to far off places where the food culture is very different. Yet both of us are adventurous enough to survive on whatever is available on the local platter. We really enjoyed the local street food and desserts throughout our trip.

Open Up to Mankind

As a habit whenever I deal with any shopkeepers or a cab or auto driver, I strike a conversation with him/her to know more about the city or his experiences in the city. If you have never tried talking to a stranger, you may not be able to appreciate the light heartedness it brings to you, even if you are having a tough time in a new place. The habit remained with me and I made the most of my opportunity to talk to my tour driver who took us to Monacco and Monte Carlo. We figured that he was an Italian. He told us about his life in Italy and why he chose to work in France. When I told him that all that I know about Italy is its fame for Pizza and Mafia, he told us his families experiences with the Italian Mafia, which I would say were very intriguing.  Although, entertaining guests with true or made up stories might be his profession, I may never be able to forget the good time we spent in his company.

Restore your Faith in Mankind

At this juncture I recall an incident from our time in Bern, Switzerland. We had hired two bicycles to ride through the city and mindlessly rode downhill (the thrill of speed was just irresistible). Once at the bottom of the city valley, we realized that we had a humungous task now to walk uphill that too along with the bicycles. Just then, a local resident came across and asked us if we were worried about reaching the top. Our solemn faces gave him the answer. He smiled at us and told us that there is a monorail lift that will take us to the top. We sighed in relief and asked for directions. He showed us by pointing his finger, the direction where the lift station was and told us to follow him. Once at the pick-up point he enquired if we had our travel passes. When we answered in affirmative, he went to the ticket vending machine and came back to us with two tickets. We looked up at him in confusion. He told us that we needed two tickets for the bicycles too. I pulled out the ticket change and handed it out to him, which he refused to take. We insisted, but he listened none of it. He wished us luck for the rest of our trip and took leave. Disbelieving, we looked at each other and our faith in mankind was restored.

Well, these are just few of the memorable things that travelling has brought unto my life. If I were to spend some more time thinking, I could easily double up this post with a sequel. Yet, I would like to thank Lufthansa for making our travel to and fro the far off lands comfortable and memorable. I really wish for every person to find joy in travelling and explore the beautiful world that exists.

Kids LearningLifeStyle

Water is a Luxury – Do Not Waste It

posted by Anupriya March 23, 2018 0 comments

Have you ever wondered how much water goes down the drain from a leaking tap in 24 hours?

Let’s do a simple basic mathematics. Let’s say 2 drops are going down every minute from a tap.

1 drop                                                                   = 0.05 ml

Number of drops in a day                             = 2 * 60 * 60 * 24 = 172,800 drops

Amount of water gone down the drain = 8640 ml = 8.64 lt.

8.64 liters of water is more than what families in remote parts of our country get for their total household consumption every day.  

There was a time that a lower middle class household did not receive supply of water 24 x 7. They had to store water as per their requirements until water decided to visit their taps the next time. The frequency was generally twice everyday for an hour in the morning and in evening. People were frugal in making use of this limited resource.  Continue Reading

Kids Learning

Sustainable Practices at School

posted by Anupriya March 23, 2018 10 Comments

Last week Nik was with me at the grocery shop. When I completed my shopping and took the delivery from the shopkeeper, Nik pulled my hand pointed out to me,

‘Mamma, we should not use plastic bags. You should have brought a cloth bag with you.’

I was a stunned for a moment at my son’s words but then realized immediately that he was learning about not using plastic bags at school. I smiled at him and apologized, promising that next time onwards mamma will be more careful and carry a cloth bag. Continue Reading

AtoZ Challenge 2018BloggingLifeStyleParenting

Parenting And A Slice Of Everything – #AtoZChallenge Theme Reveal with #BlogChatter

posted by Anupriya March 19, 2018 4 Comments

I had earlier written about how I came to know about the AtoZ Blogging Challenge almost 18 months back (Read here). Until last year I did not have it in me to take this ultimate blogging challenge, but this year with some preparation and aspiration to reap the benefits of this daily blogging challenge for my blog, I feel extremely confident and excited.

It won’t still be easy as I’ll be travelling through the first week of April meaning that I will have to schedule my posts much ahead. Given that I have already drafted the first 11 posts , I feel less jittery and hope that I will have not lost the mojo by the time I get back to writing 10th April onwards. Continue Reading

Parenting

Did You Know About The After School Meltdown Among Kids

posted by Anupriya March 16, 2018 8 Comments

Madhu is winding up her DIY Project to make customized cushion covers for her kids. She is in a hurry, because Shaurya will arrive any moment and then there will be no time or energy to do anything other than run after him.

