Friday, December 27, 2013

From A Mother to Another, Lessons in Parenting.

A question got me thinking ,
What are the 5 things that you would want to gift your child for their secure future and why?

Parenting is tough,
There are good days,
And then there are days when you just feel like a failure,
I can’t do this Maa,
A million calls that go to my mom when I feel like am crashing.
My mother has been my guiding light whenever I felt I was not doing enough as a parent,

Form my conversations with Ma , I’ve put down a list of to-do things that every parent in today’s day and age should follow ,
This might just be the best gift, you as a parent could give to your child.

From A Mother to Another,

#stop being a helicopter mom! Don’t suffocate him, let him fall, let him bruise, he needs to learn to brush himself up and carry on. He needs to learn to stand up to bullies. Don’t fight his battles for him, he is more capable then you give him credit for.

 #Do you realize that smart phone of yours is taking away the time and attention from your child. You spend more time on your cell , when would could invest in figure painting or playing pretend.
She had a point, I realized I spent more time Face-booking,  WhatsApping , Candy-crushing and Instagramming .The very next day I cleansed my phone of all the unnecessary apps that were cluttering my life.  It’s about time I cared more about connecting to my child than my friends across the globe.

#it’s not the end of the world if he doesn’t top his class, embrace his limitations. But make sure he is well read and well informed. Help him fall in love with books, and see the magic take over. Marks don’t matter, at the end of the day the man who holds a good conversations steals the show. Give him enough opportunity to shine at what he does best. Imagine Einstein figure-skating, now that would have been a disaster.

#tell him that he is loved, a million times and more. It’s important to express.  It’s important that he knows he is not judged, it’s easy to stray once you grow older, but it’s that love that will keep him grounded.

#help him empathize with those who don’t have. That’s the only way he will cherish whatever little he is blessed with. Help him see the world beyond his tinted windows.

#Learn to invest, learn to save, for yourself and his future. Your grandpa couldn’t peruse his dream of studying medicine cause he couldn’t afford the 1700rs fee back in the 50’s. Make sure your son never faces that. Cut your expenses if you have to , but make sure you save up so that he can spread his wings. A well planned investment plan with an insurance cover could be a smart option. Life is uncertain so its wise to plan ahead.

#don’t take your job too seriously, remember to have fun along the way, you don’t want to raise an uptight, boring adult. Make it fun, goof up, laugh over silly mistakes and remember not to magnify their faults ,especially not in front of others.  Remember you were not born perfect, so keep your expectations realistic. parenting is a tow way learning process , you will be surprised the kind of things you can learn from your child. My three year old know more about my smart phone than me !

You could give your child everything that money can buy , but  there is no substitution for a parents  love and time.
But apart from above if you are looking something more material then consider ,

A toy that will help him learn while have fun,
A good set of colours  that will nurture his imagination,
A pet that will help him love and be loved unconditionally,
A gadget , used under supervision could do wonders,
An occasional free pick treat to reinforce good behavior . The child could decide how he wants to be rewarded, it could be his favorite game, a trip to the mall or a treat of his favorite dessert, all cause he has been a been a good boy and to let him know he is appreciated.

Happy parenting :)

This post is a part of the 1001 Gifts Activity by HDFC Life in association with BlogAdda

Friday, December 6, 2013

Loosies to Lavender Bough , An AmbiPur Fresh'n'Happy experience!

Arranged marriage ,
It was the case of my sister in law’s betrothal. After looking for a suitor for almost 3 years , she had finally stumbled upon someone whom she found worthy enough for a meeting. Di was a web designer and a successful one at that. Not many families in the community could handle that fact. But this time around, things looked bright. The boy hailed from an educated background and looked handsome (by whatever we could gauge from the 4*6.) He was a banker, settled in Australia and was looking for bride who could do a little more than her chores. They both (the perspective bride and the groom ) had common interest of listening to old Hindi classics and they both enjoyed cooking and long drives. Sounded like a match made in heaven.

