Thursday, 31 December 2015

Evergreen New Year Resolutions

I’m the most disappointing person when it comes to New Year resolutions and fulfilling them. Often when I am asked about my New Year resolution, my prolonged thinking mode & silence turns people away. Saves me the torture! If you were to ask me if I have ever made a New Year resolution and fulfilled it…you will be bored to death waiting for an answer.

It’s not that I never made resolutions. My childhood that fortunately was free of the World Wide Web and mobile technology saw us exchanging handmade New Year greeting cards (Buying expensive cards from Archie's Gallery were reserved for Birthdays and special occasions). Making New Year resolutions then was as important a ritual as exchanging cards. If you didn’t make a resolution, your celebration didn’t go complete.

So I too gave in to the trend and made these same funny resolutions every year –

  • Losing weight –This one placed itself on priority every year. After all, have you ever met a girl who feels she has the ideal weight? However, success or failure of this resolution was relative. If the girl sitting next to me in class was heavier than me, it felt like resolution achieved at the beginning of the academic year itself. But if my desk partner turned out to be a hot chic, the resolution always felt broken. By the time New Year’s Eve came back, knocking on the door, I was already in the SWOT mode and always felt I needed to lose weight.
  • Getting first position in all sections – This was my parents’ all time favorite. Typical Indian parents keep pushing their child for more, even if their offspring is a child prodigy. Even if I ranked within the top three in my class, I always saw a “You could have done better” look while I knew friends whose parents pampered them even if they scored just above 80%. The only time I felt like a scholar was when I used to go to Nirula’s to show my Report card and enjoy the free Scholar’s double Sundae! (Nirula’s used to offer free special Sundae to kids who scored 90% or more in their final exams!) Looking back now, I realize this was a blessing in disguise, for if you aim for moon, at least you get the stars. But back then, the pressure ensured this resolution was scripted at the top in my copy on every New Year’s Eve.

As I look at them now, I laugh out loud! If they weren’t fulfilled the first year, why did I hope for magical results every year?

With time, the resolutions changed from everything one desires during adolescence to the ambitious 20s. By the time I was into 4-5 years of corporate grind, I saw myself making resolutions like “meditating for 15 min every day, spending less time on phone etc.” Soon I was married and resolutions changed to “calling mom everyday for 15-20 minutes.”

Things I was supposed to do immediately were transformed into resolutions, whose progress one usually monitors by the time it’s time to make new ones.

And then, blogging happened…

I had gone for a residential MBA post marriage when blogging & I discovered each other. It was love at first sight and soon we couldn’t spend nights apart. Contests were a new thing to me back then and participating in any and every contest sounded exciting to me. Seeing my name in the winners list gave me a high that even a good CGPA didn’t.

The momentum broke once I returned home. Job, home and responsibilities jumped the line and claimed priority attention. Writing for contests then usually meant fire fighting few hours before the deadline for submission. As for impromptu blogging ideas, I began to maintain a Word document and whenever an idea popped, I promptly noted it in that document.

Soon motherhood took over every other thing. Contest deadlines were missed, word document was filled never to be reviewed, and the blogger inside grew tired of complaining. Even if the deadline was comfortably far, creativity would have mercy on me only a day before submission deadline.

Few days ago, I missed writing for a contest that really interested me and it hurt, not because of the prizes, but for the opportunity it gave me to test my writing skills vis a vis hundreds of other blogger.

So, this New Year’s Eve, I resolved to do something for the stuff that’s so close to my heart.  

  • Writing for contest posts well ahead of time. I know my mind throws fabulous ideas a night before the deadline, but nobody has banned drafting a post and saving in drafts, well before deadline to be modified later.
  • Also, I intend to work on the frequency of posting. An average blogger who posts periodically is far better than an amazingly creative blogger who plays the hide and seek. I know it won’t be easy but as Mr. Hubby tells me every time, there is always time for what we really wanna do!

P.S.  Somehow I have come to realize that often, the toughest or next to impossible tasks are dumped under the cover of New Year resolutions…As if, poor New Year will give in to pressure of our dreams and aspirations and magically transform the impossible into possible. My sympathies with the New Year!

