The silent, strong supporters

The other day I went to attend a bloggers’ event.  It was almost an entire afternoon event and in Mumbai commuting takes up a lot of time, so I knew it would be late evening by the time I reach home.  My husband was traveling and hence I asked my kids to take care of themselves that day.  Being grown up slightly now and in a nuclear set-up, they are pretty responsible.

When I reached home, I saw that the washed utensils were kept in place and the clothes were washed in the washing machine.  My son had already left for his 10th tuition classes and my daughter was listening to music and studying.  These are the very kids who in my presence become so naughty!

Suddenly, I felt overwhelmed.  These two little kids of mine, who are my favorite muse for writing, have always been my source of encouragement.  The other big support has been my husband who had so many times worked from home to take care of the kids while I was away attending events.  Many would say that this is nothing great; a family is meant to do that!  But when you have such a strong support you do feel blessed.

I had my kids pretty early on in life, but I never for even one day, felt that I was sacrificing my life and happiness because of them.  I had raised them, still do, with a lot of happiness and love.  I expected nothing in return but I didn’t have to because my kids are supporting and encouraging my endeavors without being asked for support.

My husband even in the most stressful situations has asked me to continue to pursue what I love, writing.  A family which I have nurtured with love is giving me back the love when I require it the most.

Every moment of love, every gesture of encouragement and support counts.  I do have my three strong silent supporters always to give me that impetus!

English sikhoge?

“I am blogging about Pathshala Funwala by Nihar Shanti Amla Oil in association with BlogAdda

I came to this new society around 3 years back.  Soon, I found a good and sincere lady who started working as a house-help with me.  She has 2 kids, a son and a daughter who go to a local school.  Things were going fine until one fine day life turned upside down for them.

Their slum caught fire because of 7-10 cylinders bursting together.  Many, many home turned to ashes.  All the meager belongings that the poor people of the slum had was engulfed by fire within no time.  My maid was also one of those unfortunate families.  I still remember the day she came to my house wearing a tattered saree, asking for clothes and food.  Within no time I helped her out.  Like me there were many families and NGOs who helped these families re-establish again.

Because of all this chaos, the children suffered.  They didn’t have shelter, food or clothes, and amidst all these their schooling suffered.  They couldn’t go to school for quite some time.

Life started limping back to normal again after a few months.  The kids started going to school again but their studies had suffered.  My maid’s son because of all these unwarranted circumstances and poverty suddenly wanted to grow up soon.  He wanted to help his parents in taking care of the family.

My maid often tells me that his son wants to some job after 10th or 12th but because he studies in a local school he doesn’t have exposure to English language.  There are classes that teach English but she cannot afford them.  The NGOs which offer such help are far off from their place.

I often wonder how could I help them.  Due to my own time constraints and responsibilities, I don’t have time to shoulder such a big responsibility.  At the same time, I understand the little boy’s emotions and want him to learn English and fulfill his dreams.

Then I came across Nihar Shanti Amla’s Pathshala Funwala’s toll free number 8055667788 which gives such children easy access to learn English in a fun and easy way.  This is a service which is free of cost, easily accessible and very easy to learn.

I was extremely happy to know about this number.  I have decided to give my maid this number so that both her children can benefit from this awesome initiative.  I will ask her to spread a word about this number to all her friends whose children can easily learn English free of cost, which will help them in life.

Being a social media specialist, I intend to spread awareness about 8055667788 through my social media pages and different groups.

Let the future of a better India learn and learn easy.  Because of this initiative now I can ask any little child who truly wants to learn English, “English sikhoge?”

The healer with a magic touch

You must do the things, you think you cannot do.. Eleanor Roosevelt.

Where there is will, there is a way!  Shambhavi Chhugani’s journey is one such live example of this saying.

Her journey to the spiritual world started when she was all of 16 years. She comes from an erstwhile family of Bihar,where it was mandatory in her family to be spiritually qualified, as much as they paid importance to the formal education.  Her first tryst with the spiritual world came through reiki, nyaas healing.

Shambhavi has gone through many ups and downs in her life.  But she has always emerged as a winner. Its very interesting to sit and learn from her, the journey’she has covered to reach where she is today, the long hour hours she’s  invested, the hardships’s she has gone through. If it was anyone but Shambhavi, trust me the person would have given up.

