Wednesday, 20 May 2015

My mom, the Expert

Like a candle, for her loved ones she burns,
The light on happy faces she earns

For herself, she will settle for less,
But for her children, she will grab the best

As the newborn comes in her lap,
She gives the first lesson of affection

Holding her child’s finger, she teaches her to walk,
She will forego her much desired dress and buy the child her favorite frock

Child’s exams are her own, & she happily burns the midnight oil,
And when the moment of triumph comes, she knows it was worth the toil

With dreams of her happy children in eyes,
She gives in selflessly as time flies

No matter how many applauds celebrate your success,
The credit goes to that first expert who shaped your life to finesse.

As I prepare myself for motherhood, I am reminded of a famous saying, “With power comes responsibility.” With motherhood, God gifts a woman the power to bring a new life and shape it to face the world. As a mother, one aspires to do the best for her children, so the power to shape the little one’s life also brings the responsibility of doing it the right way.

“Will I be able to do even an inch of what mom did for me?” I often ask myself, as goose bumps make their presence felt.  She was and always will be my ultimate expert – the one and only who taught me the way my life should be.

Thinking of qualities of an ideal mom, the benchmark always will be my mom, who managed everything so perfectly; I am often reminded of the great values she inculcated almost effortlessly in us, values that go a long way in making us better human beings –

Compassion
To love our family is one thing, but compassion for society was something my mother devoted her life to. A doctor, she would treat poor patients for free, even sponsoring their medicines. As a kid, I would often be irritated with her penchant to embrace anybody anytime in trouble. But, if I feel my responsibilities as a citizen of this country, its due to the expert mentor-ship of my mom.

Me v/s my best
While most parents burden their children with unnecessary comparison with their peers, my mom was always clear in her definition of competition – it was always Me v/s My best; for it always ensured I raised the benchmark and strived for the best. It always helped me focus on my abilities and weed out unnecessary trivial rivalries.

Hope against hope
Life is not always a series of hits, but a winner is the one who carries the torch of optimism. The best value mom taught me, optimism always saved me from the whirlpool of frustration in tough times. No matter how big would be the disappointment, mom would always tell me, “To an optimist, the glass is always half full.”

Honesty
Mom would often say, “The one who is honest with self is the one who can be honest with others.” All my formative years, my struggle was never burdened with the pressure of doing something to please my parents; rather it was always about finding and following my own path and learning from my instincts. In tough times, when I felt it all crumbling down, her guiding light ensured I never deviated from the right path.


To every child, her mom is the fairy God Mother. But for me, my mom was my mentor, friend and savior who would read the unspoken me and always ensured perfection in whatever she gave me. The epitome of perfection, my mom will always inspire me to be an expert mother to my kids. Even if I am able to be an iota of a mom that she was, perhaps years later my kids would reflect the same perfection she passed on to me.

I am participating in the My First Expert contest by Godrej Expert & Indiblogger.


Friday, 15 May 2015

Book review – My Clingy Girlfriend

Author – Madhuri Banerjee
Publisher – Westland Ltd
Genre – Fiction
Pages – 249
Price – Rs.295

Sneak from the cover
Bestselling author Madhuri Banerjee brings to you an uproaringly howl-arious account of a simple Bengali boy in Mumbai who copes, mopes and hopes to find logic and reasoning with his clingy girlfriend. Its writing she’s never done before.

The Cover

The first sign of a clingy girlfriend finds its way on the cover – a mobile screen showing 43 missed calls. Even before I began to read the book, I was filled with sympathy for the poor boyfriend. How would a guy cope up with a girlfriend who pesters him all the time with her demands and tantrums?

A book penned by a lady from the view point of a guy? Now that’s not something usual that you spot on the bookshelves. I was all eager to know how effective was this portrayal…

My View
Someone has rightly said relationships are like butterflies, hold them tight and they suffocate to death; but give them space and see the beauty of their colours.

