Amazon_India

Sunday, 6 January 2019

One 'Sobremesa a day' - There is nothing great about a family meal except



Except that in a culture of 'INSTANT' and 'DISTRACTION', one family meal is where


One disconnects to connect. A frenzied screen life(that's how I define our regular life today) finds some time to stop by and look beyond the screen.

Google university is replaced by life's important lessons shared via experience.


A meal is appreciated. They say eating is a necessity but cooking is an art. And the person who cooks for the family blends labour and love with art to present the plate that comes before you. How can one not appreciate and feel grateful? And food definitely tastes better when you eat it with your family.


And nutrition blends with togetherness to provide a complete experience to the body.Nutrition is not only about eating right and eating healthy. If the food on the plate does not have a sense of emotion to it, the nutritious meal can hardly matter. The emotions come from family.The emotions of sharing, bonding and connecting with each other. A connectivity which no telecom service or internet service can provide.
A personal story


'My father loved family meals. I do not know why and how he found this habit so essential. Morning breakfast use to be a rush, we didn't meet him for lunch., so all we had was a family dinner. He loved talking and was vocal about his emotions. He talked about everything, how his day at work was, the conversations he had with his colleagues and managers, his working style, work ethics, problems encountered and also his appraisals. He hid less and expressed more. Mum would contribute to his talks and also narrate about her day, some relevant and some irrelevant talks about neighbors and some relative phone calls, the maid servant and her school. And we would add our little tit bits of broken crayons and a pencil a friend had which glowed in dark.


That was one place, one time and one atmosphere in a day where we connected with each other not only through common food on the plate but through a unifying emotion of belonging to each other. I still remember how I kept thinking about my father's  poor appraisal rating and how worried he was. I didn't know about appraisals then, I was all of maybe 12 or 13 but I was with him in my own little way. When I lost the elocution contest, he was there with me in his own little way. My elder brother was with me in his own little way when I had my Maths exam next day. That is what family meals were about- STORIES. These stories were shared every day. Stories of hard work and success, stories of neighbors and relatives, stories of failures and disappointments. Stories which held us together, stories which reverberated within us long after dinner was over and we retired to our rooms. Regular life stories shared on a dining table over a simple or an exotic meal. Not every story was beautiful. Many times the dining table has been witness to silent family meals interrupted by a clatter of a serving spoon or somebody asking for a second serving. Even in that silence, stories were heard. But as they say, every story had a lesson and I learnt the most important lessons of my life on the dining table. Not to forget that these stories shaped my thoughts about my career and I owe a lot to the dining table for what I am today.


Today when I see my 4-year-old sharing his little tit bit and my husband getting distracted by this tiny gadget in his hand, I wonder whether I would be able to carry on the tradition which my father started. I fail to understand the power, the potential and the omnipresence of a tiny screen in life which is ready to put an end to what I consider a priority of every family. As I give a stern look to my husband, he hastily shoves the device and asks my son ‘So, what were you saying?’ My son replies, ‘I told my Kaushik that my father can fix anything in this world. He is the best.’

As I keep away the dirty dishes, I find myself fighting a battle in my mind. My biggest enemy today is that tiny gadget, a small screen pinging incessantly and the world ready to gratify me instantly. I am Applefied, I am Facebooked, I am Amazoned. Will I learn to live again or is this the new life? I sleep with this battle, checking the FB messages that came while I was cooking, putting an alarm on my phone to wake me up and placing an order for a Lego blocks on Amazon.


Sobremesa

It's what you do in Spain after a meal, but is there anything that stops you from trying it where you live especially when it gives you a window to connect with your near and dear ones? Maybe the small device, the gadget.

While sobremesa literally means "over the table, it's the time spent after a meal, hanging out with family or friends, chatting and enjoying each other's company. A meaningful and quality time spent at the dinner table chatting on various subject of interest.



Tuesday, 1 January 2019

May your 2019 fly like Bugatti Chiron @261 MPH !!!




You see A PARADISE DOESN’T EXIST. YOU MUST CREATE IT.



And to top it all, rule your thoughts with tyranny and dictatorship. I have never seen a worse master than our THOUGHTS. You let it loose and it rains mayhem. Make it your slave, choose the thoughts that facilitate your well – being. You leave the gate opened and serpents will enter your living room, pull out your favorite wine, take control over your TV and have merriment at your expense. CHOOSE WHAT YOU THINK AND THAT WILL MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.