#NewYear #Resolutions #Humor

Monday, 28 December 2015

Book review – The Bestseller She Wrote

Author – Ravi Subramanian
Publisher – Westland
Genre – Fiction
Pages – 391
Price – Rs. 295

Sneak from the cover
Master storyteller Ravi Subramanian delves into the glitzy world of bestsellers and uncovers a risky dalliance between a superstar novelist and his alluring protégé. The Bestseller She Wrote is a combustible cocktail of love, betrayal and redemption.

The Cover
A man, woman and a book - The cover page illustration is as transparent as the title itself. Since we know the book has an element of romance, one wonders how the book connects these two individuals. The curious mind begins the guessing game – Does a book unite the two lovers? I made few guesses and thought it best not to waste time, so I immersed myself in this Bestseller.

The dedication page makes the loyal reader smile with pride, as Ravi dedicates the books to the readers.

My View
Ravi Subramanian’s books have always been treat reads. I had thoroughly enjoyed reviewing his last book, God is a Gamer. So, when I came to know he is foraying into the genre of romance, it was a pleasant surprise!  When it comes to romance, Indian writers usually fall prey to predictable storylines and I wondered how different Ravi’s book would be. However, having read the book, I can confidently say that not only has he successfully penned a bestseller, but has integrated his signature style of thrill and suspense into romance!

This book reminds me of two lessons from childhood -
  • Being successful is one thing. What is tougher is to retain the success and remain level headed.
  • There are two ways to success – Work hard and outperform your competitors, or else, kill the competition by hook or by crook. While we may have our own thoughts about what is ethical, people believing in cut throat competition are oblivious to this sensitivity.  
A successful banker, six feet tall, handsome, a voice enigmatic enough to woo any woman – Aditya Kapoor, the paperback king of India is every inch the celeb material! Having successfully transformed from a boring banker to a bestselling author, this self made man is every youngster’s role model. Its an act he juggled with finesse – managing a tough banking job and a flourishing career as a writer; for he knew how to keep the two worlds separate. So he never let his writing affect his work commitments or vice versa.

As a blogger myself, I sometimes wonder how spouses of bestselling authors cope up. Being on your own most of the time with a busy and famous spouse is not everyone’s cup of tea. Nor it was for Maya, Aditya’s better half. But, love and commitment makes anything possible. So, a patient and caring Maya sacrifices her corporate career for her husband and derives satisfaction in managing her family well. She was true epitome of the phrase – Behind a successful man is a woman.

But what life is a life if it’s perfect? There is no fun without twists and turns. So, Aditya’s life too sees its biggest twist when he meets young Shreya at an event in IIM Bengaluru.

20 something Shreya Kaushik too, falls in the category of winning at any cost. Young, beautiful, fearless, reckless and ambitious – Shreya has a mind of her own. Beauty and wit are her assets. No man can resist her and she is very well aware of it. And that’s when trouble begins.

When two people with different value systems come together, the results are far from pleasant. Shreya is a smart gal who doesn’t fail to seize any man or opportunity that can catapult her to success.

Shreya combines planned coincidences with an innocent display and a clueless Aditya is smitten by her. Little does he realize how soon a negative remark from a spectator at a lecture transforms into a relationship. Like a weed, Shreya clings on to him as an innocent wannabe writer asking for his mentoring, however, soon spreads to his personal and professional domain.

Soon Shreya becomes the focus of Aditya’s life, with even his own writing taking a backseat against her ambitions. One feels sorry to see how a loyal and loving husband falls prey to an adulterous relationship. A clueless Maya continues be at her sacrificing best, oblivious to the broth cooking while she is busy with motherhood and her official assignments. All this while, one just marvels at Ravi’s excellent storytelling as one feels s/he is not reading a book but is watching a movie!

Just like all good things come to an end, trouble starts brewing when Aditya smells ambition in Shreya more than love. To make matters worse, their relationship soon becomes visible to people it should have never been. Even though Aditya realises his mistake, Shreya isn’t an easy person to deal with. She plays her cards so smartly that in a short span of time, Aditya’s personal life profession, and writing are in doldrums! With everything at stake at once, one wonders whether Aditya will be able to get his act together or not.

It is then that another twist in the story proves that there was something beyond being a bestselling author that set Aditya apart from the rest - his ethics and values that he never compromises on. Had there been someone else, he would have crumbled under pressure. In fact, the story  even has one such character. However, Aditya’s sincerity towards his commitments and level headed mind is very impressive. One knows that Aditya is the hero. Eventually, he will win the troubles over and prove to be the perfect role model. But HOW?

