Monday, July 20, 2015

"Khushi Ke Pal"

You always remember the first time you topped your class, be it a single subject or just a small class test or perhaps an entire semester, you remember it. But more than that you remember the time you failed, more than the time you topped. In my case I remember it till today. Every time I fail at something, I feel as if I am that child again that failed a class test and the dread of me - a PhD student failing with an experiment shudders me lesser than the fear that comes later with that memory. For with it is linked a lot, especially the understanding of my parents.

I think you might laugh at me or call this an idiosyncrasy, but trust me it is not. When you are born to a father whose professors travel half the country to meet him as he was the best student of their entire career or your uncle is an alumni of London School of Business and a gold medalist at that, you are definitely genetically blessed, but there is a lot of pressure. There are expectations and you meet them easily, courtesy you have the smart "genes" if I may. So now I think I have set the stage and you know how I would have felt. It was a mathematics exam, and needless to mention I did well always. I made a silly mistake or two each time, some genes mutated (wink), but I scored a two or three less than a hundred. That year my favourite teacher fell ill and came another. First of all he thought he was better than everybody else and next he taught as if we knew everything already. He had a PhD and now as I am doing one I understand, it was actually a difficulty for him to teach class V students that we were then.  So in between his major scoldings and (punishments (something which I never got in my life and was new to many of us) there was a little teaching. And the day I gave the exam I knew I may barely pass. I kept hoping and praying for my teacher to get better everyday and for the exam to happen again. She did but by then it was two late. The entire class had failed. 

That day I locked myself in the toilet and cried till the school got over and everyone left the campus. Then I took my bag, hanging my head in shame to the comments from the bullies outside the gate still crying walked home slowly. It was the time, time passed slowest for me. Then when I reached home my parents already knew something was wrong. I locked my room and cried till I slept, no matter how much who banged. It was later that my father had to actually climb through the open window (luckily we lived on ground floor) open the door and end the madness. That night when I woke up to finally face them all I got was compassion, where I expected a trashing. My parents didn't act like parents, they were cool like friends and nobody asked me anything. In fact they told me stories about their own failures in life. I was surprised and ashamed for I thought I didn't deserve it. Next day at school many people who were gloating in glory over my failure, including the mathematics sir mocked at me but I was able to take it, I didn't cry I just took it. I studied late into the night and the next semester I topped my class and those nasty genes that did the little errors for me not scoring a 100% percent marks, well I developed a strategy to tackle it, by keeping enough time for me to check the paper once i was done writing.

I passed out of school with the "Best Student Award" after standard X. It was the best moment for me for the award was presented by the famous Gujarati poets "Ushnas" who is thought to be the re-incarnation of Narsinh Mehta and Jayantbhai Pathak, who is the writer of my favourite Gujarati poetry as a child. As you can see the love of literature on this blog, I am sure you understand I couldn't ask for better. However when I look back I owe my success to that moment my parents understood my failure and gave me my space to cope with it and trusting me to do better next time. 

Today as I open the newspapers I see always suicides by children unable to cope up with pressure right in school up till the IIM's and committing suicide, the reason "peer pressure". The other troubling point in our education system is the teachers trashing the students and that gets wild and even leads to physical harm. With my own example wish to urge all the teachers and parents out there  I can say is you cannot teach a child with a stick but only by creating a spark of interest in him and till you cannot just show some compassion, children can do wonders out of pure love. Same goes for parents, who will understand your child and give them what they need if you don't? Today when I fail at an experiment I think of the child in me and of my parents support since that incident till today. That makes me work harder and put up a repeat the same day. As they said love conquers all.

I wish to thank my parents for their eternal friendship, for my life's "Khushi Ke Pal". If you are still in doubt watch this lively video that explains it better: 


Still mulling over it? Have a bowl of Kellogs Chocos it helps think better as its nutritious. For details log on to :https://www.facebook.com/mychocos.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Balanced Diet Story

Diet - the word women hate and yet the word they live on. Maintaining the right size is always on top of a woman's checklist though now - a -days men too pay a lot of attention to the extra falbs of fat from here and there. It still gives women more headaches, nightmares then it does to the men. It is not easy to maintain the right body weight all the time. There is always seasonal tempting food around. 