After college, Shambhavi worked in Bangalore and later moved to Pune and settled there. Years later, She came to Mumbai and soon carved a niche for herself in the City of Dreams. She journey of achievements started from here.

Shambhavi’s journey has been very interesting and inspiring. She has been an accomplished Tarot Reader for over 18 years.  Her other areas of expertise are Colours Psychology, Logo Analysis, Space Cleansing, Vaastu, Switchwords, Doodle Analysis, Meditation, Healing through art and Dreams Interpretation & she is a Life coach to many.  She has won many awards and accolades for work with a lot of positive feedback from her clients.  She also specializes in Runes Guidance & Healing, First & Second Degree Reiki, Basic Nyaas Yoga to name a few.  Her knowledge has made a lot of difference in the life of many people.

As she galloped with love and confidence, Shambhavi made a mark in the hospitality & corporate fertinity,she partnered with big brands like JW Marriott, Renaissance, Oakwoad and Out of the Blue.  Shambhavi is also associated with corporates like Future group (Pantaloons), DLF, JLT, ORRA , Lavasa and L& T Reality to name a few.

Shambhavi has also been a part of the prestigious ELLE Carnival, held in Mumbai to raise funds for breast cancer patients and has been written about in their magazine.  This is the philanthropist side of Shambhavi.

She was also awarded as Grand Master in Tarot Prediction by Inspire Awards and later was also bestowed with a WOW Personality Award which is Winners of Worthiness, in Excellence in Tarot.  That’s quite a feat to achieve in such a young age!

The social media syndrome

I am very active on the social media.  I am a part of many groups, I write a lot, interact a lot.  I even work as a social media specialist.  In short, social media is an integral part of my life.

But I guess reading too many articles on parenting, relationships, women has its own effect.  I remember when I got married and became mother social media was just budding.  It wasn’t so prevalent or popular.  But when I come to think of it, may be I was happier and less crankier!  Ya, ya..I blame my “hormones”, pressure of handling work, husband, children and other stressors of life but hey I was much “stressed” out may 10-15 years back!

I was raising 2 little kids, working from home, handling everything yet I was a lot less crankier.  Why?  May be because of social media exposure, I have started comparing my life more with others.  I feel may be the others are more successful, richer, happier, luckier than I am!  Going through various do’s and dont’s write-ups about parenting makes me feel may be I am a very bad parent!  When my husband requests me for a cup of tea suddenly the words of an article flash in front of my eyes where the husband subjugates the wife or doesn’t care about her!

None of this is true.  But as we all know, if we get exposed to particular things day in and day out somewhere it starts impacting us.  Often little issues are blown out of proportion in our minds.

When I got married, I was very happy to be a wife and mother, as frankly, I was yearning to play both these roles and God had been kind.  I loved taking care of them and I still do.  But somewhere reading about feminism daily, the daily dose of stay-at-home versus working mom battle, how women working in the kitchen is demeaning, how a woman’s life is finished post motherhood and so on and so forth drills ideas that I am not supposed to think about!  I have a very loving husband, 2 beautiful well-brought-up children, freedom to do anything I wish to..still!

May be this is the social media syndrome, which is affecting all of us in some way or the other!  May be life without too much exposure was better and less complicated…

The Lost Little Boy

The parents were frantically searching for their little boy as he was missing.  They had by chance gone to pick him from his tuition class where he his heart stopped for a minute when the teacher said that he hadn’t come to the class that day.  It was raining and hence he went to pick him up.  They would keep his cycle on the backseat.  He had waved them goodbye and left for the tuition class on his cycle.  Where could he be?  He was only 9 years old.  He didn’t have a mobile.  The father cursed himself that he didn’t know the names or whereabouts of his friends.  He couldn’t go back home empty handed.  His wife was already in a state of despair.  The mother went back home and started searching in the neighborhood.

What might have happened to him?  Did he meet with an accident?  But in that small patch from their home to the class there was no evidence of any fresh accident.  In a small town like theirs people could easily tell about any such incident.  Did he get kidnapped?  He couldn’t remember of any enemies that he had other than the occasional tiff with the contractors with whom he worked.  But they wouldn’t stoop so low.  Where, where was his little boy?

