Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Great Grand Legacy #LoveJatao

As kids around the world make plans to celebrate the Grandparents Day today, I for one will have to enjoy only through a video chat perhaps. But I would take this moment to reminisce and share the memory of those calm times way back when we would visit our grandparents every vacation. 

There was a time when I used to think that the month of May was one of the festivals in India. Because as soon as the vacation time approached families with kids all around would be geared to visit their grandparents. You can't blame my child brain thinking this was an event. Going to my grandparents meant leisure time in the green and pristine suburbs of Pune, away from the crowded noisy suburbs of Mumbai. 

Those breezy summer afternoons meant eating a good lunch made by my grandmother, and eating a lot of mangoes or aamras. And there is the priceless memory of my grandmother saving up the creamiest of malai for me and a dollop of it in my morning tea. My tea has never tasted that yummy ever after. If we were not having a playful banter with our uncles we would be busy exploring my aunt's purse which was always filled up with the most interesting accessories and knicknacks. Mostly she would be gracious enough to lend them to us. 

Aside from the food and the great memories, the other thing that greatly shaped me as a person was the stories I grew up listening to. I have been blessed by storytellers all around me. Over the years my father and uncles and aunts have described my paternal grandparents, whom I never saw, in such vivid details that if I ever time-traveled back to their childhood place, I would spot my grandparents in a matter of seconds. On my maternal side, both my grandmother and grandfather were storytellers with very different stories to tell.

My grandmother's stories were rooted in reality. As her dexterous hands moved dutifully around the chores of the household, she would tell us about her childhood and I would know that those hands that were trained with mortar & pestle were not slowed down by the fast domestic devices that surrounded her now. She would tell us stories about how women would gauge the goodness of the grains or pulses by touching them and identify the desi ones from the high yield breeds that had entered the market. This is "organic food" talk at least half a century before it became the trend!

As the dusk arrived, it would be time for my grandfather's stories about Indian history or from the epics of India. It was not a superficial love either, for he had served dutifully in the Civil Force all his life. If I have developed love for history, it is not from the pedagogy of classroom teaching but through these extempore talks with my grandfather.

The place where I live now, the shade of orange never leaves the sky even at night reflecting back the glaring lights of the city. But back then, this is a couple of decades ago, when we would sit on the verandah of my grandparents' bungalow and watch the starry skies and learn stories about how people used the sky to navigate the world it would transport us to a different time. I remember my surprise when my grandfather had told me that the word navigate had a Sanskrit origin, (it is a compound word form adding nava and gati, loosely translated as "the direction of the sail"). As weird as it sounded then it has since then cemented my interest in language and its flow.

As the vacation came to a close we would with a heavy heart return to our routine, back to the hustle-bustle of school time. But I can say this much with certainty that what I have learnt from my family and friends I have hardly learnt anything of that value in the classrooms. Now I look forward to facetime my grandmother and thank her for the invaluable time we spent under her care.

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I look forward to hear from you how would you celebrate Grandparents Day. Do share a selfie with your grandparents on Sept. 10, 2017 on Twitter or Facebook with #LoveJatao & tag @blogadda to win a goodie from Parachute Advansed.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Bosch Dishwasher Review

Even in this time and age when we change our cellphone models every year for the tiniest updates, we as Indians are still slightly apprehensive about investing in a dishwasher. Here are the issues that were stopping me and here is why I invested in one. 

Higher Water Consumption

The one factor that stops many people from buying dishwashers is the belief that dishwashers consume a lot more water than doing the dishes with your own hands. This is not true for two reasons, one, if you wan your dishes and vessels to be evenly remotely clean, especially considering diverse Indian cooking it is impossible that you are actually using as less as you imagine you. For testing I used my 30 gallons bucket for one day washing of our three members family, and I found out that I was using up good two buckets! 60 gallons of water is about 228 litres!  

Compare it with this Bosch dishwasher. My model of choice is Bosch SMS69M18GC Dishwasher, it consumes about 6 litres of water. I know it sounds too good to be true but here's why this has been possible.Newer machines have been optimised for lower consumption of water, one factor is to help water conservation efforts and the other is the application of innovative technology. What this machine has is a fan mode that simply splashes water on all the dishes and vessels giving it a handwashed-style cleaning. And also considering handwashed dishes have to be scrubbed individually and washed individually and machines clean it at once is a major factor influencing my decision.

