August 29, 2016

#MommyTalks - It's Not About Me Anymore





When did the past eighteen years go by wonders Meredith, standing in the middle of her now empty home? The girls have both gone on to college and she doesn't even know what to do anymore. Maybe now she can make that long impending move to push her career ahead. But isn't it too late now? Maybe she can do the things she has been putting off for so many years now. Maybe she can do the things she wanted to but couldn't for various reasons. But wait, what is it that she wants to do? All these years, everything she thought and planned about was about her daughters, for her daughters. Now all of a sudden, faced with this question, she doesn't have any answer. She doesn't even know what she wants. Moreover, can she really start over, carry on from where she had left off at this stage of life? Meredith doesn't really know. 

You must be wondering who Meredith is? Well, she's just a character from a book, Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah. While reading the book, I couldn't help but wonder if most women become Meredith in one way or another at some point in life. I couldn't help but think if I might become Meredith one day.

When I was pregnant with M, I had promised myself to never give up anything after becoming a mother. I had promised myself to never put off doing the things I wanted to do in life. I wanted to use these as guiding principles.

To a large extent, I'm walking that line too. Well, at least so far. But it is just the beginning, the real challenges haven't even started yet. It makes me realise that it's not always possible, is it? It's not always possible to be a mother and an individual as well at the same time. The former almost always takes precedence and should, I think. I guess it was just naïve of me to think that I could manage everything and do everything that I wanted to.

Not to sound negative but it's just how it is, isn't it? Somehow a mother, a parent often needs to put off some things from his or her wish list for one reason or another. Something happened which actually got me thinking about this more.

The husband came home from work last week and told me about a drive at his workplace, an exclusive drive to recruit women. It's a good thing, isn't it, companies trying to increase the number of women on their payrolls? But I digress here.

The reason I mention this is because the husband thought I should try too. The company he works in has great policies for women and otherwise too it's very employee friendly. It could be a good move for me career wise as well. Also, stagnating at one place is never good in our industry. While everything he said was right and made sense, I realised I just can't.

The first thought that came to my mind was M. I need to be there for her now and for that I need familiarity. I can't move to some new surrounding where I might not find time for her. In fact, moving to a new project in the same company too is not something I look forward to because I don't know if the people there would be as supportive.

So, no, I can't move now no matter how lucrative it might seem. Well, at least not until M starts going to school. And that's when it hit me, it starts with small things like this, isn't it?



It's not always possible to be a mother and an individual as well at the same time. 

Of course, it's not such a big thing, if I think about it. I'm working in a good place at the moment. I'm also enjoying what I'm doing. Apart from that, I have continued blogging and writing, something I never want to give up. So, that's a win considering how shortchanged on time I am these days. I'm somehow miraculously fitting reading in my schedule as well. I'm in a good place, a very good place indeed. So, maybe I'm not Meredith yet.

But still, even if it is something as trivial as dropping my résumé, I had to let it go. Even if there's no telling if I would even have got a call from there, I had to let it go. Maybe this is how, in one way or another, all mothers are Merediths after all.

What do you think?


August 27, 2016

Rains, Dampness And Our Beautiful Homes


Who doesn't love rains? We all do. It is the welcome respite from the summer heat, it does away with the dust and everything seems better somehow. But like everything else, there is a flip side to it too. This is something I learnt quite early in life.

There was always the possibility of rains in Shillong, the small town where I grew up. It could rain any moment of any day, all through the year, so much so that we hardly ever ventured out without umbrellas. Yes, that's how unpredictably-predicable rains were there. And also brought alongside their other not so welcome companions - dampness and in some cases, leakages too.

This actually reminds me of our very first rented house there. In spite of being magically beautiful, it was damp too. Even I, a toddler then, could feel the dampness in the air in all of the rooms. They used to be colder than was really normal. Yes, over and above the already cold weather of Shillong.

