Knowledge Series, Musings, MyFriendAlexa2021, People

How Much Free Time is Good For You?

Free time is defind as the time when you are neither working nor studing but can do what ever you want. We always try to take out time from busy schedule to do things which give us happiness. A designated free time is all one wants to feel relaxed and happy. As an individual’s free time increases, the sense of feeling good also increases.

But how much free time is good for an individual? Suppose, you have been given a paid holiday assignment, where you can do what you want or whatever keeps you happy and with no end date. How long will you remain happy?

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, too much free time is a bad thing. The research analysed 21736 Americans and professors from Wharton and Harvard universities were involved in this research. They found out that too less of discretionary time is bad and so is the too much free time.

The moment of awe – Sunrise! Being with nature sooths our soul.

It has been observed that almost 120 to 150 minutes of discretion time every day is good enough. We know that time is money and money spent well brings happy feel. Free time every day increases life satisfaction and feeling of well being. Many of us are not happy inspite of having free time.

The problem is, many of us are spending our free time in ways that aren’t really making us happy, says James Wallman, author of “Time and How To Spend It.” You can buy this book by clicking on the link.

Leisure doesn’t improve quality of life unless one knows how to use it effectively”.

Spending time with friends is important.

Leisure time is any time when you’re not occupied with work or chores, paid or unpaid. “It’s the time equivalent of ‘disposable income. So how can we optimize the free time in the best possible way? While there’s no perfect activity that’s best for everyone, some experiences are useless like “junk foods” and others are like “superfoods.”

The “superfood” activities put you into “a state of optimal experience arising from intense involvement in an activity that is enjoyable,” according to the American Psychological Association (APA). Finding activities that lead to increase creativity and happiness is the key.

Experts believe that happiness can be achieved when the skills are being utilized. It results in feeling motivated and has a sense of “total control. Wallman says that any pleasurable activity that truly challenges us has the potential to lead to the elusive fullfilment which so many people are after from their leisure time.

Here are some suggestions to think about to invest your time and energy in:

  • Creating memories through experiences gives us stories to tell and share (on social media :P) gives happiness. For example, going out with a friend might lead to a better “story” than re-watching your favorite TV show alone in your living room. The experiences which developsl connections with other people provides purpose and meaning in our lives. And when you share a story with someone else, it results in developing kinship which increases the happiness even more.
  • Any activity that helps you grow as a person and gives you a purpose to your existence works better for your satisfaction and happy quotient. Learning new skills or capabilities, change your world view, lead to epiphanies or move you toward a greater goal are all “transformational.” This could be anything from learning a new recipe to taking an improvement class.
  • Unplugging from digital devices and notifications when you’re relaxing or spending time with others can help you tune into “real life”.
  • An 80-year long Harvard study showed that relationships,not money, predicted how happy and healthy one can become with age. Spending free time with friends and family members, or keeping in touch on the phone, deepens the relationships. By keeping in contact,it becomes easy to share the happiness with others.
  • Engage in leisurely activities which utilize the skills and passions, because we’re happier when we are fully engaged with something that requires all of our energy. Removing distractions while you complete a task or activity is one way to fully engage.
  • Some moments like watching a sunset or sunrise, spending time with children or visiting monuments improve mood. Perhaps being with nature or family can make you appreciate ordinary moments even more.
  • Being popular and well known in community is one of the traits of human beings care about in their social status. Rather than chasing more material possessions, giving back to the community through volunteering is one way to make the social status more meaningful, and make you feel that you’re playing an active role in society.

Spending time with family is fun.

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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.

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.


LIFESTYLE, Musings, People, top post on indiblogger

Personalized Gifts

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We all love to receive and give gifts. With the festive season round the corner, planning for this years’ gifts have already started. The kind of treatment 2020 has given to us, humans, we all are looking forward to have some fun and happy days ahead. Though we all are still not so sure about the turn of events in future, things are somewhat coming to normal.

How do we select gifts?

Selection of gifts is based on few parameters –

  • Who is the recepient?
  • What is the occasion?
  • The budget.
  • Importance of the occasion.

