LIFESTYLE, People

RAKHI AND GIFTING

The festival of rakhi is just a fortnight away and plans are underway to celebrate this festival which celebrates love and affection between siblings. Though traditionally, it’s said to be celebration of brother-sister relationship, but in my maternal home, we sisters celebrated it by tying rakhi to each other and making promise to support and be there for each other in the thick and thin of life. I am so happy that we could support each other in every situation which called for it.

Rakhi 2021 is special as it has come after the corona induced turmoil. Many families will be overcoming the loss of their loved ones but such festivals which are based on the mutual love and respect always bring positivty and happy vibes for the families. They help us to overcome the sad times. Let us welcome these festive times with open heart to bring in cheers.

In Indian festival celebration, gifting is an important aspect. In rakhi, the usual practice is that sisters bring in sweets to brother’s house and as they leave after tying the rakhi, brother sends them off with gifts. The love between siblings should not be measured by the money spent but feelings. Usually, it is seen that if some one is not financially well off, his/her gifts or sweets are not valued. I am of the opinion that their gifts should be given the same value and respect (if not more) as they have gone beyond their means to buy. The mutual relations should never be valued as per the financial status.

Though with time , we are seeing a commercialisation of gifting in a big way. But never let that emotional connect go away while selecting a gift for your loved one. A gift can be something which you think, your sibling is planning to buy for a long time but could not due to some reason. If you have the capacity to buy that gift , go ahead and give a pleasant surprise. Gifting consummable and usable items like bedsheets, jewellary, dresses, lamps, bags, books, plants, decoration pieces , personalized gifts etc. is good idea.

Rakhi 2021 is different than earlier years as one need not come out of the house to select rakhi, sweets or gifts for the festivals. The E-commerce have changed the face of gifting more so in these days of pandemic when traveling is restricted. One gets vast options to select from without stepping out, which is the need of the hour.

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LIFESTYLE, Musings

Flourishing in the Times of Covid 19

 

It has been over a year when Covid induced trauma, isolation and grief entered our lives and overpowered all good things. It has taken away the socialising from human life and they say we are social animal. How long will it take to feel good?

The psychologist calls the combination of physical, emotional and mental fitness as “flourishing”. It’s opposite to “languishing”, which means stagnation.

As of now, we are languishing in Covid created jails and it has been a long long time when we feel to flourish.

“Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you are looking at your life through a foggy windshield”, explains psychologist Adam Grant.

Flourishing on the other hand is to take charge of all aspects of life and feel good about it. It encompasses the simple steps to recharge your emotional batteries, spark a sense of fulfilment, happiness and purpose. It will help in leading a physical, mental and emotional fitness. This is flourishing.

How can we flourish under these tough circumstances?

1. Express Gratitude – Remember our expression of gratitude by clapping for healthcare workers? Expressing gratitude helps us to improve our mental state and thus quality of life. 

2. Try something new – With so many master classes available online, try to learn a new skill. It gives a sense of satisfaction and happiness. Even if you are not so tech savvy, do not worry , do try something new at-home. Like a new dish, or refurbish an old piece of furniture. Just yesterday, I have painted an old brown coloured, faded plastic chair which was 20 years old. And I felt so happy after finishing the product.

 

3. Celebrate – My father’s 90th birthday came in pandemic. We had bigger plans but nothing much could be done under the circumstances. So, we did a zoom party and he felt as if whole family is there with him. Celebrating every small joy/ achievement/ victory/ event or any good thing around brings enthusiasm in life.

4.Find purpose in everyday routine – No, we are not talking about great philosophical things about purpose of life. Happiness comes if you plan to do a something new. Like reaching out to those who matter to you in life or completing a simple impact full task can bring a sense of accomplishments. Something as small as trying a new dish brings in some romance in life. Gardening is another hobby which helps keep in positive frame of mind.

5. Connections – This is the most missed part under pandemic. But whatever modes of communication are available, use them and connect with your loved ones in particular and community at large. With so many social media platforms available to us, it’s easier to connect. 

Let us make an effort to flourish !

 

Some pics are from google search. 

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BOOK REVIEWS, Musings

Book Review – Unspoken: A Bouquet of Short Stories

 

Unspoken is a collection of seven short stories of colorful moments of life. You can immediately relate to the happenings in the story. It appears that you are part of it. The stories are quite captivating in a simplistic way. The writer has avoided unnecessary detailing and focussed mainly on the plot of the story. In a way, the stories are crisp and do not have unwanted details to distract the mind from the main issue.An easy read, these short stories  are clear and are heart touching. They are of various themes like, love, friendships, relationships, life.