The call was made,

Kailash's family was invited over for a Sunday lunch for the first official meeting of the families. Am pretty sure the concept of speed dating was inspired by us Indians where the NRI groom comes down for a short visit and meets girls at the speed of light. The poor groom must be under a lot of pressure to make a decision as he needs to make his air ticket and cheap chocolates worth something.

Friday ,
My mother in law went into an overdrive. She turned into this obsessive cleaning lady , scrubbing and re-scrubbing every inch of the house. The expensive crockery and silverware were buffed and all the exotic linens were laid out. Mum over looked the entire operation like a hawk, making sure that me and the four other servants don’t miss a single spot. At the end of the day , I went into Di’s bedroom and crashed. I begged her to agree to this rishta as I dint have the energy to do this all over again one more time!
We both laughed and then I noticed the look In her eyes, this time around she was hopeful too.

Saturday ,
The welcome drinks , the accomplishments, the savories, the salads , the mains , the sides and the desserts, they were all meticulously penned down. My husband , my father in law , the driver, the office peon and the watchman , they were all dispersed in different parts of town sourcing delicacies. As for me , my cook and my helper were all busy juggling dishes for the Sunday feast!

Sunday morning roundup ,
Like a pumped up NBA coach she started hurling instructions at everyone.
My father-in-law was asked to cut back on his sarcastic jokes,
My husband was asked to refrain from his detailed portfolio discussions ,
My sister in law was asked to smile and not throw her otherwise “am the queen of the world attitude”,
The helpers were asked to be an their toes,
And I was asked to make sure that everyone dose their job.

The minute she stopped instructing , we all broke out into a laughter. That pissed her off ever more.
I sat her down , asked her to take a few deep breaths and told her , mum Di is like a sister to me and will not let anything hamper her big day. You just relax and look after the guest, i will take care of the rest.
At that moment my Nazist mother in-law got all teary-eyed and planted a kiss on my forehead saying "beta just make sure puris are piping hot!"

Sunday afternoon ,
The guest arrived . The groom looked like a dream, and so did his family. Not the typical north Indian “We are the grooms side, so we will suffocate you for the rest of your life , type.”
The first round of refreshments went out . I noticed Di and Kailash both stealing glances at each other. They were least interested in the “ do you know our chacheri mausi ji’s second cousin’s wife who hails from Queensland” type of conversation.

Am sure their restless souls were just waiting for a chance to get to know each other. Having had a love marriage myself ,  I found all this rather amusing. But my amusement was short lived when Di gave me the “do something or I will strangle you look"
Reading her desperation , I slyly suggested we give Di and Kailash some alone time.They both had the “phew! bless the bhabhi expression”. His parents agreed and I excused myself to go and get the room ready .

The horror !
As I entered the room , it smelled funny . I asked my husband who at that time was playing with my 9mth'ol son. (have barely had the time to look after him , but with the crazy going on in the house can you blame me?)
What is that smell?
Oh nothing sweetheart , Vihaan  has the case of the loosies , didn’t want to bother you. I goggled it up, at his age he is probably teething. Gosh Siddharth! Instead of goggling you should have aired the room after you changed his diaper. Its stinking mad in here. Di and Kailash will be in here in no time ….. We can’t have them walk into a room that smells like a Rajdhani lavatory.

Will this little accident potentially jeopardize this proposal and defame my families name in the community?
All I could picture was my mother in law’s fuming face where she is all set to slap me ,
My sister in law claiming that this was all a conspiracy for I never wanna see her happy,
And my father in law ready with my suitcase all set to send me back to my Maika………..
No wait , wasn't that a scene from the last night’s episode of Khooni Saas ,Pyasa Pati !

I need to stop watching those godforsaken soaps. Cut to reality! My family is nothing like that, and the situation is not that dire. But I had promised mum I will make sure everything goes well. But having the bride and the groom sit in a room full of potty smell and hoping for the Cupid to strike, was a total opposite of well!

Damage control!
Firstly, I asked Siddharth to leave the room with Vihaan and get in touch with his pediatrician and put him on meds, couldn’t risk another explosion in here.

