Thursday, December 2, 2010

Time to show off !!


Yesssssssssssssss we finally managed to win at the much coveted blog of Mindfull-Meanderings. Winning on this blog is no small thing....It is a BIG deal !!

I had sent in as our entry for the November Artsy-Crafts Challange, the Akaash-kandil made by Amol and Aadu.

Thanks Shruti for the chance and the lovely award that's soon going to make way to my home !!!
Can't wait to show that off as well !!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My winning picture story

I sent this as my entry for the Samsung, Singapore contest, titled ' What's your winning picture story?'

I chose this picture as it depicts a very significant event in my life as a mother. Here's why....

The picture was taken on 23rd of August, 2008. My son's 3rd Birthday. It was not a normal 3rd Birthday....because that very morning my son also got discharged from hospital after his Open Heart Surgery that had taken place on the 14th of August.

In this photo, my son is sitting on his Papa's lap, and I am performing a very traditional ritual of 'Aukshan' or 'Aarti' for my son. In which I apply a red kumkum 'teeka' on his forehead, followed by raw rise. Then the 'thali' (plate) containing the Diya (lamp) is rotated in front of his face 5 times to invoke the blessings of the Gods.

The date shown on the photo is wrong !! We never paid attention to those settings and just assumed that all must be well.

The day was made special by the presence of all our family and friends that had rallied with us through this tough time of our son's surgery.

For those who wish to participate in this contest, here are the details:

How to participate:
  • Email your photo in JPEG format to, and explain in not more than 50 words its significance. Photo should be less than 2MB in size.
  • Include your full name, NRIC number, email and contact number (in SG)
  • Send entries by 5th December, 2010.

Prizes: 2 Samsung NX100 cameras to be won!

23 Nov – 5 Dec 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Big Bad Wolf Book Sale 2010 - what I bought

The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is a much awaited event in our household. The last year we really went mad and crazy and bought loads and loads of books...I have written extensively about it in this previous post.

This year we went on the 14th of November.....yes I know or rather realised later that it's Children's Day in India !!! So that was my excuse for buying books for my son and me (well I also am my parent's child no??? so it was my Children's Day also !!)

I did not have a lot of energy this time...the husband was also travelling all week so was exhausted too....but it was soooooooo sweet of him to take me to the sale and be patient enough while I browsed. He had his turn with browsing too, but this time I knew he was more tired than eager to look for good books.

My strategy for this year was to buy Asian authors for myself and non-American and Non-UK authors for my son.

Here's what all I picked up this year.
  1. The concubine of Shanghai - Hong Ying
  2. The river of lost footsteps. A personal history of Burma- Thant Myint - U
  3. The immortals - Amit Chaudhuri
  4. The opium clerk - Kunal Basu
  5. Tiger Hills - Sarita Mandanna
  6. The hungry tide - Amitav Ghosh
Have finished reading the first one on the list, and it was a good read, and I got to learn about life in China (a bit).
The second one is what I am reading now, and am loving every page of it. Who knew reading history could be so much fun...well especially when we don't have to mug it up for an exam !!

For Aadu here's what we picked up:
  1. The gentle lion - Takashi Yanase
  2. Little daughter of the snow - Arthur Ransome
  3. Little donkey's wish - Udo Weigelt
  4. Copy & color in
  5. Drawing fantasy art
Considering last year's number...this year we picked up only a few....but all's OK....since we stuck to my strategy and plan.

What books have you bought/read lately?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Resuscitating our beloved blog

It feels great to see that Neelum is resuscitating our blog whom we have neglected sorely this year. I was looking at all the posts and I was shocked to discover that I have posted only once this year and that too in February!!!!!!!!!

Time passes so quickly when you have young children but that's really no excuse for not posting in the blog. I have seen mothers with newborns who blog regularly and so what excuse do I have with four and  five year olds?

From now on I have pledged to myself to blog regularly.It can be a short post or even a video but it would be great if all of us can keep writing and interacting with our readers and fellow bloggers.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Memories of my oldest book

The Universe listens to you and and has it's own ways of manifesting our wishes and said a friend of mine over a cup of tea just a few days back.

She was trying to get me to blogging again, and begin I did......and I was thinking about a post about books and wanted to share my childhood favorites with all my readers. I wanted to tell everyone about the one book (from my childhood) that stays on in my mind after alllllllllllll these years.

And here I am doing this post about the same....and had it not been for Shruti's post about Diwali Moments, I would have never gone and looked at blogadaa, and all the amazing contests they have there. BTW: Shruti won the blogadda contest about Diwali Moments !!

Getting back to the memories about my oldest book....

