Friday, 27 May 2016

Time to even it out!

Life post baby, for me has been a hands full affair. As a working woman, the juggle between office, household chores and baby's needs often left me drained at the end of the day. 

All parents would agree that with a small baby, laundry is not limited to a weekend only affair. Every day when I return from work, the house welcomes me with an excited baby and a huge pile of dirty laundry. So, after a quick chai, I would get ready for the daily date with my washing machine.

My Hubby however, has a very different schedule. Evenings post work for him are for relaxation and spending time with the baby. "When both of us are working, why are household chores my baby and just an option for my hubby?" I often wondered. 

Around the same time, I came to know about the #LaundryGoesOddEven activity. Already desperate to even out my burden, this seemed like a the perfect chance & I immediately enrolled. 

My hubby was surprised when after a few days, the Ariel packet arrived for the #LaundryGoesOddEven activity. But I also realised that getting him on for the game wasn't an easy task. After all, which man would want to do away with their leisure time? The Odd Even happening on Delhi roads gave me the idea & I told him that while #OddEven can help reduce pollution in Delhi, #OddEven in laundry might just get some fairness at the home front. 

So, it was decided that I would do the laundry on even days while on odd days, hubby would offload me and take care of the laundry. 

With the odds and evens settled, I eagerly await every alternate day, when i would have some free time while hubby would play my cooperative partner in #OddEven.

And it has been a win win situation for me. The evenings that just rushed with the laundry are now giving me a chance to explore myself. I can -

  • Read a book

  • Listen to music & relax my mind

  • Spend quality time with my baby

  • Take a quick nap and recharge my batteries

We women like to take the entire load on ourselves. However, sharing the load would not only reinforce gender equality, but also set the right example for future generations. 

I am taking part in the #LaundryGoesOddEven Challenge by Ariel India at BlogAdda

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Book Review - What I Didn’t Expect When I Was Expecting

First Impressions
Being a new mom, I found familiarity in the title of the book. From the moment the little one has arrived, our life is nothing short of a roller coaster ride! When one kid is driving us crazy, imagine how happening would be a house with three kids, having their own set of demands and tantrums! The parents having a roller coaster ride then, makes for the apt cover. Looking at the cute little kids enjoying their play with the controls made me all smiles! After all, as parents our moves are directed by the whims and fancies of our little angels!
My Review
Motherhood is one of the best aspects in a woman’s life. The sheer joy those two pink lines announcing the good news bring is incomparable with any other accomplishment. The moment the parents to be realise the stork is coming, they involuntarily go into the dreaming mode – of holding their baby in their arms, singing songs, playtime and lots of cuddles! Nine months seem a long duration and eagerness to hold the little one in our arms steps up, as each week passes.
But, with motherhood comes an overdose of changes. Battling the morning sickness, weight gain and mood swings, when the mother finally clears the D day finishing line, she is welcomed by sleepless nights, cranky baby and many changes that nobody seems to understand. She wonders if this what she actually signed up for.
What I Didn’t Expect When I Was Expecting is such a heartfelt account of Tina’s sweet and sour experiences with motherhood. Tina beautifully captures the major milestones in a mother’s life step by step, which makes it easy for the readers to go with the flow. Right from discovering the good news, to the challenges of each trimester; from the anxieties and excitement during a scan, to the preparation for the baby’s arrival; from the day you first hold your baby, to handling a toddler, the book has it all. Reading about Tina’s experiences as a new mom, I ...Continue reading

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Book Review - You Raise Me Up

Author – Arjun Hemmady
Publisher – Leadstart
Genre – Fiction
Pages – 363
Price - Rs. 325

Sneak Preview from the cover
Aalok Sharma, a 27-year old chartered accountant, meets the vivacious and beautiful Priyanka Mehra, on a flight from Delhi to Mumbai. They are instantly attracted to each other, though completely opposition nature. However, something is holding Aalok back. Will this thing throw a spanner in their love story? Or will he be able to overcome his demons

First Impressions
A confused guy lost in the thoughts of a girl on the cover gets the readers guessing. Is he smitten by this girl? Is she the cause of the troubled expression? Even the title couldn't provide any direction. With mixed thoughts (I avoid reading the summary on the back cover, for its fun trying to make wild guesses by merely looking at the book cover), I knew the only option was to get reading.

