August 24, 2016

#Rio2016 - 3 Girls & Their Gift To Women In India


© www.nabanitadhar.in

Last week while PV Sindhu faced Carolina Marin in the court, the entire country rooted for her, my countrymen, both in India and abroad. Among them were women with dreams in their eyes. Among them were mothers with dreams for their daughters in their eyes. Among them were daughters with dreams in their eyes. Among the billions glued to the television sets were also a mother and her nine-month-old daughter. Among the billions of Indians cheering her on were me and my daughter. And when she won the silver, she not only got us a medal but she gave the mothers and daughters of this country a silver lining too.

Much has been written and said about her and all the amazing girls who did India proud, who brought us all together. There's perhaps nothing new that I have to write here but still write I must.

These past few weeks have been about three ordinary yet extraordinary girls from the country capturing the imagination of a nation where saving the girl child still needs to be a slogan, hammered and taught. This past month has been about giving fuel to the dreams of every girl who wishes to be someone, pursue something apart from the traditionally accepted roles of women in society.

Their success followed by the well-deserved adulation bestowed upon them has given a renewed hope to mothers all around the country. Yes, in a country where having a girl child is still seen as a burden in some families, this is a welcome sight. It is empowering in many ways for mothers who wish to give wings to their little princesses, wings to fly, wings to travel far and wide, wings to break every single barrier in sight.

When I see a Dipa Karmakar, a Sakshi Malik or a PV Sindhu, I know there is so much out there for my daughter too, for every daughter of this country. These stories of girls overcoming hurdles are reassuring. They tell me that the world out there is not so bad after all. The big bad world still has a lot of opportunities for girls, is open to women achievers, a lot of scopes to achieve and be applauded for.

This Olympics has been about so many things but for mothers like me, it has been about the future of their daughters. It has been about how far we can take our daughters. It has been about dreaming for our daughters, about letting them follow unconventional paths too.

So, if my daughter grows up to chose an untrodden path following her dreams, I'll know better than to dissuade her. These girls today have shown an achiever doesn't take the tried and tested path. These girls have shown that with conviction even the greatest of hurdles ultimately give away to success. These girls have taught me, and many mothers like me, that we should never discourage our daughters from playing a sport. These girls have opened avenues that we didn't know of. It is because of these girls that my daughter can think of sports as a career option. It is because of these girls that I have day-dreamed about my daughter being a shuttler, a wrestler or a gymnast. And so as a mother, I thank them.

Tell me, what has been your takeaway from this Olympics?






August 22, 2016

#ViewFromMyWindow - Kind & All Things Nice





One of the things I can't live without at work is my cuppa of ginger tea. Every single day without fail I walk up to that awesome tea stall at work and get my very own cup of gingery goodness. In fact, I have become so much of a regular there that I don't even have to utter a single word. One look at me in the queue and they have it ready. I love this trivial, seemingly insignificant but beautiful part of my day. That unspoken bond, transient yet wonderful, temporary yet permanent among strangers but not quite. An unspoken pact between individuals who don't even know each other's names. Beautiful, isn't it?

Like clockwork, I find myself at their counter, waiting to swipe my card and get my piping hot chai. Today however their machine wasn't working and sadly I didn't have any cash on me. That's when the boy behind the counter just gave me the coupon with a smile. Yes, a coupon for my usual order and without even saying a thing or me asking for it. When I said I'll get the cash and then come back for tea later, he just smiled and told me to enjoy the tea instead and to give him the cash later. Simple, sweet gesture, right? Somehow this touched my heart. It reminded me how kindness still resides in each one of us. It was something I needed to start my day, my daily dose of kindness.

Now that I think about it, there is so much good around me, around us actually but we somehow fail to notice it. Or, we do but choose to just go through life without acknowledging these small yet very significant deeds.

These past few days, I have tried to notice more, acknowledge these acts too. I have seen how people sometimes go out of the way to care when they really don't need to.

