Friday, January 31, 2014

Bitter Sweet Life

 A very hectic week with changing weather, illness, maid gone! But this post is not to infer that I am a super Mom or how Mommyness is a divine experience. I am trying to take the challenges and the rewards of motherhood just like any other experience in life.

But yes, this is about the simple lessons of life I have learned from two very simple people in my life- my young daughter and the other is my maid. Manju (name changed), my maid, has returned to her village. I am not sure whether she'll be back or not. But I miss her. Not only because she is very good at her work but also because she is a very strong woman whom I admired a lot.

Manju was working at my home since the beginning of my pregnancy. For me she was just another maid until the arrival of my daughter. Pihu, while growing up, started noticing her without any prejudice. The little one would try to win her attention as she would be busy finishing her household chore. To my amazement, one day Pihu forced herself on her lap. The innocent baby would not differentiate between people. But Manju would hesitate in holding her in my presence. However, I could see how it aroused her motherly feelings towards Pihu. After all, she was a mother of five children. Manju who would not talk much to anyone of us, started smiling and playing with her. Slowly an unspoken bond formed between me and her as I realized how similar women are as mother irrespective of status, region or language. 

She had issues with other households where she worked as she would not like when anyone scold her or treat her badly. She quit a house because of that. She had self-esteem. I appreciated that and became very careful not to hurt her feelings that way. We hired her full-time as she was very sincere in her work and Pihu loved her. That solved her problems as well as ours as I started working. She was very warm with Pihu and the elders. She would never take leave without informing us and so I would gladly manage in her absence. 

But as fate would have it, few months ago she told us about an unfortunate episode in her family. I should not divulge the details as it is her personal matter. We were very concerned for her. In her time of distress also, she would come to work as if nothing has happened. No one would have been aware of her misfortune, until someone had noticed her silent tears. It made us realize how we crib about petty issues when people like her are bravely fronting the real challenges out there. 

We helped her in our best possible ways. Her family decided to return back to their village. She told me about their plans and I agreed that it will be best for her children. She was feeling bad that she is leaving me without any notice period but how could I complain about not getting a maid for my household chores when her whole life is suddenly upside down. I smiled and said, ‘don't worry’. She replied, "Insaan hi to insaan ko samjhega!" (To empathize is human!). May God bless her and her family!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Himalayan Hospitality

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. The views expressed are my personal based on my first hand experiences.

This is a thank you post I am writing for a Product line- Himalaya Babycare and the Kempegowda International Airport, Bangalore.

In my routine life, I use several products for myself and my family. But after the birth of Pihu, my daughter, I have developed a strong liking for Himalaya. The fact that it is an Indian company with International standards makes me proud.

My love affair with Himalaya started when I had to travel with Pihu when she was just 40 days old. Being a new mother, I was anxious about the air travel especially concerned about her feeds, takeoff and landing. Pihu was asleep on the way to airport. But as soon I was through my security check she was awake. It was time to feed my newborn and her nappy change. I went towards the ladies room and noticed a baby sign board outside another room. A lady personnel was sitting there and gestured me to use the room. I went inside to find a cute baby room with Cribs, Sofas, washbasin and baby essentials. I was impressed and comfortable. There was a cabinet where various Himalaya merchandises are kept. 

I couldn't click any pictures myself and had to arrange these pics from a friend. But I promise I will post some really nice pics when I get there next time.  

The Bangalore Airport has such Baby room not only at departure but at the arrival as well. It is even more spacious. I have been at airports at some other cities as well where I missed such decent facility. I guess that is because Himalaya healthcare is based in Bangalore.
So every time I travel through Bangalore with Pihu, I am assured that I can refresh my baby without causing her any distress. It is definitely very clever branding but at the same time very helpful and thoughtful too by Himalaya. It not only caught my attention but my affection as well.

 I started with various foreign brands after going through several reviews but now I only use Himalaya for my baby's needs. They have a wide range of baby items and I find the products very good for my kid. They are herbals, safe, gentle and also have mild and pleasant fragrances that enhance the charms of my girl. Here is the link for complete catalog of their products. I wish Himalaya great success and hope many such endeavors at other airports, railway stations, bus stands and such public places.