My Clingy girlfriend is a funny sad tale of a Bengali boy who is stuck between an over possessive girlfriend and his desires. Obrokranti Banerjee leaves the cocoon of his big family in Kolkata and come to Mumbai to make it large. He gets everything that a cool city dude has – a good job, friends to hang around with and even a girlfriend. But, soon he realizes that merely having them all doesn't guarantee happiness. There is dirty politics in the air in his so called promising job; his friends are mere hang out buddies and his girlfriend is just an albatross around his neck.

Few pages further, I realized Obro deserved what he got, for he wanted a girl in his life just to satisfy his physical needs. In a rush to send a triumphant message to his Casanova cousin back home, Obro hurriedly got involved with the first girl who came his way. Soon he figures out Radha is the biggest mistake of his life, for she hijacks every other aspect of Obro’s life. The next 100 odd pages had me in splits, reading about the cat and mouse relationship between Obro and his girlfriend. Obro makes his best attempt to escape the clutches of his clingy girlfriend however, the more he tries, the tighter the knot gets. After all, who would like a girlfriend who calls him 40 times a day, interferes in his decisions, forces herself into his boys’ night, doesn't let him visit his hometown? Ironically, Obro bears it all, for the pleasure of physical intimacy.

Soon, the feminist in me was all filled up with hatred for Obro due to his cheap approach. On one hand, he wanted to get rid of his clingy girlfriend and on the other hand, he leaves no chance to get close to her. I was even angry on Radha for being such a doormat. Perhaps, she too was one of those girls who love being a parasite on their men and choose to take it easy in life. Everytime Obro tells her she is a burden on him, she too gives it back citing all the household work she manages for him. Tit for tat, and what a perfect match of two imperfect, silly people, I wondered. But, then that’s the beauty of writing…Madhuri gets us involved in the story and I smiled in her appreciation as I realized it.

Something else too tickled my funny bones. While Mr. Obro himself has a hard time managing his girlfriend, he leaves no chance to drop in his silly pieces of advice – 5 ways to get your girlfriend to have sex, 5 ways to get out of discussing marriage, 5 tips to ask a woman out, Five ways to get out of work, 5 ways to win a woman over and make it look easy, ten facts about men that men don’t know (ahem!) You might wonder, if Obro has so many bright ideas, why is his own life in a total mess?

Does Obro finally manage to get rid of his clingy girlfriend? Well, yes he does and it was surprisingly easier than he thought. How? Well, go grab the book and find out. No matter how much you might hate Obro, you will definitely enjoy and laugh your way through the book!

What I loved about the book
·         The author knows how to strike the instant connection with readers.
·         The language is simple and no unnecessary drags

What could have been better
·         There are frequent references to how Bong boys are. One enjoys initially but after a while they get irritating
·         I was expecting more drama in the ending but then the author didn’t want to drag further without anything new to offer.

My rating
2.5/5

About the Author

Madhuri Banerjee is the bestselling author of five novels. She is also the writer of Bollywood film, Hate Story 2. She has a blog on CNN IBN called Chastity Belt. She has her own production house and is an ad film director. She was a columnist with the Asian Age for two years and currently has a column in Maxim magazine. She has also won a National Award for her documentary on women’s issues called Between Dualites. Curently she is the face of Revlon as their Relationship Expert.

This is review for Writers Melon. The views expressed are my own and under no influence.

Life is beautiful with My Airtel App


As a working woman and a wife, I am always on the go. Multitasking is the need of the hour and I ensure that no time spared is left unproductive. Life is not just about me and my career, for I have a family to manage. Taking care of their small needs without them having to demand gives me more pleasure than anything else. But all said and done, I am not a goddess and sometimes I wonder, “How do I cope up with ever increasing responsibilities?”

Thankfully, I live in a smart world. Technology has made our life easy and we can do almost anything at the tip of our fingers. When the App revolution started, my excitement seemed no bounds and soon my mobile was flooded with Apps. However, I soon realized the downside of technology. Too many apps in my mobile made for a confusing bunch and often I didn’t even recalled using Apps when I needed them.

How I wished there was a single App that offered me all that I wanted in one go!