Summer though is a relatively easy time, especially if one is in a climate like Delhi, one just consumes drinks and yet we are blessed with the best ice-cream parlours in town and pastry shops, the world's cuisine is found right here and how can and for how long can you keep your taste buds waiting. So telling yourself starting tomorrow I will do it tomorrow you consume it all. Then one day you realize it has been too much, the layers are just piling on, you look into the mirror and resolve to put an end to it, for it is also the wedding season. Somebody or the other is getting married, you are going to spend time and energy on getting dresses, might as well look good for all those pictures going on facebook. Girlfriends, I am sure you identify your self with this very phenomenon don't you? 

However in most cases this season also coincides with the fainting season, where people on diet keep fainting at work place. Come to reason that working professionals and people at the top of their careers where one challenge constantly faces the next are always on their toes under the pressure of performance. A crash diet cannot give one all the energy one needs and so one faints. Speaking as a biochemist, one needs a constant supply of energy or carbon source such as sugars to be supplied to all their tissues, mostly us being a race that has a desk job, the brain needs glucose and so do your muscles, you deprive it, you faint. Worse than it is people often forget that what they need to cut off is the extra carbs, but tend to diet so heavily that they get vitamin and mineral deficiencies and the end result is you might be slim but you have to pop up five pills a day. Is that a sign of a healthy individual, intuitively not!

So in such times we should remember one thing a balanced diet, eat less but ensure you have everything you need in your diet. A balanced diet contains carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and fat in the right amount. Now don't choke on the word fat, fat essentially in scientific terms means lipid molecules and a considerable amount of your cell architecture is made up of lipid, so you do need that too albeit in the right amount. 

There is a popular term "low carb diet" and it works when it comes to losing weight, it is because carbohydrates meaning sugars are the most easily digested forms of energy but in excess they tend to accumulate too by conversion into fats. Hence a low carb diet helps but if you avoid them totally and you don't have an instant source of energy in your body you faint. Therefore since the vedic times a lot of ancient texts recommend honey as a part of diet. It is sweet and has a lot of monosaccharide’s in it like glucose, fructose which makes 70-80% of it. So if you have it you feel energized instantly. It also has antibiotic properties.

Various elegant studies have been published in its role in wound healing, fighting infections, curing acidity etc. It just doesn’t help you diet but also stay healthy and infection free.

Dabur is a brand I trust and my mother always fed me a glass of warm water with lemon and dabur honey in it so that all that I do for diet gets balanced. Did you listen to your mom today? If not visit http://www.daburhoney.com/ know the benefits of honey and include it in your diet today!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Shake It Baby #MyAirtelApp

#MyAirtelApp the first thing that I uploaded when I bought my new smartphone. A smartphone is a gift to humanity. You can have everything you need at your finger tips. The best part if you can do a little coding is that you can design apps for your own utility yourself! imagine how amazing that is? Isn't it. Not just your calls but you can email, send pictures, do skyping and best of all when asked a question or in doubt, just google it. 

However all of this isn't possible without the one thing that is central to a good mobile phone facility, and that is a good service provider which ensures you are always in network. Being tired of bad services from other providers I decided to go for Airtel. Its network was good and my phone was immediately activated. At the store they gave me one important instruction "please download the app, it will help you a lot" and so as soon as my world opened to the sea of immense possibilities with a smart phone, I downloaded first my #MyAirtelApp. 

My original motto behind downloading the app was to have basic utilities like, a quick recharge and a tab on my internet data and balance usage. However what it provided was even more. Here is why you should subscribe to an Airtel internet connection and download the app first.

1.     It works just on a shake and gives you offers of the day: Unlike the disturbing sms notifications that keep coming and disturbing all the time from other service providers Airtel gives you offers when you need. You are coming to an end of your balance, just shake the app. You will see offer of the day, the best plans that suit you and this well just help you decide what is the best offer for you, not in seconds but in mili-seconds. Shake it when you need it! And even if you shake it for fun, you might just grab what’s hot that day. You might just find yourself getting free data someday or a full talk time recharge. Are you still thinking?

