Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Real 'Chipko' Movement

Few months back, M had told Shaurya a little bit about the 'Chipko Movement' - trying to instill a little social awareness and make him aware of the importance of Greenery in our life. ;-p So M told him about Suderlal Bahuguna being one of the pioneers of it and how he went about saving trees from being cut!

Today while I was playing with Shaurya, we were chatting and revising random stuff. He has been absent from school since 3 weeks now (We are in my hometown in Odisha on extended vacation and it will be few more weeks before he rejoins school) so I thought of doing a little revision of his A's & B's.

While talking, I asked about the Chipko Movement and this is how our conversation went;

Me: Who started the 'Chipko Movement'?
Shaurya : Sunder lal Bahuguna
Me: Right! And what did he do?
Shaurya : Bad uncles came and cut the trees. Good uncle then got glue and stickers and used it to stick the trees back. 
Me: Speechless!! 

Ofcourse, they had to stick them together if it was to be a real 'Chipko' movement! :-D

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Happiness is..

.. turning in your bed in the middle of the night and as you turn, your kid opens his eyes, says 'I love you, Mumma' and then dozes off.

PS: Good to remember on a day when he is on your nerves ( like today ;-))

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Year End Post


A fabulous year just ended. I can’t really believe that 2014 is over already;  it just zoomed past.. didn’t it? I was reading Amu’s year end post recently and Since it’s been ages that I put up anything on this little place of mine, this is the perfect time to break the prolonged absence  and what better than a year-end post.. So, without any further ado, here’s the report card for 2014..

-          The year started with preparation of my sister Chinki’s wedding. She got married to her college sweetheart Vishal in March – it was the usual big fat Indian ‘marwaari’ wedding with loads of dancing, music, bright clothes & jewelries, lots of traditional wedding rituals, delectable food and what not. This time the Sangeet was even more fun as apart from my usual solo number (hehehehe), I & M did a dance together as well.. on the song ‘billo rani’.. ;-).... it was good and considering M and I got just 1 day to prepare for it, I think we rocked! Both she & Vishal are great together and I am sure they will have a beautiful life!

-          2014 also marked the beginning of Shaurya’s school days. He started Playgroup in Jan and moved to Nursery in June. He likes school and he is learning many new things each day; many that we also don’t know. I remember the statement made by his Pre-School Principal during the Induction Program – ‘Kids are like sponge at this age so our effort should be to provide as much information to them as we can; we are not expecting the kids to remember anything or learn everything but just that they are exposed to new and varied things.  This will aid in more neural connections to form and help in overall development’.  I am very impressed with the way his pre-school teachers handle the class as well as the curriculum and it reflects in the kind of things Shaurya is aware of. I remember once they were being told about inventors and their inventions and Shaurya would come home and tell us about the different inventors like Edison, Graham Bell, etc; One day when he was watching Dinosaur Train, he told that Robert Fulton made Submarine which was showing on TV. Of course, we had never heard about Robert Fulton so we were not sure what he was talking about :-D.. We were not sure if he even got the name right .. so we googled on who was the inventor of Submarine. We did not get any name similar to Robert Fulton or Robert anything. So next we thought of googling with the name directly; and we found that Robert Fulton indeed built the first working Submarine ‘Nautilus’.  It’s rightly said that you also learn many new things along with your kid and both I & M are learning.

-          I changed my job! This has been the biggest change for me in 2014. I had joined my previous company straight out of Campus and have been working there for last 10 years. I had never thought that I would be leaving it ever.. My friends used to joke that I will retire from the board one day; one of my friend actually believes (and I am writing this with all the seriousness that he also means it with) I will be the CEO of that company one day.. (he was pretty disappointed that I left it.. ;-p ). Anyways lately I had come to realize that my company/job profile was not adding any value to me.. neither in terms of learning or experience or growth or compensation..  It was taking me for granted and maybe I was taking it for granted too.. It was time to ‘rock’ the boat a little and though I was not actively looking out, I got a call from a very good MNC. I cleared the interview (my first J) and got an offer I couldn’t refuse. And so I took the plunge. It’s been a month since I joined this new place.. so far so good.. I miss my friends in my previous company (but of course we are and we will be in touch.. ) and I also miss the familiarity of the old place, people and culture (this I will have to get used to.. ). But overall a long overdue change has been made; let’s see what the future holds!

