March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day, on the occasion of the same we thought to spread the awareness about it and to present some facts…
He is 14 but goes to class 5! He has a different facial structure. A little longer tongue, big head, small and peculiarly shaped ears, and chubby unusual fingers. He can’t speak fast leave aside walking and running. He speaks slow. No! He isn’t mentally retarded. Krishna is smart. He is compassionate. He is fun to be around and yes, he loves unconditionally!
He is a little slow but just uniquely gifted as all other kids. Only that he has inherited a genetic anomaly which makes him a labeled as a child with Down-Syndrome. There are many other Down-Syndrome children who are misconstrued for being mentally retarded when they are not. Lack of awareness about
this syndrome in Indian society is the primary reason for such misconception.
Down-Syndrome in lay-man language means that the child is slow in reaching developmental milestones in its life. Science says that this syndrome is caused when a child has 3 copies of the 21st chromosome than the usual 2 copies. This state where there is an error in cell-division before or at conception leaves the cell with an extra chromosome-21 and this condition is also known as Trisomy 21. This may lead to some level of intellectual disability in the child but doesn’t certainly make the child mentally challenged. Statistics say that this genetic condition is very common with a ratio of 1 in 800 live births getting affected by it every year,in the US.
Is it a curse in the family or the wrath of the Goddess? Why does this happen?Are these children abnormal? When do we get to know this? Is it fatal? How to raise these children? Is there a cure for this condition?
These are a few panic questions which are faced immediately by a doctor after a child is diagnosed with this Syndrome. The disappointment which a parent undergoes on realizing and understanding the question initially exhibits itself in the form of denial. There are parents who denied the condition for years and lost their time which could have otherwise been used for a happy, healthy and loving co-existence with the child.
It is important to understand and accept that life comes in many shapes, sizes,colors,and dimensions! Life is uncertain and that is what makes it more beautiful. Isn’t it?
“Acceptance of the condition and the child is the first and foremost important step to raise a child with Down Syndrome”!
- A Down Syndrome child is a perfectly normal child, but the imperfect society makes it abnormal to have a special child with special needs. Yes! The syndrome is neither fatal and nor is it the wrath of the Goddess. It is a simple condition which makes the child way different than the regular flocks of doctors, engineers, and other rat-racers.
- Sadly, there exists no cure for this genetical disorder but it can be diagnosed in prenatal diagnosis when the mothers are 14-18 week pregnant. Nowadays diagnostic tests and screening tests are recommended to all mothers irrespective of their age. In case, the fetus is diagnosed with this medical condition, then it is left to the decision of the parents to abort the child or let the child be born and accept the anomaly.
- There are more myths than proper information associated with this syndrome. Another popular myth is that older women (age > 35) are prone to give birth to a child with Down Syndrome. People also feel that
- Down-Syndrome is not a contagious Disease. It is mandatory to understand that children are born with this syndrome.It is a chromosomal abnormality and cannot be caught by others like any infection.There doesn’t exist any vaccine or medicine which can prevent the occurrence of this syndrome. This syndrome may be inherited by a child from its parents but mostly it is due to the chromosomal addition to the cell.
- It is utmost important for a parent and others in society to understand the syndrome and to accept the child born with it. Children need love and affection to grow. They thrive on positive reinforcement and special children are no different. The only factor which changes the ball game is a parent’s confident approach to raise a special child. Easier said than done, unconditional love and living life in the given moment can pave a successful path ahead for the child.
In our next blog post, we will bring to you more about parenting special children and also share some first-hand success stories.
Today, my 7 years old niece took me to a surprise when she promptly ticked on her bullet point in her to-do list for the day after her cycle ride. As they say,, the children are the best imitators. They copy, or most of the time they ape the elders. We, my sister and me, have this habit of writing down a journal since we were kids. I have been a fan of a routine which is followed religiously even during my leisure days. I remember of keeping a timetable for my vacation too. No one forced me for this diligence. But I think I am wired to have a tab on time spent.