Usually, romantic stories become predictable by this stage, however, it's exciting that the readers still remain clueless as to what turn the story would take to get Aditya’s life back in shape.

Without giving spoilers, I would recommend you to read and find that out yourself. As for me, it took me sitting up till late night to kill my curiosity! But that’s the best part about Ravis’s stories. One can never predict what's gonna happen and you are in the nail biting mode till the end. And the moment the suspense is broken, you are like, “What? I could have never guessed this” Well, welcome to the world of romantic thrillers, if I may categorize so!

And oh! I forgot to mention the amazing tips inside the books for wannabe bestselling writers! Sharing few, grab the book for more –
  • Rags to riches works for non-fiction books and true stories  - at times even for films. But for fiction, in india, specifically, tragedy rules. Reading about someone else’s woes and crying bucketfuls is a national past time!
  • New authors should try and reach out to a publisher through an agent or through someone they know. Helps avoid their manuscript going into the slush pile.
  • Publishers are like potential love interests. The more you chase them, the more they run away from you and the more you let them be, the more they are drawn to you.
What I loved about the book
  • Ravi’s art of storytelling. The story picks up pace almost instantly and maintains it till the end. One can’t help but remain glued to the book!
  • Language is crisp and the plot devoid of any drags.
  • Being his debut in the genre of romance, I must compliment the dignity with which Ravi describes romantic encounters. While most authors adopt cheap tricks of filling pages with sensuous descriptions and fantasies, Ravi knows where to draw the line.
  • As I mentioned above, most romantic stories get predictable after 150 odd pages and reading till the end is a mere formality for the reviewer. But the twists and turns and a climax one couldn’t have thought of – that’s the beauty of Ravi’s books 
What could have been better
While everything is fair in fiction, one feels the story could have been just as delightful sans a few deviations. The whole Ebola affair and magical recovery as well as the involvement of Ramesh Karia seems rather dramatic and too much to believe.

My rating

About the Author
Ravi Subramanian, an alumnus of IIM Bengaluru, has spent two decades in the world of global banks in India. Four of his seven bestselling titles have been award winner. The Bestseller She Wrote is Ravi’s first book on romantic intrigue. Ravi lives in Mumbai with his wife and daughter.

Connect with Ravi Subramanian at –
email –
Buy Book -
You can also get in touch with the Ravi Subramanian App (iOS or Android)

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Smart moms shop with FlipkartKids

What happens when you land up in a new city, are bad with local navigation, have a hectic schedule at work and in dire need of shopping? Ting tong, e-commerce comes to rescue!

Well, that’s my story. Ever since I left the comfort zone of my hometown last year and relocated to a new city, my life has been super busy. After slogging at work for 5 days, all I wanna do on a weekend is spend a lazy day with Mr. Hubby, a good movie and food ordered from my favourite restaurant. But then, shopping is to woman what dope is to an addict! Sorry, bad example but you see that’s how it is! No matter how much we have, we always want more! In a city like Mumbai, I would rather prefer spending quality time with Mr. Hubby at home than spending half of our weekends stuck in traffic jams, quenching my thirst for shopping. Thanks to online shopping, I am able to pamper myself to best of both the worlds! A smart phone and hubby’s credit card is all I need to sit at home, yet manage to impress my colleagues with the latest, trendiest and the coolest stuff they can’t sometimes get in stores!

I realized the power of e commerce the most when I became a mommy. Not in my wildest dreams can I think of shopping with a cranky baby, whose vicious cycle of feeding, poo & pee would keep me confined to the feeding room of the mall! But, I am a smart mom. I have shopped almost everything for my little one online – from diapers to toys, feeding bottles, clothes (size 0 clothes aren’t really an issue when purchasing online!)…u name it and I got it.

That’s when I began to wonder how these trends in e commerce have changed the way we shop for our kids –

Convenience – We can shop from anywhere, anything, anytime and it will be delivered to us within the committed timelines. What’s more, with Flipkart, one can also choose Express delivery just in case you need the product urgently! Feature like FlipKart Ping and Image search make shopping a fun experience!