The book was bought by my Papa, and although I don't remember the exact date/year of when he bought it, but I can say this much that I knew how to maybe I was 7-8 years old. So the book has been in the family for over 26 years !! that's like quarter of a decade !!

My Papa has a practice of writing the name of the recipient on the first page of the book in the most creative manner...I follow this practice with my son's books !!

The book I'm talking about it 'The Adventures of Dunno and his Friends' by Nikolai Nosov, a Russian author. The book was translated in English by Margaret Wettlin.

The book was thick, hard bound, with a nice cover with the picture of the main character 'Dunno' on it....the cover is still picture clear in my mind.

(Image Courtesy:

The book is in my home in Pune, where it rests with all other books that Papa got for us (big brother and me) as kids. It is super fun to look through this collection whenever we go there...sadly now it's only a couple of times every year. Sigh !!!! One of the many drawbacks of not living in India :(
The very fact that the book still remains in good condition in our Pune home, shows that I have no plans of letting go of this treasure, firstly because it's a book and having parents who love books and collections of their own, I was/am never under any pressure to de-clutter or give away !! The same collect-books streak continues today at my home in KL, and every year we have to make a trip to IKEA to get a new book case !!
Secondly, we hope to pass on the book collection to our next generation, so it's our duty to safe-keep it.

The book is about the amazing little people of a fun town called 'Flower Town'. Dunno, the main character has many friends, and they manage to run into some kind of adventure after another.
The plots are simple, and very funny. One begins to love each and every character in the book.

One thing that I am going to do for sure during my next trip to India is get this book back for my son who is 5 years old, and loves books and reading !! All these years I only allowed him to browse through the book and always had a very watchful eye on him !! for fear of he causing any harm to my beloved book. And my son is a guy who has never broken a toy or torn a book !! My possessiveness comes into action unknowingly !!

I hope the book brings as much joy to my son and my brother's kids over the years ahead .... as much as we (big brother and I) had while we read it as kids.

I highly recommend this book to all parents, not only is it a great read, but it has amazing illustrations and drawings on each page which make the book more readable and super duper enjoyable !!

Through blogadda, I was happy to learn about a company called 'Friends of Books'. This looks like something I'm going to they have an Online Book Rental Library and also a Bookstore full of amazing second hand books. The best part is that they operate 24x7 and 365 days a year !! Hold on...there's more....the books are delivered to your doorstep all over India !!!
Goshhhhhhhh that's like THE best thing for a book-lover like me.
I can buy the books and have them sent to my home in Pune and then have the family ship them over here !! Sadly I can't avail of their library service...but I'm going to tell all my friends in India about this great service.

Friends of Books - Library that delivers and I connect with bloggers at

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 2010 Artsy Craftsy Challenge


Amol and his little helper Aadu made this beautiful Akaash-Kandil for this Diwali.
It is a very basic and simple lamp to make. Aadu helped with the cutting and pasting.
The instruction can be found here on Balagokulam

We used up some 7 sheets of card paper that we had at home. Glue, Stapler, and some glittering sticky tape is all that you need to make this lamp.

This is the first year that Father-son did something together for Diwali. And I am proudly going to submit it to Shruti's November Artsy Craftsy Challenge.

Artsy-Craftsy Challenge

One day at a time

Yes ...'one day at a time'...............that's my motto from this day onwards.

Loads happened in the months since I last wrote on this blog. There was my India trip, and I came back with a viral...that took a while to shake off, then there was this unprecedented tiredness and weakness that took over for about 2 months....there were many visits to the doctor....then after a while I grew sick of seeing them. Then along with all this there was a newly acquired aversion to the smell of cooking oil and smells of all kinds in general.
Yes people I realized well into my 3rd month that I was pregnant !!

As of now I am taking in all the help I can possibly get, a lot of money is being spent I know...but I guess what is more important is my peace of mind and me being able to spend just as much time with my First-born (never thought i'd refer to Aadu in this manner).

There were loads of friends who I met during my India trip who said they read the blog and I was surprised coz they never comment :(
There are friends here in KL, who encouraged me to re-start writing as that would get my mind elsewhere and I could have a clearer mindset. Thanks Dhanya, Kakoli, Nirali, Runa, Manali, not to forget the Husband who's at his supportive best these days.
Along with all these special friends i'd like to especially mention another friend of mine....Shruti. Now Shruti is more than just a blog friend...and she's the one with monthly crafty challenges on her superb blog. Recently she did a post about Diwali celebrations and she put up a photo from my last year's Diwali album, the one about the Shivaji-fort. She did all the link up and all to my blog....and I was like....'goshhhhhhhh you really want to link up an almost dead blog onto you your thriving blog?' I was really ashamed and embarrassed...and it was that day that I made a promise to everyone of my friends who were edging me on... that I would write again.