My view
When the author of a romantic fiction mentions he has never been any relationship, or worse still; has never ever read a romantic novel, the reader gets skeptical. It's like writing a book on medicine without having any knowledge of the trade! I wondered why was the author risking his debut with an absolutely unknown genre. Either he put this disclaimer to reassure his parents, or was weaving a story based on his perceptions (sounds too risky); for it is tough to write about relationships without having experienced even one! 

But, sometimes writing without pre conceived notions help provide a fresh outlook to an otherwise predictable story.

When the story begins with a shy and simple Aalok meeting a confident and extrovert Priyanka on a flight, I could instantly make out that the author was not lying in his introduction. The way Priyanka started the conversation with Aalok was a bit hard to chew.  Right at beginning of the story itself, I got a favour of Delhi v/s Mumbai (Aalok was from Mumbai while Priyanka from Delhi). 

Also, I didn't know one could identify a CA, if a person is silent and carries Economic Times in his bag! Oh! I love reading debuts and the fearless experimentations and expressions! 

Aalok's character is well shaped up throughout the book. Intelligent, sincere, sensitive, caring, loving, he has all the qualities a girl looks for in her ideal man. When it comes to giving freedom in his relationships, Aalok goes a bit too far; which is why one finds him dominated by women throughout the story. However, it is Priyanka who often surprises the readers with her unexpected moves. On one hand, while on the flight, she made a bold first move at Aalok, in the scene that immediately follows, she tries to portray herself as the conservative and reserved girl from another city.

But, this is just the trailer. There are many surprises from Priyanka's end for the readers. 

When Priyanka discovers there is no reservation for her in the hotel, she offered to spend a night at Aalok's house. I mean, weren't there any other hotels in the town? And one remembers that just 2 pages back, madam expressed her concern about travelling alone with a stranger.

But some people are in fact like that - unpredictable, spontaneous and straight forward. As one moves forward, Priyanka's actions continue to surprise. She gallops her way into Aalok's life and often, the reader suspects her actions as calculated moved towards something dangerous. As Aalok's sister once mentions, Priyanka surely is a drama queen!

Aalok though, almost reminded me of the Shahid Kapur of "Jab We Met"

Just when one starts enjoying the funny incidents in Aalok and Priyanka's cute love story comes a twist in the tale. Aalok has a past which holds him back to take things forward with Priyanka, who by now is head over heels with him. Worse, Aalok conceals from Priyanka the fact that he was once married. And thus begins the long flashback of Aalok's past, Tanvi his first love, their triumphs and failures.

It is here that the story falls prey to drags. What seems like a small flashback just refuses to get over. By the time one is through reading about Aalok's bitter experiences with his first marriage, the tired mind says "Priyanka who? What was she doing when we read about her last?" Finally, when the readers get a hang of what's going on, one finds Aalok stuck between his first love Tanvi, and Priyanka who gave Aalok a fresh lease of life when his life had lost its meaning.

But life still goes on. And when one reads the last page, there is a smile of appreciation both for Aalok and the author - Aalok, for being level headed and sticking to his strong value system even in times of strong emotional dilemma; the author for giving an ending that is uninfluenced by what usually sells. 

Another character that is shaped up beautifully is Aalok's sister Isha. She is the kid sister every brother would love to have - loving, caring, protective, intelligent. In her the naive Aalok finds the perfect friend, philosopher and guide. 

The author with his straight forwardness has a lot of potential and perhaps with a bit more reading of the romance genre, the next book will surely rock! If you are good with skimming, you will find the book a quick and enjoyable read. I would recommend the book for it's fresh outlook towards relationships.

My rating - 2.25/5

What I loved 

  • The narrative is funny and characters well shaped up, especially Aalok and Isha. Isha the mischievous yet sensible kid sister beautifully compliments the honest, sincere and straight forward Aalok.
  • The story strikes a chord with the youth with the excitement and challenges of love usually faced in relationships.
  • The book gives a very strong message against alcoholism and how badly it can corrode one's life.