Seems, Airtel was listening to me heart…and in comes My Airtel App

My Airtel App brings a host of features through my handset…yes, you heard it right! Here are some features of the App that make everyday activities easy and manageable with my hectic lifestyle –

I Want to
This feature, true to its name takes care of all that I want as I can save my most frequent tasks on home screen as shortcuts. Now I can take care of all my priorities at one go –

·         Bill Payments –
No more missing deadlines, for the App makes it convenient to pay all my bills through my mobile. What’s more, there’s are offers and Cash backs too!

·         Recharges –
Papa often reminds me to recharge his mobile and the busy bee daughter always forgets. Now the App makes it easy to recharge and avail offers as well!

·         Buy Packs and order games online
My nephew is a die hard gaming fan. With My Airtel App, I can now gift him his favorite games anytime from my mobile. What’s more, I can even gift him recharges and packs to make his day!

Airtel Surprises
Nobody minds that extra bag of goodies, and that’s why this is my favourite feature of My Airtel App. With this feature, I receive Airtel Surprise coupons with every recharge I do. So, while I do that recharge for mom in law, it also brings a bi..g smile on my face, for I can redeem these Airtel Surprise  coupons across categories like shopping, food, wellness, entertainment etc at my favourite brands like PVR cinemas, CafĂ© Coffee Day, Flipkart.com, Amazon.in, Ebay.in, Myntra.com etc. A perfect win win situation!

Secured payments
“So many payments through your mobile! Is it even safe?” Mom in law asks. And I assure her, for Airtel My App makes payments safe and secure with –
·         PCIDSS certification
·         Store card details for a faster checkout
·         A friendly and intuitive interface
·         Real time bill tracking
·         A personalized user experience

As if that’s not all, the App offers a Lot More…
Now, I can –
·         Get alerts on low balance, low data, bill payment, due date
·         Explore Wynk / One Touch Internet/ Airtel Live
·         Add or Remove Airtel Services

With so many features under one umbrella, the app certainly is “My Airtel App”. It’s the simplest way to manage All my Airtel services through my handset.
Wanna experience the beauty of the Airtel experience? Download the My Airtel App now from the Airtel website.




Sunday, 10 May 2015

To mom, from yours honestly

Dearest Mom,

Wish I could go back in time, hold your hand and say a big “Thank You” for shaping my life the way you did.

Love, compassion, sincerity, faith came easily in my operating system, thanks to your superb programming! While a younger me would have not bothered about how important these values are, the mom to be in me salutes your upbringing and how you effortlessly inculcated just the right values in me.

While I can go on endlessly about the beautiful things you taught me, this Mother’s Day, I remember the most important virtue you taught me – Honesty

Honesty – with oneself, for you always said if one is honest with self, one can be honest with others. People might judge us from small instances which may not reflect our true character, but our honest self is who we are when the lights are off and no one’s watching.

Like all moms, you too dreamt of me having a bright career and making a name for myself in this world. I remember those pep talks on late nights when you would quietly enter my room with a glass of milk and motivate me to chase my dreams.

You always believed in me, even when on several occasions, my belief got shaking. One such incident was in the 7th standard. Being active in extracurricular activities, I was asked to participate in an inter school debate competition. Now this was a strange coincidence, for all participants other than me were much senior to me. While my teacher showed her faith in me, somehow I got into the comparison mode and began to fret thinking how I would compare with competitors senior to me.

Little did I know, I had a fairy with a magic wand at home, who would set everything right with her small pearls of wisdom. A mom doesn’t have to listen to her child to read his heart. She is a human X Ray who reads the child’s heart from his face. I remember when I showed signs of panic, you simply told me, “Don’t compare yourself with anybody. Just give your honest efforts for yourself. No matter what the result is, if you are honest with yourself and your efforts, the battle is almost won.” Your words comforted the panicking me. Rather than comparing myself with other contenders, I just focussed on being honest with myself and my efforts. My preparation for the contest was no longer about me v/s others. It was about my current v/s the best I can. And thus began umpteen rounds of improvisations, and you patiently heard every version, dropping your little advise without making me feel timid.