So here I am.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Very creative and superbly co-ordinated video

These are members of a cheering squad at a soccer game in South Korea.

I found this video at: Damn Cool Pics

Monday, May 17, 2010

What drove me mad and nuts @#$#@

It's me .... and yes I am alive...and yes I survived all these days without a maid...a total of 75 days without a maid !!! It is an accomplishment for me :)

A few incidents happened in the last 3 weeks that made me cringe...drove me nuts and had me wonder 'how could she do this?'

Incident 1: A friend is in KL with her family and 6 month daughter, who is very sick with a bad nose/chest congestion. She messages me on fb and asks for details of a pediatrician. I called her on the number that she had mentioned....and gave details of my son's Doc. She said she had looked up a Doc at a hospital closer to her. I asked her how her kid was...and what was wrong with her.
She answered that they had driven down here, and the kid has not had anything to drink in the last 36 hours !!!....I was about to faint before she finished her sentence.....I managed to give her some short term relief home remedies.
This is not all....
One week later the same girl's FB status says that she was in another country !!! I inquired about her kid and she said.......'OK but not fully recovered'
I was the callousness ...not only was she putting her kid at risk by travelling all that much....she was putting fellow travelers also at risk and that too in times of H1N1 .

Incident 2: A family we got to know about a year back, I spoke regularly to the wife, she calls me...we met at our place, we went over to her place.....we're sharing some very personal information etc. News comes that her husband's contract here is not being extended so they have to move, and they transferred the guy to India. I invite her over to my place, see a great gift for her. Tell her she has to just come over any time convenient to her ....this lady calls me 2 days back and tells me she is leaving for the airport shortly !!!!
She did not bother to tell me the date of travel when they booked tickets...I was quite saddened by the fact that she chose to call me just before leaving for the airport....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

How Tech Savvy are you?

I took this quiz on and the result is posted below......but am stumped at not knowing that the Internet and the World Wide Web are not the same thing !!! (refer question 10)

Your scored: 8 out of 10 correctly.

Über– have an intellectual curiosity about technology. You pay attention to new developments and trends. Also, you think being called "über–geeky" is a compliment.

1. Have you Googled yourself?
You answered correctly. The answer is: Yes.

2. What is a tweet?
You answered correctly. The answer is: A post on Twitter.

3. If you wanted to create an "avatar" to meet and interact with others in a completely virtual world, which of the following social networks would you join?
Sorry, you answered incorrectly. The answer is: Second Life.

4. What does the acronym ROFL stand for?
You answered correctly. The answer is: Rolling on the Floor Laughing.

5. If you intend to stream large video files from the Internet, would you want a computer with more or less RAM?
You answered correctly. The answer is: More.

6. Which of the following could be installed on your computer with malicious intent?
You answered correctly. The answer is: A Trojan horse.

7. Who is credited as the inventor of the World Wide Web?
You answered correctly. The answer is: Timothy Berners-Lee.

8. Which major technology company was recently granted the right to sell power like a utility provider?
You answered correctly. The answer is: Google.

9. What means of high-tech transportation did famous billionaire Richard Branson recently unveil?
You answered correctly. The answer is: Deep-sea submarine.

10. True or false: The World Wide Web is the same thing as the Internet.
Sorry, you answered incorrectly. The answer is: False.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Quick updates

Day-4 Minus Maid: was somewhat smooth; with sweeping;'s the laundry that made me mad this time !! I mean laundry is something that the maid never did....and now I feel so caught up in other chores that my beloved laundry baskets overflow !! Anyways....belt tightened and off I was to the verandah where all the washing is done. I am sure my washing machine must sympathise with me...or should I sympathise with her???? Lunch was Egg bhurji with chapatis ...nice and simple and easy and yet nutritious. There was also lots of milk that had to be made into yogurt; so I set some and made a mental note to make 'kadhi-with pakodas' the next day or so.
With doing so much laundry on one day there is always a mountain of clothes to be folded in the there I was folding and folding...and yes the Internet guy came and set up his own modem to prove that the fault is not in their line but it's our modem that's at fault !! But since that the net is really working un-interrupted like before .... so that means we'll have to shell off some cash to buy a new modem :( hmmmm life and it's unpredictable nature....
Dinner was ordered on the phone...we had some voucher for Pizza Hut through our telephone company. This was the first time we were ordering in something from PH; and we were in for a shock when the guy told us that we can't choose any of the regular menu items as the TM (Telephone Malaysia) promotion has specific pizzas only !! how sick was that !!!!

