Tuesday, March 24, 2015

My first step to getting smart!

"What are you doing Avinash?" I asked quizzically looking at my 10 year old grandson. He was peering very seriously at the mobile and playing Candy Crush. A minute had passed and I got no reply from him. I nudged him a bit when he replied irritatingly, " Dadii.... ( Grandma) please..."

I came closer to him and made him sit on my lap. I hugged him and told, "Let me also see how you play. Will you teach your dadi?"

He gave me a wide and an eager smile. I gave him a tight squeeze in return. We both sat together for hours that day exploring the new Moto-E which my son and daughter-in-law had gifted it to me on my 60th birthday. For some reason I had not touched it from the day they had gifted me this. My son insisted that I start using it so he had activated the phone for me and kept it at home. Now my grandson somehow took it and was using it on my behalf. I was never fond of smart phones but when I saw the look  of Moto- E I felt like touching it. I was very happy using the home computer for all my practical internet needs but seeing this phone my hands started itching to use it. My daughter-in-law always wanted me to own one smart phone so that I could browse internet on phone and also read e-books using that but I always turned down her offer. Now that I had got a surprise gift I wanted to use it but wasn't sure if I would be comfortable. I was in two minds. It was almost two weeks since my birthday had gone by and this phone wasn't being used much. I was feeling bad for not using it but I felt I could start slowly. Since the phone was not too expensive I was not feeling guilt for having been presented with an expensive phone and not using it. 

The moment I held it in my hand I felt different. It felt so light and sleek to hold. The notion of heavy , huge smart phones was gone. No wonder my grandson was using it so easily to play as if it was his toy. We both sat together and started browsing through the phone more. My son and daughter -in-law had chosen a blue colour  grip shell for the mobile knowing that I loved the colour blue. It was quite brighter for my age but it was making me feel lively. The buttons were also smooth and the edges were soft for my delicate hands. Then we both started using the various Apps. The first thing my grandson taught me was to play " Candy Crush." It was keeping me engaged for a while. Though I never liked playing games online I was getting addicted to it because of little Avinash. Soon he got bored of it and started clicking pictures. He held his cheek close to mine and told me, " Dadi look at the camera. We will take a selfie." We got an awesome selfie. The picture clarity was really nice. It had all the features that were available on any smart phone but I felt I could use with ease. The screen brightness was also good. For a person like me who is turning old, the phone seemed to be quite easy and handy. My son had an iphone and I could never even understand answering calls from it. I got an android phone. It was new and easy for me. The wide screen made me easy to read e-books. My daughter-in-law had downloaded the Flipkart E-book App from where I could read novels and books of my choice. The first thing my grandson downloaded was a novel for the kids. It was more like his phone but I knew it was mine for all practical reasons when he was at school. I was enjoying the experience. I was not aware of many applications so I had to browse through Moto- E website( http://www.startwithmotoe.com/) where I got  more information about the phone. 

The experience was exciting me slowly. The moment my daughter-in-law was back from work I showed her that I had started using the phone. I could see a sense of fulfillment in her face and she seemed to be very glad that finally I had started using it. Their thoughtful gift had not gone waste after all. I was the proud owner of an awesome smart phone. My very first had to be Moto E. 

Feast like a king for breakfast

Why is everyone being so desperate to go to Gupta Ji's house for Nashta (breakfast)??? There has to be something special in their breakfast menu which everyone wants to try out. I was also wondering seeing this Ad on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/kelloggindia.).  Out of curiosity, I checked out their page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/anaajkanashta) and I got to know why everyone in this Ad by Kellogg's India was so interested in going to Gupta Ji's house for having breakfast.