Easy returns – Who wants trips back and forth to the store when you can manage easy returns from home!

Genuine products and sales support - Buying from trusted websites guarantees genuine products. There is also a dedicated call center to cater to all customer queries.

Apps – I swear by my FlipKart App! Not only does it make shopping convenient, it also notifies me of latest offers, deals and products of my interest!

Discounts and offers – If you are a smart and aware shopper, you can really make good use of the deals and discounts e commerce has to offer.

All brands under one umbrella – When I was a kid, my friends would flaunt the branded toys their parents bought during international trips. Thanks to e commerce websites like Flipkart, we can shop for any international brand from the comfort of our homes.

Reviews – This is one of my favorite features. I love to go through the review before taking my pick.

The #FlipkartKids Indiblogger Meet on 19th December was about all this and a lot of fun.

The moment I received the Indiblogger mail about the meet, I was all excited and eager since I myself shop everything online for my baby! Flipkart has launched India's largest online kids store and the meet revolved around the same. There was also a twitter contest where one had to post pic of your kiddo’s favorite toy and the best 10 tweets would win Rs. 1000 Flipkart vouchers. I immediately got in action and posted few tweets with pics of my little one’s toys.

Somehow, Mumbai traffic loves to play spoilsport for my Indimeets. However, this time I wasn’t willing to give up. A clueless cabbie, turtle speed traffic and few frantic calls to friends later I was at the venue - Blue Frog. My savior blogger buddy Sujata Tawde who had guided me to the venue welcomed me and I took a huge sigh of relief. Vineet welcomed us and suggested we quickly register and grab our lunch as the event was just about to begin. After all the struggle to reach the venue, I was super hungry. So, we dashed to the buffet and filled ourselves with some veggie delights. However, Sujata soon spotted the sinful strawberry pastries and we pampered our sweet palates. As I regained some energy, I looked around and realized what a wonderful venue Blue Frog was! The venue was definitely worth the drive & the seating arrangement was just so so cool! To add to the fun was Chhota Bheem himself, obliging everyone with a hug and a pic!

The event began shortly with Anup welcoming us all, along with Kalpana Behara, a veteran mommy blogger. It was a fun and insightful session where she shared her experiences as a mommy blogger – How she deals with writers block; how much to reveal abut one’s life on the blog; and what keeps her motivated. As a newcomer to parent blogging, the session was special for me and I listened with rapt attention.

Next, it was time for a panel discussion with representatives from Flipkart, Mattel and Chhota Bheem team on how e commerce is changing the way we shop for our kids. Many bloggers too shared their views and clarified their doubts regarding online shopping.

After a short break began fun time with a performance by the in-house band Blunder In the Code! I had missed their performance in the last Indimeet and so I thoroughly enjoyed myself this time with my blogger friends!

An Indimeet is never complete without THE activity. Going with the theme of e commerce, the game was Ad Mad where each team had to advertise FlipKart products in the most innovative manner. After a lot of brainstorming, my team of 10 presented the skit “Age of innocence” where the #FlipkartSanta brought products for various stages of a kid’s life.

True to an IndiMeet, there was endless selfies, giggles and lots and lots of fun with blogger friends. Being the last Indi Meet of the year, all of us took the opportunity to exchange New Year wishes.

Just as we were about to move out, we got a cute li’l surprise – Very cute Chhota Bheem soft toy from the upcoming movie Chhota Bheem and Himalayan Adventure! I was as excited as a 10 year old for the toy is really cute and we got excuse for another round of selfies with Chhota Bheem toy!

The last Indi Meet for the year 2015 was definitely full of fun, friends and e commerce insights!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Book review – Bhima – The Man In The Shadows

Author – Vikas Singh
Publisher – Westland
Genre – Fiction
Pages – 291
Price – Rs. 350

Sneak from the cover
A fascinating perspective on one of the most important characters of the Mahabharata, who lived in the shadow of his brothers’ fame.

The Cover

The mighty, macho and powerful Bhima welcomes readers to the book with his mace and bow. He looks every inch the perfect Indian warrior. Then what is it that makes him the man in shadows?