As though that was not enough....when we opened the boxes we were shocked to see pathetic looking pizzas......the chicken one had chicken sausages circles on it and that too so few that I can count them on two hands !!! The Veg one was atleast fuller looking because there are more vegetables that are generally put on a pizza....the amount of cheese on both was absolutely poor. I did not expect this from PH !! They should have used this promotion tie-up with the sole distributor of telephone lines across the country to showcase their best and entice customers with their fare. Wonder who is handling their marketing & branding portfolios.

The other wort-noting event of the day was my conversation with my aunt who by-mistake divulged a would-be surprise to me !! Looks like my brother will be coming this weekend....but she quickly covered up with other stuff....but this piece of information is sticking out like a needle and I need to investigate further. Mom and Papa have not said anything....Dada has not said a word either !! Hmmmmmmmm tomorrow i'll call Mom !!


Moring was rushed……dropped off the little one and scampered home to have breakfast and make lunch and bathe, look good and then leave for Y’s house to see he little baby girl.
Lunch-I decided to make a one-dish lunch….so that I save on time. I made Veg-pulao with carrots, French beans and green peas. It’s an all time favorite in our home. I left the boondi-raita and papads for later; anyways they don’t take more than 5 minutes to put together.
Rushed in to check what I was going to wear and realized that it needed ironing…..grrrrrrrrrrrrr…..I ironed the dress with some extra energy thanks to the anger brewing inside my head for not doing enough preparations earlier.

Off to Y's home...and the baby is ohhhhhhhhh soooooooo cute and after I saw her I realised how much my own baby had grown !! When I got to speak to Amol; he said the said that 'good atleast now you will feel that you have done enough with Aadu' !!
As though that is going to stop me from being the fussy mom !!

After lunching and playing and generally talking .... put Aadu to sleep and then relaxed a bit; then evening there was sweeping plus there were a mountain of clothes to be folded. Still have not started the ironing routine....I think I'll just offload that part to the laundry downstairs....but he charges 1 RM or so for each piece !! But will soon have to think of something coz the to-be-ironed shelf is overflowing !!

Son had some homework so did that....
vessels were waiting to be washed....but i just left them there...will see tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day-2 Minus Maid

Day 2 began with a relaxed feel as most of the hard work was finished on previous day...or so I thought...

I paid some bills - made good use of the Internet while it was working !! These days the net is giving me a lot of is a broadband connection but it works like a net-with-tortoise-pace !!

Just managed to clear out the clothes, toys in the rooms and sweep the house. Put Aadu's clothes in the machine; washed 3 t-shirts by hand; and realised how long it had been since the last time I did that!!

Went to pick up son and then did the usual stuff with him....basically lunching and listening to some school related banter...and then put him to sleep.

Evening was relaxed with just a few vessels to clean. Dinner was also an easy affair.
Ended the day with 'Princess Diary 2' ....not the full movie but just the first 30 minutes.

Lets see how day-3 a little worked up about tomorrow as I have to go to a friends house in the morning (she had a baby daughter & I was going to see the little baby). Should finish lunch making etc before 10 AM !!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Update Holi-Celebrations

This is an update to yesterday that was 'Day-1 Minus Maid'.

In the evening the beautiful ladies of the condo got together for a superb talk-over-tea meet; and the food was aaa-haaa !! Mouthwatering and pure yummmmmm.
What's a Holi-party without any colors right??? So yessssssss there was plenty of color and we had such fun smearing color on one another !! The children also joined in and had their share of fun and running around.
It was Aadu's first time with colors on Holi; prior to this I would just use the haldi-kumkum as colors to let him the know the significance of color in the celebration of Holi.

Mid way through the play I asked him 'Aadu are you having fun?' He answered in affirmative; but when he saw more color on his friends faces he asked me to take him home for a bath !!! Remember this is the kid who can't stand a speck of dust on him or around him.

Went home gave him a shower; all the color came running down....then was my turn but I remembered there were door-mats to be rinsed and put to dry. So brush in hand; shower full on; I scrubbed the mats as clean as I could and as much as my strain-challenged arm muscles would allow. Quick shower and then slomppppppppp onto bed !!! Gosh I was tired........

Did not make dinner....Aadu wanted to eat Idli; so Papa was going to pack dinner for all. What a savior that was....I was really too tired to make anything.
Even then...could not finish dinner in good cheer; went to sleep zzzzzzzzzz

Monday, March 1, 2010

New Beginnings

Today I feel very pleased with myself....I put in a lot of effort into something that is very dear to home. I went about cleaning it to the best possible way.
Reason being - the maid will no longer come for a month. She's taken medical leave !!