A personalized gift speaks volume about the relationships. It’s always pleasure to receive a customized personalized gift. It takes special efforts to customize a gift for someone. In the days of e-commerce shopping, Amazon has come up with many options from where you can cutomize personalized gifts.

An engraved wooden photo is an excellent option for a customized personalized gift. It can be gifted on birthdays, wedding anniversary or any special day. You may click on the following links, which will take you to engraved photo frames or plaques. ,

Wooden engraved personalized clocks is also a great option.

3D photo crystals is another way to bring in special moments in the life of your loved ones. You will have many styles to choose from.

Personalized wall clock with photographs is also a wonderful way to celebrate relationships and life. Click on the following link to have may options.

You can create photo books to have a memory for a life time. Check out at the following link about the different kinds of personalized p[hotobooks you can create.

A personalised cubit photo lamp will be cherished throughout life.

Personalized photo cusions can be ordered by clicking on the following link.

Wanna buy a beautiful name necklace with name for a jewellary lover, click on the following link:

How about having a unique stuffed wooden frame? Click on the link to order

A photo puzzele game ..have a look here

I hope these options will help you in selecting a personalized gift for your special one!

Happy gifting!

Down Memory Lane, LIFESTYLE, People

The Republic Day Parade – In memoirs

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This year, we are celebrating 71st Republic Day on 26th January, 2020. It’s the day, when our own constitution was accepted and India took hold of it’s own governance in it’s own hands. For children born in sixties and seventies, Republic Day Parade was a big event to be proud of. I had been brought up in Hisar, a small town of Haryana. In those days, we used to be glued with radio to hear commentary of Republic Day Parade. There was no television transmission in smaller cities. DD made its appearance in Hisar in early eighties. While listening to the live commentary of Republic Day Parade, there was always an inherent wish to be able to be part of the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi. Every city has it’s own Republic Day celebrations which is more or less on the same lines as celebrated in Delhi. My school was part of the district headquarters celebrations panel and we used to go to city police lines for many years, (where such functions were organised by the city administration) and were part of the festivities. Anyway, I never had a chance to attend the parade at Delhi’s India Gate. The commentary in those days was so detailed that I could always feel like a film going before my eyes, it was only in 1984, I could actually watch the parade on television, after my marriage when I had shifted to Delhi. It was mesmerising just as I had imagined as a child. Anyway, I could never watch this magnificent event in person.

Many of my marital family members had been witness to the Republic Day festivities for many years as a participant or as a spectator. So, I have asked all of them to share their experiences. I am sharing their experiences below.

My eldest sister in law had been part of the parade for many years as student of school and college. She had participated in Republic Day Parade from 1959 -62. After that, she has been in the audience for many years as my father in law was a senior officer in Army Head Quarters and can get passes very easily.

Here’s what she has remembered of those celebrations.

” Filled with national pride, I had watched Republic day parade many times- year after year. I was very lucky to have participated in the parade many times from school and college. I was also member of NCC Contigent. The participant children decked in school uniforms were used to feel very proud of being part of such an important occasion. The proud feeling of being part of the parade provided all the warmth in the coldest month of January. Papa used to get passes so brimming with patriotic feelings carrying basket full of Puris or Paraanthaas with curry, pickle and other goodies, our whole family used to watch the parade from the reserved enclosure. Those days 26th January was like a festival. That day from early dawn may be around 4 only, we could hear continuous footsteps of people on the road behind our house at Baird Road on the way to India Gate to occupy front rows to watch the parade at close quarters.In those glorious days, I still remember seeing Dr Rajendra Prasad arriving for the parade in Bughee and at the end of the parade as Bughee carried by majestic horses arrived President of India would recieve Salute from them, hordes of dignatories bidding him good-bye !
When we participated from school we had to reach school around 4.30 am or may be 5am in the cold winter morning on 26th.We would be clad in school uniform and our teeth would be chattering but filled with enthusiasm and national pride, all of us had smiles and waited eagerly for the parade to start. In school hot puris with aaloo curry waited for us. Months before January, the selection for the parade began. Those who were rejected felt heart- broken and dejected. Practice and practice for hours continued, knuckles were bruised red in those early days of practice as being novice our hands brushed against each other’s ! I think 24th used be dress rehearsal, that day the importance of “The Day” dawned upon us ,the hurry-burry and anxiety of the officials was vivid ,everyone intent upon the smooth and successful culmination of the programme. On 26th we reached quite early at the starting point – Parliament House (if i rember correctly). Whole atmosphere charged with patriotism, sky resounding with patriotic songs and slogans of Jai Hind. I still get goose bumps recollecting those emotions and feelings !
Different songs were played for each contigent as we marched smartly on the road ,watched and cheered by thousands of enthusiastic countrymen, bands playing patriotic songs enthused us, our chest swelled with pride, throats choked with emotions,we marched on and on till we reached our destination without any trace of fatigue.
As we marched on family members of the participants from among the audience would call out the names their children loudly and proudly. Girls’ band from Pillani Vidyapeeth was waited for every year. The whole programme used to be magnificent and a feeling of oneness with our fellow countrymen permeated everyone.”