My View
I still remember the excitement around BR Chopra’s Mahabharat when I was a kid. Sunday mornings became family time as all gathered to watch the TV serial together. Even roads used to wear deserted look. Of the five Pandavas, my favourite was Bhima, because he was strong, brave, innocent and total hero material who didn’t hesitate once before knocking evil Rakshashas down. Give a challenge and Bhima would always spring up in action. Years later, when Chota Bhim came as cartoon series, I realised what a hit Bhima is with all kiddos.

That’s why the book “Bhima – The Man In The Shadows” invoked curiosity. We all know Pandavas as the perfect humans, Bhima being the perfect, sincere son, husband, father and brother. But he was after all a human! Having best of men as brothers and conflicting love interest can prove to be a tough situation even for toughest of men. And so, our macho hero too, felt like a man in shadows.

The book tries to capture an aspect of Mahabharat that no one has attempted to touch upon before – Mahabharat from Bhima’s perspective. It is a herculean task to capture all the important aspects of a story like Mahabharat, but the author’s attempt is commendable. Writing style is narrative as Bhima looks back at the story of his life.

The book begins by Bhima killing Dusshasana and fulfilling his vow for his lady love. However, was the similar love reciprocated by the lady? Well, for a lady who loved and married her hero, but was shockingly presented four more husbands, loving five men equally must have indeed been tough. One feels sorry for Bhima as time and again, we see Draupadi using him for her own selfish interests but playing smart when it comes to being the wife. Bhima is a very pure soul at heart and that’s something we all love him for. Instead of exercising his right as a husband, our dude decides to be Draupadi’s true friend and win her heart. Despite other Pandavas breaking her heart at some point in their lives (Yudhishthira in gamble game, Arjun by further marriages), Bhima stays loyal and plays the protective hubby – be it by killing Keechak, or avenging insult from Duryodhan and Dusshashan. Even in the final moments of life at the Himalayas, when everybody sticks to the rule of “keep moving”, Bhima displays his loyalty and love for Draupadi by choosing to be with her.

As the TV serials always portrayed ideal brotherly love and devotion, I sometimes wondered if it’s too good to be true. The book smartly touches upon the Bhima’s perspective on his equally great brothers. Bhima was the second eldest of the Pandavas. However, most of the story sees him confined as a man in shadows of his brothers – Yudhishthira and Arjun. He recollects several incidents where he played the pivotal role however, the other brother got all the credit. For instance, when Guru Drona summons Pandavas to defeat and capture Drupada, Bhima single handedly hold Drupada’s bodyguards while Arjun captures Drupada. However, that goes unnoticed in the halo created around the great archerer Arjun. Since Bhima had vowed to finish all Kauravas, he considers this as his main goal during the battle of Mahabharat, going after them one by one, killing them all. But does the world credit him for being the destroyer of Kauravas? It is always Arjun who is the hero – handsome, smart, ambitious, and someone who likes to possess the latest and the best – be it weapons or women! While he is forever on the lookout for the next best thing, Bhima with the heart of gold plays the best friend to Draupadi.

When Pandavas left for the Swayamvara, their mother was aware what her sons were upto. So, when Arjun joyously yelled out to her to come and see what he had won, wasn’t it smart of her to pretend having thought of it as Bhiksha and asking the sons to share?

Yudhishthira has always been portrayed as the face of Dharma – honest and unbiased. However, listen to Bhima’s story and you will encounter several incidents where he was diplomatic and avoided controversies.

Bhima was not just a loving husband and a devoted son and brother. He was a doting father too and one gets emotional reading the chapter on Ghatotkacha. Although we’ve read these stories over and over again, the book brings a very different modern flavour to the whole story. Ghatotkacha and Abhimanyu here talk like modern day cool dude kids and don’t mind pulling their father’s leg!

The book is full of other interesting incidents beautifully narrated. Bhima is a curious and observant person and his encounters with Devas and are fun to read. The author adds his own element of technology and logic to the magical powers of Devas. For instance, we all know about Bhramastras, the divine weapons earned by pleasing Gods and that they couldn’t be used on humans. But the way the book explains the Bhramastra technology refined for use on earth makes you smile and appreciate the creativity. The new generation doesn’t believe in miracles but logic and the author is aware of this. Hence, the logic and frequent reference to technology are well positioned to entice young readers.