Drenched in the rain with the rain washing away his tears the little boy sat all alone crying bitterly.  He was lonely, frightened.  He had decided that he would go back home once the rain had stopped and the tuition time was over.  His parents wouldn’t know that he was not in the class.  He didn’t want them to know that he had skipped the classes few times before too.  He didn’t have the guts to tell them why?  He was shivering, felt hungry, yet he felt better sitting in that rain where no one could watch his tears.

The father was literally in tears when he couldn’t find his son anywhere.  It was getting dark and the rain was unstoppable.  He had decided that he would search in the area they lived in for one last time and then go to the police for help.  While searching the whole area and nearby places suddenly his father had a gut feeling to search the local school nearby which would be closed now.  Though he was sure that it was not the best of the places to search still he decided to take a chance.

As soon as he opened the old creaky gate he could see a small boy sitting on the stairs.  He was crying, frightened, shivering; he was his little boy.  The father ran towards his son, embraced him hard, and burst into tears.  Those were the tears of respite, relief, fear, happiness..

When they entered the home, the mother literally crushed her son in her arms and cried bitterly.  She said, “Do you know what we have been through? Why did you do this?”  She bathed him, changed him into fresh clothes, fed him, and when he was in a better shape, the parents again asked him, “Why did you do so?”  He kept quiet, his eyes brimming with tears.  The parents didn’t want to force him.  So, they let him sleep.  They kissed him good night once they felt he had slept.

The boy simply pretended to sleep.  How could he tell his parents that his tuition teacher, a young man in his 20s, asked him to take off his trousers and…..

 

It was my last day in the city..

wowbadge

#WOW

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Having lived in small towns all my life, I was elated when I came to Mumbai after marriage.  Who doesn’t want to live in this City of Dreams?  But wait..it was not easy.  I was slowly getting used to the hustle and bustle of the city, the traffic, the liveliness and was beginning to enjoy it.  Three years later, my husband got a promotion.  Being in a bank, it was mandatory to serve a rural posting.  Since he was born and brought up in Himachal Pradesh and it was his home state, he opted for posting in Himachal Pradesh.  Wow..again another dream come true!  Since childhood I had always wanted to visit Shimla but for some reason or the other could never visit it.  But now..I was going to live in that beautiful state!

Soon with a lot of excitement and dreams, I along with my husband and toddler son landed in the beauteous Dharamsala.  I was mesmerized to see the magnificent Dhauladhar mountain range.  It was a picture postcard.  Soon, we rented a house.  It was a huge house after Mumbai’s 1 BHK and the rent was also very less.  My son started with his playschool there.  Everything was fine except that like any hilly place or small town people winded up pretty early.  Every shop was shut by 7:30.  This was in stark contrast to Mumbai, a city that never sleeps.

After a year my husband was transferred to Mandi.  We rented a house just next to the Beas river.  Everything was beautiful but I missed the vibe of Mumbai.  I missed the hustle and bustle, the liveliness.  We enjoyed the long drives till Kullu, drove down to Chamba, Shimla, everywhere.  Still, everyday I prayed that some miracle happen and we go back to Mumbai.  My husband still had to serve his rural posting for some time.

One day out of nowhere, my husband got a call from another private bank for a job offer.  It was a position based out of Gujarat.  I was happy as my parents were in Gujarat.  A month later my husband got his appointment later and we were going to shift to Baroda, coincidentally a place where my parents lived!

I was happy.  This is what I had wished for, isn’t it?  I wanted to move out of Himachal and I was moving out.  But somewhere I felt sad.  Funny..right?  I myself didn’t realize when I had got attached to the state of my husband’s birth.  This was a place where my son started with his education.  This was a place where we soaked in the beauty of each and every locale.  This was the place where the people were simple and down to earth.

We drove down from Mandi to Baroda.  On the last day while we drove down, I bid adieu to Beas river, to the greenery, the mountains, the now-familiar locales, the roads, the market, the bridge, the temple, the Gurudwara…

Present day I am in Mumbai but still I get vivid dreams of those days in Himachal..

Be happy in any situation!

Yesterday I met a pretty, vivacious lady at a friend’s place who later revealed that she was suffering from juvenile diabetes since age 6. I really loved her positive approach towards life and found her inspiring.