Not Enough For Families

Here is the space, 60 cm in width 

Another factor is that people assume that dishwashers are not enough for big Indian families. This dishwasher although it looks regular in size has used its space optimally. There are different slots for dishes, vessels and spoons. And there are many flexible slots so that you can close down one for more space or pop one out to convert it into an extra space. This is definitely useful as you can utilise the vertical space as per your need.

Additional Advantages
(These are of course, of great value for us in these hectic times.)
  • You can set it for wash at any time you want, unlike the fixed time you might have for the domestic help.
  • It works on an almost silent mode. Compared to a regular washing machine spinning sound, this is less than 10 % of the noise and only when draining.
  • Various modes for more deep cleaning such as with hot water or a longer timeslot.

The Setbacks

Now this might be entirely only affect you if you cook greasy food everyday because I found that my greasy kadhai and grimy tawas did need a bit of their iron mesh scrubbing before they were popped into the dishwasher. This is applicable if you have cooked pasta and the cheese has stuck to the base in the process. But if you don't mind this aspect you are still saving a lot of effort.

So far so good! Let me know what your thoughts have been about using your dishwasher or for not wanting to buy one...

#Bosch SMS69M18GC #Dishwasher #Review for @blogadda

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Half Way There At A Half Hearted Pace

So there are many things that this era will be known for - hashtags, trending, tweets, oh so many buzzwords, it must sound like a foreign language to people who are not connected to the Internet. So many words they knew have changed meaning, for instance, they would think a viral was a bad thing, to come down with a fever, and to hear it in this context of popularity, how does it sound?

Is that how the term Halfgirlfriend sound to you? But there is some truth to it, relations are a little lukewarm these days through nobody's fault! Just this technological age stormed in and changed the way life itself was conducted. It suddenly made us feel like there was an infinite universe just passing us by, and we could see it via our Facebook and Twitter timeline, and the day seems like it lasts for a mere three hours! 

But does that term scare you, girlfriend? Have you reached the comfortable halfgirlfriend stage and are happy to stay there, without finding the courage to move ahead? You know what helps in a situation like this? A story from the wise old past? 

So let me tell you an old old story from decade ago...

A decade ago sounds like a long time now, because we have all subconsciously started counting time in dog years...

(While us millenials remain stuck in perpetual 90s)

It's a real phenomena!

How did it affect yours truly? I was living quite a regular life, I had the joys of living in a city and the burdens of middle class living ;) while the millennium rolled along! What I was hoping was that it continued this way pushing away quarter life crisis, you know the one, marriage. You know due to the virtue of having never watched Disney princess movies, and having seen actual real marriages, I was not buying the whole romance in a marriage. (Plus, this is India, no one was selling this imported idea anyway! Pfft romance and marriage... Don't believe me, go check any marriage in a Bollywood movie and it falls into these three categories, 1) the end of the movie 2) a flop 3) ... there is not even a three! 

So you get me, so needless filled with this level of enthusiasm I had to go through the whole routine of groom searching and pretend I wasn't paranoid. Then we got married, my husband and I. HE AND ME. Half-husband Half-wife. (Does your half-girlfriend sound like nothing to you now?)

And we were only halfway there which ensued an interesting charade. A nation was on a cusp of change and hence the rebel between the old ways and the new, and stuck between this were us, people who did not makeup their minds. Could I have achieved more success in my career if I was not tied up like this? What about this baggage of routine chores that are taking up time? (I am sure if I was to say "batch-cooking" my mother and aunts will think I came up with it!

It took us almost a decade but once across it we know we were scared of nothing. Commiting and settling down are made to sound scary and you can still have everything you want, a career, travel and you have a person to do all this with. So if you have a half-girlfriend, go ahead cover the distance, it is worth it, the transition may sound shaky but not the outcome! 

“I am sharing this Half relationship story at BlogAdda in association with #HalfGirlfriend”

“I am sharing a Half relationship story at BlogAdda in association with #HalfGirlfriend

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Colgate Story Time With The Earth Defenders

Right from the first generation, we have associated Colgate with the dental hygiene for the whole family. We fondly remember the days when Baby Guddu's beautiful smile before the Sunday morning cartoons made us want to use Colgate as kids. Here is what we found in our Colgate box this month.