I wish you all a busy year ahead... have an overflowing plate. To read the full article, click on Mompresso


Image courtesy-www.wired.com/2016/03/bugatti-crafted-chiron-worlds-last-truly-great-car/

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Your child's fascination with the the big G.


"This is your private part. Nobody should touch it or see it. Only your mom, dad and your doctor can. Never touch your friend's private parts and do not allow anyone to touch yours. It’s private.”
"What is private mamma?"
“Private means, it belongs to you only and nobody should see it, touch it. Also, we do not talk about it with everyone. If you want to talk about it, come to papa or me.”  That's my chant to my child.Blaming the other child for all the ills my child develops, is NOT ON MY AGENDA.


Click on the link to read the full article on Mompresso

Image courtesy-Pixabay

Monday, 17 December 2018

Gujiya- The roads never end.


It is another thing that you do not want to look at the one opening in front of you, that you are not able to gather courage to take that first step, that you are so attached to your previous road that you do not find any other road worth it. Click on the link to read the winning story-----------



Image courtesy-Pixabay

Indian Mom-American Motherhood

Indian or American is not the question anymore. As my identity pendulates with every day news that comes in – ‘Go back’, ‘shithole’, ‘Yes to Asians’, ‘legal-illegal’, ‘skilled-unskilled’, I have been sitting on the biggest seesaw of my life. Never had the alphabet H, the numerical 1 and the B for ball unnerved me as it does now. On the top of this stockpile is the battle I am facing post motherhood.

Click on the link to read-----Indian Mother-American Motherhood

Image courtesy-Pixabay

Choices



Happiness is a choice Naina. Comparison is a choice. Making a choice is a choice. I am just trying to get across one point Naina. CHOOSE. Is it so difficult to not look at others? Are you so unoccupied and if that is the case Naina Roy, I Sanjukta Sircar will tell you the biggest secret why I choose to work till now. An empty mind was a devil’s workshop and continues to be so. Social Media has added to the power of this demon. If you do not have something productive to do, find one, start one. It requires one to be brave because we love our comfort zone. It is the best place to settle in but it soon starts rotting and decaying and you have to get out of it. That, undoubtedly calls for some effort and courage which you have shown. To me you are a bright kid and your start –up looks like a great idea. What is the problem then? Your friends and their FB posts? Delete your FB account if you cannot handle it.

Click on the link to read the winning story-Choices 

Image courtesy-Pixabay

Just living is not enough.



Both came from small towns, Durgapur and Lucknow respectively, and both placed their career chart much above the marriage kundli and the ‘chattis gun’.

7th August 2018
“Naina, come on in. Congratulations. How does it feel? I am so happy for you. You deserve every bit of it” said Chandana, the 42-year-old, Director, Marketing, Xerox India, rising from her seat, hugging Naina as she entered her room. “You are the Virat Kohli of my team,” she added patting Naina’s back and pulling a chair for her.

Click on the link to read the full story -Just living is not enough.

Image courtesy-Pixabay

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

A KISS is GREAT...but a KISS can WAIT!

Michelle Obama once said while addressing a group of young girls-"There is no boy, at this age, cute enough or interesting enough to stop you from getting an education," Obama added. “If I had worried about who liked me and who thought I was cute when I was your age, I wouldn’t be married to the President of the United States."


To me, she made a very valid point which is applicable to both adolescent boys and girls.We(parents) call it a distraction, may be the biggest and they(our adolescents) call it LOVE...the truest.



We dealt with sexuality and our child some time back( read http://www.fourcloverlife.com/2017/01/meaningful-parenting-guiding-adolescent.html) and understood the havoc the hormones play at the time of puberty and continues to even at a later stageA lot of life then and onward has to do with LOVE, and this comes at the most unwanted time... a time when the adolescents are right in the middle of their EDUCATION,right in the midst of forming a goal and working towards it,right in the midst of shaping life. 