Most of you might know by now that I'm a working mom. I take a cab to my daughter's crèche, drop her there and then walk to work. While coming home too, I take a cab. It's difficult sometimes because I need to carry her along with her bag for the day which really is very heavy. A cab solves that problem partially by taking me directly to my apartment premises. It becomes slightly easier for me then. But on days when I can't find a cab, it becomes really difficult for me. But you gotta do, what you gotta do, right?

The other day when the same thing happened, I took the office bus back home. Somehow I alighted at the drop point with M, her stuff and crossed the busy road. But just as I entered through the gates of my apartment, one of the security guards came running to help me carry everything. He insisted on dropping me till the lift. Now if that isn't kindness or goodness of the heart then what is? Sometimes people really go above and beyond expectations, don't they?

I wonder why we, you and me, don't talk about these acts more. Why do we focus on the bad and not the good more?

There is this security guard who navigates traffic outside my office. Every day when I wait for the cab with the little one, burdened by the weight of the bags on me, he helps me get into the cab. In fact, he even holds the door for me and lets the cab stop in a no stopping zone for those few extra minutes. It's wonderful, isn't it? I don't know his name yet but maybe I should ask. Maybe just to call him by his name when I thank him?

Then there are some cab drivers who help me get all the bags down. Or, some just smile when M plays with me in the cab. They acknowledge that it's not easy what I do and they say that with their seemingly insignificant yet very significant gestures.

I have this colleague. She's in Melbourne now. Last year when I was pregnant, she would offer to fill my water bottle. On some days she would even cook for me. She didn't have to but she did anyway. If that's not being kind then what is? She used to worry that I skipped breakfast or never paid attention to it. She used to even get titbits just to enhance my taste and get me to eat something. Wonderful, isn't it, how people touch you in the most unassuming ways?

There really is so much good around us. I wish for a change, I can focus on that. Just focus on everything kind and all things nice.Will you join me?

What was the last kind thing done to you? Do share.


#MicroblogMondays



August 19, 2016


August 18, 2016

#ViewFromMyWindow - Are You A Good Listener?




Are you a listener, a good listener? And do you like to be heard?

Well, if you ask me the same question, I'd have to say I am one. At least, I would like to think so. By nature more so than anything else. The thing is I find talking about something, explaining my views to someone else rather strenuous. One of the reasons, I love writing, you see. However, there are times when I like to be heard too. But on those rare occasions, I find there are very few who are willing to listen. Family, yes, they are always happy to but the others, not so much.

It's not a recent observation really. Not, at all. I have seen it, experienced it first hand for years now. People seem to only need you as a one way sounding board. Their problems, their joys, their accomplishments, that's all they focus on. As long as you are listening to what they have to say, responding to something that concerns their life, you have their attention. But the moment you move on to your life, their interest wanes. Do you know why that is?

On those rare occasions when I wish to be heard, I find there are very few who are willing to listen.

I'm an introvert and never really look for people to listen to me much because I like to keep things to myself. But when I'm engaged in a conversation, I expect it to be a two-way street. This my-life-is-more-important-than-yours syndrome is something that puts me off meeting and engaging with new people. Why even bother when I have enough of my troubles and chores to keep me busy. Why try to hear when I'm not being heard?

Of course, not everyone is the same but most are, often unknowingly but still are. 

The other day I was talking to someone at over tea. She had just shared something pertaining to her life. In fact, she probably had been talking for an hour or so before I even began. But when I did, I noticed she was visibly impatient. In fact, not really listening to me either. From the expression on her face, I could gauge that she just couldn't wait to get back to talking about her own life, her family, and her work. She didn't even bother to offer her two cents on what I was talking about. And the moment she got a chance she went back to talking about things that concern her, things I'm not remotely related to.

Have we really become so selfish that we can't even pretend to be interested? What about basic manners? We all know, manners maketh man or is that just passe now.

Sometimes I think I shouldn't even bother to listen. But in our busy life, if we take time out to spend with someone, is it really not justified to want to be heard too? Otherwise, where's the meaning of it all?

Meaningful conversations seem to be a thing of the past or limited to a select few. With mindfulness being something that is apparently lacking in most of us, it is but natural to expect someone to put in as much effort and heart into a conversation as you are. But as I have seen it rarely happens these days.