Some important lessons of life conveyed beautifully through short instances in the book –

  • Never take people at face value. And never underestimate an opponent just because he looks weak.
  • There is no shame in trying and failing. What is unfortunate is when people either don’t try something out of fear of failure, or deliberately don’t put in their best effort so that they can later console themselves that it never mattered to them
  • The most amazing thing in the world is that everybody dies one day, but everybody acts as if he will live forever.
  • Gita’s message by Shri Krishna summarised in a paragraph.

What I loved about the book
  • The author successfully overcame the big challenge of bringing novelty to a story everyone remembers by heart. All versions we have seen and read so far are indeed interpretations of the basic story by several authors. But read this book and it seems so in sync with the modern times – be it the language or logic.
  • I was very impressed with the introduction of science and technology elements with reference to Devas. While there are often discussions on how advanced that era was, references to Devas’ technology and mechanics of heaven also make the book instant hit with the younger lot.
  • Mahabharat is a long story and it isn’t easy picking the main incidents and weaving a story within 290 odd pages. The story within story style makes the book a very interesting read.
  • All the fight sequences and techniques are so elaborately explained that I could visualize them. Wonder if the author is trained in some martial arts!

What could have been better
  • Mythology and sex sells. However, combining the two can be a little tough at time. I picked up the book with great enthusiasm. However, for the first few chapters the unnecessary references to Bhima’s sexual encounters and the thoughts in the mind of a man got me doubtful as to where the story was headed. For instance, Bhima and Hidimba making love next to the body of Hidimb was surprising. When Yudhishthira explains Pandu’s death to Bhima, he says, “Father is dead. His heart suddenly stopped while he was frolicking with Mother Madri”. Its only after a few chapters that one gets introduced to other aspects in the mind of Bhima and that’s when the story really picks up pace.
  • Some facts have been unnecessarily tweaked. Although the author has clarified this in the endnote, the reader begins to wonder whether to treat the story as sheer fiction inspired on Mahabharata or Bhima’s perspective on the story. For instance, I failed to understand why Hidimba is shown to have died protecting a child from a wild boar.

My rating

I recommend this book for its innovative approach to the epic story. The portrayal of Bhima as the man in shadows to the destroyer of Kauravas had me impressed.

This review is for Writers Melon.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Share A Hug

Friendship, like old wine gets better with age. True friendship is one of the most cherished gifts of life. Perhaps that’s why people go to any length to bring a smile on their friend’s face. Be it forging parents’ signature on school report card to save the wrath of parents, doing that “setting” with the girl your best friend has a crush on, sacrificing your pocket money for that perfect gift on your friend’s birthday and so on…

So, what is it that makes friendship, Yaari Dosti so special?

It’s the power of sharing and caring. No matter how many well wishers we have, it is only with a true friend that we can share the goriest details, the ugliest facts, the best emotions and the burden of a trouble.

A thing as simple as a hug can be magical when it is from a special friend.

I was in Class VII when my English teacher shortlisted me for an Extempore competition sponsored by a leading soft drink brand. While I was initially excited, my excitement soon vanished when I was told most other competitors would be from senior classes. During lunch break I was sitting alone contemplating withdrawing my name as it would be too embarrassing losing out to seniors. Just then, my best friend S walked inside and asked me why was I so aloof. When I narrated her the while story, she told me to consider the faith teacher had in me that made her shortlist me v/s my seniors. S’s pep talk boosted my morals and every day, we would practice Extempore topic during lunch break. On the D day, as I was nervous on the stage, I kept looking in my best friend’s eyes which reflected that all was going well. When my name was announced as the winner I just went numb however, I can never forget that impromptu dance by my bestie and the magical hug we shared! That’s what true friendship is about – taking pride in your friend’s achievement.

Our best holidays have been the ones with my hubby’s best friend. Sometimes, we women keep wondering at the perfect chemistry our husbands share and we often joke that they make the perfect couple. Best friends since Class 8th, they have stood by each other during good and bad times. While they will make us laugh till our stomachs cry out in pain, they are also most protective and know how to celebrate responsibly. That’s why we can be ourselves when partying with them.

When God created humans, he knew they would be social animals. So to ensure one doesn’t get deterred by the negativities in this world, God created best friends, our own powerhouse of positivity. True friends know the power of sharing and all they have to do to share a positive or low moment is to Share a Hug!

Looking for some positive moments in your life? Go meet your best friend and Share a Hug!
Source -

* This blog is meant for people above the age of 25 years.