We know it strikes without knowledge. It pops up at the most inopportune time. There is nothing wrong with the feeling. It's the timing which is concerning. Holding Academics in one hand and Cupid in another is a tough one, and many times Cupid takes the better of them. What suffers is education and family. The feelings look flimsy to us but not to them.
A relationship is not just about two people liking each other. It goes much deeper and farther. Some emotions are better understood and LIVED when one is at a particular stage of life, and the stage of adolescence is very fragile. It's not in their capacity biologically or emotionally to comprehend such relationship and meet its demands. The reality is far away from ideal. Can we stop it from happening to our children? NO Can we stop our child from it? NO, We can only guide. And how do we do that?


By 

Being open, transparent and honest with the child- Sex related education or matters of hearts, we all have been there and know what it feels like. If we discuss it with our child, he feels more connected with us knowing that 'it happened with my parent's too.' We want our child to share with us but does sharing happen one sided? NO. We develop trust by sharing our stories and accepting his and not brushing it away as a flimsy feeling. Doing so will only enrage him and cast a shadow of a doubt whether his 'parents really understand?' If you have been in love, share.

Helping the child develop a purposeful passion which can act as a major distraction for him- It is always a good idea for the child to develop a love for himself. Be it in the field of sports or any other creative pursuit, passion (not academic really) helps channelize mind and energy to something that truly interests the child in a meaningful way. Ensuring that the child understands the importance of EDUCATION in his life and the stage at which he is- It's not about grades or GPA's but about EDUCATION which is a necessity come what may. Emphasizing the relation of this age and stage with education and career goals is a responsibility which parents should proactively undertake.

Helping him see a goal for himself-The parents, and the child together chart out a goal of life- What does he want to do? What is the aim that he is working for? What interests him and what opportunities are available to him to capitalize on? Help him build a SMART goal for himself-S - specific, significant, stretching, M - measurable, meaningful, motivational, A - agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented, R - realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented, T - time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable. Not to forget that a goal will keep him motivated to invest himself and his energies in the right direction.

Providing a warm, loving environment- This ensures safe and secure feelings for the child at whichever stage he is and contributes towards trust building between the child and the parent. 
Life is colorful when you are a teenager...exploring the world is natural but can it go unlimited?


Helping the child recognize these feelings, understand them and see it's consequences- Much as you would want, the adolescent  of yours cannot shut himself from these feelings. What you can do is to reiterate the importance of these feelings coming at a more appropriate stage. You can let him know that it's okay to have these feelings, but the age is in complete conflict with the feeling and that these feelings can create unwanted emotions which have serious consequences. You can help the child 'see through.'


Helping him decode the peer pressure- It's the strongest at this age, and our adolescents are extremely vulnerable to peer influence because they want to be liked, to fit in, or because they worry that other friends might make fun of them if they don't go along with the group. Others go along because they are curious to try something new that others are doing. The idea that "everyone's doing it" can influence some adolescents to leave their better judgment or their common sense, behind. And therein lies the danger. You as a parent can make your child decode these influences and put a perspective to what these pressures can lead us to. Getting into sexual intimacy because others are doing it too is not a wise idea. You can make him aware of the lurking danger so that he is better prepared.


... and even then, there are chances that love relationships manage to grow despite the safety net. They may happen for a short period in a very fleeting way and erode off, or they may go deep down to stir the heart in many ways. For some adolescents, these feelings come and go, and for some, they come and stay. What do you do then? What about heartbreaks which are most often the result of relationships at this stage? How do you handle that? You know heartbreaks are extremely painful. It has the capacity to destroy your child and leave him scarred. Is there any remedy? YES and NO.
We will explore this in the upcoming article-  Son, I am sorry your relationship turned out this way, but...


“Adolescence is like having only enough light to see the step directly in front of you.”
Sarah Addison Allen


To read more articles related to this click on the following links


DISCLAIMER- This article uses the gender of a boy to convey a message which is applicable to both the adolescent boy and the girl. The use of 'himself' has been done because I have a boy child, but the message is for both gender.

Image courtesy-Pixabay.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

FB , FB on the wall, who is the fairest of all?


The festival of Diwali came, saw, and conquered not only the atria and the ventricles but also, OUR BODY. Resplendent in all glory, we ditched our inhibition and shopped like there was no tomorrow, sparkled like diamonds and moissanites and posted like an octopus with many hands; all of them working synchronously. Yes, this festival makes you feel like a whole enchilada and satiated. The 'oohs ' and 'aah' of friends and frenemies over the 'Sabyasachi' in all of us ensured we have enough in our pantry to last a year, until next Diwali. Facebook was on a rampage and I loved the overflowing 'likes' and 'hearts' moving around. At age 35, neither too young nor too old, just in the middle, these 'likes and hearts' matter. Even more if you are a MUM.That’s important because the world is cautious about a woman's age and the tag ‘MUM’ changes the way people look and perceive you.

