Category Archives: Inspiration

But I love You Daddy

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What had been a mild cold and discomfort soon turned into a full-blown migraine headache. If I knew that the rest of the afternoon would be spent nursing it in the confines of a dark bedroom, the husband and Sid were well aware that they free to do all they wish without the bickering lady of the house to remind them (some 200 times) that books, newspapers, pens and pencils were yet to develop legs to walk back into their places or that post a school day no miracle would get homework magically completed or that passion for your nation does not essentially include multitasking your son’s homework with cheering for eleven Indian men who were set on leaving no stone unturned to bring back the ICC Champions Trophy home.

So, when I made a comeback into the world that I had temporarily left for a good two hours, the vision that greeted me threatened to bring back the migraine in full force.

Father and son were dressed in their favorite ‘Men in Blue’ jersey as were the eleven men on the television. Father multi tasked between his e-mails on the laptop before him, watching and cheering the cricket match, helping Sid with his homework while his eyes occasionally strayed in the direction of a busy toddler in an undeterred creative spree.

Sid completed his Math problems between cheering and throwing in his views on the ongoing game.

To my annoyance, a single instruction from the husband got them cleaning and clearing up with the living room back to its former glory. Sid had not only acquired a few cricketing tips that he begged to enlighten me on but had surprisingly completed all of his studying and home work for the day. Little Princess, who had missed her afternoon nap, was surprisingly fresh after an extra dose of shredding the day’s newspaper.

I spent the rest of the evening pretending to deal with post-migraine blues while nursing my guilty conscience as I questioned my ‘no fun’ parenting skills as much as I was left in a dilemma if I must risk thanking the husband or be offended for showing Sid better means of spending an afternoon post school.

I think I will wish him instead.

With Father’s day just around the corner, here is wishing every little girl’s first hero, every boy’s friend, foe, boon, bane, banker, coach, adviser –  all rolled into one, my children’s father, my father and all the wonderful fathers of the world – Happy Father’s Day!

Recycling Slogans for a Greener Planet

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Little Princess took a cutout of the Honorable Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, embracing the French President in a bear hug at their meeting in Paris where they together put a common front on the need to fight for climate change, for her ‘news clip of the day’ at school.

The rest of the evening was spent repeating the words, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi says, we need to save our Earth.”

What was left unsaid was that as Mr. Modi vowed to protect the environment just as Mr. Trump dumped the Paris Climate Pact while the self-assured new diplomat from France – Macron – had gone a step ahead and recycled Mr. Trump’s slogan –  ‘Make our planet great again’.

As we leave the future of dear Earth in the hands of our political leaders hoping it gets a much-deserved new lease of life and a breath of fresh air –  are we doing our tiny bit to sustain our home – for us, our future and our children?

Little Princess and her class decided to celebrate Environment Day with puppets made from recycled material. I wondered what could be ‘effectively’ recycled – the cozy couch that was the husband’s favorite seat, the television or could it be Sid’s cricket bat?

We settled for Sid’s old socks, old newspaper, lots of old buttons and yarn. Even my cousin (God bless her) did her bit and recycled her daughter’s doll’s dress (without her daughter’s knowledge of course) for me.

The puppet which was carried to school with much zeal has not yet returned and the news clip continues to make its trip to school and back untouched.

But when I left an empty can of milk by the kitchen counter, Little Princess picked it up and dumped it in the little bin that holds old plastic and cans that will soon be dropped at the nearest recycling center and she jumped up and down saying, “Prime Minister Modi says we need to save our Earth.”

Okay, I have done my bit!

 

References : http://gulfnews.com/opinion/thinkers/macron-finds-his-feet-in-a-world-of-strongmen-1.2038431

App-ily Procrastinating

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If gravity is the force that keeps your feet firm on the ground, then procrastination is the force that keeps you from doing anything and everything other than the task at hand.

At the beginning of every week, I would decide to do at least three blog posts (one for the blog and two just to be ahead of time) along with a list of other tasks.

The beginning of the week is spent on research – extensive research about everything under the sun except the topics in question.

The middle half finds me locked in tasks like attempting complex postures under the guidance of a yoga instructor on YouTube, whose hands and feet are extraordinarily elastic, leaving mine as mere unmovable extensions of my body; an hour of breathing exercises to clear my mind as I reminisce on my many plans to make the world a better place, that in turn drives me into watching loops of inspirational videos that begin with real ‘inspirational gurus’ and end up with stand-up comedians .

The end of the week finds me looking at everything in a new light – one that I hope can magically twist itself into an interesting topic to blog about.

I look at fussy Little Princess chew on every morsel of food 78 times and wonder if it is my cooking abilities I must work on or improving my pathetic time management abilities.

