Corona-tin thoughts

This year started pretty much like any other year. I woke up on the 1st Jan, 2020 without any resolutions. Practical, right? But then things escalated quicker than the milk which boils over when you aren’t looking. One day we were all “normal”, making all sorts of plans. And the next day, we were wringing our hands in desperation, reaching out to families and friends, and hoarding groceries like the apocalypse was coming.

No, the threat hasn’t passed yet. In fact, it is far from over. If CDC is to be believed, the worse is yet to come. I am like, what? Here I am, an introvert, wanting to go out and meet people. Here I am, a lazy AF person, wanting to put on a good dress and do my hair. Here I am, a never-exercise person, doing yoga every morning. Here I am, cook-to-survive person, and cooking expansive Indian delicacies everyday. And they are saying the worse is yet to come? What are they expecting? That I will wake up at 5 in the morning, with sooraj ki pehli kiran, don a saree and say, Hey Prabhu, what’s up? 

And then there is this whole schooling at home thing. I was pretty confident I was going to nail it. I mean, my daughter is in Kindergarten. They do letters and numbers and addition and reading and what is it that I couldn’t possibly know?! Boy, was I WRONG! The English Kindergarten teacher started revising the phonics, and I was like, I don’t know some of this but it’s fine. We were never taught that. And then, the teacher told the students over a recorded video that no English words end with the letter ‘U’, except “You”. And I was like, really?! When I shared this on Facebook, some of my friends commented with fancy words like “Flu, Impromptu, Menu, Adieu”.  And I was like, “Bienvenue, mes amis cul intelligent“. It basically means “Welcome, my smart ass friends” in French and that’s because the above mentioned words have French origins. They are not English words. 

The other day I got an email from the Art teacher saying that we were late in submitting our assignment. And I went on a rant to my husband saying, who teaches art during lock down, and even if they want to, why do we need to do an assignment and blah blah. Pretty Indian in my temperament, no? Anyway, so I hauled myself to listen to the “Art lesson” and sat there with my mouth wide open by the time the lesson ended. I did not know there were a million types of lines, and you could do a ‘Project’ about each of them. So I left my pride and scorn behind and sat to watch the second Art lesson some days ago. The teacher discussed a Picasso sculpture. And Abstract Art. With Kindergartners.
I give up, people. I studied for roughly 18 years, only to realize that I cannot teach Kindergarten level English or Art. Is CDC still saying that the worst is yet to come?!

I am definitely coming out of this quarantine a changed person. More respect for my extroverted friends. I feel you, people.  And empathy for you during this unprecedented time. More respect for our English teacher, if that’s even possible. But a deference of another level for the Art Teacher. 

 

Bachpan ki Memories, Now and Then!

Experience is like a comb life gives when you are bald. I have that comb now. Of course, metaphorically. I have grown up and have a little one of my own. I have thoroughly enjoyed my childhood and never even knew it. Ironically, that’s the beauty of childhood and innocence. We grew up playing, studying, and fighting with siblings. The kind of childhood today’s children have is entirely different from ours. But I don’t think anyone is to blame here. It’s just that the times have changed, the people have changed, the society has changed. And like it or not, we have to incorporate all of this change into our lives. Consequently, our children’s childhood experiences are a lot different from ours. But if I had to choose one thing that they don’t do like ours, hmmm…!!!! 🙂


When we were young, there were none of the fast food joints like McDonalds or Pizza Hut or Dominos. So the weekends did mean some kind of special food, but almost always it was home cooked. I remember we went out like once a month to eat restaurant food. And after having it, my mother would invariably always say, “I could have cooked it better at half the price”. And cook well she did. There was no dish that was available in the market and we hadn’t eaten a healthier version of it at home. We ate burgers with breads and aloo patty made at home. We ate yummy south Indian dosas, idlis, sambhar and chutney. We also had the Guajarati dhoklas made at home. All of these with none of the artificial ingredients or preservatives present in the restaurant food. And the sometimes we had to eat the boring khichdi due to someone’s tummy upset, mother made sure it was accompanied with some yummy dal papad and pickles, of course, made at home.

 

Source: Google

And I remember we had a great time helping our mother make these at home. We would be assigned the task of laying down the raw diced potatoes on the terrace and would take turns watching them dry in the sun and not let the birds or mosquitoes have a taste of them before we did. The pickles would be seasonal. In the summers, enough raw mangoes were pickled to last the year. In the winters, we had yummy carrot, and cauliflower pickles put in ginger juice.


With the fad of burgers, subs and pizzas coming in, the authentic Indian tastes have given way to global palettes. As much as the kids these days hate eating the same food over and over, we mothers are no match for the mothers we had. I don’t think anyone of us is marginally closer to the multitasker that our mothers are. My daughter is one and a half years now, and I try to give her home cooked food all the time. But I am sure it will change over time when she starts going to school and the fast food fad catches up with her. But I really really hope and wish I can make her childhood and growing up years as interesting and healthy with home cooked food as mine was.

This post is being written for the #BachpanWithFlinto blogger contest.

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Real Life Heroes and their #WillOfSteel !