What could have been better

  • The narrative about Aalok's past drags badly and the reader is forced to skim through to know what finally happens in his present. A little scissor work on the elaborate dialogues would have helped.
  • When you are writing your debut, typos and grammatical errors can be such a spoilsport. Pg 154 (Do you what they'll start thinking?; Pg 204 (Hey about we have a cup of coffee); pg 220 (Do you What? This guy is so good)
This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Pamper your pets with Heads Up For Tails

If you are a dog lover, this post is just for you.

All we dog lovers love to pamper our canine companions with the best, for they are so much a part of us. Gone are the days when pampering a dog meant buying him dog food and some hairstyling. Dogs too have their own likes and dislikes. To cater to the increasing demand of premium products in pet care, Heads Up For Tails (HUFT), India's exclusive brand for luxury pet products have come up with a range of best available products in pet care. The company is run by a team of passionate pet owners and dog-lovers who go out of their way in understanding the ever-evolving needs of dogs and the style conscious pet-owners, and curate innovative and pleasing products for the pets. 

With their online shopping portal, shopping for your furry babies is just a click away! Dog food, dog accessories, apparel, grooming products, toys, bedding solutions...the count goes on. The store also offers a wide selection of products from reputed global brands as well as from their own specially customised offerings and gift packages for doggies and cats. In case you are the types who prefers to visit the store, the HUFT stores in Select Citywalk offers one stop solution to all your requirements.

While HUFT has already established itself as a high-profiled pet supply brand, the company has now merged with Bangalore’s leading Pet retail outlet, Paws to launch Tail Lover’s Company, a whole new chain of Multi-brand Pet Supply stores. With stores in Bangalore, Delhi and their web portal, the company plans to practically cover all pet supply needs of pet lovers all over India.
In their endeavour to shower their customers oodles of love wrapped in top class products, Tail Lover's Company is working to turn our furry friends into fashionistas!

So, if you are already eager to check out their collection, sniff on at at

Monday, 9 May 2016

The joy of being a yummy mummy

When lines bring smiles
and weight gain seems worthwhile
swelling tummy signals the happiness to come
Ah! There's no bigger joy than being a mom

Motherhood is the best gift a woman gets from nature. The nine months of pregnancy are not only crucial to the development of the little life inside, but also for the mom to be. For, a woman discovers a new side of her and her relationships when she is expecting. Coping up with physical and hormonal changes does sound taxing, however all the troubles are forgotten the moment she holds her little one for the first time.

Towards the end of my first trimester, we had a ethnic dress code in office one day for an event. It was a time when morning sickness, weakness and mood swings had me at my irritated best. My hubby however, was highly patient and supportive. He motivated me to wear a saree he had bought recently for me. So, on the day of the event, I dressed up in a lovely Pochampally. As I was telling my sister about the celebrations in office, she commented, "yeah enjoy the sarees till the baby arrives, for the stretch marks and the odd blouse sizes will keep you away from them post delivery." Her comment had me shocked, for this aspect of pregnancy was not something I had anticipated while planning a baby.

That evening, while changing clothes I noticed two red lines on my tummy. Initially, I ignored them however, after 2-3 days when the lines refused to leave my tummy, I saw my worst fears coming alive. This was the trailer and stretch marks were a few weeks away!

When I asked my mom in law about it, she said motherhood comes with its own set of return gifts like stretch marks, pigmentation, itchiness, weight gain that made one feel inhibited. In the old times, an expecting mother was given a long list of Do' and don't's, as if pregnancy came with a user manual. Poor thing was so lost in following the umpteen guidelines that she couldn't even enjoy her pregnancy and always felt conscious of the changes inside her.

But, Hey! Pregnancy is not a disease! In fact, it is that time in a woman's life when she gets to enjoy extra care from her loved ones, have that much deserved me time, focus on herself for a change and just relax without feeling guilty of pending To Do's.

Being a woman of today, I knew no notion or inhibition could keep me away from enjoying my pregnancy. So, no matter who advised what, I decided to believe just two persons - my gynaec and my instincts.  With a little extra precautions and the right knowledge, I made my pregnancy an enjoyable experience that I will always cherish with a smile.