2.     Keeps You Up Before Its too Late:  The most common mistake we make is procrastination. Never recharging your phone before the last “click” and you realize your balance has ended. With the App one gets notifications about data usage and balance regularly. One also doesn’t have to remember the USSD codes to check balance each time. All of that can happen just with the app.

3.     Keep All Your Family Contacts At One Place: You can add your family contacts to your account, recharge for different numbers and for all the frequent numbers that you regularly recharge for you have an express check out. This saves a lot of time compared to searching the contact each time and then doing their recharge online.

 So what are you waiting for?? Go to http://www.airtel.in/myairtel, know all about the app, various benefits, download the app, save your time and money and hey, shake that thing! You can also watch this video and decide:


Sunday, May 10, 2015

#ShareTheLoad

Family is all about sharing the good, the bad and the work. The way children are brought up in Indian families it is perhaps not so. Where a female child even in families that believe in education and equality is taught all the household chores, a male child is always the prince at whose command the world works. Well that did work with the generation of our parents but no more. It is amazing to see that men though brought up differently have now seen the change and having equally professional siblings have aided the cause.

Citing my own example, my baby brother is eight years younger to me. While we were at home everything was taken care of by the maid monitored by our mother, however that was a small town and we were a family. As we moved out and started the struggle of our career, standing on our own feet such luxuries are rare. Of course the kitchen training has helped women survive better in hostels with bad food, maintaining themselves otherwise with clothes etc. Men too after a year or so out have learnt the lesson. So I realized when my baby brother who is no more a baby now visited me in Delhi two years ago. I was in the third year of my doctoral studies and work had just picked up. The stress was huge. So when he had summer break and since we hadn't met for an year, I invited him here. 

I couldn't take leave as that wasn't possible. I had to manage someone else other than me for fifteen days and that thought was enough to give me nightmares. So I began thinking and planning. However hard I tried after a week there was a day when I just couldn't manage. I was too tired waking up at 5:00 AM every day, cooking, leaving for work so that I can be back early and going out every evening thereafter to do things on his "to do list". My brother realized this as I delayed the plans with phone calls every hour, extending every hour. And I landed up dead tired at 11:00 PM. I had just managed to get there with nothing but an apologetic face. I thought we would order food and that was what I could do to save the day. Worst, the weekend was spend going to visit the Taj so the laundry was pending and so was the cleaning.

What I saw next has been the best memory of my life. The house was clean. The clothes were washed and hanged. He had made cold coffee for me which was served with ice-cream which he got and not just that. He had kept the room ready with woofers in a theater mode, made popcorn and ordered food from Dominos which landed 10 minutes after me. When I asked him "how did he learn to do the laundry", he just responded, I saw some videos on Youtube and found it manageable. I realized one thing that day, our generation has its own style but it does know how to spend the little quality time they have really well. 

That evening , rather night was the best I ever had and my brother coming to visit me now is a luxury for we care and share the fun and the load.  “I am writing for the #ShareTheLoad activity at BlogAdda.com in association with Ariel.” 

#Equality Is #Sharing The Load

Equality in the twenty first century also means sharing responsibilities equally. A home now a days means a place where people care and share, the joys , sorrows and also the chores. Laundry is one of the biggest chores. People of the generation gone by (our parents) are now beginning to see the changes in their lives and learn from the youngsters. This is an example of my cousins family and the most significant one I know of, of sharing the load.

My cousin brother went for studies to UK. He fell in love with a girl there and got married with the blessings of the entire family. The couple was the most handsome you ever saw, for in their eyes was not just love but a strong commitment to stand by each other come what may. Something that is rare in very young couples but I adored them for the maturity in them. Right from convincing the family to accept her, to planning the wedding, they did it all together. It was amazing to see them finally as life partners blessed by the Gods. After giving them a good space of honey moon I went to stay with them for the five days they had left in the country before they went back to their life in UK. My sister-in-law was crowded by visitors and taught the Indian ways, how's and why's. My brother just kept glancing at his beautiful bride meaning "don't worry you will do it well" and she did. The load , the pressure was on her, but his constant assurance was like he was taking it all too, like an equal partner. On the other hand there was so much work that the servants were over burdened. So after everything ended at night, the couple would help their mother manage it all. Sometimes they worked so that my aunt who was getting old could rest. 