That was childhood. Time of course flew in no time(sounds filmy) isn’t it! But when I look back, I realize that this prudent habit has made my job much easier now.
Once a pattern is persuaded regularly becomes a way of life.
Journalling for me meant writing down how am I going to spend the whole day given so many activities and my varied interests. And mainly it helped me gauge myself when Mumma was not around during my vacations. Wise allocation of time, putting the same on the wall, decorating it and sticking to the timetable was all an easy task for me. It used to give me a sense of achievement when I had ticked 90 percent of my day’s task. It involved reading books(academics/shlokas/or story), cleaning my mess, helping mom in her chores, watching TV (MTV with Nikhil chinnappa, and Gaurav Kapoor on V TV), watering the plants, drawing/ painting, playing indoor/outdoor games, eating and chit chatting around.
The habit continued for my good, and now it has become a part of my life. The daily life today isn’t easy, but when priorities are jotted down in the form of a journal or to-do list, then it is just a cake walk.
Many successful people have emphasized a lot on the process of Journalling for million reasons. Journalling is a process of writing a diary. It is a simple activity where you note down what has to be achieved by you for the day/month/year. It is often said that when you write or record, you give clarity to your thoughts. Journalling helps in prioritizing the tasks. Important and urgent tasks can be written on the top followed by the rest.
A continuous tab on what has been done and what has to be done gives an idea of how much we have achieved of what we had set for at the beginning of the day. With multiple tasks at hand, now, at this stage of my life, I always resort to my journals. They are the mirror which tells me what to do and what has been left out.
This is a time saving simple method for people who have a lot of tasks and can’t keep a check mentally.
Let it be office work, household chores, payment of bills, meal prep for a week, a vacation planned or diet and fitness related regime, Journalling is the solution to ease your life.
Today, I go by the ‘done list’ which is to write down what has been done throughout the day instead of what is to be done which we l talk about in the next blog along with the various methods of Journalling.
Colors play an important part when It comes to writing a diary. It is in fashion now to also be expressive at Journalling than the monotonous tick and cross method.
I play multiple roles and have many hats to wear. With two hands full and a mobile in my hand which is the most essential gadget of my life, I feel the popular applications of Journalling are booming up.
I prefer my old school of writing a to-do list early morning than the various apps. And why not a pen and paper have a magical impact.
When you sit, think and write, you visualize the day further adding to the power of its manifestation. Achievements are seen to multiply when you exercise this one activity religiously.
With this blog, I am 10/10 for the day and heading off to sleep. Are you a fan of Journalling too! If yes, then share your secrets and experiences about the benefits. Else why not try once this awesome art to success.
I saw her first during my first visit to Chennai and fell in love with her. Her Pillai style Madisar usually green, maroon with a matching blouse, with a signature KumKum on the forehead brought in all the beauty. She was amazingly beautiful but looked gorgeous on Friday as she brightened her skin using some Manjal or Haldi. Grey hair tied in a bun always I mean always adorned with flowers.
This was Krishnammal whom we fondly called “Aachi”.
Aachi married Thatha when she was in teens. From her village she came to a city called Madras. Back then, Thatha was working in a temple at Nungambakkam. There were no all weather roads in Madras but Aachi used to deliver his lunch box by walk. Whenever somebody tells me this tale, I can imagine old madras and the way this beautiful saree clad would carry the hot lunch box ( 6 tier with spoon) for her husband.
How lucky Thatha was to have such a dutiful wife.
She was diligent in her chores. As they stayed in temple house or Agraharam, she used to do all the household work looking after her kids, grandkids and great grandkids. Till she was alive, the house was always full with people. She has brought up number of children with such an ease. I now feel that Aachi loved to be surrounded by people. Her way of welcoming and feeding each one of us is unforgettable. Once I remember I overate enormous amount of food because I could not say no to her. This is not only my story, they say, one could never resist overeating food made by Aachi.