I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, an autoimmune disorder, around 5 years back. Its a condition which affects the skin and the joints and since its autoimmune its incurable. I was pretty heartbroken initially as I felt I was too young to suffer from such a disease. But then I looked at my young kids’ face, my parents’ concern, my husband’s worry and at my own life and realized there is no point sulking or crying over it; rather I should be facing it positively. There are days when the pain is excruciating, which in turn drains the energy or vigor to do anything but what to do! I channelize all this in my writings, raising my kids, my work, going to events, meeting people, gathering inspiration from others. I know I have to live with this condition till the last day of my life, so why sulk and live! Of course, all this would not have been possible without my 3 pillars, my husband and kids.

There are many people out there battling other life-threatening conditions, depression, emotional issues, but you look at them and you won’t even realize that they are going through such conditions. So, lets motivate and help others, gather motivation from others, and try to be happy in any condition.

Take care this season..

Kids falling ill is the one of the biggest concerns for any mother.  This happens more with kids till the age of 5 and with season changes.  Cold and cough and fever not just makes the kid irritable, it also diminishes his appetite.  Mothers are at wits end managing the kids and are also worried about their immunity and overall health.

Sharing a few tips to take care of the little ones and build their immunity.  Of course, in some health conditions doctors are the best people to advice.   Also, these worked for my children; each mother knows the best for her child and so its totally each parent’s discretion.

  •  Don’t make the baby wear a lot of layers.  Don’t make him wear a woolen cap, mittens, socks, etc. all the time if the temperature is normal and not too cold.  You will see kids often sweating or getting irritated when made to wear to many layers.
  • Let the child crawl, walk, run, fall and grow up.  No, I am not heartless!  This helps in building up the kids’ immunity a lot.  The more the kid is in a natural environment the better his immunity will be.  So, every time he crawls or walks and falls don’t go and pick him up.  Of course, the floors need to be kept clean and free of germs and sharp objects.
  • Once the child starts having solids, introduce all the food groups at the earliest.  Give the child pulses, cereals, fruits, vegetables, chicken, paneer, etc. first in a mashed form and later as is.  I started giving my children everything we had, albeit not spicy, since the time they were 7-8 months old.  Giving salt and sugar is totally up to the parents.  This way the kids get all the nutrients, are eating all food groups, and become non-fussy eaters.
  • Never start giving medicines without the doctor’s advice.  Only a medicine for fever like Calpol can be given, that too age-specific dosage and not multiple times.  Not all fevers or cold and cough warrant antibiotics.  So, never introduce any antibiotic or other medicine without the doctor’s advice.  Not all conditions are the same.
  • Don’t panic if the child isn’t eating after recovering from fever or cold and cough.  Don’t try to force feed him.  Even as adults we lose appetite after an illness.  Similarly, the kids also lose appetite which eventually comes back once the child recuperates.  Forcing the child will result in vomiting and abhorrence towards food.
  • Immunity of a child develops in the first 5 years, so don’t worry if he is falling ill once a month or once in 2 months.  Of course, if the child is suffering from asthma or other issues the scenario is different.  Trying out home remedies, Ayurvedic or homeopathic treatment is totally each parents’ choice but for infants home remedies should be avoided as they are too young to be put at any risk.
  • Never stop the course of any medicine in between.  Often mothers stop the medicines once they feel the child is better but that should never be done.  The course of any treatment should always be completed.  This is for the child’s well being.
  • Don’t restrict the child from playing in the mud, getting wet in the rain, playing rough for the fear of falling and hurting.  All these make the child strong.  This is my personal experience.  Don’t worry about getting tanned or the elbows and knees getting dark!  This is applicable for both boys and girls.

The more we mollycoddle the children the lesser the strong they will be.  Let them grow naturally and normally.  Remember our own childhood?

My cherished trophies..

#WOW

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

In my school days, I was a very good student and a good singer too.  I used to come first in my class as well as in the music competition every year.  I used to win prizes but never won a medal or trophy as an award.  Students who won in sports were given medals or trophies but for some strange reason students who won in arts and music were never given medals or trophies, only prizes.

With every win I used to be elated but somewhere the longing for a medal or trophy always remained.  While my parents or I would say that I used to win competitions or come first in academics, I never had a medal or trophy to display my happiness or talent.