On the D Day, I may not have known what my competitors had to say, but I knew I had made honest efforts for myself and the stress of winning or losing no longer bothered me. As a result, I breezed through the debate and unlike many other contestants, was in no stress of forgetting my lines. For, my debate was all about what I honestly felt about the topic, and not something I crammed up to impress the judges.

Like good v/s evil, honesty too, wins hands down over all others. I won the contest against many others senior to me.

I remember the spark in your eyes when I handed you the award. For you, it may have been a moment of pride, but for me, it was a life changing occasion – an occasion where I realized the best in us comes when we are honest with our inner self!

Thanks mom,
#YoursHonestly

S

I am writing a letter about how a mother teaches honesty to her child with the Max Life Insurance i-genius #YoursHonestly activity in association with BlogAdda

He shares and shows his care…


We had an arranged marriage, and like all arranged marriages, life is a lot about adjusting with the stranger who suddenly becomes your world, his parents, his house, relatives etc. Once I moved to my in law’s house, my daily life revolved a lot around my mom in law. She was my mentor, ring master and agony aunt. Being the pampered tail of my family, I had never taken interest in family chores before marriage and my mom in law realized it soon…when the first time my mom in law hinted I help her with laundry; my first reaction was “what about my manicured hands and long nails?”

But I soon realized there was no escape from household chores. I could not live with the guilt of enjoying a sitcom while mom in law did the laundry alone. After all, with power came responsibility.  I could no longer trade household responsibilities for my manicured hands if I had to land up in the good books of my mom in law! And thus began my internship; I helped mom in law in the daily chores and being the wise and sweet mum, she too never rushed me into things.

However, there was one thing that hit me often. In a typical Indian male dominated society, household chores are a woman’s baby. Men turn a blind eye and limit their responsibilities to managing the finances. But hey, I was a working woman! Though I never discussed this with Mr. Hubby before marriage, I expected a hubby who would share the load in the house if I played the role of a housewife and a working woman. It irritated me when on a lazy Sunday, Mr. Hubby and Mr. father in law enjoyed the extended newspaper time while mom in law and I rushed to be with our washing machine and get over with the laundry, as other chores awaited us.

Last year, Mr. Hubby announced we were moving to Mumbai. Now, most wives jump at the thought of moving away from their in laws. However, I was in tears. I had always lived under the umbrellas of the moms – first my mom and then my mom in law. So, the thought of managing a house all by myself in a new city along with a new job got me into a panic mode!

Sadly, I had no other option. Within a month, we were in a city far away from my home. I joined work soon after, and weekends saw us mall hopping to shop for our new abode. I saw the laundry piling up, but the hectic schedule left me no time to take stock of the situation. Being his mom’s pampered son, Mr. Hubby wasn't considered as an option, till one morning, I was taken for a surprise.

It had been a real busy week at work for me. Every non urgent chore had been procrastinated for weekend, laundry being no exception. On Sunday morning, when Mr. Hubby woke me up with a cup of tea, I was taken for a surprise. My eyes quickly went from his smiling face to the wall clock. It was 9am! The water supply timing for the morning was till 9:30am and I had a bag full of laundry to be taken care of! Instead of complimenting his loving gesture, I jumped out of my bed and rushed towards the washing machine to make the best of the last 30 minutes. However, to my surprise, the laundry in the bag had already found its place in the machine and was almost done!

“Why did you do the laundry? I would have done it” I told Mr. Hubby. I was even more surprised when he replied, “When you can take extra load of responsibilities for me, why can’t I share your load? After all, house is our mutual responsibility! And with a fully automatic machine and the new Ariel, laundry is actually a child’s play!” I wanted someone to pinch me. Was I day dreaming? No I was not. Mr. Hubby had understood my agony and had decided to make it easier for me by sharing my load.

Happiness seems no bounds when our better half understands our silence and goes an extra mile to make us happy. Whether laundry or any other chore, each responsibility is ours, together. And in this togetherness resides true love and mutual understanding!

My happy heart now sings –

I know he loves me and cares
Each joy and sorrow he shares

We may not need words to explain
The hearts understand the joy and pain

It’s when we decide to share each other’s load
That the house becomes our happy abode!