‘Oh God! This boy has become such a ruckus.’ Madhu thought as she mentally braced herself for the daily Tsunami that was to hit the home in a couple of minutes. Even though managing a hyperactive kid who hardly took time off the entire day took its toll on her, Madhu was ok with him being active and playful. She was more bothered by the possibility that Shaurya might be raising havoc in school too. Everyday she saw a restless Shaurya nit-picking on items in the house, running around incessantly and shouting needlessly. She dreaded the day when she might be summoned to his school for his mis-demeanor. As she prepared herself for such an encounter with her son’s teachers, she also thought of questions that she would ask her so that she could help Shaurya become a calm kid. Continue Reading

LifeStyle

February 2018 – Short, Sweet & Significant #GratitudeCircle

posted by Anupriya March 14, 2018 1 Comment

They say that seeds of gratitude sown today reap fruits in future. When I put up my first post for Gratitude Circle for the month of January, 2018 I did not expect to see the positive effects of gratitude so soon.

I am late in putting up this post, because I have been busy gathering my blessings which have spilled over to March too. With no further build-up, here’s a peep into my month that was February, 2018.

Blogging

I participated in my first Blog-a-thon and set out to write Letters-of-Love to my friends, family, kids, books and last but not the least my husband.  It so happened that the letter to my husband also turned out to be the 100th post on my blog.  And there’s more, my husband who never reads any of my posts until I coax him to, read this post dedicated to him when one of his friends congratulated him for such a beautiful post. Furthermore, looking at the featured image on the facebook update a lot of my friends and family clicked on the link and did the honor of visiting my blog for the first time. Quite a few of them came back with amazing appreciation. Continue Reading

LifeStyle

Why Every Mom Should Try Out Infused Water This Summer #InstaCuppa

posted by Anupriya March 11, 2018 7 Comments

It was after my second pregnancy when I set out to lose my baby fat, I came across this concept called Infused Water. When I tried it out I realized that among other benefits, the best thing about infused water is that it makes your water a tad more tasty without actually loading it with strong flavors. I have always been a heavy drinker (water I mean!). The only water drinking goal that I have been able to meet is the morning time just after waking up.

Drinking water first thing in the morning helps lose weight

And imagine the incentive of having flavor infused water that is also rich in nutrients. Oh well that’s not the only benefit. There are several other benefits of infused water. Continue Reading

Woman Empowerment

Special Quota For Girls in Education – Is This Diversity Initiative Justified ?

posted by Anupriya March 7, 2018 4 Comments

Reservations have remained an actively discussed topic in our country for over three decades now. And an even more discussed topic of higher concern is gender imbalance in our society. The beginning of this decade saw a Child Sex Ratio at an all time low of 918. This imbalance worsens as the girl child grows up and the affect is less girls in schools, even lesser in colleges and a meager number in institutions for professional education.

I belong to a middle class household and never faced any challenges with regards to education or exposure that would make me self sufficient. Instead, my parents were very particular about my education and that I should grow up to be financially independent. I also have come across households where the parents rather pressed their daughters harder to excel in studies and ensure a financially stable life for themselves without having to depend on the husbands that they might have. Yet, when I look at the whopping difference in percentage of women in top institutions such as IITs and NITs, I realize that things are far from assuring for a girl child in our country.

As a 30 plus something woman, I am further exposed to the follies of our society. I know better now that we are miles away from a dream society that gives the girl child equal rights to be educated and live her dreams. This is irrespective of the socio-economic strata. The reasons lie more in the psychological DNA. But that’s a discussion for another day. My concern today is that in a wake to bridge the gap between girl incumbents in various fields of education, are gender based reservations justified? (and please here were not discussing the third gender)

I would like to bring in three scenarios for you to ponder upon –

  1. Special schemes to help prepare and admit girls into defence and para defence forces
  2. Special privileges for girls to promote education at primary level
  3. Reservation for girls in professional institutions such as medical and engineering

Almost no one will have any problems with initiatives taken to promote primary education for the girl child. Infact this is one most powerful initiative to lead our society to a better tomorrow where every household is taken care of by an educated lady. But reservations in services and professional educational institutions open up a pandora’s box similar to the one that we have faced while debating the issue of reservations.

Relaxation of age limit is one way of opening up opportunities for girls aspiring to reach for the stars. But it’s an all together different thing to lower the standards of performance in entrance exams to bring in more girls to the table. For somebody who has toiled hard to get into a prestigious institution, even as a woman myself I do not see the equality of distribution by providing the girls an edge by setting up a quota.

In a statement while announcing 14% quota for girls in IITs, the Woman and Child Development Ministry said many girls are not encouraged to have extra coaching and that is one of the reasons why even those who are interested are not able to qualify. Without taking sides my only concern is that similar could be the situation with any candidate preparing for entrance tests. So many (girls and boys) do not have the resources to pay for special coaching and thus miss out on opportunities to perform better than others. It’s a pity that we have had only one Mr. Anand Kumar who too is able to coach only 30 boys every year and ensure a place for them in prestigious institutions.

The confusion in my mind has again spiked up asking whether the objective is to uplift the underprivileged (girl or boy) or to create a nice pie chart that gives us feel good diversity figures by compromising on the merit.   I do not have answers, yet this Woman’s Day I only pray for every girl and woman to get a platform to showcase her true capabilities in this male dominated world. For our government, I would only say that they must device more sensitive yet robust schemes to bring every girl child to a level where she is free to fly. Leave the direction and distance of her flight to the strength of her wings.