Years went by, I grew up, gave up the hope of winning any trophy ever.  Somewhere in between, I had confidence issues too.  I was not that confident and effervescent girl that I used to be in the school days.  Then post college, job, marriage and kids somewhere I totally forgot about that longing.  I used to be immensely happy when my kids won medals.  Somewhere the student in me was happy!

Few years back I started blogging.  It simply started as a medium of sharing my parenting experiences on various platforms, which I started taking more seriously over the years.  My blogging slowly started giving me some recognition too.  Many new moms would approach me for advice and also appreciate my inputs.

On the eve of Women’s Day this year, I participated in an event organized by a nearby mall and decided to sing on the stage once again.  With the responsibilities, my singing had taken a backseat.  I went on the stage and performed in front of a big crowd and heard the claps after many years.  At the end of the event, I was given a trophy!  Yes..finally I could proudly display a trophy!

I am the part of many mom forums out of which one mom forum held an event yesterday and I went there.  They felicitated me for being a Woman Achiever in the blogging category and yes I again won a trophy.  This was in front of many talented women who clapped for me and appreciated me.  I was overwhelmed!

Winning these two trophies in the same year once again made me realize that anything is possible in life!!  We tend to believe that life after a certain age is over but my long-cherished dream as a student got fulfilled this year when I turned 40!

Its never too late to dream or achieve anything..

The eternal friends..

I came to Mumbai just after my marriage some 15 years back.  As an introvert, a bit reticent small town girl I didn’t know what was my new life going to be like.  I was of the breed of girls who weren’t much ambitious, didn’t even ask how much the husband earned or what properties her in-laws had.  I was not the street smart, confident young woman who was focused and sure of what she wanted.  At that point of life, I simply wanted to focus on my new chapter, with a tall lanky man whom I had just met 6 months back in an arranged marriage setup.

I still remember we arrived late in the night in Mumbai; me, my husband, his close friend, and our luggage traveling through the dusty path from Baroda.  The express highway wasn’t in existence then.  I landed in a 1 BHK flat which was going to be my new setup, the beginning of my new life with my young new husband.  I didn’t know cooking, I didn’t know how to wake up in the morning without my mother waking me up, I didn’t know how to manage a home.

Call me silly, but I got exposed to credit and debit card thanks to my husband.  I didn’t know how to operate an ATM card.  I didn’t know that Andheri was compartmentalized into East and West like the other suburb stations.  I didn’t know which BEST bus would take me to my new office.  I didn’t know how much rice would be sufficient for the two of us.

But that tall lanky man held my hand, guided me at every step.  He would calmly without complaint take the half burnt rotis that I prepared for him every morning.  He didn’t watch the shape or taste, he only saw the love and feelings of a young naive wife in it.  He calmly explained me that ATM slip was not to be left but torn and thrown in the bin before leaving the ATM.  He lovingly taught me how to make rajma and kaali daal.

I, who never could hear an alarm ring, used to wake up religiously every morning and try to learn and do things that I had never done in my life.  No, there was no compulsion; it was my own choice.  We would order pizza in the evenings when both felt really tired.  We would share a bottle of coke in that 1 bedroom-hall-kitchen which had no fancy furniture or gadgets.  His 6-foot frame would lean over my 5-foot frame to give a hug of warmth, assurance and love.

Isn’t it or shouldn’t be that marriage should be all about?  You give some, he gives some, you learn some, he ignores some.  In all these years, we both have never ever dragged our parents or siblings in any fight.  I have seen things turn ugly when couples drag their respective families in fights.  Too much scrutinizing on the girl’s “beauty” or the boy’s “salary” doesn’t assure a happy marriage.  When two people accept each other with all their flaws and instead of changing them appreciate what’s good in them does a marriage become successful.

Often people claim that we are “lucky”; yes we are lucky to have found each other but it’s not that we haven’t had to work on our relationship; only we never felt that we needed to make “adjustments”.  He doesn’t eat fish, I do, but I have never forced him to eat neither he has forced me to give it up!  A simple example but it makes a lot of difference.

I always say more than religion, food, caste, beauty, salary; its the compatibility that matters the most; it is what makes a couple the eternal friends.