Secondly, how do I get this stink out ?
 I could air the room, but with the little time on hand and 42 degrees of Delhi summer, that was not an option. I looked for a deodorant , but what if the smell is too over powering ? That could put them off. That’s when I remembered the sample I got from Indiblogger , the AmbiPur Set & Refresh.  

I dashed to my room , picked it up the Set & Refresh  from my side table and ran into Di’s room . I needed fast action so I took the non spill refill out of its stand and placed it in front of the ac vents.(inspired from the mechanism of the AmbiPur's MINI VENT CLIP) And almost instantly the room started to smell like a Lavender Bough.

Just in Time,
I heard a knock on the door, I quickly put the refill back in to stand, placed it near the bed , hoping it would keep doing its work. I opened the door and let Di and Kailash in. Praying it all works out , I made an exit , but not before taking one last long breath to double check if my sons loosies had left any traces in the room and in turn all I got is a lung full of Lavender.

With some apple juice in my tow I sat down with Vihaan. Not knowing what an embarrassment his little bottom could have created for his mommy. My innocent little angel was busy playing with his toys.

The Climax,
After an hour I saw them emerging from Di’s room, they both looked happy , they both looked refreshed. Happy for finally having found the one , refreshed that this daunting task of meeting strangers was finally ending at a happy note.

As soon as the guest left I narrated the entire episode to mum. She thanked my presence of mind and  the very next minute she called up the local stores and ordered 5 more of the little contraptions. Place one in each room she instructed , we can’t have this happen again the next time around. Mum I think Di and Kailash make a perfect pair , I hope we hear from them soon , I said. I hope so too beta , she said.

30th November2013,

The little yet powerful Set'n'Refresh surely saved the day. In a few minutes it magically eliminated the stink and replaced it with a comforting aroma. So we continue to use it in every room of the house, from the living room to the bedrooms. It also works wonders in the inhabited guestrooms which otherwise has a suffocation musty stink. The best place for the Set'n'Refesh is in the shoe cabinet which otherwise has a powerful enough fume that can wake a man from his coma. And my personal favorite to have it in my bathroom as its safer and less maintenance than those scented candles.

 What I love about the Set'n'Refresh ?

#What's great about it is that with a destructive toddler on the loose, its no spill technology makes it safe and hassle free for everyday use.
#It also comes with an adjusting pull out setting so that you can adjust the output according to your preference, which is a nice touch I must say .
#I think its a steal for the retail price of 220rs
#Love the design on the product. Looks chic! Not like those other ugly diffusers.
#Plus unlike other air freshness that tend to disappear within a few days , this one comes with a guaranteed life of 60+ days and just for that , the people at AmbiPur should rename the Set'n'Refresh to Set'n'Forget.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Statutory Videos , The Monsters Eating Your Immunity

A friend is a leading manufacturer of  flavors and fragrances  in the country. The naive me got into a conversation with him one day and asked him about the companies he catered to. What followed was my utter shock and disbelief in the revelations he made.
I cater to all the major ketch up manufacturers , the people who make your fruit drinks , your squashes, your candies , flavored milks , ice creams and to one of the leading chain of bakers in the country.

So you mean to say that,
My chocolate cake has no real chocolate in it ?
My strawberry squash has no real strawberries in it ?
My milk has no real vanilla in it ?
My fruit drink has no real fruit in it ?
My ketchup has no real tomatoes in it ?

Yes , a major part of the produced is laced with artificial flavors , fragrances and colors . Then depending on the nature of  the product , such as squashes , juices and ketchup etc. real pulp is added to make the product seem whole, he explained.

I felt cheated,
I trusted my child with these things,
This lead to my search for answers,
I wanted to learn to make better choices for my 3yr old son. I wanted to know how this and other things could be affecting his health and his future.  Could there be a connection in the things that he was eating and his development?  The more I learnt the more shocked I was.

There is a lot of talk against processed food these days ,  repetitive commercials from food giants only make it worst for parents who willing to make healthier choices for their children . They package their products well and market it by saying that this is “healthy” for your child.
 Come to think of it , it is?