You couldn't stay in any room without room heaters, that's how much damp that house was. Possibly, the house being constructed such that one side of it rested on the hill without any chance of receiving sunlight contributed to the dampness of the walls along with the virtually incessant rains of course. We actually kept falling sick whole time we lived in that house. And that's why our parents decided to move out of it.

It is a known fact that dampness is an invitation to ill health, especially for children, hence naturally my parents didn't want to risk it further. And so we bid the damp house goodbye and moved out to a beautiful airy cottage blessed with sunlight throughout the day. But not everyone has that choice. Or, it's not always possible to move out, especially if it is your own house.



Credit : bernzwaelz at pixabay


Nobody wants to live in a damp house. In fact, I'll go further and add that nobody willingly lives in a damp house or a house with leakage. But sometimes these problems creep up and then there's nothing to do apart from fixing it.

Respiratory problems, allergies, respiratory infections or even asthma; damp can lead to any or all of these. That is one of the reasons why dampness shouldn't be taken lightly. Mould could affect any part of your house and should be tackled before it poses a serious threat to health. And when you have children at home, the level of seriousness and urgency to tackle these further intensify.

Being at the fag end of the monsoon season and residing in Bangalore, a city where it can literally start pouring at any moment, I know very well that dampness and leakages could be real issues. These can creep up anywhere and at any time.

In fact, the husband and I, actually are in the middle of fixing the cracks and rising dampness in a wall in one of our bedrooms. The rains, of course, contributed to that with the external side of the wall being exposed to sun and rain constantly.

Having a nine-month old at home makes this a priority for us. We don't want her falling ill as a result of that. I'm petrified every time she coughs or has a blocked nose. I can't put her health at risk anymore. Not that I would willing do that. Knowing that dampness and mould can cause respiratory illness, red eyes, rashes, throat irritation and more, I'm worried sick every time I stare at the affected wall.


Nobody wants to live in a damp house. In fact, I'll go further and add that nobody willingly lives in a damp house or a house with leakage. But sometimes these problems creep up and then there's nothing to do apart from fixing it.

Respiratory problems, allergies, respiratory infections or even asthma; damp can lead to any or all of these. That is one of the reasons why dampness shouldn't be taken lightly. Mould could affect any part of your house and should be tackled before it poses a serious threat to health. And when you have children at home, the level of seriousness and urgency to tackle these further intensify.

Being at the fag end of the monsoon season and residing in Bangalore, a city where it can literally start pouring at any moment, I know very well that dampness and leakages could be real issues. These can creep up anywhere and at any time.

In fact, the husband and I, actually are in the middle of fixing the cracks and rising dampness in a wall in one of our bedrooms. The rains, of course, contributed to that with the external side of the wall being exposed to sun and rain constantly.

Having a nine-month old at home makes this a priority for us. We don't want her falling ill as a result of that. I'm petrified every time she coughs or has a blocked nose. I can't put her health at risk anymore. Not that I would willing do that. Knowing that dampness and mould can cause respiratory illness, red eyes, rashes, throat irritation and more, I'm worried sick every time I stare at the affected wall.

Anyways, we did a little research and found out about Dr Fixit. We wish now that the builders would have extensively sought their expertise during construction. But maybe even they couldn't have done much since we in Bangalore experience hot and humid weather, heavy rains, some extreme heat too throughout the year. All these can really take a toll on any structure.

Now neither my husband nor I have the expertise on rectifying the problem at hand and it is turning out to be a headache. That one external wall is really affected and the signs can be seen on the inside too. We want to fix it before it gets worse and that's where professionals like Dr Fixit come in to help us get rid of the dampness issue, basically get freedom from dampness.


"Magar Ye Ho Na Saka" - the new ad featuring Mr Amitabh Bachchan showcases if you apply any of the Dr Fixit products while renovating or doing up your house you will be free from dampness.




Tell me what do you do to prevent damage to your house due to rains and dampness?

Make your home more beautiful by checking out tips and solutions on The Happy Homes Blog.


This is a sponsored post.


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.



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