The stage is set for the Earth Defenders
and their cool talking machine, Nila

My daughter instantly took to building a story around these characters. She set them up like a stage. And weaved a story around these characters, twins, she named Rose and Sam. The "Earth Defenders" who are on a secret mission to save the earth. Have a look at the story. Of course it is full of drama in saving the world and very interesting.

Kindly note that there are number of characters
being added as we go,
and the story is being planned as a series...

We enjoyed the fact that these are fun toys but also that they are educational toys. (Note: My daughter says that she is happy that there is a girl astronaut too.) Our opinion is that this was a complete toy. In the sense, it helped them build it, for much younger kids it means, developing their hand-eye coordination, for my 8 year old it meant that she enjoyed building them. Next it helped give a sense of creating something, which all kids enjoy. My daughter enjoyed setting a stage for the story telling. And next, trigger their imagination, because the idea that the world is really an endless space is an exciting prospect for them, it means new worlds with new people. And of course the sense of heroism as in my daughter's story, she felt the need to create characters that were protecting earth from the aliens.

Of course, this is in keeping with our views as parents who want to see her become whatever she wants but we also aspire for a world that is fit for her to progress. A world where we can set our goals towards bigger things. This exercise also reiterated our belief that children have a natural leaning towards Science and such toys that help them imagine a bigger world with wider horizons will make them nurture a love for the subject.

I think big brands are in the position to change the world, make it a better place. So whenever we see any brand attempting to do that we feel good to have any association with the brand. This is a good step in that direction and also a way to endear the brand to a new generation.

“I’m blogging my #ColgateMagicalstories at BlogAddain association with Colgate.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

BFF Fundas

All I can imagine while writing about my friend is, she reading it and laughing at every corny line that I attempt to write in the name of humour. It will get even worse if I try to write something sentimental because that will receive straight off ridicule.

You see, it is almost the duty of a friend to continue where a sibling leaves off. Except that you might be saved from a sibling by their absence in most circumstances but a friend tags along everywhere. So, in the knowledge that no humour or sentiment might work I will write about the "Jug" in my life as the relation stands to be.

So I met my "Jug" while I was still in school but this was not a childhood friendship. I was in the 9th grade and had moved to a new town. She didn't really like me because I was giving off a nerdy vibe and she was well, a regular kid. We didn't really think of speaking with each other till we entered college. It was some random incident that we realised we had so much in common.

I can not think of a better time to be friends with her. As it happened I needed to have some fun and she needed get some seriousness (jk)! For some people, their best of friendships is formed in their childhood. But for an awkward introvert like me, youth was a much better time to form friendships when I was more comfortable in my own skin.

Friendship at that age meant sharing ideas, music, books and crushes (just the stories, not the crush) or going out with more freedom. Sure childhood friendship has its charm, but friendship of youth has the advantage of maturity. It is a more active choice, in childhood you become friends with someone just because they are around. But when you are young, you choose a friend because you have a lot in common. It means less fights and more happiness. And it doesn’t mean it has no silliness, NO SIR! In fact, your college friends can put you in tighter spots than you have ever known. And it means watching Friends re-runs and pointing at each other and nodding at moments that resonate with your life.

Over the years, I have learnt a lot from my friend. And it is not through one single incident but through the myriad little mundane happenings. And also through the general big picture and I know my friend fits in both the frames. Mere bad times don't last, temporary hard feelings don't last, what does is the bond between good friends. Good friends can keep you very rooted without touching the vulnerable parts of your self-esteem.

Really it is hard to quantify or qualify the best of relationships. All I can say is that I am very glad to have my “Jug” in my life! Now I want to see how “Jug” from #DearZindagi scores compared to my Jug!

am writing about Jug in my life for the #DearZindagi activity at BlogAdda

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Dear Zindagi: Protect My Lifegiver

Dear Zindagi,

I think you are also called life. I don't know you. But I have been told I have been infused with you, the life, by my lifegiver.  While I was cosily embedded in my home here, I was told by someone called God that I should call her mother. Although I like the name lifegiver too.