If we care to be in the present for someone, is it not but natural to expect them to be for us?

What are your thoughts on this?



Linking this to #WritingWednesdays


August 10, 2016

Humpty Dumpty Had A Great Fall



Humpty Dumpty had a great fall!

This is one sentence my subconscious is playing in loop today while I juggle office work, a baby and all the chores at home. Not surprising at all since I did fall down pretty awkwardly this morning. I was taking the stairs to the basement car parking when this happened. Let's just say, it was painful and scary as I landed on my hips. The feet too weren't spared. With the weak bones and Vitamin D deficiency, it's a miracle I didn't break any bones. To say, I'm blue and in pain would not only be metaphorically but literally apt too!

At any other time, I would have forgotten all about it except maybe for the pain in the rear. But I just can't today. The reason being I was carrying my almost 9-month-old when this happened. It was a miracle I didn't fall flat on my face or else she would have gotten hurt too. I can't help but wonder what would have happened if she hadn't been strapped to me in her carrier. The various scenarios that play in my mind are anything but comforting.

Truth is, there are too many things on my mind these days and I'm often absent minded. I could be in a conversation with you one moment and phase out in the next without even consciously realizing it. Perhaps that was what caused the fall today and of course my high heels too. These shoes need to come with some kind of warning like injurious to mothers carrying infants climbing down stairs. 


On a serious note, I do have too many thoughts hovering in my mind at any given moment, way more than I'm used to. Stack overflow says the Engineer in me. There is always something that needs to be done, something that needs to be ticked off the list. Still, whatever the reason, I can't let this happen again especially when I have my baby with me. But what do I do to reduce the stress, the absent-mindedness and avoid something like this in the future?

Honestly, I don't know.

Meditation is not my cup of tea. The only thing that comes close to meditation for me is listening to instrumentals while I work, instrumentals made for meditation. How cliched!


Maybe a few days off ought to do the trick then. Actually, no I don't think that would work either because I don't really get any rest at home with my little naughty baby always up to something. The only time I feel a bit relaxed in spite of the work load is at the office. Yes, strange but that's how it is. And I think every working mother would agree with me. Maybe not every working mother but most certainly would.

So,  the question remains, how do I deal with the stress that comes with juggling so many roles? How do I prevent such falls in the future? Because trust me, it really hurts especially when I think about what could have happened. And this Humpty Dumpty doesn't really want any other great fall.





August 9, 2016

SOFY Bodyfit Overnight - Review


Periods. Menstruation. Monthly Cycles.

These are words which are either spoken in hushed tones or not spoken aloud at all. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? Yes, because something as natural as periods is treated as a taboo, something to be ashamed off. Why?

Well, let me know if you ever find a rational answer to this because I certainly haven't found one.

But do you know what gets my goat?

Any talk of periods in the media has to be brushed with something white or something pretty. I really don't understand this innate need to show women as the epitome of grace at all times, even when we are sleeping. Really. During periods with good night pads at our disposal, we like to sleep as normally as anyone else or on any other day. Somebody should tell these ad film-makers that Sleeping Beauty is a fairy tale, far off from reality!

Talking of pads, night pads, did you know about a not so old entrant in the market called SOFY Bodyfit Overnight?

I found out about it recently and had the chance to use it myself. So, now, let me tell you a few things about it.

Did you know that it is actually the longest napkin in India with a wider hip guard?

And it looks like this claim is true. It provides extra coverage at the back, which is perfect because in my experience flows are generally more at night. The wider the coverage the better. So, with this, I could not only sleep peacefully but even move around to take care of my infant daughter without any discomfort.

This product does fulfill what it promises. It stays in place and prevents leakage. It also absorbs the flow quite well and prevents it from flowing to the edges. It doesn't cause any discomfort to the skin which is extremely important in my opinion. And it is not bulky. It is light which again is a very good quality in a pad. Any woman will tell you how important these points are for an overnight pad. SOFY Overnights, thus, seems to have a lot working for it.

Honestly, I don't like experimenting much when it comes to pads. It's a matter of hygiene and health after all. But I was pleasantly surprised by SOFY. It is a pad which offers comfort without compromising on quality. That in my books is a winner.



