Sugarfree Lovers

December 27, 2014

Kitna Chain Hota Hai na Sachchai Mein

We are taught from childhood that honesty is the best policy. One who follows the path of truth is the strongest person. We have read these values, but in real life we tend to forget them at times and try to find the easier way out of our problems by lying. Still we all come across such moments in our life where lying is the easier way to get out of our problems however we choose to tell the truth, because the guilt of lying is much difficult to handle then handling the punishment for our mistake.

I have come across many such incidents in my life and one such incident which I am able to remember now is from my school days. My school was a girl’s only school and it was quite strict. I was in high school and newly learnt to whistle, I used to show-off that to all my friends. One day during assembly I told my bench-mate that I can whistle and she was eager to learn that from me. After the assembly we went inside our class and our class teacher came and started taking the attendance. I and my friend finished our attendance turn and I was telling her the technique of whistling, in that process of explaining her how to twist the tongue I ended up blowing air also and the whistle sound came out. Our class teacher was still taking the attendance and when he heard the whistle sound he stopped and asked who whistled. There was pin drop silence in the class.
He shouted again “Who whistled in my class?”. He looked very angry, I and my friend looked at each other, and we both were very terrified. Teacher looked restless now and said that if in next 2 minutes no one tells him who did this then he will punish the whole class. I was very scared as he looked very angry, I thought that I will keep quiet and will not tell him that it was my mistake.

By now my teacher was really angry and he asked the whole class to stand on the bench for the entire day. That was the moment when I felt really guilty. I felt that if I will not tell the truth now then I will be responsible for this punishment which my whole class has to go through. My guilt was so much strong now that I just raised my hand and told my teacher “Sir, It was me who whistled. I am very sorry Sir.”

He looked shocked, I was a good student and very good in extracurricular activities also which made me favourite of many teachers. He was not able to believe that this misbehaviour was done by me. He shook his head in disbelief and asked if I am sure that I did this and I am not taking someone else’s blame on me. I kept my head low and accepted my mistake again. My teacher gave me punishment to stand on the bench throughout the day, but when I climbed on the bench he asked me to stop. He said it’s okay, I forgive you this time, just don’t repeat it again.

I still remember that day, and how good I felt after telling the truth. The guilt of lying, and being the reason of pain for my friends vanished by telling just one truth. I totally agree that truth is very powerful and the purest thing in this world. Really “bahut chain hota hai sachchai mein.”

December 18, 2014

Teddy travelogues – Travel Fun with Kids

Some great man said that “The World is a book and people who do not travel read only one page” I find this line very appealing. Travelling is always a pleasant break from the daily grinding of life and it also gives us an opportunity to learn new things. We adults feel the need of a break from daily chore and travel comes as the best excuse. Similarly for kids also routine life tends to get boring and travel brings the much needed fun break. Be it your own kids or your nephew and nieces , travelling with kids always adds extra fun to the travel. Kids are always filled with a kind of raw energy which keeps everyone charged.  Their innocent questions and cute giggles can turn a boring long drive into a fun trip too. However planning a trip with kids is bit different then planning one without them. There are various things to be taken care of when we are travelling with kids.
First of all the travel destination should be chosen keeping kids in mind. This does not mean that with kids we only have to go to Disneyland each time, but we should try to find kids friendly places. Place where they can get lots of space to have fun, and where they can see something different then what they see in their day to day life.  Some place from where they can bring back some new learning and interesting stories to share with their friends. Also, there should be easy access to resting area and yummy food which they love. Taking care of hygiene is also very important when planning trip with kids.

As kid I used to like going to places about which I have read in my books. Going there used to give me a chance to connect things I see there with what I read, whereas my brother used to like going on nature trail and places where he can see animals closely.  My parents used to make sure that where ever we go we are eating hygienic food and have access to clean water. As kids tend to get very curious about things and have tendency to do risky things, my parents used to make sure that always one adult is there supervising all the kids on trip. By keeping these small things in mind my parents made all our travels fun and memorable.