All her recipes are gems, food made at Aachi’s home would give run to any five star hotel food or for that matter Aru Suvai’s food (no offense to Aru Suvai 🙂 ) ( Aru Suvai are the Famous Caterers in Chennai) may be as
Aachi would pour all her heart in the food that she would make.
We used to stay near her home in Mylapore then. She would come home around 5.30 in the evening walking from her house just to see us. She would come, ask me about Sham’s whereabouts, my job and what I made that day. At the age of 82-83 she would walk and come home. She used to rush back home immediately because she never liked to stay outside home after 7.00. I have got scoldings many times for being out after 7.00.
An ardent believer of god, she was the only person in Mylapore who can call Lord Kapaliswarar by a pet name “Kapali”. I was amazed at the way she could walk and go to Sabarimala even at that age.
There is a Nellika(gooseberry) tree at Aachi’s place. While being pregnant, I used to munch on those, even now I do but then it was special. She noticed it and one evening she brought a fantastic tangy pickle of those hand picked gooseberries. A gesture which I would never ever forget. Aachi has touched many lives through her food, her demeanour and her number of kind gestures but what remains with me is a loving and caring being who was standing for 5 long hours outside the labour room just to overlook whether the doctors are doing their job properly in making me deliver a baby girl.
Rightly so, we named our lil one after her.. Because her majestic being lives in our heart day in and day out.
P.S. I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter. This is my first post.
With an overwhelming response to the last guest post, Ishmeet is back to give us some information on Canine Nutrition. We are happy and grateful to host him on “The 5 AM Mommy”.
Who can resist those big brown eyes and cute doggie grin? Can a little reward from the table really hurt your dog? Well, that depends on what it is and what’s in it.
A nacho chip with salsa can cause your dog some real problems.
In fact, there’s a lot of “people food” your dog should never eat. And, it’s not just because of weight. Some foods are downright dangerous for them — and some of these common foods may surprise you.
Cooked Chicken Bones-
Cooked chicken bones can be very dangerous for dogs to eat. Not only were they often cooked in such a way that is unhealthy and even harmful to dogs, the bones can break and splinter, puncturing the digestive tract. Dogs can also choke on broken pieces of bone or have larger pieces become obstructed in the intestines. No matter how tasty you and your dog think cooked bones are, do not feed them to your pooch.
Beer, liquor, wine, foods containing alcohol — none of it’s good. That’s because alcohol has the same effect on a dog’s liver and brain that it has on humans. But it takes far less to do its damage. Just a little can cause vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, problems with coordination, difficulty breathing, coma, even death. And the smaller the dog, the greater the effect.
Onions – in all forms – powdered, raw, cooked, or dehydrated — can destroy a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. That can happen even with the onion powder found in some baby food. An occasional small dose is probably OK. But eating a large quantity just once or eating smaller amounts regularly can cause poisoning. Symptoms of anemia include weakness, vomiting, little interest in food, dullness, and breathlessness.
Most people know that chocolate is bad for dogs. The toxic part is theobromine. It’s in all kinds of chocolate, even white. The most dangerous kinds, though, are dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate. Eating it, even just licking the icing bowl, can cause a dog to vomit, have diarrhea, and be excessively thirsty. It can also cause abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and death.
It’s not a good idea to share salty foods like chips or pretzels with your dog. Eating too much salt can cause excessive thirst and urination and lead to sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms of too much salt include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, and seizures. It may even cause death.
Sugar is also surprisingly found in a lot of dog foods and treats and is completely unnecessarily added. Sugar is not good for dogs and just like people, they will start to crave it when it’s removed from their diet. It can lead to obesity, dental problems, and possibly the onset of diabetes.
Caffeine in large enough quantities can be fatal. And there is no antidote. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, fits, and bleeding. In addition to tea and coffee — including beans and grounds — caffeine can be found in cocoa, chocolate, colas, and stimulant drinks such as Red Bull. It’s also in some cold medicines and painkillers.
Fat trimmings are bad for humans so it should go without saying that they’re bad for our dogs too. Excess fat can lead to more than just obesity in our canine companions. Pancreatitis is a real problem for many dogs and can be a very deadly disease and fat trimmings are known for being a culprit.