 But Alas! two days before they had to leave the maid fell ill and all the clothes of everyone staying there plus the couple were yet to be washed and packed. They were all just piled up to be washed on that particular day. My aunt went crazy and tried calling every possible maid from the neighborhood but nobody would do it knowing the house just witnessed a major wedding function and relatives were still around. That day my brother just asked his mother to calm down and did what he would have done if he would have been in UK. They did the laundry together. And without a machine. They did it happily, with a smiling face, occasionally throwing water at each other. The house that had been in chaos half an hour ago had just rattles of laughter. It was so addictive that all the children joined them and helped them put the washed clothes on a rack and so on. A calamity was the best part of their wedding season. However what happened next was a moment in history. My ultra-orthodox uncle, who wouldn't even pick up his spoon post dinner, who never helped my aunt, also joined the washing. We all the just gaped. Nobody could tell him a word, even that of surprise but he said it himself " I thought your generation didn't know half the time what to do, but you both have set an example that the smallest and biggest moments are better when you share them with your partner, I hope to be a better husband now on". And from that moment my uncle looks forward to  the maid being ill so that he could help his wife for all the years he missed and my aunt out of habit doesn't let him do much.

Who of the two is a better couple I seriously doubt. If this story made you smile, share the chores with your partner and discover the moments of togetherness within them.  “I am writing for the #ShareTheLoad activity at BlogAdda.com in association with Ariel.”

Mom Knows It All...

A mother is the best friend one can have. I am lucky to have a cool one with whom I can share all my secrets. Be it your first rank in school, a competition you won or even when you said something wrong to someone and later felt bad, the person you want to first convey it to is your mother.

Once it so happened that I hit my friend. It was not planned. I just did it. She did something wrong I got angry and I did it. For how could I tolerate anyone teasing my little brother. I wasn't shocked when she was doing that. That emotion never came at first only the one of a sister did. And so I gave her what she deserved, one slap across that cheek, a reminder to never do that again. I did not regret it, I said when my mother came to know about it. She scolded me badly and made me say sorry to my friend. I wasn't sorry yet I said it for my mother thought that was the right thing to do. I hated all the elders at that moment and their sense of justice, for in my opinion I was right. I was sad and my mother knew it, she just told me one thing "let your brother fight his battles, you wont be there always" and I realized that she was right of course. Today we all live in different cities and everyone has to fight it on their own for their survival, I am glad my brother can handle it on his own, credit goes to mother of course.

First crush is something secretive. Something you don't even tell the person you have it on. Unless they can read it in your eyes, or the way you cant take your eyes off them. Contrary to many of my girlfriends who would giggle amongst themselves, I went to my mom and said "I like this guy, do you think he is good?". She was surprised at first for sure for I was only 14 then, but then it is the time when it all starts and my mother told me just see if you feel so for a very long time. She was right, it was only a crush after all and after a few days when I saw that the guy I liked for his looks and intelligence mock a poor child, just because he had a hole in sock, just because unlike this guy, his father didn't have a lot of money I lost all my respect for him. I lost it in a moment, the crush, instead all I wanted was to crush him! I did walk up to him and said "its not your money, what you dance on".  There were a lot of issues I created for myself then, I had practically called for trouble but since then I always follow my expert mom's advise "See if you feel so for a long time". Moms are always right.