Each story is weaved through simple life’s happenings in a natural flow and as one goes through, it feels like being a character there in. The fervour of each story is contemporary and she has touched many emotions and situations which one sees around us in society. More so, they are not run of the mill kind but present a fresh perspective on the situation. 

The stories do not just leave you after reading, they will stay with you. The open ended finishing leaves much to think about. The seven stories leave an impression on the reader’s mind as they all explore human relationships with a fresh and contemporary perspective. Whether it’s about long distance relationships or exploring one’s own sexuality or accepting the children’s choices, the book covers it all.  The stories bring about a lingering question and end with a meaning and resolution. They appear to be real and as if they happened in our life around us. 

In short, these are an excellent bundle of stories.  The book is written in a simple, lucid writing style and it is highly recommended. The writer is young and her fresh views are seen in in her writings. Wishing Sadhna Wadhwa  good luck and looking forward to more !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blogadda WOW, LIFESTYLE, Musings, top post on indiblogger

This Pandemic Has Changed My Home

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As they say, home is where the heart is! I believe home is where the soul is. Home is the place where you unwind, at ease, comfortable and uninhibited. A place to dream and act freely !

If we go by definition, a home may be a constructed house, or some other kind of dwelling, lodging, or shelter. It’s a place  where you come back to. It’s a place where you pack your bag to travel and when you come back, you feel the most comfortable here .

Before the Covid pandemic, people used to spend half of their day out of homes thus giving space and privacy to all family members.

I belong to the retired people category so staying at home was a routine. We are four people of three generations living under one roof.

My 89 years old dad has not stepped out of home since last 3 years on his own. He spends most of his time in his room, though mobile and independent for his age. He keeps himself busy in his meditation , watching his favourite shows/ movies on TV and dozing off and on in between .

Me and RB had decided to be  out of the active work force since mid 2018. I was a freelancer content developer and RB was a practicing CA when we hanged our boots to live a more relaxed life.

Cooking Experiments by Son-Dad Duo

My software engineer son is doing consultancy with different companies in different countries and has been working from home for around three years before it became a covid forced norm last year.

So, even before the pandemic, all of us are used to of spending most of our time at home. The pandemic brought lockdowns and restrictions which curbed the freedom to go out or get food delivered at home or go out dining,  off line shopping, movies, plays, outings with friends and long drives etc.

My first Covid casualty was my early morning yoga class, which I used to love a lot as it was a perfect start of the day. The yoga class had since been started in online mode and I am finding it better than the offline class.

It also gave house helpers much needed paid breaks. It was tough at the onset as I have made myself too much dependent on her. But I am always eager to find ways to solve the issues rather than crib about them.

The maids were banned by society management as per the government guidlines. But three of us have shared the household work and taken the responsibilities / accountabilties of  specific household work. All SOPs were in place and thus daily running of house became well oiled .

Baked Rice- Rajmah

My kitchen had always been a gender free space since long time now as both my sons along with their dad RB makes a good cooking team. Cooking is a life skill and all three ( sons and RB) knows enough to fill their tummies when need be. My sons  had  studied abroad after their 12th class and are well versed in cooking and planning a meal. Cooking for them is a stress buster activity.

As pandemic started and with no kitchen help, it was too much for me to handle all the three meals. This leaves me with no time to do my kind of things. So we divided the work. Now, dinners are organised and cooked by son – dady duo. In my family, breakfast and dinners are major meals while lunch is mostly non cooking options of fruits and salads, leftovers or bread kind of assortments. I had the responsibility of laying a full breakfast on table. I am a morning person, so breakfast is my favourite meal and I enjoy cooking it too.

The routine cleaning is also done with every one’s help. Let me be very clear about it, with no helping hand, we could only manage to do the basics and all other household works have been on hold. My household help rejoined in May 2020 and it was a day to rejoice. She has again been asked to go on leave with the commencement of second wave.

I had started going out for late night walk with my son around 10 in the night as there were lesser number of people so less interactions and more distances. Yeh kahan aa gaye hum ….

I have added some gadgets to help me in managing the essential household jobs. I have a dishwasher since a decade and it has proved to be a great boon in these times. A robotic vaccum cleaner brooms the house and a smart spinning mop proved great help in mopping the whole household. Washing machine has also become the basic necessity now.