Being a pet parent comes with an immense responsibility – these are our children who will never grow up and be able to fend for themselves.
Hence, it is our solemn duty to be able to make thee right decisions and feed them the correct food.
Remember – An Educated Pet Parent = A Responsible Pet Parent = A Healthy Pet.
**Ishmeet Chandiok is the founder of Harley’s Corner – India’s first Ready to Eat Wet dog food brand. A pet parent and chef turned canine nutritionist – Ishmeet consults pet parents on how they can give their dogs the very best food.**
Stories are a daily part of our life. We tell our families after returning from work nothing but stories. Stories of how it was a breathtaking event to catch/miss the bus, how we have convinced a client of the services we render or how we have solved a problem at workplace. Love stories, patriotic stories, mythological stories or the historical stories each genre holds a special place in our heart.I am all ears when I hear three golden words “once upon a time’.
What does your usual Sunday look like?
Well, mine is full of home chores and a little bit of prep for the week ahead. How mundane! You must be thinking.. but that is pretty much a life of every woman around the world. So, this Sunday was not so special. I wanted to finish my read “Mansfield Park by Jane Austen”. Well, if my SIL reads this blog post she would definitely say “ What?, You have not finished it yet?”. Well, I should tell her that I have been doing some “ Busy Nothings” since last 3-4 weeks. 🙂
“Busy Nothing” is a word which is coined by Jane Austen centuries before.
It still fits my schedule many times. I do not want to put the novel down. Who would not like to visit Northamptonshire every now and then to have English tea along with a little tete-a-tete with the British Folks of the 18th century. 🙂 🙂
Transcending to the places mentioned in the book is the general protocol of reading any book. Slowly the author starts speaking to you and you realize that you are in his/her world.
Before the kind of entertainment that we have now, it was through the folklore and tales by grandma that we used to do this time travel. Some are meant to learn a lesson while many are left to the audience whether what to take away.
Our paternal grandma whose name was “ Padmavati” used to weave so many stories and tell us after we came back from school. In her stories, she never referred to Ramayana or Mahabharata, she was always interested in telling folklore much to her audience’s ( Shrilekha and me) delight.
While telling us the stories she used to create simple rhymes which were easy to remember.
The stories have been etched in the memories of me and my sister. My grandma lives on forever in our memories through her stories.
One such “ Busy Nothing” Sunday noon, and I get a call from Shrilekha, asking whether will I be interested in a storytelling session by Vikram Sridhar. I said what??. Sensing that it might not interest me she said, “Okay, don’t come, but I will go.”
My home was bustling with guests by that time and I knew that they were all engaged in chatting.I did not want to indulge myself in those ‘Busy Nothings” yet again so, I just thought, let me take a look at this Adult Storytelling session.
We reached the venue which is a beautiful place on 6th Main Road RA Puram. The name of the studio is Wandering Artists ( So apt). As we reached there were around 20 people seated in a circle comfortably listening to Vikram who was dressed in kurta-pajama with a nerdy look.
The session started with a simple folk tale explaining why Sambhar is named as Sambhar?
Starting a new session with something related to food was expected but this simple story was awesome and involved the tales and stories from three to four different states.
The storyteller was smart enough to engage people’s attention who were from varied places and states. Once that was complete, he continued his narrative with a King and Queen Cobra story. The story was simple and many people must have heard it. But what made it special was the narrative.
The sound of a baby crying and the description of the function hosted by the King created a vivid impression.
By now, Shrilekha and I had become the small kids aged 7 and 10 years and were just watching Vikram as he was progressing with the story.
The story ended and the moral was left for our imagination. Vikram smartly moved to the next story of a goddess and that was another treat.
Again, there wasn’t a mythological account of any of this. It was a pure folklore, pretty much as my grandma used to tell me.
Post Yellamma, Vikram took us to a quick and simple story of a cow named Punyakoti. It was a heart-wrenching story of a new mother Punyakoti who promises the Tiger to return as his meal after feeding her baby.