People don't compliment me often, courtesy- ME. I wonder what part of my oddity reflects that I am not a 'compliment to be given' type and on the Diwali day, by some stroke of luck, I was the one who was getting it all.


“Yummy Mummy, wow, look at you, you don’t look like a mum.”

“Age is reversing for you. No one can say you have a kid.”

“You are back to 16.Wow. Tell us how to go back to 16.”

I was flummoxed. Are they joking? Really? Shit! No! Ouch! Why? How come?
With so many question marks, I responded meekly-'Thank you' wondering what was so grossly wrong with me? 

Startled? 

Yes, even I was.

You see, it's been 4 years that I gave birth to this ‘joy’ and officially joined the ‘mum’s community’. And guess what? Considering it an all-women community, compliments are vital, desired and omnipresent. :) ;)




Why is everyone so fixated on 16?


While I don't know how a 35-year-old mum should look like, I know for sure that I am a mum and I am comfortable looking like one, feeling like one and behaving like one. For sure, I do not want to jump around like a teenager, giggling at a boy who looks chocolaty enough to be licked right away.Facebook could be a ramp walk but my life isn't and I TAKE IT SERIOUSLY. NO COGNITIVE DISSONANCE WHATSOEVER.

And why shouldn't  I? Am I not proud to be a mum? Is looking like a mum a concern, a crime?These compliments circulate like the quintessential flu virus in September-October, and the more they do,the better it gets on the ones who are looking like mum and the ones who look like teenage mums :). The former hides her belly bulge behind the pallu of saree and the latter moves around with her flat tummy like a Filmfare award.
The problem doesn’t cease here. It’s the mind that gets affected and the self-esteem which gets injured. This heart work that one engages in is sheer HARD-WORK and one with no rewards. It is futile. The present loses its worth and meaning and the ‘past’ yearns to be re-lived.

Hey Mums (of all kinds of belly and bust),




It’s important to be peaceful in your present. Motherhood brings some long-lasting changes in the body, the mind and the soul. Let’s carry those changes with pride; if not pride then at the very least, some peace. 
Don’t pull your breath while you are getting clicked.
Don’t hide thunder things behind those overflowing oversize hip length tees. It’s OKAY.
You don’t get ‘Likes’ on your pics -It’s Okay. You were born to live your authentic life and not to get 'LIKES.'

Stretch marks on belly- Check. Great!
Sagging breasts- Check- Great!
Wider Hips-Check. Great!
Belly Bulge-Check-Great
Flabby Arms-Check-Great
Tires around Waist-Check-Great.
If you don’t have these. Great. If you have these. Great.


Live your age ,Live your looks and whatever it has to offer. You lived the past, why do you want to live it again?Come what may, the fact is that you cannot go back to Chapter 16. Nor can you feel 16.How am I supposed to feel Chapter 16 when I have reached Chapter 35? And why would I want to? And why is looking young so important? Haven't you looked, felt and lived the so-called  ‘youth’... You did...right?
Now feel age 35 and move on. Being fit and healthy is a sustainable choice for the body but doing so to look and feel 16 is an unsustainable choice for the mind and the soul.
So, the next time someone hurls that backhanded compliment, I shall run for cover.  I value my present...in my thoughts, my feelings and my action. That may not necessarily make me happy (the way the world views happiness) but that definitely provides peace.

20 is madness and so is 35 and so would be 70. It’s just the nature of madness that differs.








Getting poetic-
An autumn leaf which broke away from the branch and lies on the grass will soon be shrouded in snow.  But can it say that it feels like a new green leaf? Should it still revel thinking about its green charm?It was but once a green leaf… and now it's brown…green was beautiful then,brown is beautiful now, green or brown… the color is not important…The question is how well it lived green and how well it lives brown…and how well it gets buried under the icy snow.