Dusting is something which I have not done since long time now but forced to do in the absence of dear Kokilaben, my helper. I will not tell lies— I avoid doing it many a times. 😛

I find atta kneading very boring so I had added an atta kneader . No one in the family knows this art. Thus, house hold jobs are taken care of with the help of gadgets and division of work.

Another addition to my gadget galore is foot and leg massager as it really helps to warm up calf and foot muscles which are underused. 🙂

Our small balcony garden !

Not going out and being at home 24×7 puts lots of mental pressures on every one. We have dealt with it by dividing our personal and family time. This freedom to be your own self helps in keeping mental peace. Keeping in touch with extended family and friends also helps. One of the family activity is gardening. Besides, we have a daily session of cards after dinner and a long session of scrabble on Sundays.

With time, every one in the family has set up a routine. Every one has found a favourite corner too to do his/ her things. Though there are times when it feels suffocating to be at home and we just go out for a drive when the sun is still shining. Since I live in the outskirts of the city, there are still many vast fields and green areas around. Driving through nature relieves tension and opens up mind.

I miss the human interactions, dressing up and a well kept home everything which we used to take for granted !

Who knows, when will the life will come back to normal? But hoping the next year will be like 2019… open, free and full of sunshine!

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

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Blogchatter A2Z 2021, FOOD, Knowledge Series, top post on indiblogger

How about a Date?

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It’s quite ok to have a date, whatever your age! Isn’t it?

Yes,  dates keep one  quite healthy and happy and one should try to include them in the diet. Confused?

We are referring to dates  also known as khajur in Hindi. 🙂

This being Ramadan month, dates is one of the most popular foods that are served as part of Iftars. They are natural sweeteners. Many desserts are prepared using them without any added sugar.

Dates are said to be  originally from Iran, though it is now available and consumed across the world. Date Palms are mostly found in the deserts and they usually grow in clusters. I am born and brought up in Haryana and remember seeing dates trees while crisscrossing the state. As a young child, I find them  similar to  coconut trees.🌴 

I had eaten or rather seen for the first time raw red dates when I had first shifted to Ahmedabad in 2003. I have ever since become fan of those sweet bright red coloured wonder fruit after taking my first bite. 

The Middle East nations ( Iran, Egypt,Southi Arab etc.) are top dates producing countries. In these countries, dates are considered a staple food . The dates cultivation seems to be from the 6th millennium BCE. There are different varieties of dates available in the market now and each have diffrent taste and texture.

Dates is a nutritious fruit, especially when dried. It contains a lot of fibre and essential vitamins and minerals which are good for our health. Many people eat it as a dessert and they really make a healthy dessert but only if taken in moderation!

Let us see why dates are said to be an excellent food?

 

Dates have always been known for the rich concentration of antioxidants in them and help us prevent and combat a lot of infections. 

These powerhouse of antioxidants  protects human body cells from damage to oxidative stress from free radicals. Also, the carotenoids  in dates help reduce eye-related disorders. They are also richly endowed with flavonoids  and Phenolic acid. The dates have anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce the risk of cancer and help with heart issues.

Dates are good for bones as they have Copper, Selenium, and Magnesium in abundance. They also are a rich source of  essential Vitamin K . Vitamin K helps in coagulation of blood which in turnt helps in bone metabolism. In post-menopausal women, the Potassium in dates is beneficial by protecting the bone mass. Hence, eating foods rich in minerals that provide bone strength and keep them healthy is important.

Anything sweet is supposed to be bad for diabetics. However,  sweet foods with low glycemic index can be safely eaten by diabetics. Low glycemic index  means is that  the absorption of sugar into the blood will be slow. Dates have a low glycemic index. They are  rich in fibre which slows down digestion. The fibre rich dates also aids in bowel movements and prevents constipation.

Interestingly dates  also help to increase the production of insulin in the body. Hence can also prevent  from getting diabetes as the sugar absorption rate in the intestines is reduced. Overall, it can be considered a diabetic-friendly food.

Every want to reverse ageing. Our super food Dates come with anti-ageing factors. The Vitamin C and D present in dates helps maintain the elasticity of  skin. Funnily, most dates  (especially the dried ones) come with wrinkled skin but may help keep  skin free from wrinkles.