Monday, 30 November 2015

5 tips for Softest Baby Skin

Babies are the cutest creation of God. Innocent, soft, affectionate, they can make anybody dote over them in seconds. As a mother to a 5 month old, my life revolves around trying to give the best to my child. A very important aspect of child care is maintaining the soft skin that babies are born with. Who doesn't love cuddling a baby, for the very feel of the softness invokes affection.

Being a tech savvy mom, I do a lot of googling to ease my job of parenting. One thing that I am very particular about is skin care of my child. Googling, wisdom from elders, motherly instincts are my handy tools to keep my child comfortable and happy. Here are 5 tips from me to maintain the Softest skin in babies -

1. Go Natural
No matter how tall claims advertisements make, I prefer staying away from chemicals and sticking to natural products for my baby. Baby's immune system is very delicate and one incompatible chemical can create havoc on on the baby's skin. Try using non fragrant, mild products and ensure to read through the ingredients even in baby friendly products.

2. Date with Suraj Chachu
Like most newborns, my son too fell prey to Jaundice 2 days after his birth. While doctors advised us to take him out in the sun, I was very skeptical as his soft skin was not ready to face the sun. Since I had no option, I used to take him in the morning sun for small duration. Exposure to sun robs baby's skin of essential moisture and is very harsh as well. One should avoid direct exposure to sunlight for babies. I know elders advocate exposure in the sun post massage but try as much as possible to avoid the afternoon sun. Also, avoid using any sunscreen lotions on babies.

3. Malish-Tel Malish
Yes, the age old tradition of a good massage works wonders on baby's skin. Nowadays the market is flooded with massage oils claiming to nourish and nurture our little ones, but before taking your pic, ensure to read through the labels carefully for ingredients. I prefer natural oils for my baby. A good massage before shower and the baby is refreshed and so is his skin.

4. The right fabric
Choosing the right clothes for your baby is one of the most important aspects of skincare. For a country like India, which has more or less tropical climate, cotton works best for keeping the baby's skin soft. So no matter how chic that synthetic party dress looks, always go for the dress your child is comfortable in. Not only does a breathable fabric avoid rashes and skin allergies, it also keeps babies relaxed and happy and who doesn't love a happy baby!

5. Diapering
Nappy rash is the most common skin problem seen in babies and it is most often due to wrong choice of diapers. Years ago when my sisters had their babies, they used to leave their babies without nappies or diapers for sometime to let their skin breathe, So, when I became a mom, I had preconceived notions that diapers are bad for baby's skin. However, times have changed and so has technology, Thankfully, soon after my baby was born, I was introduced to Pampers Premium Care Pants, the Softest diapers ever which are designed keeping in mind baby's soft skin. I am a Pampers mom. Read my review of the Pampers Premium Care Pants here

Skincare in babies isn't rocket science. Understanding your baby's skin and taking basic precautions can keep babies comfortable. Comfortable babies are happy babies and there is nothing more beautiful in this world than a happy and healthy baby.

Pampers brings you the softest ever Pampers Premium Care Pants. Its cotton-like softness is #SoftestForBabySkin and allows it to breathe, thus keeping baby’s skin soft and healthy, and your baby happy.

This blog post is written for the Pampers #SoftestForBabySkin activity in association with BlogAdda

Sunday, 25 October 2015

No bigger joy than making someone smile

Sangeeta joined us as our domestic help last year. A widow and a single mother, her whole life revolves around her 6 year old daughter, Gauri. Like a typical Indian mother, she sacrifices her comforts to give the best possible to her daughter. However, with poverty and soaring prices playing spoilsport, all she can manage is her daughter's school fee and basic necessities.

Gauri often accompanied her mother to our house as she loves to play with my 4 month old baby. A very bright kid, she is every mother's pride.

However, a child is a child. Few days back, when Gauri came to our house, she wasn't her usual bubbly self. Instead, she wore a rather sad look in her face. I asked her mother if all was well. A worried Sangeeta told me Gauri's birthday was approaching and like any other kid, Gauri too, wanted to have her own birthday party. "Tell me Memsaab, I can barely manage 3 square meals, how will I fulfill this tough wish?"

Somehow that evening I just couldn't get Gauri's sad face away from my mind. Every child has a right to happiness, and I really wanted to do something special for her.