Everyone has become health conscious these days. We all want to lead a healthy lifestyle knowing that the kind of environment we are exposed to makes us prone to many kinds of lifestyle associated diseases. The most prevalent ones being Diabetes, High Blood Pressure and Obesity. Eating right makes it very easy these days to control such diseases which can be controlled. It is in our hands. When it comes to eating right, we have to monitor our entire day's meal regime. We have to be careful about what we are stuffing ourselves with from the time we wake up. Breakfast is the first meal which we have after an overnight's fast of about 8- 10 hours. Breakfast should be good and healthy. As nutritionists suggest, one must feast like a king during breakfast, eat like a mediocre for lunch and eat like a beggar for dinner. The first meal of the day has to be heavy, tasty and healthy. There are different cuisines available that form a great breakfast menu, but it is not possible to re-create that in our daily household always. So, thanks to Kellogg's India that they have introduced this concept of creating a healthy, tasty and innovative variety for breakfast rather than us having the boring cornflakes with milk daily.  Gupta Ji's family has already started following this as a daily routine and I would like to learn these recipes from them. 

There's a variation in each dish. They have over 100 recipes that could be made of  just simple Kellogg's corn flakes. They have created different varieties suited for all age groups. Kids who would not be willing to have plain corn flakes and milk would love it with strawberries and banana in it. Cold milk adds to the flavour and also this would look presentable. Kids love strawberries. If you mix banana with it the flavour enhances. In this way they can enjoy their breakfast which looks nice, tastes good and also is very healthy. There are all kinds of dry fruits used in corn flakes to make different dishes. They use ingredients like coconut, milk , chocolate, vegetables, salads and  fruits. This will add to the flavour and taste. It makes the corn flakes very crunchy and also it makes it interesting for anyone to have. Gupta Ji's family is going to be a very healthy family with such innovative and healthy variations of Kellogg's corn flakes. To suit the youngsters they have included  dark and milk chocolate also in corn flakes along with thick milk to  make it a crunchy yummy dish. It looks very presentable and anyone's mouth would water seeing the dish. They have made sure to include the right amount of sugar, fruits, milk, nuts and grains, coconut, veggies that are very essential for a healthy living. There are sweet dishes too. Plain corn flakes snack recipes with a little salt and spice can act as a good side dish with a cup of tea or milk. These snacks can be had anytime, even in the evening. But they are  better suited for  breakfast. The evening post work or post school snack requires to be light at the same time something that makes us feel full. The variation of having shredded veggies along with noodles and cornflakes makes it a perfect dish for an evening nashta. 

Anyone can eat these dishes and they hardly take any time for preparation. It is easy for people who rush to work in the morning, for mothers who are tired of making different dishes just to make their children eat healthy food, for people who come back home from work tired and cannot spend much time to make a snack for themselves. It solves everyone's problems and we all get to lead a healthier lifestyle. The variety of the dishes using Kellogg's Corn Flakes also reduces boredom after having the same snack daily. 

Are you not getting tempted too after seeing this Ad???

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Happiness lies in simplicity

Simple things are subtle yet they make us feel contented. It is that satisfaction which brings happiness. It is an eternal happiness which is remembered forever by us. They can be the smallest possible things but they leave a great impact on us and also with whom we share the happiness. Happiness is not always about self. It is also about seeing others happy. It was my birthday yesterday. I was very happy and feeling contented with the surprise celebration that my husband had planned. I had a very lively feeling already seeing the surprises unfold slowly. No matter how old you grow birthday celebrations are always fun. They are probably a reason to celebrate our living.  My husband had arranged a wonderful cake with strawberry toppings for me. It was as yummy as it looked. I had this habit of giving cake to my office colleagues after my birthday celebration at home. This time I chose to do something different. I celebrated my birthday in the morning with my maid’s children. I wanted to make them feel special. The first thing in the morning on my list was to call them home and share my birthday cake and sweets with them. It was a joyous feeling. They were shy yet very excited to have a wonderful cake. Probably they would have never got a chance to celebrate something like this and also eat such a wonderful cake. There were many friends and relatives who called me and wished me on my birthday but when they came home, shook hands and wished me happy birthday with excitement, happiness, anxiousness to know what more was coming from my side, my day was made. I saw a gleam in their eyes. They thoroughly enjoyed it and also the sweets. I sat with them and enjoyed a piece of cake myself. I had bought them small return gifts also which I was planning to give them. There were some sweets, pencils, notebooks, erasers, sharpeners, drawing notebooks which I had packed using a gift wrapper. These wonderful bright kids had never been given something special this way. They also didn't have such a privilege to celebrate their own in this way.  My husband and I went along with them in the evening to an ice cream parlour where we bought them ice creams of their choice. They laughed, licked their ice-creams happily and came home with us. We also bought them some games from a nearby flea market. I had made special sambhar (South Indian dish) for my birthday which I shared with their family. I wanted them to feel as much special as I was feeling that day.  That's when I felt my birthday was complete. This was a small gesture but it made me mentally very satisfied. It made my day. I felt happy.