Talking of these things, I feel while travelling with kids it’s always a good idea to select a new destination each time which is different than the one they have visited in past. And the stay should be booked in a resort kind of place, so that even on days you are not going out for sightseeing kids will still have lots of activities to do inside the resort itself. That will keep them busy and will give the parents some time to unwind J

Club Mahindra is a great example for same. They have thousands of resorts in India and abroad, which gives comfortable stay and the feel of that place even inside the resort also. So with them you and your kids get travel experience of different places with the same friendly comfortable feel each time. With so many destinations to choose from now we don’t need to get worried about having selective travel options for kids, just pack your bags and explore a new place each time with your kids :D

December 14, 2014

Rise Above Fear

Fear is always considered a negative feeling. Fear of someone or something always stops us from reaching out to things we actually want to do or get. Fear keeps us inside our limits and never lets us take challenges. And as we know until we take challenges and go out of our comfort zone we can never achieve or know our maximum capabilities. As gold has to go through fire to achieve its real value, we also need to rise above our fears to achieve more in life.

In everyone’s life one moment comes when we have chosen between fear or challenge and until we challenge our self we never know our true capabilities. Today I will share once such experience from my life. I have always been a studios kind of kid, who was favourite of all teachers and popular in her friend circle, but when it used to come to talking to new people I used to get scared. I had this fear of strangers; I used to hide myself behind my books whenever some guest used to come home. Similarly I was also scared of sports and outdoor activities, I used to change my way whenever I used to see my sports teacher, due to my good height she always wanted me to join school’s basketball team but I was scared to play. But then my NCC teacher got hold of me one day and asked me to join NCC, I tried giving her some vague reasons of why I cannot join NCC. She was not convinced and asked me to fill the form for joining the next camp which was happening after a week. I tried convincing her that I don’t want to go, but she did not agree. To keep her quite I took the form home and next day gave it back to the teacher and said my parents did not agree and they don’t want me to go for the camp. I was happy that I don’t have to go out of my comfort zone, and happily went back to my class. Later that day I got a call from principle, and when I went to her room I saw my Dad and the NCC teacher sitting there. NCC teacher was not convinced by my answer so she called my Dad to check why they don’t want me to go for the camp, and when Dad said he has no idea about all this they called him to school. I felt very embarrassed in front of my teachers and my parents, and so decided to go for the camp to see it myself if I can survive it or not.

I was 13 year old and that was first time in my life when I was away from family and all on my own. Getting up very early, intensive physical outdoor activities and strict discipline of the camp was making me miss my home even more. On the last day of that 2 week camp, I was happy that I will go back home, but I got selected for the next camp which was the republic day training camp. I called my mom thinking she will tell me that she is missing me and will ask me to come back, but she said that she is proud of me that I got selected and she wants me to do well in next camp. After that there was no looking back, I gave my 200% to every activity in the next camps. I cleared regional levels and got selected in the state team. I also got to represent my state in the best cadet competition. For this competition I was trained on many things like interpersonal skill, 0.22 rifle shooting, first-aids and so on.

 I finally went to the republic day camp in 2000, and I begged 1st price in 0.22 rifle shooting and stood 3rd in the Best cadet completion in National level.  That was a great achievement for me. My state team, my school, and my parents everyone was very proud of me. When I came back to my city I was treated like a celebrity. I was enjoying all the attention and compliments, and then when I went to meet my NCC teacher she asked me how you feel now, I said I feel more confident than ever, and then she said that is why you have to take challenges in life. Until you challenge your fear, you will never rise above it and find your real potential. She was so true; rising above my fear made me a better, confident person. Rising above my fear made me achieve something nice in life which I am proud of. It’s so true “Daar kea age Jeet hai”.