 I believe every woman has TRUE BEAUTY within her in all the roles she plays. For over 18 years across 650 plus salons across the country, Naturals has been helping the Beautiful Indian Woman get more Beautiful.
Today Naturals Salutes the Beautiful Indian Woman.
Presenting Naturals TRUE BEAUTY… http://bit.ly/naturalsOF 




Image courtesy-Pixabay



Sunday, 28 October 2018

My NEST is empty; I am not DEAD!

"Moms, don't miss the opportunity to make the most of your time with the little ones while they are still little. Cuddle them, squish them, smell the top of their heads, shower them with a hundred kisses! Let your clothes soak up their tears and let their grubby fingers ruin your hair as they fling their arms around you. Etch each moment in your memory because no pictures will ever do them justice.
Trust me, time flies. Soon, these days will seem like a distant dream and you will wish for them all over again!"


These lines have not been written by me.It's been pretty viral on Facebook and it made me think. Literally pause and think.

Undoubtedly, beautiful words, heartfelt emotions and just so TRUE.

Then what's the discomfort?
It's painful and unfortunately unavoidable. The nest one day will be empty.

Can you prepare for it? NO.
Can you ensure it doesn’t pain? NO.
What can you do? Make the best use of your time RIGHT NOW and know that every phase of LIFE (and not only MOTHERHOOD) brings itself two companions- a longing for the past and worry for the future.  Seeing our teenagers, we will yearn for our babies, seeing the adult we will miss our teenagers, once they get married, we will miss all the years they spent with us. WE ARE GOING TO MISS come what may. I have often heard my mother in law get nostalgic over the days when all her three teenage sons ensured her 24 hours were utilized well in cooking, cleaning, caring, how much she loved/hated it then and misses it now. J

Just the way we miss our school days and college days, as we progress through our age, these two companions steal from us the beauty of living in the present. The past keeps pulling you back to how good it was and the future towards fear and worry. 

It's difficult but that doesn’t change the truth. The nest will get empty no matter how many times you kiss your child right now. What you can warrant is that the nest is never empty of emotions. You can ensure that when you look at the nest you don’t feel regret about anything. The empty nest should give you satisfaction for all that you could manage to do, forgiveness for all that you couldn’t and peace by seeing the abundant emotions residing peacefully. 

Every phase of life has something to offer and something to take away. Try to accept with gratitude and let go in peace. When you look back you will smile at the thought of giving birth to a child and raising him to become his own person in this world. 


Let's come down to some business- Why does the world cease to exist when the child has flown? Why do we, as parents, feel the need to draw the curtains and not let sunshine in? A child is the source of life's chock-full joy and occupies not only the entire of the house, the home , but every artery, every vein, every nerve and every ticking second of life;so much so that there is no room for anything else. Herein we start the journey of subjecting ourselves to the suffering of empty nest syndrome. Didn't we also give the same dolor to our parents? Our priorities changed; the time we had for them at age 2 has shrunk considerable at 32. Why do we then find it so difficult to let our children go? You were not bringing them up to stay back. You would not like it either. Stagnation at any age or stage creates the same stench that a water does when stagnated and not allowed to flow. Try not to lean on your child for all your emotional needs. To do that is to become  a parasite.  Attachment is inevitable but dependence can be and should be managed. 

Most importantly, engage yourself in productive work that adds meaning to your life beyond your child. You can be gainfully employed or voluntarily working ; spending your time wisely and efficaciously will make you look beyond your motherhood and help you cope with your empty nest. When you fuse your identity around the 6 alphabets--------M-O-T-H-E-R, define yourself by activities of a mother, there is bound to be affliction. Not the best choice.

My mom had a way of dealing with her children- She ensured we did not take precedence over her husband- her life partner. Guess she knew we would leave the nest one day. She had left it too. Later, when it happened, she was in deep agony but both my parents chose not to suffer. They had each other. Nurture your bond, your relationship with your life partner. A child has come from the bond you share with your husband, he cannot be the reason for your relationship. You and him exist, love, thrive independently.
Another strong, parallel voice doing the rounds these days is- YOU ARE A COMPLETE AND WHOLE PERSON. There is no other half somewhere to be found and fitted in to make you complete and happy. While this does have a pragmatic, hard-boiled and reasonable amount of truth, I choose to go with my mum right now.


Easier said than done? YES
Do you have a better choice? 


Image courtesy-Pixabay


FourCloverLife

FourCloverLife
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