-          M got promotion.. yeaaaaaaaa.. See how things play out.. I have been crying to get the designation of a manager (AM / PM whatever) behind my role but to no avail.. :-( and he got it just like that.. without even asking for it.. :-) So towards the end of the year, he got promoted to an AM position in his company. M is very clear headed and logical in all his dealings; I am sure he will be an excellent manager. Hmm… writing this just reminded me that his treat is still due..

-          I have blogged the most in 2014.. all thanks to the A-Z blogging challenge.. my run rate before and after that challenge has been pretty lousy.. ;-p But hey I did take up that challenge and completed it successfully.. an accomplishment which is even more commendable if you take my past record into consideration. It was fun and thanks to it, I was able to go past the 100th post milestone.

-          I always wanted to create a small garden in my balcony. However I have never had a ‘green thumb’; on the contrary I think I have the most non-greenest of thumbs possible.. a good reason for that could be that I always wanted to have a good garden but never really tried my hands in gardening or actually growing anything yet. The little that I tried, I didn’t succeed. We have a few pots here in Pune but whenever we go out of station, the plants wilt due to lack of water and too much of sunshine / wind (our balcony faces the west and is on the 6th floor). Anyways I thought of trying my hands at growing something so that Shaurya also learns a little about it. I took out the seeds of a ripe tomato and put it in a pot.. it was fun to watch it grow and especially after the first flowers came in, Shaurya got excited too. He even plucked the first ripe tomato.. :-) We got about half a dozen tomatoes.. they were small ones and I was pretty sad on learning that the plants flower once only. :-(  I guess I need to get proper seeds, compost and all to get big round tomatoes. Not a gardener yet but this little experiment has made me want to try some more. Let’s see if I am able to take this forward.

-          After delegating for about a year and rescheduling it once, I finally took my PMP exam and cleared it. With the amount of money involved in this certification, I was so damn relieved once the results were displayed. I hadn’t been able to study much.. with a little kid at home, a job change in between and my true-lazy self to deal with, I was really worried that I was not giving the examination the time and effort that it demands. Happy to say that from the last week of 2014, I am PMP-certified. Added it in my official signature as soon as it was done.. ;-p

-          The only dark patch in 2014 has been Papaji’s health. Around Aug last year, he started bending forward involuntarily from his stomach area. After visits to many hospitals in Orissa, Vizag & Pune, doctors were finally able to diagnose that it’s a neurological disorder called Dystonia – a disease which cannot be cured but only controlled. :-( A trip to Nimhans, Bangalore was also made but it turned out to be very futile- the strong medications there had severe side effect on Papaji. The Doctor here in Pune has stabilized the dose now and the side effects have thankfully all gone. Papaji is much better; though the bending still persists. Slowly and steadily Papaji is moving back to his former schedule. Medications continue and we hope that the bending reduces as time progresses. Hopefully 2015 will bring things to cheer and Papaji’s Dystonia will be under control.

-          This was also the year that I stayed alone in Pune when M was in Bangalore for 3 weeks with Papaji. Post our marriage, we were in different cities for about 3 months and later moved to Pune and created a base here. After that the only time that we had stayed separate was when I went home after my delivery. With an infant to tend to and also being at home, I was occupied though I did feel the distance. This time though I missed him way too much. With nuclear families even if one person is not there, you feel a huge emptiness. Both I and Shaurya missed M a lot. Those days, Shaurya would sleep early.. by 8-8.30pm. After Shaurya slept, there would be too much silence in the house. And if possible, I would miss M even more. On weekends, I used to take Shaurya out to Parks/Dinners and it felt different to eat out in restaurants with just the 2 of us. Though one good thing was Shaurya was a super goodie good boy during all that time – he would get up on time, have his meals properly, listen to us..

All in all 2014 was a good year. Among my friends and acquaintances, some got new jobs & some promotions,  some got married, some had their first kid & some second ;-), some bought new cars/home, etc. There were a few lean and a few darkish clouds and I just wish that they also go away in this new year or at least have a silver lining in each of them giving cause for some rocking celebrations in 2015.  

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Homework Begins!

I didn't really expect it to start so soon but here they are, the first homework assignment for Shaurya has come. His Pre-School teachers mostly do reading, storytelling, games, puzzles, poems and other such activities. But now that he is in Nursery, they are starting on standing and sleeping lines as well. Proper writing activities are supposed to start post winter vacations so maybe it’s just the warm up.