This post has been written for  Coca-Cola International Day of Happiness. 
 Check out their video here. http://CokeURL.com/96jnc.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A heartfelt conversation

I have been married for almost a year and half now. They say that post marriage many things change and so do our priorities. I am very lucky that I have got an awesome husband who encourages me and keeps me happy never making me realize that I am part of a different family now. I never felt that transition affect me during this entire time. Hoping it remains like that forever. There are moments when I miss home and being with parents but in this modern day world with a good husband and his support life seems to be easy going . So far I have been able to juggle between both families as well as personal life even though I was not taking out too much time for myself for almost a year.

My husband kept complaining to me that I was not pursuing my passion as much as I was doing it before marriage. I kept telling him to give me some time to settle in married life and adjust to changes that have occurred. He never bothered me after that. One our first anniversary we sat together and discussed all that had happened in our lives together in the past one year. That's when my husband pointed out in a rude, reprimanding way, “What have you achieved in the last one year of our marriage apart from just cooking, working in office, taking care of the house and managing a family?"

I felt hurt hearing those words but I knew deep within that I was not following my passion much. I used to love creativity so much and now I was hardly giving time to it. That very day I sat with him and discussed out all those shortcomings that I needed to fulfill, not for him or the family but for myself. It was a casual post dinner talk when all this happened. I sat close to him, holding his hand, keeping my head close to his chest and hearing his heartbeat.  He was 100% true.  I slowly started writing my diary which had been untouched from the past 1 year. That was something I always loved to do but I never got the heart and time to pull out a pen and start writing.  I wrote our 1 year experience in a week’s time and presented it to him as a secret gift. That day was an eye opener for me. That's when IndiBlogger - Happy Hours started. I started writing more. My blogging frequency increased. I started taking interest in reading good novels and writing for myself which I had stopped. I was learning to balance my family and personal life. Of course, I had full support from my partner. I started doing things that were creative and made me use my skills in a better way. I was too frustrated at times. That's when my husband encouraged me to take up Yoga. Practicing yoga for 3 months continuously did change my life. I am totally a different person today. It was that one year when I also was not concentrating on my physical activity much. One question from my husband that night jostled my mind. I had suddenly contracted severe heel pain, what doctor's called - Athlete's foot. I was not even an athlete, how could I get something like this?????

I was totally shattered. I had just started becoming my normal self when all this happened. I took it up in good spirit. I was put on some vitamin supplements and slowly recovery happened. I was doubtful whether I would be pain free. That’s when I got this extreme motivation from my hubby dearest. I could participate in a 5K (5Km) run and complete it in one hour. That was the power of a 1 hour motivational talk. I would rather call it as a forceful retrospection. My husband's words were harsh then but they were true and that's what made me get back my confident self again. 