It feels good to see the result of your toil and the best part was that my son upon returning from school said that the house looked clean and asked me 'Mumma who clean it?' I proudly said 'Mumma did it' and he came and gave me a hug.
My heart was the size of a watermelon ...full of pride and full of love for my little boy.

I plan to keep the home maid-free till I go back to my home town. This arrangement will in all likelihood help me lose some weight which has been a cause for concern to all family members.

The husband will have to help me out; which i'm sure he will. He's one of the rare guys who do more than their share but still have a smile to him to bits.

Now that I am relaxing the hard work endured in the morning hours seem only fruitful; but believe me when it was morning; I was rushing around and trying to do as much as I could before I went to pick up the son from school. I thought of myself as a mad-woman !! dashing in and out of rooms, broom, mop, duster in hand !!

Maybe because it was the first day and that too after a long weekend there was too much to be cleaned....and hopefully tomorrow won't be so mad.
And perhaps I can make that much awaited phone call to my friend down south.....tring's me....

Day-1 without maid.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Time to move on

Many of you are aware of my other blog 'Fruit of my labour' which is about Aadu's Heart Surgery and the entire journey to date.
This blog as you know is not complete; it remains stuck on the day of the surgery. While I was writing this part I was crying bucket full of tears; and I had thought I had healed and gotten over the entire episode....but Noooooooooooo.....The memories are still very raw, the emotions are gushing out, and I am not able to go on and do justice to the blog that I had started with the hope that some day it will help some mother like me who is looking for answers, looking for someone else's experience to tide over her own troubled times....

I think I have been quite selfish in just paying attention to my feelings; I strayed away from the goal that I had set for the blog and for myself.

But all this is about to change; and all thanks to the email that came to me out of the blue.
The email came from a grandfather who wanted to know more about the hospital where Aadu was operated coz his grand-daughter was diagnosed with the same thing as Aadu.
He had stumbled upon my blog 'Fruit of my labour' while searching the Internet for information on the Hospital.
How lucky I am that this man decided to drop me an email !! I felt as though the purpose why the blog was put up in the first place was being met....and in that I got my inspiration to go on.

So people wish me luck as I once again begin my journey to complete the blog.
There will be tears, but they will not stop me this time; there will be emotions but I will have friends around to get me over them.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

For my Valentine - straight from my heart !!

ye ishq nibha dena tum
guzarish ye karte hai

jaaneman jaaneman
jaaneman jaaneman
ek naam tumhara le kar
hum jeete hain marte hain
ye ishq nibha dena tum
guzarish ye karte hai

jaaneman jaaneman

tum khush ho to
hum bhi yoon khush rehte hain
tum rootho to
hum khud se roothe rehte hain
ye jaan lo bus tum se hi
hum apni khabar rakhte hain
tum bhool na jaana is ko
guzarish ye karte hain

jaaneman jaaneman

jitna bhi hum
tum ko chaahe kam lagta hai
ye ishq isliye hi to
pal pal badhta hai
tum se he is jeevan ka
hum saara bharam rakhte hain
tum tod na dena is ko
guzarish ye karte hain

jaaneman jaaneman
jaaneman jaaneman

Wish you a very happy love filled Valentine's Day !! So glad, happy, thankful to have you in my life to love and cherish.

Love you more n more with each passing day !!

-Your Neel

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Magic of outdoors

A few days back Neelum and I were having a conversation about how our children and children of this generation have very little contact with nature. They don't touch natural materials and don't do any messy play. Neither do they play outdoors for long periods of time.

Their playgrounds are on a level surface and made up of artificial material. This prevents serious injuries when they fall but it also,Neelum very rightly pointed out, prevents them from experiencing the slopes of natural landforms and the joy of walking on grass barefoot. Neelum recommended a book called "Toxic Childhood" which describes the nature deprived childhoods of our children. I also read a similar book called "Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv and I am really glad that I read it. The author here gives a very appropriate name for this phenomenon and he calls it the "nature deficit disorder". He says that children learn many things from nature and outdoor play. They learn about seasons,day and night,pond life,plants etc. and they also refine their gross motor skills by running and hopping and fine motor skills through activities such as picking up stones.

Indoor entertainment cannot match or substitute for outdoor fun for children!I discovered it yesterday when I made a totally unplanned visit to the East Coast beach with the kids.I went even though my daughter came back from school at four in the afternoon and even though I had a lot of housework to do. After going there,Ibnat started playing immediately while Nayaz took a while to warm up to the sand and the sun. What happened next ....well,you all can guess....was sheer fun. The kids had a rollicking good time!