God told me that I would know her well. And I know why. Sitting here in my home, it is called womb, I can hear her heart beating. Not even she has heard it. And it is this music that is the language between us.

It beats softly when she sings a lovely song and the rush of her affection reaches me along with her sweet voice. That is what helps me grow.

I remember, a few days ago, her heart beating wildly I was so afraid. Her voice turned coarse and loud. I think she was afraid of losing me. I know she thinks that she doesn't send me enough food. But more than her food I am growing on her love. That is what makes the little food she sends my way, sweet.

Dear Zindagi, please hold on to me so that my mother does not worry. I can feel the presence of food all morning but I know that she is the last one in the home to eat it.

Although she says she is happy I am a boy and not a girl like the last time so they won't take me away from her. What made my lifegiver give up, I wonder. I had imagined her to be the strongest person ever. Are there more stronger, less kinder people around her?

"What kind of a mother are you?" she says to some other person, "don't you even care for your grandson's life?" I don't know her, is she another lifegiver who is supposed to take care of my lifegiver? Is that how it works? If not, it should be. I am sure they can understand each other if they are doing the same thing.

What about the person they call father, he doesn't ever speak so I do not know how he fits into the system.

That is how I know, dear life, that you can make my mother happy till I get out into the world stronger. So that once I see my mother she would know for sure that she would have me with her, on her side always. Do not give up on me like you gave up on my sister. I hope my lifegiver becomes  strong too so she doesn't struggle so much. And make me stronger so I could take care of her. So stay with me, dear Zindagi, we have a long way to go!

“I am writing a letter to life for the #DearZindagi activity at BlogAdda”

Friday, November 4, 2016

Dear Zindagi: An Open Letter

Dear Zindagi,

Well Hello! Hope you are doing fine! No, seriously I hope you are, seeing how you are running through me as my quintessential! :)

So while I write to you this letter I am also taking this opportunity to figure you out. Who are you? Are you the small passing moment? Are you all the atoms that make up my body? Or are you the huge, all-encompassing consciousness that passes through all living beings? What are your thoughts on you, this grand spectacle on the tiny blue speck in the universe? Are you some game a young teen plays on his simulator?

A bit too philosophical this may seem...

May be you are simply the beauty of all the complexity of living!

How does that song go again? "Zindagi kaisi hain paheli haye, kabhi ye hasaaye, kabhi ye rulaye?" Oh Life! You are such a puzzle! You make us laugh a moment and cry the next! A place where goodness and cruelty exists in the same chambers of the heart! That is right! Some puzzle you are, even to the ones who don't think too deeply!

Of course, I have spent a good time wondering about you. Heck! I even call my blog, "C'est La Vie" - This is Life - whatever form and shape it takes...

Well before I tire you out , here is someone putting it in better and wiser words,

Perhaps, I should thank you for the obvious gift, a healthy long life punctuated with the love of family and friends, a world that is changing for better, a world that has art, music and also libraries (Libraries!!! :)). And also for having the mind that is still kicking ass enough to appreciate it all!

Dear Zindagi, I love you, just as love is meant to be, with all your beauty and flaws, no alterations!  I knew that when the Mars mission didn't excite me, not because I was scared but I am too much in love with this life on earth. I don't want to give up on what I already have right here, right now. I didn't give up on you, when you threw the tantrum of tough times on me, didn't either take a leave when it seemed like you would never recover. I also love the mundane little details of getting up each day and going through the motions of life, as much as I love the moments lit up by inspiration. That is how much I love you.

But to follow the "If god exists, evil exists," logic, it is also impossible to think about you, without thinking about your nemesis, death. That is also a constant preoccupation. Like how it is our only inning? How it is a painful reminder that our time here is short? But instead of depressing me, it makes me appreciate you more, love more deeply, live a bit strongly.

Dear life, how could I sum you up when I know you are much more than a quote or a quip and the best of philosophers could not sum you up. And it is much better to live it up than ruminate over it until one day when you will have lived it well and you will say "What a life!"

So dear zindagi, now that I have written this love letter to you. What shall we do on our next date? Wanna catch up a movie, Dear Zindagi, it seems to be about you?

“I am writing a letter to life for the #DearZindagi activity at BlogAdda”