The next day, I asked Sangeeta to invite Gauri's friends to my house on her birthday. "But memsaab, aap kaise..." Sangeeta hesitatingly said and I immediately told her to stop being so curious if she wants to see a big smile on her daughter's face.

Now, it was my time to get going and organising Gauri's little birthday party!

Since, my objective was to make Gauri feel special and bring a smile on her face, I ordered this smiley cake for her

Also ordered this pretty frock for the birthday girl!

I decided to prepare McCain smileys for the kids since I was sure the kids would love the taste and the Smiley would immediately bring a smile on their faces! McCain smileys are delicious mashed potatoes, seasoned and shaped into happy faces. The smileys also offer the following advantages -

Goodness of Potato
Cholesterol and trans fat free
Ready in three minutes
Goodness of potato
Pre cooked in pure vegetable oil

Since I was preparing for kids, nutritional aspect could not be ignored.

Energy209.27 Kcal
Total Fat8.31 g
Saturated Fatty Acids3.93 g
Monounsaturated Fatty Acids2.15 g
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids2.23 g
Trans Fatty Acids0 g
Protein4.72 g
Total Carbohydrate28.90 g
Sugar0.32 g
Cholesterol0 mg

approximate values*

All I had to do was to preheat oil and deep fry the smileys for about 3 minutes and bingo! We were all set for the party!

On the designated day, Sangeeta brought Gauri and 3 of her friends to our house. The girls were initially hesitant however, were soon enjoying the yummy food and music! 

As I gifted the frock to Gauri, she was all smiles while her mother, had tears of happiness!

While we all do things that makes us happy, doing something to bring a smile on someone's face is a joy much more fulfilling! 

Thanks to McCain, I could manage to make a 6 year old feel so special and bring that million dollar smile on her face!

Smiles double when we share
Happiness doubles when we care
One should also think of the others, once in a while
There's no bigger joy than making someone smile!

About McCain
McCain Foods (India) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of McCain Foods Limited in Canada. Since 1998, McCain has been engaged in agriculture R&D and in development of frozen food market in India and subcontinent countries. McCain products are used by leading fast food chains, hotels, restaurants, catering companies and are popular for in-home consumption.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The joy of togetherness

While technology has enabled us to connect easily with each other, the same technology takes us away from our loved ones. The human touch is replaced by the tap on our smart phones. During my childhood, when mobile technology had not come into our lives, real togetherness flowed in our lives. The day began with the younger members of the family taking blessings from elders while evenings saw the whole family enjoying TV together. People greeted each other when they went out and children enjoyed games together. People shared moments of joy and sadness and even though resources were limited, the joy of togetherness overpowered the limited resources.

Life has undergone a sea change since then.

Mornings begin, not by greeting each other but by checking our mails and social media accounts on our smart phones. Breakfast table sees us glued to our smartphones in our self created silos. Once people used to ask each other's well being when they faces each other in office. However, now, office elevator too sees us hiding behind our smartphone screens, avoiding the effort of a friendly conversation. What if someone calls to us, we have headphones that ensure we only listen what WE want! Being in touch with old friends now is limited to Facebook likes and checking their timeline updates. While earlier, evenings saw the whole family crowded in front of the television, now every member of the family is glued to his/her smartphone or TV in his/her respective room. Kids too prefer connecting with their buddies on social media even if that friend stays nearby.

And then, we say we are connected!

Is this life of living in silos fulfilling? No, for this is evident by the rising cases of stress induced diseases. Obesity among kids is on the rise. Doctors blame a sedentary lifestyle for all this. We have learnt how to stay connected but have lost the real connection with the real world. People look for online buddies while a prospective good friend is sitting next to them. I remember as a kid when we used to go on our annual vacations, kids in trains used to have made few nice friends like that. However now you will see almost all kids toying around with their parents' smartphones.

What is real togetherness then?

Real togetherness is doing away with virtual connections and opting to spend quality time together instead. Research says doing activities we like together is therapeutic and increases our happiness quotient like nothing us. Spending quality time with friends and family also ensures we have people to share joys and also to get moral support in times of sadness.

Watch this excellent video which shows how real togetherness brings real joy that no virtual means cannot.

Visit and discover the joy of real togetherness!