I can't help compare this to their indoor playground experience last Saturday.The playground was beautiful with ball pools and everything but the fun they had there was nothing compared to what they were experiencing in the beach. For Nayaz,the sand play molds became cars which were travelling in a hot desert.Ibnat drew a mermaid on the sand and collected shells and stones.Outdoor play stimulates the senses and encourages imaginative play.

Even though the afternoon was hot & sunny,I am glad that I took them outdoors.Usually it is just the condo playground that they experience. While it is better than staying indoors and watching TV, I think once in a while the kids need to be in big open spaces under the sky.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Why my son has no toy guns....

My maid (bless her) has to clear up my son's toy room after the hurricane has passed over it, toppling over everything possible, toys strewn all over, paints, papers, clay, books....everything is on the floor !!
Why I told you this is because this will prove to you that she has the access and thus knows all that Aadu has in there.

So, a few days back she asked me.

Maid: Madam, why Aaditya has no toy guns?

Me: Taking a deep-deep breath in preparation of the long-ish explanation that was going to come out of my mouth !!
Mangala (her name) today the world has more guns than we possibly can handle, small children who should be in school and safe in their homes are given guns to kill other people and in most cases it is their own country people.
You remember when you and I were growing up (she is the same age as me)....did we ever hear of terrorists? Did we hear of people being killed without reason or for no fault?
We did hear of wars, but it is brave soldiers that fight a war; and a soldier holds great responsibility when he is holding a gun in his hands for he has to keep up his country's honor and name. Whereas these days a terrorist can come and shoot you and me right where we are.
Imagine when we did not grow up knowing what a terrorist is...Aadu's generation is facing it right ahead of them. Our generation is battling the Gun with more find peace and to make the world a better place for our children.
Why then should I place a gun in my son's hand? I don't want to show him how easy it is to hurt someone else. One son kills another mother's son. In the end it is mothers who are left behind crying their hearts out for having to bury their sons....
I want my son to think of other things right now, I know he has to face the reality of a gun yielding world as he grows up, but till then I hope to have taught my son what it is to solve a conflict with peaceful dialogue, and that it is OK to disagree, and that we can still be friends even if we disagree over certain issue....

Maid: Good answer Madam, I will call my son and ask him to not play with guns anymore. (She is Srilankan, so the reasoning resonated with her; she herself having seen plenty of mindless killing).

So there you go Mother's if we want to make a difference in the world, start with your own home. Remember that old saying 'The hands that rock the cradle rule the world' .....we really do have the power to make a difference as mothers.

Think about it, before giving in to your son's demands of games, toys that encourage killing and hurting someone. They really don't need those kind of games & toys. My experience tells me that if we look deep into their eyes and explain to them your reason of not buying 'that' game or toy, they do understand. If we start with a small 'No' in our home, slowly the peer pressure will also decrease. We have to teach our kids contentment with the stuff they have. As it is this is the generation that has unlimited toys due to a lot of socio-economic reasons.
This should also apply to what the child watches on TV. Please monitor what they watch, and choose what they can watch, do not give them the power over the remote control, if that happens it means there is only trouble ahead.

So Wake Up Mothers....and do your bit.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Some introductions....

A couple of friends have started blogging. I have to...have to...just have to share one blog with and the reclusive gentleman....some introductions need to be made.

Let me begin with a lady who I love to bits, she is also the co-author on this blog. Put your hands together for Malina !!
Malina and I have been friends since our MBA days and we have spent many hours in the canteen (and in class) and talked about all things under the Sun over cups of tea. Malina has started a wonderful new blog, This Adventure Called Motherhood where her basic principle is that 'It takes a village to raise a child' so she wishes to use her blog as a platform for Moms to exchange, debate, mull over ideas all related to bringing up kids !! Now is that not a great idea?? Do show your encouragement by visiting her blog and posting comments.

Second in line is a swimmer par excellence, a school buddy of mine.....put your hands together for Pramilla !!
She is the person with the most real, authentic one liners on her FB 'status' or 'what are you doing now' space. She is a mom to a very beautiful (takes after the mom) daughter Mira who is a preschooler. Prams feels she can write down her thoughts better than saying them....thus the blog. I love her Blog title Mother India !! That in itself showcases the oodles of creativity this gal possesses !!
Do encourage her people...

Lastly, this is one lady blogger who has moved me to tears, tears of sorrow at her pain and suffering, and tears of joy for her well being, and all the happy moments she shares with us. She is a beautiful, gorgeous lady with a even more beautiful soul...Ladies join me in clapping for Stephanie Aurora Clark Nielson.
Stephanie is the survivor of an almost fatal plane crash. She blogs about her life and I have to tell you she has THE BEST husband in the whole her blog...and soon you will agree with me. Stephanie blogs at Nienie Dialogues.
This is a must visit and a must add-to-reader blog.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The story of stuff - from raw material to trash

We are bombarded by a lot of go-green jargon these days. Some of us know what to make of it, some of us let it pass for there is little we understand of it or maybe there is little we think we can do about it.