November 28, 2014

The Power of Voice to Clean India

How many times you have seen things which you did not like and raised your voice against it? We Indian’s are tough to mind our own business from childhood itself, and that’s the reason we never raise our voice against anything wrong until it directly affects us. But gone are the days when staying quite and ignoring things use to work, the new generation of India need to speak. We have to raise our voice to make our opinion getting hared. There is this campaign #AbMontuBolega which is going viral on social media. This is about raising our voice for right. As responsible citizen of this country it’s our right as well as duty to give our opinion for things which are not happening the right way. Be it about corruption, eve teasing, cleanliness, pollution or anything which need attention from citizens and authorities, we have to talk about it to create awareness.  

Today with #AbMontuBolega campaign I want to draw everyone’s attention towards the clean India of our dreams. I live in Bangalore, the technology hub of India. This is the place where one side of the road we see tall, shiny office spaces and on the other side of road we see these big heaps of garbage. To reach to our clean, air-conditioned offices we have to cross the dirty roads with pills of garbage on sides. The bad smell and mosquitoes which are caused due to this garbage creates many problems and health issue for us. The Authorities somehow have always kept their eyes closed towards this issue in Bangalore. People protest, complain for a day or two but after that they get busy with their daily life and start accepting this garbage crisis as a part of their city. We have to change this, we have to raise our voice against this. We have to stop just covering our nose with scarf while crossing the garbage heaps on road and silently blaming authorities and people. We instead have to educate ourselves and people around us about garbage segregation. We need to follow it strictly and have to make sure that authorities full fill their duties too. They should create proper garbage dumping areas and have to collect garbage every day. Proper waste management system has to be installed in the city.

And this is not the story of Bangalore alone; all the big and small cities in India are suffering with the same issue. We have to understand that it is our responsibility to not just clean our house everyday but also take care of our city’s and nations cleanliness. Clean India will be healthy India, Clean Indian will be beautiful India and Clean India will be the India of our dreams. If we remain silent then our dreams will never come true, we will have to work towards it and we will have to talk about it.

So next time when you see someone throwing garbage on road and not in the dustbin just tell them that what they did is wrong, don’t let it go silently. Next time when the city authorities do not clean the waste on time you complaint about it don’t just watch. Because when we will speak then only our problems will be heard and resolved. To get the clean India of my dream now I will also speak up. Kyuki Bin Bole Ab Nahi Chalega #AbMontuBolega.

PS: this post is written in support of the #AbMontuBolega campaign. You can support them on facebook and Twitter as well.

image courtesy: CNNIBN

November 15, 2014

A Healthy Child Makes a Happy Home

After a long tiring day at work when we come home and get a tight hug from our child it feels awesome and all the tiredness vanishes in no time. A house where there are no kids feels serious and boring but a house full of kids or even with one kid is always filled with energy and joy. Their giggle, pranks, and cute questions makes the kid the reason of happiness for the house.

Children’s are full of energy all the time and their energy makes the home lively. Recently my sister visited me with her toddler and the kind of energy and fun he bought to our home was something me and my husband has not experienced before. That week I was so eager to go back home after office that after 4 in evening I was not able to concentrate at work at all. All I wanted to do was go back and play with my nephew. When I shared my feeling with my husband he said even he felt the same, he too wanted to spend more time at home than at work. And when my nephew left all of a sudden our home felt so silent and lifeless. We both were missing his giggles, his playful talks so much.

Similar things I can remember from my own childhood too. My maternal grandparents used to live very close to my house and they always wanted me and my siblings to stay with them and play with them as that used to fill their house with fun and joy.  Our parents used to scold us when we used to do more masti but whenever I or my siblings used to look sad or silent my parent used to get worried. I remember on my parents 10th wedding anniversary they were planning a big anniversary bash and just 3 days before their big day I fell very sick. I was down with jaundice, and my parents were busy talking care of me and visiting doctors. They considered cancelling the anniversary party but by then all the guests were already informed so cancelling it at last moment was not possible. They went ahead with the party but my dad and mom used to keep coming in my room to look after me in turns. There was party in the house but they did not look happy. And then when I finally recovered we went out and did an ice-cream party, and that day my parents looked way happier than they looked on their anniversary day.