This post has been written for Housing-comhttps://housing.com/

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Learning to let go #StartANewLife

I have been a very emotional person from childhood days and over the course of time my EQ( Emotional Quotient) has  increased. Anyone whom I meet becomes close and also becomes very dear to me in a short span. Be it school friends or any relatives. I never realized that in the course of being so close I was being possessive also about them at the same time. It seems so childish to even remember the time when I never allowed my best friend at school to have lunch or tiffin with anyone else. If she was my best friend she should always be with me. My thoughts were immature. Slowly, we all grew up and everyone moved to different places. Nowthe situation  is such that I don't even remember that she was once so close to me. Everyone has to move on in life with time. Time is the best healer. 

Though with age, I have become mature in thoughts, but I still held people close to me very important. In fact anything that was mine had to be mine. It can even be a pencil. When I was in college I had many friends instead of just one. I felt that I was improving slowly. I never allowed myself to get attached to anyone so much and later feel bad when they move away. But, innate feelings will never change. I had one such friend who over the course of my college days had become  a great buddy. I used to hang out with him often and we would also discuss a lot of each other's personal life. In this way one year flew by. It was difficult to pass a day without meeting him and telling about my classes( since he was from a different stream), telling him about family, talking about his life, hearing about his girlfriend and his future. We both had different career goals so it was interesting to know new things. As time passed even he was really very habituated meeting me and discussing with me. We were not lovers, but best of friends, which we had been very clear from day one. There was a time when we all had to leave college after graduating. I remember, I cried profusely during our farewell. It was a feeling that I was never going to meet any of my friends again and also him. He showed no emotions when we parted. It did hurt me initially, but I tried overcoming it. There were months left for us to decide to either take up a job or go for a post graduation course. I chose to study further. The others chose to work. He was also going to work soon. 

I went home and started preparing for my college admissions. I was trying very hard. There were lots of things that were making me miss hostel and college days. We used to talk to each other, but all friends knew that we will be in different places from now on. Everyone had different career aspirations and goals. Slowly things were better as the results of our graduation came. Sometimes I used to miss this friend of my mine, but he never spoke to me after leaving college. We used to discuss so much about our career, I used to talk about my interest in a post graduation course with him and now the same person was not even available to take calls or messages. If I sent any messages to him, he wouldn't respond. He just informed me that he and his girlfriend were having a very tough time so he was not in a great mood. I was very dejected. I had such a good friend but when I was going through a phase of my life which was important to choose my future education, he was not even there to know about my thoughts. It hurt me. 

I questioned him about this sudden change in his behaviour but he didn't choose to answer. I became over emotional at one point and decided never to approach or talk to him again and also cut off our friendship. I was being rude for no reason. Probably being childish again. One fine day he called me, when I blurted out everything that was in my mind. He heard me out patiently, explained things to me and also discussed everything about the daily whereabouts. After listening to me, he only told few things which I remember even today. 

He said," Learn to be dependent on yourself, rather than others. Only your parents and your future partner would be close to you. Rest all will come and go. Never allow yourself to be dependent on anyone for even your emotional needs. Finally, learn to let go."

Those words still ring in my ears. I never called him or messaged him from then. Though we still talk, but I am not the same as before. I made more friends, but I never got close to anyone. The only person I became very close to was my husband, whom I could trust for life. But, I am not too emotionally dependent on him. We both give free space to each other and are each other's support when it comes to handling emotions.

This post has been written for https://housing.com/ #StartANewLife.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Believing in love

I always was of this belief that in reality, love stories don't have a happy ending for everyone. Those were only possible in novels and movies. I had this habit of listening to others love stories and find out how everyone has tried their best to make their relationship work and reach to a stage of marriage. I never believed in love and never understood love until I really met the man who made me believe that love is nothing but a feeling of goodness. The moment you feel good about being with a person of the opposite sex and feel secure, that's when you feel you have found the right one. Everything doesn't click between two individuals of the opposite sex. They certainly are from two different worlds. There was a moment when I spotted similarities between the love of my life even among those differences between us. Those moments when I felt that our similarities could over power our differences, I saw a ray of optimism. 