You can buy your own pack from here.

Periods are painful and discomforting but a reality in every woman's life. The best way to deal with it is to be first equipped with a good sanitary pad for health and hygiene purposes. Comfort food or rest, if possible, come next. A good night sleep is essential too because we tend to feel weak during this time of the month. A good night pad is, therefore, imperative.

So, girls, to take care of all these factors, why don't you try the SOFY Overnights and sleep peacefully while #sleepingugly? See if it fits your needs.



This is a sponsored post


August 8, 2016

#MommyTalks - Being A Working Mom



People are often quick to judge mothers, working or stay-at-home, it doesn't really matter. As hard as it is to admit, I have done it too in the past albeit unknowingly. Maybe it's a reflex action kind of a thing in our species. We are quick to evaluate the other, often subconsciously but evaluate we must. 

Anyways, gradually with years, I have seen, realised actually, how hard it is to be a woman let alone a mother. So, I try not to anymore. And now that I'm a mother, the unbelievable levels of difficulty that this role entails is something that I learn every single day. And I'm just in the eighth month of this journey.


We are quick to evaluate the other, often subconsciously but evaluate we must. 

Taking care of a sick child is a full-time job and it becomes even harder when the child in question is an infant. These past few days reminded me that it is going to be hard balancing a career and my role as a mother. Yes, despite the support system. It isn't going to be easy. And it scares me. What if I have to give something up?

A sick child inevitably needs her mother. Even your first reaction would be to reach out to your mother on your sick days so it's but natural for a child to do so. The same was the case with M, my eight-month-old when she got her first viral last week. In order to take care of her, I decided to work from home. And tell you what, it turned out to be one of the hardest multitasking I ever did. No, not because I didn't want to but because of the huge ask of both roles which ended up overwhelming me.

Taking care of a sick child is a full-time job and it becomes even harder when the child in question is an infant.


Ever since M started going to the crèche, she has been a little clingy. She just doesn't want to go to anyone else once she sees me. As for me, after keeping her in the crèche for 8 to 9 hours, I too want to be with her as much as possible. It goes without saying thus that when she was down with fever, I just wanted to focus on her because I knew how much more she needed me.

Motherhood is hard. It isn't easy with or without support.

But I had work to do as well which I didn't want to neglect either. I don't want to be that team member who doesn't work. I never asked for special treatment while I was pregnant and I don't want to now. I want to do my work and do it well. 

Truth is, I don't want to lack in either of my roles. But it was tough. Even though I had my mom at home last week, inspite of all the support, I must admit I found it really, really tough to balance both.

Motherhood is hard. It isn't easy with or without support. And the bulk of the load falls on the mom because a child needs her more especially on sick days.


Honestly, after my experience last week, I have a new found respect for mothers who work from home. I don't know how they balance everything. It has been a tough couple of days for me. Taking a call when suddenly M was crying. Or, trying to feed M before a meeting but she refusing to eat. It wasn't a cake walk.

Truth is, it's not easy to juggle so many things but juggle I must.

All this just reminds me that this journey of being a parent, a mother is going to be demanding too. At least, if I want to balance everything I do along with it. But I shouldn't give in to the stress. I had made a promise to myself that I wouldn't let motherhood alter my life such that I stop recognising the reflection in the mirror. If anything motherhood should add to my life and not take away. So, in the midst of all the packed days, tireless nights and emotional hugs, I need to fulfil that promise to myself, for me and for everyone I hold dear.

Are you a parent who works from home? How do you do it? Any tips?



#MondayMusings
Linking to #MondayMusings by Everyday Gyaan

August 7, 2016

#Poem - A Promise To Be Me



Challenging, exhausting
As it may be.
To not give up,
My identity.
Threatening a change,
To the reflection
I see.
But I must
Always be me.
Motherhood
I chose You
A part of me,
Not who I am
Entirely.
A happy child
And a happy me
No sacrifice
Need there be.
Yes,
This a promise
I made to me.



***

I'm writing this for BAR-A-THON.
Today's prompt: Promise