Recently I thought it was time to get stylish and I decided to streak my hair. I was always a studious person and every part of my personality, even my clothes depicted that. Now I needed to experiment with myself and get a cool look. Since my dad is really old school I had no other option but to get my mom on my side. So I asked mom and she refused too. I sulked and mom felt bad, for its rare I asked for things. But we were conservative and then just two days before my mom came to me and literally dragged me with her. She to my surprise took me to the salon, took out these beauties , the color sachets of Godrej Creme Hair Color. She had to my surprise all the colors. I hugged her before choosing the burgundy, a shade I love and that was how my mom let me do it with the only brand she trusts, Godrej. You can also check out a whole range of their colors available in all shades at
http://godrejexpert.com/single_used_pack.php. Choose your favorite and leave the rest as it is a brand mom trusts.

Watch this video for more details:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Chronicles of Urban Nomads

Title:  Chronicles of Urban Nomads
Author:  Anthology
Publisher: Readomania
Date:  2015
Price: Rs. 225
Pages: 175


Chronicles of Urban Nomads is an anthology of short stories, sectioned into two parts named "Imagine" and "Musings". The stories that are selected have a common ground, not a theme but the narrative style, whether the narrator is a third person or an object or something deeply hidden within. The stories differ
 as some deal with different kind of relationships, father and daughter, lovers, couples in an arranged marriage and sometimes even a stranger. Here  are the stories that left a mark on me: 

 In section one "Imagine", the second story entitled  The Blue Slippersby  Kirthi Jayakumar is a perfect example of little dreams and bitter realities of human wants and nature. Being human itself is a limitation and this story puts the thought so simply that it hits you directly. The picture of the girl with the blue slippers is sure to have a lasting impression on your mind for a very long time. 

Fate has a funny manner of expressing itself and prophecies can fall true sometimes in a manner unthinkable, this phenomena is beautifully portrayed by Deepti Menon in A Little Nugget of Fear.  However there is a greater player called "Reality" and sometimes it can strike one hard, when one suddenly realizes something so prevalent yet unseen by the folds blinding your vision. The happy realization coming with a jerk is just one aspect, the manner of story telling, the planning, the conversation, all of it couldn't have been better than what has been depicted in EFIL by Bhaswar Mukherjee. After reading his second story from him in Crossed &Knottetd, I can confidently say he is a writer to look forward to.

The book also has some interesting attempts at story telling, stories otherwise regular made interesting by choosing an inanimate narrator or the vantage point of observation, giving the writer scope of creativity is what Ayan Pal has tried in Confessions of a Benarasi Saree, by telling the saree's tale and thereby the character's. This is one story that truly justifies tha title as it talks about the common problems of Urban youth, confusion and indecisiveness. My Soulmate by Jenneker Lawrence again attempts a similar strategy and so do a few more stories in the book.

A Vicious Battle by Aravind Sampath is a story of learning the meaning of true love, amidst fame, success and popularity. The Wait by Ashay Abbhi could have been written better with a more poetic tone to make one feel the character's plight, lying in wait for death.

The next part "Musingsbegins with a heartbreak with a very powerful story The Last Letter, about a father- daughter relationship by Dipankar Mukherjee. A Shackled Destiny  by Sharavya Gunipudi is another equally powerful, heartbreaking though not unheard a story of a mothers search for her lost son.

Bizarre happenings find their way into this section entertaining the readers with  Pradeep Moitra's, The Face on the Canvas. It being open ended story of a woman traveler, stuck in a small village and mesmerized by the face on the canvas. Arranged Marriage by Japneet Boyal is a touching tale of how sometimes contrasting circumstances can form the bond between strangers that marry as arranged by parents. While Hopes & Promises by Rahul Biswas , on the other hand talks of humorous ways of fate and second chances at relationships, Hide and Seek by Niranjan Navalgund, is the strange game of two writers in love.  Mandira by Anupama Jain presents an irony of a character being modified into the very person they hated.

As is with every anthology, there are a few stories that amuse you, a few that entertain, a few that tear you and some that have a lasting impression on your mind. There are definitely some that do not impress you but this anthology has more of those that left me amazed. EFIL and  The Blue Slippers are a must read. Mandira, A Little Nugget Of Fear and Arranged Marriage fall next in line.

If you are a fan of short stories, pick this one for a good, light read. 

Rating: 3/5.