#WillOfSteel is an endeavour by JSW to honour the unsung heroes of India, people who have truly proven their mettle and have unbreakable determination. Be it in sports, health care, social service or even saving the environment. These are individuals whose willpower has changed the world.

 

We all, and myself included, go ga-ga over movie stars and praise them to the moon. We spend a lot of time reading about them, watching their videos, and spending our money on their films. But are they real “heroes”?
We come across so many real life heroes in our life, and yet we hardly ever mention them on social media or in our daily interaction. So when JSW came up with this idea to honor some of our real life heroes, I just knew I had to do this. These people are so inspiring that I just knew I had to write about them. If we want people in our society to lead by example, who else could be a better example?
You can find all the nominations by JSW

here

. You can also vote for them at the same link. For a change, this would be an award ceremony where everybody would already be a winner, right?

As far as I am concerned, I discovered my inspiration in the following people and voted for them.
1) Satender Sharma : Children are always closest to my heart. So when I read the story of this

young boy

, who had to deal with atrocities like sex trafficking, drug abuse and child labour, at the tender age of 13, I just felt helpless. I know scores of children go through this, and yet we do nothing. The network is so large, we don’t know where to start. And look at this young boy! After being rescued by Salaam Baalak Trust, he is now a grown up man who instead of chasing success, has again gone back to the streets where he once lived. But this time, to make sure that no other kid goes through what he had to. I salute you Satender. This issue is closest to my heart. I wish I can work like you one day!

2) Vijayan : Travel is something that a lot of us are besotted with. As much as might we call ourselves travellers, in our heart, we really are tourists, aren’t we? We try and book the best hotels with the best view. We visit all the famous monuments a place has to offer and then head back home satiated of having visited the said place. But this

man

is what classifies as a “traveller”. He is a simple tea vendor. You can well imagine the kind of salary he would be earning. And yet, he has visited more number of countries than you and I have. He takes loans from the bank and then works doubly hard to repay it. Once he also sold tea in Zurich to be able to scour a return ticket home. Impressive, right? 

3) Pamela and Anil Malhotra : In this age of globalization, everyone of has a ton of views on why Global warming is happening. But almost none of us have any solution or the will to do anything about it. But Pamela and Anil went ahead and did what one couldn’t even imagine. They transformed 55 Acres Of Barren Land Into A 300 Acre Wildlife Sanctuary. Thanks to them the ecological condition of the area and rapidly improved over the last decade. For sure, “where there is a will, there is a way”!

4) Laxman Rao : Almost all the bloggers I have known till date nurture a dream of being a published author one day. But only a handful of them are. Some have written entire books, while a few have been published in Anthologies. But who would think a roadside tea seller in Delhi has over 20 books published in his name? I am, for one, bowled over by this information. This man has really inspired me to leave my procrastination behind and get writing with the pen. NOW!

5) Karibeeran Parameswaran & P Choodamani: For me, being a humanitarian always comes first. And this couple will always be at the top of my list. The 2004 tsunami literally washed their life away as they lost their 3 children in it. But not ones to lose hope, they rescued and sheltered many orphaned children. Today they are parents to 26 such children, making sure their future life will be brighter and better. I salute thee Karibeeran and Choodamani !

6) Tauseef Siddiqui : Dharavi, the largest slums in Mumbai, is also one of the largest in the world. Until now, it has most often been in the news for its poverty and squalor. But Tauseef along with his friend Fahim started Be the Local Tours to promote a never before explored section of Mumbai, Dharavi. A section of Mumbai that is written off as the underbelly, Tauseef shed light on the fascinating Eco system hidden within this slum and turned the image around into an international tourist attraction. Today because of his relentless efforts, Dharavi is looked at in a whole new light. Hats off to this young boy for his revolutionary idea and showing the world that India is not only a land of the poor and snake charmers. We also have the most hard working and intelligent people who are working hard to make it big in an emerging economy.

I’m voting for Satender Sharma’s, Vijayan’s, Pamela and Anil Malhotra’s, Laxman Rao’s, Karibeeran Parameswaran & P Choodamani’s, and Tauseef Siddiqui ‘s #WillOfSteel and blogging on BlogAdda to help him/her get felicitated and eventually enabled by JSW.

Things Children Teach Us!

We, as parents, think that it is us who teach the children the nuances of life. We go about reading parenting books while we are expecting and smugly think that we won’t be making any of the “mistakes” we think the other parents are making. In our heads, our child is the best behaved, well mannered, widely read and a delightful child. But just the first few days after childbirth makes sure we discard any such thoughts. The advertisements showing a cherubic infant happily suckling away and a mother who looks almost angelic are, well, just adverts. Real life is not like that.



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Practice What You Preach!

I don’t think there is anyone in this world who has not heard this from the parents – You don’t listen to us. You have bad manners, you have no etiquette etc. Also, somehow, others’ children are always better behaved and well-mannered than ours. We always tend to believe that it is the children who are the problem. That no matter how many times we tell them, they just don’t seem to learn. But wait. Have we ever heard of “practice what you preach”?

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