The love of my life, (my husband now) and I were in a long distance relationship for a very long time. I was doing my post graduation while he was working and earning pretty well. I had a sense of fear when I even thought of proceeding in this relationship. We became great friends first. Thanks to technology, we could keep talking to each other and getting to know more through chats, calls, messages and e-mails. Unfortunately there was no Whats App then. We failed to express a lot of emotions that went hidden behind those emoticons. We could only be sad, happy, angry, laughing out loud or making fun of each other. We hardly met. He was so concerned about me that he always wanted me to concentrate on my studies. We spoke only when we both were free. That's when we started finding out new things about each other. We got to know facts, talked about childhood memories, talked about friends, about the world, our dreams and aspirations. This continued for almost a year when we got a chance to meet. We met for few hours before I could leave for home. I met him for the first time and I felt that this person can only be a good friend to me. Sometimes first impression is never the last impression. In my case, that's how it seemed. After meeting each other we did not develop liking for each other but kept increasing the bond of our friendship. Long distance still remained. I could meet him only during my college breaks, probably for a few hours. Almost 2 years passed by like this. He was a part of my entire post graduation tenure. I still relate to a few chapters of my curriculum with the beautiful memories I have shared with him probably while studying those chapters. After this long, finally we decided to spend a little more time with each other by watching movies, by hanging out for lunch and coffee. 

When both of us were back home after this small outing we felt a difference in our feelings towards each other. May be it was not just friendship anymore. It was more of care, concern, little bit of possessiveness and also a feeling of security that we had someone to look up to in bad times. Distance was the only concern. We tried meeting little more often. Thanks to those two semesters breaks that I got towards my final year. We bonded better when we met. One fine day out of the blue while sitting in the library, I started thinking about him. Something was urging me to call him and tell him right away but I never had the courage to call him. Finally, when we met for an entire day we both took the first step in acknowledging that fact that we did like each other and our relationship was growing beyond friendship. Distance was always a concern. When there is love and distance there are bound to be misunderstandings and arguments. We did have those. There were sleepless nights. There were sessions of continued arguments, then days of silence when we never wanted to even message each other. Despite all this there was a surreal feeling. A feeling of confidence that probably when we are closer we would be better. My course was close to getting over. We pulled through this phase too. I say, “We" because he was entirely there, just as a family supporting me from far to come off with flying colours. Soon my parents and his wishes came true. I decided then to take things seriously and start looking for a job. 

No matter how good a girl is, in this age if she is not educated well and doesn't have a job, she can go nowhere. I was at home, discussing about him with my parents. They were not happy with all this but when I got a job in a city where he stayed their fears multiplied. Destiny played with us. Living in the same city we couldn't meet each other often. We stayed 30 km far from each other's place. Our frequency of meeting did increase and also did the level of misunderstandings. There were fears; there were nightmares whether after all this we will be able to culminate this relationship into marriage. We hardly had been with each other to judge as to how we would be together. Things progressed slowly but seemed steady. We did manage to overcome small hurdles with the trust and positive attitude we had towards each other. Seeing this, our parents also got optimistic about our relationship. That's when they gave us a chance to proceed with this officially. They decided to get us engaged. 

Post engagement and pre- marriage also was long distance for us as I was away from him to be with my parents. We managed through that too as we had the confidence that we will be together. We met after 6 months, only on the day of marriage. That's when we felt that surge of happiness. Our positive energy was reflecting on our faces. The moment we tied the knot, we congratulated each other for surviving the distance. 

Post marriage was also not easy; we had to get used to being with each other and managing with each one's likes and dislikes and living habits. Nonetheless, we were triumphant in our initial hurdles only because we were positive towards our love and our relationship. We still are trying to be optimistic and move forward to live a life of togetherness till eternity. 

Thanks to IndiBlogger and Look up- Housing for giving me a chance to write this post. Do check their website. They have got amazing solutions. https://housing.com/lookup.