If you also wish to try Himalaya baby products, check this combo at Flipkart.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chronicles of an IT Mamma- I

I had a chance to see the kids in the day care we have in our office campus. What a relief it provides to the working parents! But somehow I couldn’t help feeling concerned for kids who were not yet in their toddling stage. 

It’s been a while since I started working back after becoming a mother. I have the luxury to choose between work and not to work, thanks to the support by my family. So I choose to work to be active and updated though the salary part sometimes makes me greedy too. The choice allows me to be happy. After all, a happy mother raises a happy child. Being a mother brings a lot of responsibility. And I have understood that the first three years every child deserves the full-day company of one of the parents. Had it not been the support of my parents-in-laws who shower their love on my daughter, I would have happily stayed back home to make my daughter comfortable in this world. Thankfully, granny is just like a second mother to her and grandpa dotes on her better than her father :P.

I decided to join back office one year after the birth of my girl when I was sure that things can be managed and my daughter would not have to suffer at all. That was my part of the story. The industry demand full 8 hours’ work. The problem to me was not putting 8 or 10 hours but to be away from my daughter for almost whole day. There is an arrangement at home but I can't and should not run away from the duties bestowed upon me as a mother. My previous company demanded to commute to their far off campus every day for an indefinite period and spend 8 hours in the campus without any work since I was put on 'bench' while on maternity leave. I understood the reason behind the policy as people were misusing the bench period to travel to their hometowns, but failed to understand why they were not making any exceptions. Even the security guards can tell the difference between a genuine and not genuine person, but my last company HR could not. Workforce Managers told me they have lot of  'cases' like mine so they cannot make any exception. The population explosion has affected the sensibilities of the myopic visions of some managers. I figured the company was doing a silent downsizing due to its performance, so I quit. Not because I could not commute or work but I didn’t like the way I was being treated. I mean they could have directly told me company situation than to put indirect pressures. I quit for good for as a mother, I cannot afford to be the victim of my own fears. I enjoyed my time with my daughter while searching for work on my terms – flexibility- when I can be at home for any small or big reason for my daughter. I won few offers on my qualification and experience.

It’s been around 3 months since I joined another place. Thankfully, it’s working on fine as people I work with now are concerned only whether I enjoy my work and office and not whether I spend some specified office time. Life has challenges every now and then, when my daughter is sick or when her granny or grandpa is unwell and I try to balance work and home.

Like any mother, my priority is my daughter till she is at least 3 and ready to make friends with rest of the world. I enjoy work and deliver till everyone understands that. If someone sees a problem and micro manage me inspite of my efforts to manage both the world, I will not succumb, argue or fight but will be ready to quit for good again. After all, a happy child makes a happy mother!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Movies my choice

Here's a list of some movies that are not blockbusters or very famous but still surprised me with their creativity. So, if you are not finding a good movie to watch this weekend then have a look here. I have provided their IMDB links:

INK- (2009)
The first time we started this movie, we closed it within 15 minutes of watching thinking it as boring art stuff being a low budget movie. Next time we just went ahead as we had nothing to watch on a weekend and the only thing which was in our mind after it finished was-"Who gets such amazing ideas!"  Sad, it never got released in theaters.

Don't go by the ratings, Ink deserves maximum.

Genre: Fantasy

MOON- (2009)

Moon proved that a good movie does not need tankful of money and lavish sets nor a big name actor. The storyline, acting and the direction simply bowl over anyone. No doubt, it inspired the-not-so-good Tom cruise starrer Oblivion.  

Genre: Sci-fi, Drama


I never liked Keira Knightley but I promise, watch this movie till the end and you'll love her. It 
Genre: Romance

is not a regular cheesy romcom. It conveys a deeper meaning very lightly yet strongly. 


Jake Gyllenhaal's acting, good storyline and the suspense-action made adrenaline rush while watching this movie. After finishing such movie a you just look at each other face and smile in amazement. 