Anyways Shaurya had fun doing this. Crayons and Paper – what more does a kid need. :-D After doing this, he wanted to do more; so I had to take out a rough notebook and make more patterns of standing and sleeping lines. He has filled up numerous pages already..  Just the beginning I guess.. lets hope this excitement continues as he grows up more and he gets some 'less interesting' homework.. ;-p


Monday, July 07, 2014

'Not having it all' versus 'Leaning In'

This Friday morning, as usual I was finishing up the morning chores and getting ready for office. When I was done, I had a few minutes to spare before going out to catch my office bus. I decided to start reading the newspaper (I read it in the bus. :-D) and my eyes caught the article from a recent interview of Indra Nooyi, the PepsiCo CEO. As I have always admired her, I was very much interested in the article. To add to the appeal, it was about her motherhood experiences. However I didn't really know what to make of the article; it kind of started me thinking. My first reaction was that of sadness - looks like the feeling of 'guilt' that working Moms have is universal and even an extraordinary amount of success doesn't wash it away completely. On further thoughts, I felt a kinship with her - So I am not the only one who has this 'guilt' bout on occasions. The article was on my mind the entire day (and even this weekend for that matter). I discussed this with M and even with my colleagues - few of them are on the same boat as me!

Since the Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg was in India recently and had addressed Indian women (mainly professionals) on her now famous philosophy aka book - 'Lean In', there was bound to be comparisons. In the Indian print media, both these differing thoughts created quite a buzz and whole lot of debates started. As a result, some really good articles came out focusing on motherhood and career. However in many of the comparative discussions, people out-rightly rejected what Indra Nooyi said.  I don’t really understand the thought process career women have when they say that Indra is not making sense at all. Am I the only one who thinks that maybe she isn’t talking all that nonsense? Let’s see what she has said.


Per Mrs Nooyi, “the biological clock and the career clock are in total conflict with one another”– She is so right! Your late 20’s/early 30’s is the time when you are rising up on the chain and breaking towards the managerial position in your workplace. It is also the time by when you need to ‘settle’ in your personal life.. and the settlement here includes kids as well. Many decide to have kids and this puts a delay in your moving up the ladder. Though in recent times, we see many exceptions to this. Some women focus more on their career, some more on their family and some try to balance it out! But it all does suggest that we are making choices and trying to balance it all out.  We cannot always “lean in” and many a times knowingly lean out. I agree with the Facebook COO that we sometimes lean out even before its needed and we need not kill our ambition just because we have a family to take care of. A fine balance between both the extremes is needed.

Women “cannot have it all" – Of course we cannot. No one can for that matter. We need to define what all needs to be included in this ‘all’ of ours.  A cost benefit analysis is always part of our decision making and planning process. You sometimes do not take a task in office voluntarily since it would mean more time away from your kid. As you leave for home early, your boss gives a critical and visible assignment to someone else.  There are N such scenarios. I can leave Shaurya and go to my office based on the plan that M will leave late for office and I will reach home early. With 2.5 hours of afternoon time in school and around 1 to 1.5 hours gone in nap, we thought this is doable. We miss out on a few things but that is our choice. Everyone makes similar plans and modifies his/her life around the kids with their best and in turn decide what ‘all’ is needed!

About the ”guilt” statement, I don’t think she is so wrong. I have had the same guilty feelings so many times. It is not like I am wallowing in guilt and self-pity but there have been many doubts. I worry, if my leaving him at home, will have a long term not-so-good impact on his attitude or personality. Since I come from a family where women have always been homemakers, this has been a difficult decision to make. But I have referred to many of friend’s and their mom’s experience and having a working mom doesn't seem to spoil a kid. I have my hopes set on the same and believe that Quality time matters more than Quantity. But then again the doubts resurface when I hear or read of a bad experience! And it’s not just one kind of guilt that women have – feeling guilty when you have to leave your child and go to office, there are also cases when women feel guilty for leaving their job for the kids!  I am sure men or shall I say fathers do not feel any such guilt since the role definition for them is clear, they are the providers (even in their mind). It’s we the nurturers who have all the doubts.. :-( ;-).