Ah! that is when I turn to the modern miracle – an app – the instant life saver, your aspirin, Neosporin, doctor, weight watcher, tracker and so much more rolled into one.

And Google (as always) has just more than one that will rescue me out of my procrastination ways.

The Yelling Mom ‘yells’ a tune of your choice from an array of obnoxious alerts reminding you of scheduled tasks.

Finish combats procrastination by sorting scheduled tasks into short-term, mid-term and long-term due dates.

Procraster app uses prompts and short-term rewards to help tackle tasks one at a time.

So, now I have not one, but three ‘anti-procrastination’ apps on my phone waiting for me to update the list of tasks to be accomplished.

I know I need do that NOW.  Or at least today. Okay, may be tomorrow.

Wait, a detailed in-depth research on how to go about doing it would be a great start or perhaps another app, that will kick a start to my anti-procrastination one.

Dear friends, wishing you all a wonderful Sunday and a happy week ahead. For all you procrastinators out there, I hope these apps will help make your life more productive ( I don’t get paid for advertising those) but just in case you are already using it, I hope you feel better that there is one more addition to the ever-growing procrastination club.

The Health Bait

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As a child, hospitals meant dreary places with stark white walls that reeked of disinfectants, ruled by doctors who reminded me of villains in movies brandishing big syringes instead of shiny black guns. The unsmiling nurse who wielded his stinging powers with cotton balls soaked in disinfectant rubbed unceremoniously on a fresh wound, became the formidable doctor’s trusted accomplice.

Other than the sugar-coated diagnosis that has a chance of spelling doom to our happy existence or life altogether (bank account wiped out squeaky clean) and the battery of tests that usually accompanies anything more than a common cold – my fear for doctors and hospitals has dissipated over the years.

With exuberant doctors zealously throwing themselves on building patient relations and multi-specialty hospitals competing with five-star hotels in luxury, gourmet food and exorbitant bills paid with a flick of the insurance card, it is not surprising that the easy-going, busy, fast-food-addicted humans of the techie generation find every reason to visit these ‘health resorts’ to relax, recover and rejuvenate from their life-style acquired illnesses.

If you are the boring few who drag yourself out of cozy beds for a morning walk or fall into the old-fashioned fussy minority insisting on boring, healthy home-cooked meals with a belief that it is not fad-diets or vitamin supplements but mental well-being and happiness that is the secret to glowing health – then you have a high chance of being penalized for not paying your dues to the hospital industry with a battery of tests the next time you visit your physician with a common cold.

Just in case you are a pretty face thirsting for fame, then it is recommended that you shout from rooftops about your pathetic story of a battle with clinical depression, for this can rise you to overnight fame (and an overflowing bank account) with the prestigious job of being the fresh face and brand ambassador of the trending ‘#Depression Movement’!

 

 

 

Driving to Safety!

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'What do you mean didn't I see it? How do you think I hit it?'

It is not in my nature to boast. But safety always comes first to me.

For instance, when I decided to take driving classes, from that very instant when I sat behind the wheel beside the old lady instructor, I knew I would walk out of the driving institute with a driving license and a pledge to ensure a safe driving environment.

You know, reliable.

On my first day on the road, the instructor, who had boasted of her years of experience and expertise, choked, wheezed and mumbled under her breathe with her hands folded through the hour. There was just the incident of driving up onto the pavement, reversing onto dustbins and creating a small line of school buses and cars honking and hooting unnecessarily when I braked in the middle of a busy road. But every one of my actions were intended on saving a human life – strange humans who appeared unexpectedly into my line of vision.

At the end of the class, my instructor took my hands in hers and thanked me profusely with tears in her eyes. She even mentioned having children at home.

The lady must have been depressed.

That was the last I saw of her.

In the classes that ensued, I was assigned a male instructor. All through the first class, he just sat rigid, staring. However, he warmed up in the classes that followed for I often heard him say, between deep breaths, that I was a ‘rare’ sort of student. He even told me that I was talented enough to do things with the car that even the manufacturer had failed to think of.

Nevertheless, after 40 plus classes and having picked up a thing or two, I passed my test.

When I went to thank him with the news, wonder why he seemed shocked.

He must have had some hair-raising experiences, as I reckon that not all students could have been as safe as me, for he said that he was planning on a career change.

Dear Friends, wishing you all a lovely weekend!

It is no news that there is every kind of driver on the road – the over-confident newbies, the adrenaline junkies who view the road as a Formula 1 racing track and test their driving skills with the likes Vettel and Hamilton, the jugglers who believe that driving can be multi tasked with adding the final touches to makeup, texting and taking a peek into social media and then there are the others who take caution and safe driving so seriously that walking the way would be a better option.

So the choice becomes yours on what you value more – saving a life or saving time.

Happy Driving!

Eye on the Sky

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Lately, the turbulent skies have become media’s very own playground.

First, there was the ban on electronic devices onto flight cabins in flights bound to US and UK from ten Middle Eastern airports that caused passengers ( who usually spent their journey treating themselves to the in-flight entertainment  while indulging their taste buds to mouthwatering hot food cooked by gourmet chefs about a day and a half before) to panic.

Luckily, social media came to the aid of this catastrophe with a few zillion tips on facing a journey through the skies with gadgets sitting in the cargo. One of them suggested writing poems about your husband (while he sat beside you chewing on rubbery chicken tikka, headphones in place).

Social media had a field day lambasting an Indian lawmaker following a flying ban (after he succumbed to a rare case of unapologetic power-drunk air rage) having repeatedly hit a steward with his footwear (25 times exactly). The unfortunate MP was forced to take to the roads and trains struggling to effectively discharge his duties and responsibilities. Finally, a delayed idea of regret expressed in a letter to the Civil Aviation Ministry called off the ban and the MP was relieved to use washrooms without having cameras zooming after him.

When a popular American airline turned into a flying hellscape after they demonstrated to the world that ‘drag and drop’ of customers was their idea of re-accommodation, the inhumane video seized media attention with users zealously overworking their creative abilities to outdo one another’s ‘drag’ cartoons.

A hefty lawsuit , an apologetic CEO and some happy ‘Gulf’ airlines paying back their pending dues – social media has finally run out of ‘drag’ jokes and is back to discussing an adorable cat interrupting Mr. Mayor’s interview and if a musically-inclined chicken is the next musical prodigy.

Yet, hungry news mongers have their eye on the sky for the storms in the turbulent skies are just about a flight away!

 

Creativity Rebooted

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A long time ago, about a few years after the dinosaurs were wiped out from the face of the earth, owning a telephone was a luxury.

Six months after father made a booking for one, our very own shiny green phone arrived along with two directories (that doubled as pillows when our relatives visited us). My brother and I set out to make brief calls, under father’s watchful eyes, to our school friends whom we otherwise never bothered speaking to.

Wonder what an ancient Roman would say if you told him that he could watch Gladiator while riding to Athens in climate-controlled comfort or how your great grandparents would react if they looked down from their heavenly abode and saw their great grandchildren holding onto tiny slabs to listen to ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ before they have uttered their first words.

Artificial Intelligence experts claim that robots will take up most of the physical and rote jobs for humans leaving man free to focus his intellect on creative tasks, subsequently creating a few million jobs in entirely new fields.

Quality of life would be at its prime with robots babysitting autopilots in the cockpit, take up long-haul trucking routes on highways, clean up the city while we get our much-needed night’s rest and may be even take up to doing your morning jogs or attempt yoga postures that you had given up trying, with not as much as a frown, while you are just too busy fanning your creative side and unleashing your inner artist.

Statistics for obesity will never fail to disappoint with its increasing figures, but not to worry, there are robots to nurse you, feed you and take care of you while you recuperate after your Dr. Bot’s liposuction procedure.

In the first, Japanese venture capital firm Deep Knowledge added a robot named Vital to its board of directors.

I wonder if Vital will be held accountable for its executive decisions as is in the case with its human counterparts or if Vital will evolve enough to become the first robot to get into a corruption scandal.

Now that Artificial Intelligence has found its way into the board room, a little more creativity can empower robots to run the world, while we intelligent species of human beings can blissfully just work or even pretend on keeping our creative juices flowing!

 

 

Organically Perplexed!

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'Enjoy your meal! We grow everything ourselves!'

During a visit to the supermarket, I spotted bunches of fresh green palak leaves stacked to perfection on one side with its equally-fresh ‘organic’ counterpart stacked on the next. I was left in a dilemma as to whether it was healthier to feed my family to cubes of cottage cheese simmered in blanched and pureed palak leaves that have been treated to a good healthy dose of pesticides or a crisp green batch of the same that have been treated to manure (or dung) from organic-fed cows and generously watered with fresh treated sewage water.

As my not-so-green fingers and pathetic gardening abilities forbade me from growing  my own batch of herbs, I thought that my family will be better off on a diet minus the delicious ‘palak paneer’. I instead chose a batch of perfectly-rounded, red ‘hydroponic’ variety of tomatoes. I have not bothered snooping around at Google’s doorstep trying to find fault with the ‘hydroponic’ technique of farming, as ignorance (in this case at least) is bliss.

As I glanced upon the white glistening crystals of ‘organic’ sugar, I willed my mind not to think of the unusual ‘organic’ techniques employed to give it its beautiful white sheen.