You are pregnant, stay at home now!
I am a woman of today who knows how to take care of herself. I vacationed during my pregnancy and it was one of the most chilled out vacations I ever had.
Vacationing with a glow in my 2nd trimester

Be sanskari and conceal the bump with a dupatta!
Hello! My bump is a matter of pride, not something to feel shy of. After all, the beautiful life inside the big belly was to give me the best status ever, of being a mom! Every morning, I used to scan myself in the mirror for any visible signs of the bump, and when it came, I went crazy buying maternity wear that beautifully flaunted my curves and the baby bump!

With Pigmentation and stretch marks, you will no longer look same!
This one initially had me stressed. But when my gynaec soon made my stress disappear. At her advise, I started using Bio Oil during the first trimester itself and trust me, it was an advice that helped me remain a yummy mummy with barely visible marks. The right diet, yoga, good genes and a stress free environment created by my family kept pigmentation far away.

So, the saree is still my best friend!

Eat for two, even if it means looking like two post delivery
No matter what the relatives and aunties said, I followed my gynaec's advise of focusing on quality instead of quantity. Following a healthy diet not only kept me illness free during pregnancy, but was also the secret behind my baby glow!

Pregnancy also got me to discover a funny fact about men (husbands)! No matter how silly, unorganised and careless we wives call them, fatherhood reveals the responsible, caring and loving side of them that as a wife we just miss. Knowing it was tough for me to stay away from junk food, my hubby too gave up junk and gave me company in my healthy food throughout the pregnancy!

"When there is a will, there is a way." Pregnancy does come with its own set of challenges. But with the right support, attitude and determination, every mummy can be a yummy mummy!

I’m writing about my wonderful journey of pregnancy for the #YummyMummy blogging activity at BlogAdda in association with Marico Bio Oil

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Why Mother's Day no longer haunts me...

For the past five years, I dreaded this day of the year. When the whole world went gaga updating their selfies with moms on social media, I preferred being unsocial on Mother's day. No outdoors, no social media, no calls, no people. While solitary confinement would be too strong a word to describe my day, I came a tad close by hiding under my shell.

Five years ago, I too used to celebrate this day like most people of my age. Mother's Day meant writing a poem each year for mom, which would get Ganga Jamuna flowing from her eyes; cooking something special for mom, which made her proud and feel sad at the same time thinking her little daughter was fast growing up. While she was at our service 24X7, 365 days of the year, Mother's Day was a good excuse to convince her for the faciaI that was subject to her endless procrastinating. Life was full of happiness and security, for mom shielded me like an umbrella and kept me safe.

Then one day, a storm came and blew my umbrella away. Just like that, God decided to have my mom's company in heaven. The meaning of Mother's Day changed overnight. From a day of celebrations, it became a day that reminded me of the void in my life. Social media played the biggest spoilsport. When I saw friends updating their status and uploading pics with their mom, my vision blurred with tears. "Why God chose to take away MY mom?" I kept asking myself! The answer is still pending when I have a tete a tete with the almighty someday. 

The more I tried to run away, the more it chased me. When my hubby's siblings dropped in to convey my mom in law Mother's Day wishes, I swallowed a lump in my throat. While I would be all smiles in front of them, to not spoil their day, I would sneak out to some moments of solitude and memories.

My sisters were still lucky. They had their own kids to the fill the void created by mom's absence. Theirs were the only calls I received, and they always told me to remember the good times and cherish the moments I got to spend with mom. 

Last year's Mother's Day however, was different. I was in the 8th month of my pregnancy and when my sister called me and asked, "So, do you feel something different this Mother's Day?" I was quick to say, "Yeah, A Hell Lot Of Kicks!!!"

"The glass is half full" mom often said. 

This year, Mother's Day finds its place back in my life. I am a mother to a 10 month old angel, who is the Sun of my solar system. Though he is too small to even understand the meaning of Mother, he definitely is a master at expressing affection; especially when he wants to go out for a walk! 

Whether mom is back or not, I don't know. But motherhood surely is back in my life, and in a beautiful new Avtar. I will continue to miss mom each day, each moment. However, the journey as a mother gives me a chance to live my mom's life and try to fill her great shoes.

My Mother's Day gift? What better than waking up to my 10 month old kicking me and saying "Umumumum....mumummah"