So this is really true that a healthy child only makes a happy home. It’s our responsibility to keep our kids healthy, and to keep them healthy their immunity should be strong. Healthy diet and healthy habits like working out regularly, cleanliness, good sleep etc helps to improve immunity. With these things adding things like chyawanprash in our daily diet also helps improve immunity. As kids we used to have chyawanprash everyday in the winters to keep out immunity strong and to save ourselves from cold and flu. My mom used to say that chyawanprash was invented by an ancient Rishi Chyawan, it’s a mix of various herbs which keeps body’s immunity high and helps us stay healthy. In modern days there are many brands selling Chyawanprash and Dabur chyawanprash is my favorite in all of them. This is a trusted brand we have used from our childhood days. It claims to improve immunity by three times, and I feel it’s not just winters when we should eat chyawanprash Daily but we should eat chyawanprash everyday in every season to have good immunity. Immune kids are healthy kids and the house of healthy kids is a happy home J

PS: This article was written for contest organised by Indiblogger and Dabur Chyawanprash

July 27, 2014

Fragrance from Napa Valley

Out of all our senses smell is one very powerful sense, which can makes us imagine things/ places which we have never seen before. Smell has a great effect on our mood. Right fragrance for the occasion is always needed to set the right atmosphere. I believe that I have very sensitive nose, which identifies smells very distinctly then others I know. I love to use nice fragrance at my home as that sets the right mood and spirit for me. So when I came to know that Godrej wants the bloggers to come up with a crowd inspired fragrance, I closed my eyes and started thinking of places I have visited in recent past.

Recently I came back from the USA, so most of the places which were coming in my mind were from there only. During my trip to the USA I wanted to visit all the places I missed in my last trip. The list was long and time was short, so I had to think over some places again, Napa Valley was one of them. Being someone who is not so much into wine I was suspecting what Napa Valley has in offer for me. But When I went to Napa Valley I loved it so much that I ended up going there twice.

Napa has this beautiful strip where you see vineyards on both sides of the road. All the vineyards offer wine tasting for their signature wines to visitors. As soon as you enter any vineyard you get to see grape plantations and lots of happy faces J  Every vineyard has a storage places where the grape juice is stored in wooden barrels. There are different types of woods used to make the barrels, and the wood used gives the distinct taste, texture and smell to the wine. The storage places always has this smoky, woody smell filled inside it which is enough to makes you feel like trying some wine.

Also in the tasting area the wine is mostly severed with different types of cheese and freshly baked bread sticks. The aroma of fresh cheese and smoky wine is something you get in every nook and corner of that room. This is a deadly combination of smells which makes you happy and hungry at the same time, if this smell is used in dining rooms or in any high-end restaurants I am sure all the guests will feel more hungry than usual. The plantation areas are usually big and open. It offers lots of greenery to your eyes and sweet ripe grape smell for your nose.

In totality Napa valley has a variety of fragrances inspirations to offer, from fruity to smoky, from woody to sweet. So based on my experience in Napa I suggest a Napa inspired fragrance which should have the sweet smell of grapes, with a hint of smoky + woody Oak notes.  This perfect balance of sweetness and woodiness will work perfectly for homes and cars of fruity smell lovers as well as for woody fragrance lovers. I would love to use this fragrance at home when I have guest coming over for a formal dinner or in my car when we are going to some lovely restaurant for lunch, this will work perfectly like a right mood setter. This is my fragrance idea which is inspired by the smell of Napa Valley, come enjoy the fragrance of the world’s largest wine growing region in the comfort of your home or car J

P.S: This post is written for the contest organized by Godrej and Indiblogger.

July 7, 2014

Drink for your eyes!!