I am one of those people who take the Environment, our Earth our Eco-systems our plant and animal like very seriously, and I believe that we are all connected. So if the Polar bears are facing a tough time, fighting for their existence...the same stuff that bothers him will bother us sooner or later.

How many of us think about things like 'raw material sourcing', 'point of origin', 'transportation costs', 'toxicity', 'carbon foot-print', 'recyclability', 'impact on environment', 'disposal' - when buying a new product?

I too did not, and still don't think about a few things when purchasing a new item. Why all these points are important and necessary for a cleaner greener Earth are very nicely demonstrated in the following clip. It is very informative and thought provoking. Show it to all members of your household, your maid included, share it with your co-workers.

From this clip I have gained immense knowledge and am going to be an 'awakened-informed-buyer' and not just a shopping-junkie driven by consumerism.
Here is what I have decided to do:
  1. Buy local goods - the thing may be made by a local company, but just check for the 'Made In..' tag. If that says the name of the country you reside in. That is buying local goods.
  2. Buying locally grown fruits, vegetables - I see the divide between local produce and foreign, procured produce very clearly in our super markets especially Village Grocer in Bangsar. There a locally produced pack of Strawberries costs around 6 RM whereas the same quantity of imported Strawberries costs more than twice !! Buying locally grown produce reduces the travel-transport costs of the goods, thus reducing the amount of fuel that was used up.
  3. Support local industry - buying clothes, shoes, handbags, school bags, books, handicrafts etc from the local community or city. This ensures employment of the local communities and stops a large number of them from migrating to the cities to get employed in large corporations and living in pitiful conditions.
  4. Point of purchase decision - when picking up an item think very carefully - is this item a NEED or a WANT. A 'Need' is something that satisfies your basic requirements of living like food, clothing etc; whereas a 'Want' is something that feels good to have, and is something that you can like without.
  5. Recyclability of the item - when buying cutlery for a picnic, buy paper plates rather than plastic ones, buy re-usable items like cloth-made shopping bags. Never get your food packed in a restaurant in Styrofoam items, carry your own metal-containers or then ask the hotel to pack in paper-based container.

This is what I can think of now....I will share more as and when I have light-bulb moments.
Do write in to share your green-ideas.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Standing up for your child

This happened some days back at our local fresh market. Aadu loves to pay the vendors and asks his Dad to pass the money to him so that he can pass them on to the vendor.

At one vendor he gave the money with his left hand....which is his right hand I mean he is a left handed guy so for us his left hand is his right hand ..did I just confuse you??

So the vendor tells him 'give with your right hand...must never give with left hand'
This confused Aadu and he looked up to Daddy dear.

Daddy dear says to the vendor:'this is his right hand...he is left handed; you should take it from him from the same hand. Don't ask him to change'

Vendor then proceeds to take the cash from Aadu from the left hand.

During all this I was not around...I was busy yapping with my favorite vendor who had just returned from a trip to India !!

I was told all this much later when we were back home. I felt very proud of Amol for having stood up for Aadu.

In other places which we regularly visit, the people know that Aadu is left handed and so they never bother to say anything.

This served as an important lesson for Aadu also, he will know that it's OK to be different and that we have to stand up for ourselves...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Searching for Schindler

Searching for Schindler is a memoir written by Thomas Keneally.

This is one of the books that I had picked up from the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale in November. I had bought it thinking that I will enhance my minuscule knowledge of the legendary gentleman Oskar Schindler. The very first time that I knew something more than just his name was when I watched the movie Schindler's List early last year. The movie shook me to my core would be an understatement. It ripped me apart, my emotions were raw at the humiliation, torture, barbaric treatment that the Jews received during that shameful time in our human history.
The movie also filled me with awe for this man who helped so many Jews. It only made my belief stronger that 'there is good in this world'. I tried looking up more info on the net and was flooded with it. I read and read.

This book, actually told me that much before the movie was made, the Author Thomas Keneally had written a book by the same name, and then it got made into a movie by the awesome Steven Spielberg.

The journey of the book and the movie is what is opened up in this memoir.

Thomas Keneally is an Australian, who was in Lon Angeles met the real star Leopold "Poldek" Pfefferberg who ran a boutique of Handbags etc. The author had gone in to purchase a briefcase.
Poldek and his wife were holocaust survivors. In his possession were numerous photographs, paper cuttings, documents related to the holocaust and about Oskar Schindler. He had tried on many occasions to get someone to write a book or make a movie or a TV series out of all the real and amazing data that he had, but had no success.