Since we cannot really have it all, we have to make choices and decide on the important ‘alls’ we want and then go for it. And the support of our spouse and family on this is a must have! We need to work together on all the decisions that are made. In the end, the important thing is to have peace with your decision.. I think it will ultimately remove all the guilt and associated feelings. As M said, Satisfaction will make you realize that you indeed ‘have it all’ !

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Coffee, Starbucks and me

Just came back from the CCD (Cafe Coffee Day) outlet which has opened near our apartment. While Shaurya and M enjoyed chocolate doughnut and Kiwi Lemonade, I sipped into an excellent Cappuccino - the simple classic one. Whenever I have coffee in such cafes, I always remember the time I used to hate their coffees. 

Since young, I had always associated 'Coffee' with the delectable milky and 'relatively' strong Nescafe one that my mom used to prepare at home. We used to love them as it was always made late at night during rainy season! Since my father is a businessmen, he usually works late into the night tallying the finances and other work. On regular days, he (and we kids) used to drink milk. However when it used to be rainy and chilly nights, Papa often used to ask Mummy to prepare coffee. Obviously we used to ask for the same too! Mummy would prepare the coffee and all of us used to be sitting curled up on the bed enjoying the coffee in those cold rainy nights! It used to be awesome. As a result, I always associate coffee with rain :-)

One of the first time I had the cappuccino and espresso types was when I started working in Bangalore. I still remember how much I hated it. I found it very bitter; my mom used to prepare s little sweeter versions and though they were strong, they were not as strong as the ones made by cafe shops with freshly ground beans. Hence at the start, I used to avoid them. I developed the taste for these type of coffee only when I went to US. Few of my colleagues in office used to drink regular cappuccinos/espressos and even dark ones (no sugar-no milk/cream). I tried my first dark coffee on the flight to US. ( I just took a sip and threw the remaining :-D) 

Anyways I had my first Starbucks coffee there. I can't really remember what I liked about it, but for some reason I enjoyed it thoroughly! Maybe all that choices that they give you when you enter into a Starbucks just impressed the hell out of me :-D. From then on, I used to have it regularly so much so that a Latte and Cinnamon Bagel was my regular breakfast there (I know not very healthy but then I have never been a healthy eater.. something I hope to change gradually now). Even my last breakfast before returning back to India was a Starbucks Latte and Croissant. Once back in Bangalore, I used to miss Starbucks a lot (It wasn't there in India at that time); however I started liking the ones available in Barista and CCD outlets in Bangalore. Looks like they weren't so bad after all!  

Now we have Starbucks in India too and I get to enjoy it with M. You see apart from the lovely childhood memory associated with Coffee, I also have fond memories (and countless future memories to be made) of enjoying it with M. One of the first and best ones I have is during our courtship days, when M used to fly to Bangalore often (from Baroda where he was working at that time) to see me. One night, it was raining (as usual) and we were back in my apartment after watching a movie; M was dilly-dallying so that he could delay going back to his friends place & spend some more time with me ;-). To help him, I made some coffee and we enjoyed some beautiful moments together sipping the coffee and watching the rains on the terrace.

So Coffee time for me is always a small celebration kind of time.. whether with friends or family! Some people even have life changing events or memories associated with it as is the real life story of Michael Gates Gill in 'How Starbucks saved my life'. (Yup I have even read a book with Starbucks on its cover.. though Amu is to blame for it, she is the one who suggested it.. :-). It's a decent read.). I haven't had such profound experiences yet.. just enjoying my regular cuppa now!


Saturday, June 14, 2014

The only constant thing

It's said that 'change' is the only constant thing. And after resisting for many years, I have finally changed the template design for my blog. (which you would have already noticed if you are here :-D)

The new design templates available at e-blogger have loads of feature which the classic design did not support. However I being 1). the lazy one, 2). not changing something which is working fine and 3) not liking too many changes, I kept it as is though many a times I thought of changing it. On some occasions I did try some new templates as well, but I could not find the existing fonts and colours that my blog had in the new ones and hence reverted to the old one again.

Recently Amu suggested if I could have the list type drop down in my blog which will help readers to easily navigate to older posts. In the old design, just a few of the recent posts used to come in the main page. To go to older ones, readers had to make quite a herculean effort. This made me take the final step and go ahead with the make over. 

So here it is.. the new look.. :-) I have tried to keep as many things as the old one as I could.. but then again.. change is good! Hope you like it.

PS: I wrote this post about 10 days back - the day I actually changed the template. So it's late but then better late than never.. ;-p