Its summer time and to keep our self hydrated its must to have lots of fluid intake. I have been very reluctant to drinking water from childhood itself. I hardly drink 2 glass of water in one full day. As a child I drink only 1/4th glass of water with every meal, my concerned mom used to tell me the impotence of drinking adequate amount of water for human body. But for me the water always tasted so plan and boring I never felt like drinking it. So my mom came up with an idea, she stayed giving me all sort of fruit juices and flavored water to increase my fluid intake. This worked for sometime but once I got used to, I stopped drinking that too.

 Then My dad came up with a brilliant idea or getting me a nice bottle which was in shape of a bear, I stared drinking juices and water again because I was in love with my bottle. Any juice or drink filled in the transparent bottle used to look very lovely and appealing. There on I am a big fan of fancy looking glasses, bottles and tumblers. They actually make the drink look beautiful, just by looking at it you feel like drinking it.  

Just imagine your favorite mint lemonade is served to you in a steel glass, will you enjoy it as much as when its served in a crystal see-through glass? Seeing the pieces of mint leaves and ice in the glass with a ring on lemon on the glass rim improves your desire to have that lemonade and hence the same lemonade tastes better than the one in steel glass. Then it becomes not just a drink to quiche your thrust for you but beautiful feast for your eyes as well.

Tasty food is not always beautiful food, but beautiful food is mostly the tastiest food!!

P.S. - This post is written for the My Beautiful Food contest organized by Indiblogger andBorosil.

The Way to Man’s heart goes through his stomach but starts from his eyes!!

There are two types of people in this world, one who live to eat and others who eat to live. I fall in second category, I never cared about food. Anything which had proper salt as was available to me I ate. But I got married to someone who falls in a different category altogether. My husband is a foodie, who loves his food. He is someone who doesn’t believe in quantity but in quality of food.

After marriage the first and the biggest change happened in me was the improvement in my culinary skills. For his love for food, I stared reading food blogs and subscribed to many food channels to learn new recopies but I failed to get perfect 10 from him every time. I made his favourite breakfast Aloo poha, by following the same recipe which I learn from his mom. It tasted almost same, but he was not impressed. I made his favourite Daal tadka by following exactly same recipe from master chef Sanjeev Kapoor. It tasted good to me but he was not impressed. I went through tones of videos and made delicious Dum Biryani, he ate full plate but still did not praise my food. I was heartbroken and decided to give-up on cooking. I poured my heart to him and said I will not cook anymore, and he should better hire a cook. That was when he told me that he loves my cooking, my food tastes good and the effort put to learn all the dishes is something he adores but what my cooking lacks is the presentation skill.

I argued “Presentation skill?? I need to prepare a PPT for my food or what?”

He hugged me and said “Honey! As you see the cloth first and when you like the print on it then only you touch it and decided on buying it. Same way, when one sees the food it should be appealing, and then only one feels that desire to eat it.”

“What food should look appealing?” I jerked my shoulders

He came close to me and said “just close your eyes and imagine you have 2 plates of Aloo poha in front of you. One is just a plate full of pale Aloo poha and the other one is a steaming hot plate full of bright yellow Aloo poha, which is nicely garnished with fresh coriander leaves and deep fried green chillies with a piece of lemon on side. Which one will you pick?”

I opened my eyes “obviously the second one.” I said excitingly.

“You see, you tasted the food with your eyes and selected which one is worth getting tasted by your tongue.” he was smiling like a proud parent.

I got my most important lessen of cooking that day from my husband. I was already feeling hungry after talking of food and so I prepared Dum biryani that day. I served the steaming hot spicy Dum briyani nicely garnished with deep fried onion slices and mint leafs in a beautiful serving bowl. I served chilled Raita in a glass bowl with coriander leaves dressing on it and a plate full of nicely cut cucumber, onions and tomatoes followed it. My husband loved the way the food was presented and I felt proud of my cooking.