My another sister in law, Mrs. Rajni Sinha was also lucky to be part of this national festival. This is what she has to say about her experience –

” Oh ! To think and remember those times of my participation in Republic Day Parade as a school student still gives me goose bumps.
I took part in republic Day parade twice in school.
First when I was in fifth class. The dress ( rather the frock ) I wore had four pockets. And my dearest mummy filled all the pockets with toffees, biscuits and some other finger foods.
That parade was real fun.
I was in class 7th when I was selected second time to take part in parade.
The practice in school was going on full swing when a day before parade my right foot got twisted and it was swollen like hot potato.
But instead of being miserable I took part in the parade proudly like a true patriot. I can never forget how mummy did hot fomentation almost till midnight and I was able to take part in parade. The whole atmosphere on India Gate was so charged up and I donot remember anything about my injured foot. We could see all the dignitaries going past without any heavy securities. Those were the days! “

My husband had also participated in the parade and here’s what he remembers about those times.

“It was in late 1960s. I was in class 9.
Republic day parade was then a much awaited spectacle and had great emotions of prude & patriotism attached. The parade always had one contingent of boy scouts & NCC.
Our school Union Academy had been given the proud previlege of representing the only boys scouts contingent for years. It was mainly due to V.K.Arya Sir, our Physical Training teacher, who was an extra ordinary person having fought in the Azad Hind Fauj of Netaji Subhash Bose. He was also much respected by the Army officials managing the parade

Scouts & marching activities were a regular part of school curriculum but serious preparations for Republic Day Parade used to start 3 months before the event. A large contingent was initially selected and praticising for marchpast was done everyday for two hours. As the republic day aporoached nearer, Arya Sir used to become more demanding with perfection in every step, kadam tal & saluting besides the impecceable uniform. Finally, the best 30 were selected and made to go throygh rigorous training & practice.

On the d-day, our contingent of boy scouts left the school by 6 am for Rajpath from where the parade started. It was still dark & very cold.We were dressed in just shorts & shirts as no woollens were allowed. Winters used to be very severe in those days but the exhileration, pride & excitement for taking part in the parade was such that the nail biting cold didn’t affect us at all.

At Rajpath, we were given steaming hot tea & asked to take our place in the designated slot for the parade, which incidentally was just after the Air Force band. I was in the second row of the contingent. Soon, the parade started & our contingent commanded by the booming voice of Arya sir started moving from Rajpath towards the dais where the President & other dignitaries were seated. The whole path of the march from Rajpath to India Gate was full of people, cheering every contingent. Our boy scouts contingent was loudly cheered as we approached the dais. The excitement and feeling of emotions & pride with the roar of the crowd cheering us is difficult to be expressed in words. We felt like heroes. Our contingent smartly saluted the president & moved on towards India Gate. The cheering of crowd followed us through the march.

Finally, at Baroda House near India Gate, the boy scouts & girl guides contigent were taken off the parade as the rest of the contingents moved on till Red Fort.

Fortunately, there were no hiccups in marching or saluting and our teacher seemed extremely satisfied, relieved & happy at the same time. Such was the respect & love for Arya Sir that a word of satisfaction (incudentally he was a perfectionist & so rarely expressed satisfaction) and appreciation was as big a joy & pride as taking part in the parade itself. Of course we were much tired & exhausted by the time it ended and just spread ourselves on the lawns of Baroda House. It was only now we noticed how cold & numb our limbs & fingers were. After refreshments, we were taken in our school bus back to our school and we headed home by 2 pm or so.”