Studies have shown that dates can lower brain inflammations which are found to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Some studies have also found that dates prevent the formation of plaques in the brain which cause to cognitive loss. This is mainly due to the anti-inflammatory properties mentioned earlier. The choline and Vitamin B in dates helps learning and memory functions.

It’s time to Date !

Dates being  good source of a lot of essential stuff that helps us stay healthy.

Come on, let’s go dating !

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Blogchatter A2Z 2021, Down Memory Lane, LIFESTYLE, Musings, top post on indiblogger

Retired Life

Top Post on IndiBloggerRetirement brings shivers in a man’s heart and more so in his wife’s. But no one seems to be concerned about her. Everyone is unconcerned about the changes that will bring her world “topsy turvy”. 

If you are a working wife, chances are you are still going to the office, leaving the whole house to the “old man”. 🙂 (What else to say about a retired man?) The only change you will find is entering into a not so clean house, which is a very small price of his retirement as compared to the upheavals in the life of a stay-at-home wife or work from home professionals like me.

I remember a very unusual advice from my mom, when I told her about my decision to marry the man, I was dating. He was 10 years my senior. He didn’t look 10 years older than me. We both looked good together. I remember, whenever we entered any get-together, people always turn their necks to bestow admiring glances on us. 

But mom, my girl Friday warned me about the future. My mom told me, you will find it very difficult to handle his retirement as you will still be working, fully independent,free from household juggleries and a free bird. That would be the time, when children must have left the nest to find their own place in the big world. A prophecy from someone who was dreading her husband’s retirement after  few years. 😋. Papa retired  6 years after my marriage. How true she was, I realized it when it happened. 

I didn’t see it coming the way mom saw hers and also warned me too. I didn’t give it a thought then. It was still few decades away, I thought.  Anyway, when one is in love, the thought of spending lots of time together is nothing but more love. 

The decades gone by in a jiffy and it’s time for his retirement. I am writing from my own experiences of seven years now. 😋

I have opted to work from home from 2007. Market in online education was nascent then and there were many opportunities to choose from. I had my fingers in both the pies of being a professional and stay at home wife. The boys had flown away almost around the same time. 

As a stay at home mom or homemaker, the whole household is yours the moment children and husband go out to their “daily outings” of school/ college and office at least five days in a week. This is the time when one feels  being the real “ queen of the house”. You can do any changes at home without any interference or approval from anyone. Least of all the master of the household for the simple reason that he spends most of his waking hours outside and when he comes back, there is nothing much to be done in the day to day running of the household. I loved this situation as it gives me total independence and control on household affairs. On the first day of his retirement, his waking hours at home gives him all the time to poke his nose into all the affairs and I remembered mom and her prophecy.

The first casualty of his retirement was the freedom, solitude and my “me time” at home. I was working as a freelance professional and strictly followed my office timings. With him at home, “chalo Yaar chai peete Hain” sessions were affecting my time schedule of the day. My evening walks had gone for a toss and were replaced with evening long drives. They were somewhat romantic when we started but after a few rides, they became a fertile ground of starting a fight. The only solace was that it was a new one every day. Repetitiveness bores me to death. 😄  

Wise men or women have rightly said that “too much intimacy brings contempt”. 

The tussel of keeping a clean house started the moment maid rings the bell and he gets up from the ringing of the bell. The daily bone of contention is to stop him from walking on the freshly mopped wet floor. But his belief in “ chodte chalon nishaan” is killing my belief in a clean shining floor. 

It has been ages since I saw a neat and clean bed throughout the day. The moment it’s cleaned, he takes the newspaper and then perch himself there, slipping a little with time and then falling asleep. To counter the wrinkles on my bed sheet, I opted for fitted bedsheets. It has saved me at least to make bed every now and then. 

Another fertile battle ground for us is the selection of plants and placement of pots in our small balcony garden. Our plants now grow on our fights and not on fertilizer. It was decades ago when Dr. Jagdish Chandra Bose proved that soft music helps in keeping plants happy and  healthy. I can prove that a healthy fighting atmosphere around the plants helps them grow healthy. Being a smart operator, I thought of using this unfounding situation to my advantage. After all, everyone needs a routine. So, we have come to some fix some new rules in the household. 

  1. Everyone will make their own bed tea.
  2. We have divided the plants and took full ownership in the assigned area.
  3. Each one will take full responsibility of one meal complete with planning, inventory and guiding the cook.
  4. We started doing a lot of individual stuff.
  5. Developing creative hobbies.
  6. No interference in the household styling because I am too good at it. 