Our next stop was Agra and the darbar of Mughal Emperor Akbar with Birbal. Soon after that, we went to Krishnadevaraya’s kingdom to watch the smartness of Tenali Raman.
By now, we were all immersed in the folklore and living every character.
Vikram smartly moved us onto a kind of Shaikh Chilli story. It involved inputs from everybody. Before we knew the session was over and we came out with a heart filled with joy and brain filled with different colorful canvases.
Rich Indian folk lore has a long way to go.Today’s session was a revival of memories with my dearest Aaji who was an expert to share beautiful folk stories.I wish I get more opportunities to listen to more stories and handover them to the future generation.
For Vikram’s next session check out his FB page
Dog food is the matter of discussion for most of the Pet Parents. In this guest post, Ishmeetsingh Chandiok, Mumbai Based Canine Nutritionist has debunked some myths of dog food.
The patter of little feet, the fuzzy hairball, the razor sharp teeth and the droopy, loving eyes….. all the traits of a loving puppy…. running around the house…. full of joy and fun!
Along with the joy of having a new life running around the house, comes the tremendous burden of being responsible, caring and loving Pet Parent. There is nothing more that we wish for our four-legged children than a healthy and fun filled life. The most important thing we need to give our dogs is TLC – Tender Loving Care…. And that, if followed by a healthy, nutritious and well-balanced diet.
There have always been opposing theories about how one should feed their dog. Some swear by the easily available dry kibbles while others swear by home cooked food. This is a debate that will, in all probability, be far from being comprehensively resolved in the near future.
I, personally, have been an advocate for home cooked food. This conclusion has been reached through a few years of research, trials on my very own “Bombay Settler” – Harley; and endless picking of vets’ brains to get a clearer picture.
While most of the vets will advocate home-cooked food to be the way forward, we, pet parents, make simple mistakes which, unknown to us, cause slow and long-term problems for our babies.
Rice prepared for us is good for our dogs – WRONG
the rice we use, which is mainly some form of Basmati, has higher quantities of carbohydrates than brown rice. This difference makes the dog put on more weight, with reduced fibers than if they were on a brown rice diet. Besides this, we salt our rice and most of us add a spoonful of ghee or oil to the rice prior to cooking. Both salt and oil/ghee are harmful to dogs in the long run.
Un-tempered daals (lentils) are ok for our dogs – WRONG
the daals (lentils) prepared by us at home are boiled with basic ginger & garlic pastes along with salt. The quantities of ginger, garlic, and salt which is added to our normal food is too high for our dog’s digestive systems to digest.
Chicken removed from a curry and washed can be fed to our dogs – WRONG
the spices, salt, and oils used during the cooking process seep into the chicken pieces and are retained within the meat in high quantities. Thus, even superficially washing the chicken, does not extract all the harmful ingredients and they are eventually ingested by the dogs.
Then what is the right thing to do?
The use of brown rice (unpolished rice), vegetables such as carrots, beans, pumpkin, cabbage, etc and boneless chicken is the safest combination of ingredients to use for preparing meals for your doggies. A conservative use of chicken liver is also advisable. Try and avoid mutton liver as it has a higher concentration of fats.
Advantages of Home Cooked Dog Food
Our dogs will live longer
With the absence of chemicals and preservatives in homemade dog food, our dogs will be healthier, happier and free from diseases, thus resulting in a longer lifespan.
Our dogs will be slim and have a perfect weight structure
Commercial dog food is usually higher in fats and sugars leading to obesity. We can prevent obesity and take control of the caloric intake of our dogs by feeding them homemade food.
Our dogs’ systems will be cleaner and smell better
Providing homemade dog food will keep their systems free of infections, keep their teeth cleaner and their breath fresher.
**Ishmeet Chandiok is the founder of Harley’s Corner – India’s first Ready to Eat Wet dog food brand. A pet parent and chef turned canine nutritionist – Ishmeet consults pet parents on how they can give their dogs the very best food.**