Now a days, I seldom come across any families who watch the parade. I think, the watching of parade must be made a family affair instead of taking Republic Day only as a holiday. It will inculcate the national pride in young children and an association with the country’s proud. It’s high time we must bring this change.

Wishing every Indian, Happy Republic Day! Let’s commit ourselves to build India and stand with it !!

LIFESTYLE, Musings, People


My Dearest Adira,

18th October, 2018 is the day, when you had entered my life as my first GRAND child ! The feeling of being a GRANDmother is really grand, my precious one and its all because of you!

And I swear, I have never seen such a pretty baby ever in my life. Before I held you in my arms, I thought there can never be a baby on this earth as cutiepie as your papa and chachu were. But you have shattered this myth. 😊 You are God’s blessing in my life.

You have turned one today and it’s a delight to see your personality unfold and coming into your own. I admire you when you show streaks of defiance and strong will. No one can do anything against your wishes – not even put a morsel of food in your toothless mouth without your wish. 😛

“Annaprashan” is a sanskrit word which literally means ” grains initiation”. It’s a Hindu ritual which marks the beginning of solid foods in infant’s life who is till then feeds only on mother’s milk. Your annaprashan was celebrated on Baisakhi, 13 April, 2019. Baisakhi is also celebrated as a festival of harvest. Can there be a better day to start your cereal foods?

My precious, I can’t promise you a world where the streets may be safer or people are not judging you on the basis of what you wear or do but I promise you all the support which you need, to be a strong girl and move ahead to achieve your dreams, my little one.

Adira – My Princess

I would like you to be a girl who is happy and values her uniqueness.

I see you as someone who is in command and control.

May you have the capacity to rise to the occasion whenever life throws any challenge to you.

May your heart be full of compassion towards people who love and value you.

Hum to gaye bhoomi karne….

May your life be filled with lots of love and affection !

May you be brought up without passing any fears and biases against anyone or anything, thus letting your mind free and open!

My baby doll 😍

I do not need to shout from the roof top, that I love you because I know you can feel my love and affection.


On your first birthday, I wish you a happy, healthy and contented long life ahead. With lots of love and hugs my little ladoo Gopal !! 💖💖💖😍🤗

LIFESTYLE, Musings, People

I am Becoming – Book Review

I had heard about Ms.Michelle Obama for the first time when Barack Obama took over as president of USA. As the first lady of USA, she can be seen and heard a lot. It’s here I have started following news about her for I found her behavior very graceful and matured. I started appreciating her more as she had lived by example during her tenure in White House. Her concern about the health of young generation of USA and introducing simple and effective solutions which included growing healthy organic food in White House involving local young children has impressed me.

For eight years, when she was first lady of US and later too, I found her genuinely concerned about her people.

So, when her autobiography “I Am Becoming” was published and was available on Amazon, I bought it to know more about her.

It took me a long time to finish it. I had finished it very recently. The book is an insight into her life, her grit, her hardwork, her strong desire to rise and shine and the efforts she has made to achieve.

With a very ordinary beginning, getting into prestigious Ivy league university on her merit and working hard to rise. Her concerns about Afro-Americans and her efforts to bring them into mainstream is commendable.

A peek into their love story, the journey as parents and as the President and First lady made it an interesting read.

What impressed me is the Obamas’ humbleness, genuineness and their efforts to let their daughters lead a normal life as much possible. It’s in total contrast of our Indian politicians where the offsprings are ever ready to misuse the powers of their political relatives.

The language is simple, lucid and the narrative is effective as it creates the story , scene by scene.

The most interesting portion of the book is in the end, where she had shared photographs from her childhood to the latest years.

The book also gives a picture of the aspirations, relationships and living standards of Americans. The mutual respects between parents and growing up children is worth admiration.

600 + pages to have a peekaboo into Michelle Obama’s life makes an interesting and motivational read. Her journey from a shy little girl to strong, fearless and confident women who speaks her mind will definitely help youngsters world over to dream and achieve it too.