Genre: Thriller, Action, Sci-fi

MY SASSY GIRL-(2001)- (go for original, Korean version)

Hilarious to the core and emotional in the end, this movie will certainly bring smile along with tears on your face.  Go for the original Korean with subtitles. The Korean dialogues make it even more interesting to watch.

Genre: Romance, Comedy

EASY A -(2010)

After watching Easy A we were sure what kind of relationship we want to have with our daughter and what kind of personality we dream for her to become. Not a regular high school comedy, Easy A is full entertainment package.

Genre: Comedy

UP- (2009)

If you like animation you will like this but if you don't then wait. 
Up is not a regular animation movie. It has a beautiful love story- the nothing special yet special.

 Genre: Adventure, Drama


 Movies like 'up' and 'how to train your dragon' shows why animation is just not for kids and why it is a genre and a class apart.

Genre: Adventure, comedy

Do you know any such original, not so famous but extraordinary movie? Let me know. I will watch, enjoy and add to this list..

Monday, January 6, 2014

What I actually learnt while learning to drive on Indian Roads

Also published on Women's web

“Darr ke aage jeet hai” (Success lies beyond fear) – though it’s a tagline for a brand, I can’t agree with it more as I drive to go shopping or to pick up my husband from his office. Fear is fear. It is never big or small. We all have to fight our own battles against our fears. I have won one such battle. If you are also trying to win over any such fear, then this story is for you.

People complain about the Bangalore traffic but it makes me happy sometimes when I am behind the wheel, waiting in the traffic. I drive occasionally so you might say that’s why traffic doesn’t bother me much but I tell you there is another reason for that.

For a long time, I had an unusual phobia about riding a bicycle. While my friends and peers would ride their bicycles to school, to the city market, or just to play, I was struggling to make friends with gravity. To me, man riding on two wheels was a far greater invention than the wheel itself. After several years of attempting this feat, I gave up.

On one pleasant summer evening, my mother persuaded me to give it another try. And eureka! It was magic when while riding I turned back to see that my mom was no more supporting my cycle. I felt super confident. But then, I realized that by this time I was a grown-up and my peers were already driving scooters. To my dismay, I found learning to ride a scooter again an impossible task for me. I was lean and found the vehicle too heavy to kick-start or even to put it on the stand. Once again, I thought of giving up. But then what remains in life if we stop trying? What remains of life if ‘to give up’ becomes a habit?

So, after a few years of trying, untrying and retrying, I bought a light-weight scooter or Scootie as I would love to call it. In a short time, I learnt it and would drive it across our small city. With that, I learned something else too. That driving freely on Indian roads is not just a struggle to win over personal inhibitions but there is an additional challenge for girls – to ignore the mocking and staring eyes ready to pounce on you, to harass you at every opportunity, at every nook and corner especially in either scarcely or over crowded areas. Initially, the comments, the chases, the stares, the attempts to make me fall or even molest me scared the hell out of me but then one of my experienced friends advised me that ‘ignoring is bliss’ while driving on Indian streets.

For a girl who struggled to ride a bicycle carefree, I can now drive a Swift. But it became possible only after years of crusading against my fears and not giving up. I smile and pass by when they crack jokes about the ‘lady behind the wheels’. I understand that maybe my driving is not as perfect as some guys, as many prejudiced people boast about. Maybe I overlook things while starting the engine, changing lanes, or parking but I have earned whatever little skills I have for driving all sorts of vehicles against all odds. After all, there are lot of men too who are not able to overcome their fear of driving even when nobody is out there to harass them or scan them from head to toe. So even if I drive badly, I have the courage to try irrespective of the judgmental and perverted eyes.

As the tussle with my fears continues, I have discovered that trepidation towards doing anything is just a crawling spider. The more one lets it crawl the mind, the more it entangles the mind in its web. So the best way out is to kill this spider with a constant hammering of ‘Yes, I can do it!’ and this spider will turn out to be nothing but a myth. The feeling of winning over any fear is simply ecstatic.

I have experienced it, what about you?