Keneally took up the assignment and after a lot of hard work, travelling, meeting more holocaust survivors the book Schindler's Ark/ Schindler's List was published. The book won him the Booker Prize.

The book and movie was possible only because it had the relentless support of Poldek who traveled and interviewed people along with Keneally. It was his mission to see it being made into a movie. He would often say 'An Oscar for Oskar' !! And his dream did come true when The movie actually won 7 Oscar Awards.

The book is great, informative, has many photographs of the actual Schindler, and many more of the camps in which people were held. The book for me showed that if we really want to accomplish something - it is possible.

The recent spat between Chetan Bhagat and the makers of 3 idiots looked very stupid to me at first. ( I was/am on CB's side).
But when I recalled reading that the author Keneally was actually invited by Spielberg to the shooting of the entire movie and that he was given first class air fare wherever he was flown to, he was always put up where Spielberg himself stayed shows what kind of treatment an author ought to deserve for the original idea, story etc. Keneally was also asked to be present at all press conferences related to the movie, he was invited to all the glittering premiers that the film had. He was paid his dues when Spielberg (or was it Universal) bought the rights of the book from him; but the points to be noted is the treatment and respect he received for his effort and knowledge of the subject. I firmly believe that Intellectual property needs to be respected and treated as a commodity abiding by the laws of the industry as such.

Overall I say: go read this book

Monday, January 18, 2010

Our Art n Craft

Number 1: Fruit and Vegetable Basket
This needs a paper bowl or deep plate, newspapers, paint and a stapler.
Using the news paper, mould them into different shapes like a sphere, oblong, etc then simply color them as per the fruits you like. Here you see a tomato and a banana. Once the paper fruits are made and the paint is dry, place them into the paper bowl and using some more paper make the handle by simply twisting it. Staple the ends of the handle onto the bowl.

Number 2: Mumma and baby hen.
This needs: 2 paper cups, some color paper, paints, crayons, glue and scissors.
Method: Cut one of the cups halfway to it's height. This is for the baby chick. Now paint them, while the paint dries, using the color paper cut out beaks and feathers. Stick these onto the mumma and baby chick. Next draw the eyes with crayons. Finish off by gluing together the duo of cute baby chica and mommy hen.

Number 3: Slithering snake.
You need: Green paper, glue, red paper or white paper, scissors and red and black sketch pens.
Method: Cut out a long stripe of green paper, taper it towards it's tail end. The other end (head part) should be rounded off. Trace out the portion of the eyes and the matching rounded part just like the head part. Also cut out the tongue. Now take the snake body and fold like a paper fan making big folds. Draw out the eyes and nose, and stick this part onto the head portion of the snake, make sure you place the tongue in between before pasting. Your slithering snake is ready.

Number 4: Butterflies in the park
You need: Play dough, and butterfly shape pasta.
Method: Make small portions of the play dough, roll out into cylindrical shapes, tapering them at the ends. Now simply press the pasta onto this body. Note: Press lightly.
If you are in a mood to paint, then one can paint the butterfly wings as well.
This one is great to do on a lazy afternoon when the kids are full of energy and you are not ;)

Number 5: Slow and steady Mr. snail.
You need: Play dough and shell shaped pasta.
Method: Roll out the dough into oblong shapes to make the body of the snail, make the back portion stick onto the paper the head part is to be made standing out. Take the shell shaped pasta and press on to the mid section.
Another easy peasy craft that is a sure hit with kids.
For more adventure, color leaves, or collect some from the garden and place them around the snails and enjoy the sight of amazed kids busy for a couple of hours with Mr. snail and his house.
You can make multiple snails and play family !!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Finally...NRIs may soon get to vote

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said that Non-Resident Indians may soon vote in the elections and that the process may start as early as the next general elections.

Inaugurating the eighth edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas, Dr Singh said: "I recognise the legitimate desire of Indians living abroad to exercise their franchise and to have a say in who governs India. We are working on this issue and I sincerely hope that they will get a chance to vote by the time of the next regular general elections."

"In fact, I would go a step further and ask why more overseas Indians should not return home to join politics and public life as they are increasingly doing in business and academia," he added

"It gives me very great pleasure to join you at the inauguration of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2010. Every year, on this day we celebrate and honour the contribution of the overseas Indians is making for the development of their spiritual and ancestral home. We are immensely proud of the achievements of our Diaspora."

"Your achievements have made a great contribution in changing the image of India to the world at large. Let me therefore join Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs and the Chief Minister of Delhi to welcome you to New Delhi and wish you a very happy New Year," he added.

Article Courtesy: