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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Reading In Corona Quarantine

What to read and how to read during corona quarantine. How to keep sane, happy and positive amidst lockdown. What to do during quarantine time  all this and more.
Books suggested - a mix of positive stories + whatever entertaining stories you have.
Eg - Paulo Coelho - Alchemist
Elif Shafaq -
Robin Sharma - The Monk who sold The Ferrari
Gaur Gopal Das
Cecelia Ahern
Sidney Sheldon
Agatha Christie
Mythology -Shatrujeet Nath
Ruskin Bond
Chick lit
Anything that is available.
Tinkle, Amar chitrakatha, Audible apps giving free subscriptions right now.

Read because it will take away your stress, it’s the best form of mind exercise.

Stay home, stay safe, stay healthy and stay positive.


Thursday, March 26, 2020

Coping with Corona

Things that we need to do - to get through the corona quarantine and curfew. Stay home stay safe. No hoarding. No impulse buying. Social distancing. Taking responsibility. Boosting immunity. Keeping ourself occupied. Staying happy and positive.

Follow me for the series - Quarantine and chill with me.

Easy recipes and things to do/activities to keep yourself happy, positive and healthy during Corona Quarantine. Stay home, stay safe, stay happy and positive.

Episode 1

Dalcona Coffee Recipe / Quarantine & Chill with Me Series - episode 1

Hey guys stay tuned for my Series - Quarantine and Chill with Me.

Episode 1
Episode 2

Episode 3 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

How to have a happy and healthy summer vacation with your kids amidst Corona-virus.

I wrote this article for Medium, you can find it here.

Summer vacation has arrived early this time around thanks to the unwanted visitor in the form of Corona virus.

The number of infected is rapidly increasing resulting in the force shut down of everything around, schools being one of the first.
With such extreme environment, threat of infection, precautions, amidst all the panic; the parents have another tough job on their hand i.e. to keep their child safe and happy.
It’s tough in any given normal vacation and here we have added Corona to the list.
So, for all the parents facing this big question of how to deal with keeping the child happy, healthy and entertained this summer vacation here are some pointers.

Precaution is better than cure having said that do not believe in any rumors or news without checking the source and authenticity of it. More than half the anxiety is created due to false information being circulated.
Informed child is a happy and responsible child. Impart education on Corona virus to your child (age appropriate) in a light but firm manner.
Always keep your child indoor if he/she is down with a bit of cold or fever like symptoms, so as to not pass on the germs to other kids.
Kids have this incredible energy which needs to be channelized in effective ways for their benefit as well as ours. Boredom is the core of destructive behaviour and tantrums. Having said that you don’t need to keep the child busy 24/7. They need to even understand boredom and find ways to entertain themselves and keep happy, this is really important for them in order to
learn to take their happiness in their hand and to think and process the down time or cool down time. Giving in to a lot of screen time is still a big no.
Carry out activities with them which are learning based, they already have their fair share of homework and assignments for the vacation. So do not burden them with further study material.
Fun — Learn and play activities can be found online, books, quizzes, general knowledge. Do science projects, most of the requirements are readily available in the kitchen.
Keep them busy for hours with Puzzles. Board games is another great option for a fun family time.
Keep loads of art and craft supplies stocked so that you can be creative with the children everyday.
Give them a hobby idea. Making garlands, colouring pasta, kneading dough and making figurines, making kaleidoscope. So many easy activities and ideas are available.
The elder kids are more responsible and mature but the pre primary and primary age group requires
more attention to deal with. Tweak the activities based on your kids age. The elder ones will require supervision where as the younger ones will need guidance, constant monitoring. You will need to keep the younger ones occupied more as they are more susceptible to falling ill and can’t stay
occupied/entertained by themselves nor can they make right choices for themselves compared to the older ones.
Books really are the best friends of any age group — Get a lot of books. Story telling with props and activities like making your own picture/word story book, puppets, show and tell, enactment, singing or reciting songs or poems related to it (according to the age).
Have cooking dates with them. Make their favorite pizza/burger/ice cream/ smoothie together. Let them help you in the kitchen. Teach them some fun cooking recipes.
Kids require sunlight/outdoors they need to play/exercise; they cannot be locked up in the house. Let them go out cycling, playing. Remember to keep it controlled as much as possible -more the crowd, the more chances of spreading infections. So, avoid crowded places as much as possible.
Let them play in big play grounds and open areas with not much crowd.
The emphasis on not touching any public surfaces and being vigilant when using public property, general items which come in contact by many so as to not spread the infection.
Similarly, kids need to be kept away from jungle gyms, play ground swings, monkey bars, slides and other play things which are in common use.
Try your best for them not to share their belongings or use common play things or play with others toys.
Playing with their individual toys like bikes, skates, ball when outside and not sharing it with other children for the time being is the need of the hour.
Games likes badminton, tennis etc where the distance is maintained sound good right now.
Hosting few of their friends at home is still letting them enjoy with a controlled environment and is much safer than summer camps/classes or letting them play collectively as a huge group in the park.
Make sure to keep the group as small as possible 1–2 and that too with those children and parents who you are close to and know well enough.
Always remember to inform and not include kids with slightest symptoms of cold or fever.
Host a movie and popcorn day with their friends at your house (small group 1–2).
Plan play dates with the other moms (Co- moms are each other’s Saviors, keep them close).
Once the kids leave don’t forget to disinfect the surfaces again.
Better than home have play dates outside like at the playground (not playing with the common jungle gym) playing soccer, cycling etc where the distance is maintained yet the kids get the exercise and required play time too. Don’t forget to sanitize enough after that immediately.
No hands touching the mouth/eyes/nose.

Visiting the swimming pool is riskier given the situation and sure shot way to spread infections. Having a pool party alone at home with the family is a better idea, get an inflated pool, let them have an afternoon of water play and snacks.

Virtual classes like music, art, dance etc. can also be looked at.
Virtually travel the world and museums. You can even dress accordingly and have activities with them based on that.
Video calling their friends will also help.

Take them for a drive and ice cream. Again, to places that are not supremely crowded.

Best summer vacations are at Grandparent’s house. Plan loads of visits/ stays. No body can take care of your children and pamper them silly after you like Grand parents can. Visit relatives, have small immediate family get together’ s. Let them bond and be merry with family and elderly. Keep it within immediate family.
Avoid immediate travel trips altogether but more than that stay informed. Do your research before taking children anywhere and make sound choices.
This summer, adult supervision has to be increased more than ever for the well being of the children.
Let’s not let that affect the fun Summer Vacation everyone deserves.
Wishing you a happy and healthy summer vacation.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Country Roads Take Me Home ..

Country roads take me home to the place I belong west Virginia .. 
whenever I am in the open country side that's what you will hear me humming with my tribe.
This song is etched in my heart, it tugs at all the right strings and makes me feel rooted.
The crisp air, the fresh breeze and the greenery all around. 
A cottage on the hill side with a stream gurgling, mountains in the background, trees giving shade, a pretty fence, some crops, some animals lazying around aka the first proper drawing we all used to make. How many of us got out of that picture, that first dream as a child, that perfect house, well I never did. 

Remember these 

I still do them 

Somehow, the city with its skyscrapers and busy lifestyle, with dense pollution, population and a cold attitude never really was my cup of tea. I am that country girl at heart with a big glass of lassi (churned yogurt drink or coolers, I love them too) some pakodas, bhakri desi style and if you want the English countryside we’ll throw in all the fried vegetables and chicken and I will be glad with that even. 
The nature along with the animals, flowers  make me so happy, make me want to settle down by a river aka just like my drawing style. 
There I go again painting pictures in my brain, making poetry. Oh did they tell you? Its great even for artist's brain, no wonder the poets, artists, writers and almost everyone make a beeline to be alone. 

Countryside living - the slow simple life. 
The deep purge that we need in our life.
It’s like your soul is rejuvenated and the physical benefits heaped.
A magic potion which keeps one hail and hearty forever reaped.
Like a secret lotion for beautifying the body and mind. 
Unlike the highly marketed ones these are sure shot and cost no dime 
No wonder they are so sublime. 
Yet no money equals not much demand honey,
Oh that's why they opened the big retreats.
Started with country getaways,
Which no one can beat.
Raking high moolah cause they giving you a break from your life as a treat.
All this just for some free and undiluted way of life,
Exactly that which you have lost in daily living strife. 
Oh countryside life - I salute your innings;
The magic of slow living beginnings, 
In every moment being. 
To the simplest of meanings. 
- Bhakti

Finally it’s catching up again, people are starting to understand the importance of a simple minimalistic life, less clutter more living. Less distractions more loving. Less pollution more health. 
I dream of all this and more;want a country house, simple life and so yet want the city not far away. Where once in a while I can go to the mall and enjoy the nightlife to my hearts gay. 
So am I; a fair weather country girl, scared of the insects and reptiles but enjoying the cuckoo bird in its plight. Now, that's a start we all need to make. 
Or is this the nervousness of being out of my comfort zone. Surely I want to be one of those who are friends with the ozone. 
Living every pulsating moment vs running and trying to catch up with the rat race with every movement. 
It’s a hard life which keeps your heart gentle unlike the city softies with stone cold hard hearts as their besties. 
Daily comforts will be minimal but what we need is in plenty. 
Enough to lead a happy self sustained life without the materialistic cluttter that we really don’t even want, it’s just a way of making ourself feel good for what we lack and that is plenty in the rugged countryside- character.
The quote 'it takes a village to raise a child' holds true in the countryside and that’s how the bonds that are formed stronger. 
The farm to table concept is being put to use actively by many restaurants charging a premium for their organic goods. People are even visiting the farm stays to make this in a day trip activity. Where as this is just the simple normal way of living on the country side. Grow your produce and enjoy it too;  as healthy as it gets and what u don’t have, surely your neighbour does. Thus increasing the community experience and barter system and keeping it local. Keeping it simple. Benefiting each other. 

The city folks are going after balcony gardens to bring in the nature, the zen. That’s how important nature is for the well being. 
Basking in the sun, breathing in fresh air with the plants and trees. 
It does wonder for ones health - physical and mental well being. 
The creative benefits are just some other toppings that come on this chocolate cake. No wonder writers, painters, poets make a bee line for that country living. 
There are loads of pros and cons but the pros definitely are higher for me than any cons. 
One day ... one cottage on a hill with my favorite song humming - country roads ... I am home 

Country politics 
Being on the bad side of anyone will get you into trouble 
People are nosy 
Technology not advanced 
You won’t get everything that you need 
Social life not much 

How about doing it both - living close to the City or having a weekend country home. 
Cost of living is low or then Suburban homes is the answer offering best of both the worlds.
There are even those who have given all their comforts and the highest of position for the beckoning of the country life zen.

Just thoughts of a girl on a sunny summer day missing the countryside breeze, green trees, meadows and animals at play.


p.s. check out my day in the countryside 

Monday, March 2, 2020

Best Gifts to gift yourself on your Birthday.

So Birthday is done, Birthday month is done, another year is done and another year of introspection is done. 
I feel quite productive, if I may say so myself (grinning cheekily).
As you guessed from the pic , I had an amazing birthday, I love gifts who doesn’t. 
Talking about gifts I used to invite more friends for my birthday party so I could get more gifts. The feeling of unwrapping pretty colorful presents to find a surprise waiting in there. Some good, some amazing, some OK and some disappointing but nevertheless all are always exciting. 
Honestly,  I use to be eager for my guests to leave so that I could get to my gifts, I still do so (now you know, so urge me to open my gift you always get me, so that I am not wanting you to head over for the door in my head). 
Birthdays always do that to me, I cherish them mine or others and I love that feeling of being special, being cherished. By gestures, love, kindness, gifts. Don’t forget the gifts, I won’t let you (laughing to myself). 
However, as you grow older you need to be are expected to be a bit more mature about your own Birthday. 
Now, that’s one thing about life, when you are a kid, your parents pamper you with gifts, additional love and attention, party with friends- home made Pav Bhaji, or Vadas, chips, pastries and you are made to feel like a star. But as your age increases  and your cuteness decreases along with that - the need to celebrate an individual or is it how they put it, the desire to celebrate your own birthday and all that attention no longer entices one. 
So what they really mean is after enticing you all those years with parties, gifts celebrations they want you to relinquish it all. After tasting self accolade and love the society wants you to give it all away for the bigger picture over here it’s actually you bigger in the picture... 
After years of being celebrated how does one go un - celebratory, if that even makes sense? Why am I supposed to go all monk from monster (monkey would be better) on my birthday ? No offence but I don’t want to be a Monk on my birthday. 
Now I didn’t know that celebrating oneself, my own life was supposed to be a bit immature. 
Well I love to celebrate myself, the day I came in this beautiful universe, the person I am, blessed and loved, I forgot lucky too. 
I am in my 30’s and I still love to celebrate my birthday, I am still far away from being a monk, birthday still entices me and the rate at which I am going, I am sure I would jolly well be enticed by the same even in my ripe old age. 
Celebrations do change, that I will give you. Cute and pretty gifts are always wonderful. 
In the long run though - Love, relationships, family, friendships will definitely hold your fort. 
I definitely love to gift myself more of these things below and then some more for birthday and for life. 

Indulge the kid within you, do what you love, have what you love. Go for that big customized chocolate cake, surprise yourself. Have that bucket of fried chicken or cheese and champagne. Gift yourself a lovely candlelight dinner and plush night. 
In short sometimes you can have your cake, cut it and eat it too... 

Let love in your life, love yourself unconditionally and let others love you. No one can love you more than your own.  Love makes everything worthwhile, it adds meaning to life, to being. 

Cherish your family and loved ones, spend quality time with them, take breaks, go for holidays, talk, eat together, make amends, go that extra mile. It’s these moments, that you will cherish forever, these are the best gifts to give yourself. These are the people who will always matter the most. 

Let go
Let go, life is short; don’t be too hard on yourself. Let go of what you can’t change, what is poisonous, what is unhealthy, what doesn’t give you happiness, that which has served its purpose in your life. Let go off these toxic habits, things, feelings, relations and see yourself soaring higher, lighter, happier. 

(Don’t confuse yourself between cherishing and letting go, I ain’t contradicting myself. There are few things, people, relations which are beloved and which we give our all but which are toxic for our growth, we need to understand the difference. Make a choice for your growth and act on it, without guilt.) 

Let go off your Guilt 
Letting go of the guilt - that you are/were not good enough. You didn’t do your best. 
You tried- you failed- accept that and let go of the guilt weighing you down. 
Learn your lesson and move on. 

Change is the only constant 
Uncertainty is certain, so brave it on, you will surprise yourself with your capability. 
Keep changing, keep evolving, keep updating yourself in all walks of life - survival of the fittest you see. 

And on that last note, being fit and healthy is akin to survival and a good life. To enjoy the pleasures, you need to sweat it out. Exercise, eat healthy, have a disciplined life in some sense. The fitter you are the more birthdays you will celebrate eating cake your way. 

Cleansing your mind is of utmost importance, mental health is as important as physical. You want to remember your party people and stay sane till your last birthday now, don’t you? 

Be kind to yourself first, be gentle on yourself. 
Don’t blame yourself for everything that goes wrong and don’t be too hard on yourself. 
Be kind to Others, help those in need - a loving gesture goes a long way. Kindness always comes back. 

Believe in yourself. If you will then others will. 
Believe and you will do wonders. Believe in the universe, the greater force. Have hope and faith always. 

Have a right attitude cause it’s all about the attitude. 
The glass is half empty or full only you decide, the same way your life is beautiful or no only you decide. 
Look for good in everything and you will see it. 

You need your chosen family, the crazy ones to make this ride worthwhile. To throw you that birthday party every year. The people who have your vibe, keep them close. They will always be there for you, they are your tribe.  

Enjoy your own company 
Enjoy your solitude, your own self. 
Get to know yourself, fall in love with yourself, romance yourself. The longest and most stable relationship you will ever have - you - invest in it totally. Invest in yourself. 

Read a lot of books, weave a lot of stories in your mind. 
Books are your best friends, they will take you around in their world. 
They will enrich you like nothing ever will with their treasure troves. 
Podcasts are the new favorite books, not mine really though but as I said you should stay updated. 

Gift Experiences 
The trip you wanted to take, that class you wanted to join, the mountain you always wanted to scale. Do that.
Experiences make you feel better than materialistic pleasures. You will always cherish the memories. 

Be a student of life forever. In whatever field, way, thing, experience you want - educate your self. 

Be happy. Happiness is not a destination, it’s the journey. So don't wait for it, make it happen. It’s work in progress, chose to be happy every day and see the joy it brings in life. #smallthingsbigsmiles 

Be grateful for yourself, this life, all that you have, all that you are. Celebrate it aka celebrate yourself- celebrate your  Birthday 🥳🎂🧁🎊🎁🎉 

—- point proved —-  laughing happily, as if I need a reason... 
No pressure but you better celebrate with me cause this one will leave old and with a grand big one. 


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