These simple rules have sorted most of the issues of having a retired husband at home.

I have learnt my lessons over the years but now life is good.

Now with the “Work from home” mode, I think many households are facing the same situation. I guess, these rules may find some relief in their day to day life. 

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Photos are from Google.

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Blogchatter A2Z 2021, LIFESTYLE, Movie Review, People, top post on indiblogger

Remembering Irrfan

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Irfaan Khan was one of my favourite actors. “Life in a Metro” was the first movie where I saw him for the first time. Irfan has a small role of a man too keen to get married. His talent was matched by Konkona Sen Sharma. The film had a bevy of stars but Irfan was the only actor there. Subtle and expressive!

From then onwards, I started looking for his movies. Since crime is not my favourite genere, I did not watch movies like Maqbool.

Irfan Khan was described by Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian as “a distinguished and charismatic star in Hindi and English-language movies whose hardworking career was an enormously valuable bridge between South Asian and Hollywood cinema”.

Filmy Career and Journey :

He started his film career with a small role in 1988 film, “Salaam Bombay”. Those were his struggling days. During these tough times, he got the central role in British film, “The Warrior”. This film was in Hindi and was much appreciated. Actually, this was the movie which helped Irfaan to showcase the wide spectrum of his talent. After this, he had the quantum leap in his career and got main roles in the dramas like Haasil (2003) and Maqbool (2004). He went on to gain critical acclaim for his roles in The “Namesake” (2006) , “Life in a… Metro” (2007), and Paan Singh Tomar (2011). He was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male for his role in “Namesake”. He won the National Film Award for Best Actor for Pan Singh Tomar. Further success came from his roles in “The Lunchbox” (2013), “Piku” (2015), and “Talvar” (2015).  He had supporting roles in the Hollywood films The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), Life of Pi (2012), Jurassic World (2015), and Inferno (2016). His other notable roles were in Slumdog Millionaire (2008), New York (2009), Haider (2014), and Gunday (2014)  and the television series In Treatment (2010). The comedy-drama Hindi Medium (2017) and its sequel Angrezi Medium (2020) were two of his highest grossing films. These two performances won him the Filmfare Award for Best Actor in 2018 and 2021.

Coming from a small town Tonk in Rajasthan and making a name and space in Bollywood without any connection speaks volumes about his talent.

Some of his films which I have seen were – Life in a Metro……, Piku, Hindi Medium, English Medium, Karwan, Qarib Qarib Single, Haider, Slumdog Millionair, Life of Pi and last but not the least – Jazbaa.
My most favourite Irfan movie is Jazbaa. How he had matched with Aishwarya’s glamourous looks was beyond comprehension. I liked  these two simple movies “Karwan” and “Qarib Qarib Single” too only because one can have more of Irfaan in these movies. He was good in every genere.

A master craftsman, he spoke more with his silence and eyes. I am a fan of his subtle acting.He was married to Sutapa Sikdar, his NSD  classmate and a writer. Today, I just happened to come across a chitchat with Sutapa about Irfan. In reply to one of the questions she said – “Everybody tells me that time is a great healer and time is going by and you know that it’s not healing”. She mentioned that she is a positive person otherwise but his absence is making her helpless. The lonliness is very strong, she said. They both were not very social and hence did not have many friends. They were two people unit. As irfan was working a lot and hence was away for long periods, but when he is at home, it was all about him. It is very difficult to figure out a life without him. Every thing she mentioned about Irfan points out that he was a great human being too.Sutapa said that- Religion for him was spirituality. He had read Upnishads, Ramakrishna Paramhans, Vivekanand , Osho, Mahaveer etc. He believed in being true to self. He was not a practicing Muslim. He could not fast but wanted to. Once he said, I will fast once a week and will fast on Mondays, the day of Shivji. Though he was very busy in the last two decades with his work, he was quiet a hands-on father.

His family has not yet come to the terms with his absence and yet to accept his being not there. My heartfelt sympathies to his family and wish God gives them strength to bear this loss. This is the hard fact that who is left behind and is alive has to live.  May his family find peace and find strength from the good time spent with him.

In a small life of 53 years, he has created a great body of work and there is enough to remember him for years to come. the best tribute to this great actor by his family and friends is to remember and enjoy his work and memories.

Irfaan you live in our memories through your films and in our heart for being a good human being!

Rest in peace !

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Photos are from Google.

 

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