I am writing for the #ShareTheLoad activity at BlogAdda.com in association with Ariel.

Ariel is endeavouring to reduce the inequality in households when it comes to household chores by asking people to #ShareTheLoad proudly after highlighting the imbalance that exists in Indian families when it comes to housework.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Portfolio 2015 – The Future of Design, Fashion & Business

The last two decades have seen a sea change in the way India’s fashion industry operates. Earlier, fashion to us meant replicating the latest fads in the international market. However, over the years, India has not only developed its own industry but has also developed a strong foot front in the global fashion arena.

The credit for this transformation goes to various institutions which provided wings to the Indian dreams, and brought the best in global expertise to its students.

A pioneer in this field is Pearl Academy, India’s largest private institution in design, fashion and creative business.

Founded in 1993, the institute was earlier known as Pearl Academy of Fashion. PearlAcademy provides over 30 under graduate, post graduate and professional programs via four campuses in Delhi, Noida, Jaipur and Mumbai. Keeping in mind the need to be abreast with international trends, the institution has collaborations with global network of renowned institutions such as London College of Fashion, Nottingham Trent University (NTU), Domus Academy (Italy), and NABA (Milan).

The courses are broadly categorized under four schools –

  • School of Fashion, Styling & Textiles
  • School of Design
  • School of Communication, Media & Film
  • School of Creative Business

A few interesting facts about Pearl Academy

  •  Offers a unique combination of face to face and online learning
  • Who’s Next – a full Scholarship for any BA (H) program that also offers an all-expense paid-trip to US to the 10 best upcoming talents in the creative field
  • What’s next – a platform that brings together global masters in the design space to discuss the way ahead for the industry
  • Famous designer Manish Malhotra is associated as a mentor for School of Fashion, Styling and Textiles (SFST)
  • New courses are offered to keep in sync with the dynamic requirements of the industry. Some of the new courses are Fashion & Lifestyle E-Commerce (FLE), Indian Couture (IC), and Global Luxury Brands Management


Over the years, Pearl Academy has been the Alma Mater of many renowned names in the fashion industry, such as Manav Gangwani, Nikhil Mehra, Mandira Wirk, Abdul Halder, Vineet Bahl, Arpan Vohra, Priyanka Modi, Manish Gupta, Vaishalli Shadangule, Gaurang Shah, Sanya Dhir, Divyam Mehta etc.

Continuing its tradition of bringing together the best from industry and upcoming talent, Pearl Academy organises Portfolio, the annual graduating event. Students of graduating batches get a platform to prove their industry readiness.

Portfolio 2015, this year’s event too, will see graduating students showcasing their work in the form of exhibitions, presentations and fashion shows. 

Few highlights of Portfolio 2015
  •  Manish Malhotra will be the chief guest for an exclusive fashion show on May 9th. He will award the winners and interact with the alumni
  • Launch of new courses - Jewellery Design and Product Design
  • Design Immersion Workshops on Product Design, Jewellery Design, Communication Media & Film, Styling, Fashion Media Make-up, Textiles etc
  • Panel discussion by School of Creative Business with industry representatives


Details of the event -

New Delhi:
Date: May 8-10, 2015
Venue:NSIC Exhibition Ground
Gate no. 4
Okhla, New Delhi

Jaipur:
Date: May 16,2015
Venue: Hotel Clarks, 
Jawaharlal Nehru Marg

So, whether you are a design professional, or a student aspiring to make a career in the fashion industry, Portfolio 2015 is the event for you. Come, and witness the future of design, fashion and business!


Do checkout the offical facebook page of the event at Pearl Academy Official. You can also follow them on twitter @PearlAcademyInd  

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The cow that gorges on Cauliflower


On a trip to a Rajasthan village last year, I was surprised to see this cow happily munching Cauliflower! While we complain of veggie prices soaring high, this generosity by the farmer for his pet clearly shows how much things change between farms and retail shops.


And I always thought that fodder is a cow’s favourite meal!