At the poultry section, I came across a variety of eggs, priced exorbitantly, that had a picture of a fat, healthy and happy hen that appeared to be smiling. Upon checking, I learnt that the ‘smiling’ hen had actually been put on a ‘vegetarian diet’ as the owner had decided to go on a mission to improve humanity’s brain function and immunity with this brand of eggs. We must applaud the owner for this creative marketing strategy and forgive the fact that this person is just by the way earning some extra bucks in the process.

Thankfully, extensive marketing techniques coupled with a drastic increase in the educated lot of customers opting for anything that claims to be produced organically, we have a new brand of bottled water that claims to be organic.

Yes, you heard it right – ORGANIC water.

There is already the Smart Water that improves brain function, Vitamin Water to boost your health and Diet Water to make you skinny.

What could be next, a new range of gluten-free water or Trans fat-free water?

Thank goodness that even in this world of ruthless industrialization and inhumane marketing strategies, somebody still cares about our health!

 

Inspiration from a ‘Famed’ Shortcut

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When the editor of a leading children’s magazine published my story, my joy (and the money order) caused my twelve-year-old instincts to believe that the storyteller in me has risen from the inner crevices of my being and is on its path to a ‘famed’ story writing spree.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be a bad case of ‘Brains on Overdrive’, as upon embarking on the works of Rabindranath Tagore and William Shakespeare, I went into a literary shock that caused me to (sensibly) abandon my ‘famed’ dream.

More recently, I thought of driving myself to fame by attempting some dangerous car stunts, but the husband insists that the car and me together on a road is a catastrophe enough!

I wondered if I should challenge the Russian model, who soared to fame by cheating death and hanging off a 1000-feet tall skyscraper for a photo shoot, by updating my Twitter account with a video of pretending to write my next blog post dangling atop any one of the many skyscrapers that decorate the Dubai skyline.

The thought of my epitaph reading “Resting in Pieces’ or ‘A Fallen Blogger at Eternal Rest’ did not sound glamorous, so I thought that the safer way to put myself into cyberspace’s history book was to join the motor-mouthed, verbal-diarrhea stricken free-world Twitter force that go by the motto of ‘Tweet without Thought’. As a starter, I could tweet about the glaring lights bouncing off the bald pate of hotshot celebrities being one of the prime causes of global warming or blame Netherlands’s four-day workweek for population explosion!

My light-bulb moment came when I read that an overnight sensation is like a shooting star – a brief blaze that quickly burns out, in the book ‘All Groan Up’ by Paul Angone. Even in this fast-paced world where the fine line between fame and notoriety is fading out, the secret to overnight success is to work with such a passionate, tenacious consistency at something that you cannot NOT do that you lose all interest, anxiety and desire of becoming an overnight success.

As Indian Actor, Aamir Khan, says in his movie 3 idiots, “Do not run behind success, chase excellence, success will come running after you!”

Now if you will excuse me, I have a Twitter update to make.

It is a Man’s World..

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…but it takes a Woman to make life here worth living!

As a life giver, she stands an embodiment of strength, love, compassion and loyalty, bringing color to a stark bleak world. If this also means that she can talk for hours to end with a mute companion or unearth an event from a bygone era just to win an argument – so be it!

It takes a man to complement a woman and vice versa. Yet, it is this very equilibrium of the rule of nature that is under threat.

“Where the women are worshiped, there the Gods will dwell,” goes the saying from the golden era of the Vedic Culture in India, where a venerating regard for women formed the basis for a rich Indian history that included women who have risen to great heights of spirituality, education, science and even warriors in the battlefield.

The Indian Gods went a step ahead in their reverence for their women and had their names after their wives names – ‘Sita-Ram’, ‘Gowri-Shankar’, ‘Janaki-Vallabh’, ‘Radha-Krishna’, ‘Uma-Maheshwar’.

Is there a need for the women’s liberation association if we can simply follow the ancient Vedic culture, questions vocalist – Vishaka Hari.  She rightly points out that the present world is in need of a balance where the man and woman must respect and complement, rather than compete, with one another’s existence, as real beauty lies in dignity and decorum – not in ridicule and derision.

So, dear women, celebrate all that you represent – celebrate your emotional strengths and weaknesses, celebrate your capacity to love and be loved, accept your vulnerabilities for you are human too!

Salute the patient mother, loyal employee, shrewd entrepreneur, the dedicated teacher for it is she who can nurture and restore the balance and harmony back into this world through her sons and daughters.

As for the men, they are well aware, but just have a funny way of showing it!

It was another man, William Golding, who once quoted ‘I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men; they are far superior and have always been.’

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