Decoding the processed foods


Learn to read the ingredients on the labels , and how can it affect your child’s health ,

Fat , the infamous culprit.

Truth about artificial colors


Flavor enhancers, slowly killing your child's brain ?


The city , how is it affecting you ?

Pesticides , sure it kill the bug , but isn’t it killing us too?

Tablets and gaming consoles, aren't they stealing his play time ?

The road to “A healthier India”  
Tomorrows adult’s need to be safeguarded today !
Like we invest in our finances ,
We need to invest in their good health too ,
Without which there will be no tomorrow.
Today’s generation has a lot to cope up with ,
The expectations are higher but the environment not so conducive.
So they fall ,
Fall and how ?

There are a lot of things that we can’t control , like the quality of produce that we consume , the kind of air we breathe , the quality water that we drink. Sure you can argue that we can go organic , we can roll up our windows and purify our water. But for how long ?
We could live a life of a Hillbilly and stay healthy , but is that even the solution ?
We need to find sustainable ways to safe guard their health and their future in the existing environment.

We can stat by taking baby steps,

there are vitamin capsules that we can take for good immunity , but where is it coming from ?
Is it coming from real , whole sources ? I think not . If I am going to provide my son with a health supplement I want to be able to identify what goes into its making , and not some chemicals, that the poor me can’t even pronounce.

Origin of the Chyawanprash

The word "chyawanprash" has been taken from the name of a Rishi or sage by the name of Chyawan. He was the first person to prepare this tonic. The story goes that the sage was quite old and he regained his youthfulness and vitality with the use of this herbal tonic.
Charak Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic book written by Charak in the 4th century B.C., includes the formula for this herbal preparation. It claims that chyawanprash is the best and most effective of all herbal tonics available to mankind.

This potent herbal tonic contains a mixture of 49 Ayurvedic herbs. Amla or the Indian gooseberry is the main ingredient of this tonic. About 100 g of this product contains 15,000 mg of amla.
It also contains other powerful herbs, which are known for their health benefits. The list includes ashwagandha, vidarikand or pueraria, pippali or long pepper, white sandalwood, cardamom, tulsi, brahmi, arjun, jatamansi, neem and many others.

 If a product is in existence for more than 2500 years , and been endorsed by sages, kings, athletes , wrestlers, and my own grandpa
there must be some truth to it!
Do you still need to relay on artificial boosters to lead you to a more sustainable health ?
With a backing of a giant like Dabur and the goodness of chyawanprash ,
Your search for a natural immunity booster for you and your family ends here!

Are you doing enough?

Only giving your child the right kind of nutrition is not enough,
Make sure he plays enough , sleeps well and reads good . They all work in unison for developing a whole human being.

A loving and an appreciating environment will make sure the psychological progress of your child is on track.
Give him lots of hugs ,
Let him know he is cherished,
Accept his failures with grace ,
Teach him to accept his failures with grace ,
Give him the right education ,
The right education comprising of good values ,
He Is learning from example ,
Be that example.

A sound environment with the right nutrition will ensure he grows up to be a well willed human being. Not only will his health be more immune to the viruses and bacteria’s , but his conscience will be more immune towards fighting his inner daemons like, addictions , crimes , cheating and corruption.

India will shine in its true sense if every parent takes these things into consideration.
Tomorrow, will get promising and bright for our future , teachers, painter, artists , astronauts, scientists , leaders , etc.  

This post is a part of an initiative by Dabur and Indiblogger  in its quest for
Making the future of India more healthier ,
An India that is free of dieses ,
An India that is ready to conquer .

Photo curtsy : Google images

Disclaimer : I am not a techie , nor am I a voice over artist,  with little knowledge that I have , I have tried to do my best , while working on a tight schedule. There might be some glitches in the video , or I might have fumbled somewhere but remember this , I am only human :)
(p.s the content for this post has been based on finding from the Internet and some came from my personal experience of being a mom and a preschool teacher.)