There on, I always try to present my food in an interesting and appealing way then just putting it as it is on table. Nice crockery is as important for a dish to look appealing as right amount of salt and spices for a dish to taste good. As the old saying goes that the way to man’s heart starts from his stomach, however for the modern cosmopolitan man the way to his heart goes through his stomach but it always starts from his eyes ;)

P.S. - This post is written for the My Beautiful Food contest organized by Indiblogger and Borosil.

January 12, 2014

Recharge Hair, Recharge Life!!

I am working in office and suddenly a mail comes. Oh, they finalized the day of our office annual party. I know what I am going to wear. Happy in my dreamland thinking about my perfect outfit and doom come the sight of my unruly hair and I get tens. Should I get my hair straighten or blow dry with big curls, Oh god I am so confuse. Yes, this is how I think whenever I hear of any big party or event. I have unruly curly frizzy hair, which never listen to me. Good hair days are very rare for me and on special days my hair being in my control is even rarer. Thank god that we have the ritual of covering head on marriage otherwise I would have ended up looking scary in my wedding pictures with my frizzy mane.
I wore my hair short during my childhood and when I grew up and decided to grow them long, they grew in a big curly jungle. People used to see them and say “wow, you have so much hair” but I silently prayed for silky manageable hair, which I can leave open and feel the wind flowing through them, which looks presentable even at the oddest hour of the day. It’s not like I didn’t do anything to bring my hair in the condition I love them to be. Even now also I keep searching the Internet for way to make hair soft and shiny and I have already tried everything from curd to clay and from banana to besan on them. These things give temporary relief but the amount of time and energy I give for using then is not worth the short term effects they have on my locks.

Every morning when I get ready for work, it takes me more time to style my hair then doing everything else. My husband feels that I take too long to get ready for work and no other girl ever takes this long to get ready. This irritates me to the core, as it’s not that I stand in front of the mirror and dream, I stand there struggling with my hair, pleading to them to behave. And husband someone who is blessed with silky shiny obedient hair will never understand my pain.
Whenever I have to go for any function, my work on my hair starts from the morning itself. One can see me roaming at my home with some hair mask on my head, or spending big bucks in some hair salon to make my hair presentable. And with all this hassle by the time I reach to the party I feel so tired that I never get to enjoy it with my full energy. I spend all the time making my hair look perfect and then I spend the time adjusting them or feeling tired.

I love going to theme parks and enjoy doing the rain dance with friends but the effect of that chlorine water on my hair makes me hesitant at times. Last year we went to a beach resort for New Year celebrations. I go crazy whenever I go to the beach. I went in the water and played a lot. At night during bonfire when other girls were flaunting their beach wave locks I had no choice but to tie my mane in a bun. Next day I was not entering the water because I was worried about my hair. I saw people playing in water and cursed my curls.
Recently we went for a jungle safari and while seating in the jeep when I started covering my hair with a scarf to protect them against wind and dust, a friend made fun of me saying "we are not going to the temple babe, why you covering your head?". I felt bad and angry but I had no choice. I too wanted to leave my hair open and go carefree but my hair won’t let me do that.

I am so much tired of my unruly hair and the efforts I have to make to keep them in place, I pray to god to do some miracle for my hair. I want something which is easy to use, and whose effects last long on my hair, something which can recharge my hair to new life. Something which can save my hair from the entire chemical and heat abuse it has to go through to stay presentable. Something which can reduce the time I give for styling my hair. I will save the time I spend on styling and adjusting my hair and will get to do things I love doing. Then I will be able to go to the beaches, theme parks, jungle safaris and enjoy myself to the fullest without worrying about my hair or looking untidy in the pictures. With recharged hair I will also be able to get ready for office in half the time I take now and will be able to make my husband speechless (I love this reason the best) :P With the hair which is recharged with life my life will get recharged with happiness :)

PS: this post is written for Sunsilk’s contest on Indiblogger.

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