Once Upon A Story…

Once Upon A Story…

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

https://www.facebook.com/vikram.sridhar.1?fref=ufi&rc=p 

 

 

Myths of Dog Food – By Canine Nutritionist Ishmit Chandiok

Myths of dog food

 

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.

Common Myths:

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.

Author Bio:

**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.**
How much screen time is too much? Ask you phone

How much screen time is too much? Ask you phone

Little Ms.K is fond of devices, gadgets and all kind of technology. Every gadget that we got home, was first used by her to the fullest. But slowly, she was getting into a habit of using gadgets like all of us do. As a mom, I was terribly worried about the screen time that she used to spend. I have always emphasized on child lead weaning for anything, and this time I was determined that she should get the control of switching off the gadget off by herself. As a 7-year-old, little Ms. K has now weaned herself from all the gadgets which is a relief.

We as parents should also try and use self-lead weaning from these devices. They are very helpful for people in every walk of life but when it becomes an addiction it is harmful for sure.

Recently Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has spoken about how Apple is working on introducing some features in iOS12 which may help all adults and teens keep an eye on how much mobile phones they are using in a day which I would say is a great tool.

What are the things which you will be able to do with iOS12’s manage screen time feature:

Activity report for total time spent in different apps, usage across all the categories of apps.

Apple Screen Time Displayed Categorically

Apple Bed Time The enhanced Do Not Disturb Feature

The Do Not Disturb feature has always been there in iOS devices but now there would be dimming of display and no display of notification till the prompted time.

You can now get your notifications delivered quietly 🙂 group them

Facebook

Get the notifications delivered quietly

 

iOS12

Get suggestions from Siri on which notifications to be kept and which can be managed.

  • You get to see how your screen time is divided across all apps.
  • Choose your downtime with the apps, with the downtime the apps will have a badge stating that they are not allowed to be used during that time.
  • Parents can set up time for children’s usage.  

In the recent interview, Apple CEO, Tim Cook says that they have always kept their users as their priority while designing the ultimate technological experience. Hope the new feature helps us keep the phones at bay 🙂

Disclaimer: All the images are downloaded from

https://www.apple.com/in/newsroom/2018/06/ios-12-introduces-new-features-to-reduce-interruptions-and-manage-screen-time/

The article is inspired from

https://www.apple.com/in/newsroom/2018/06/ios-12-introduces-new-features-to-reduce-interruptions-and-manage-screen-time/

https://www.npr.org/2018/06/05/616980803/transcript-apple-ceo-tim-cook-on-screen-time-controls-working-with-china

 

Disney Princesses – Reimagined as successful working women

Disney Princesses – Reimagined as successful working women

On our regular Sunday Netflix binge, Little Ms. K and I were watching Frozen. There is nothing new about watching the movie as such, but this time I was amused to see her interest in these Disney Princesses. All girls of her age are in awe of all the Disney Princesses but in the 21st century, the concept of a princess spending her life only waiting for a Prince does not really make sense. With the quotes like “ Why raise a princess when you can raise a warrior?” or “ Instead of getting a glass shoe, break the glass ceiling” it becomes necessary that these zero size Disney Princesses should be looked at from a very different angle. That different angle is provided by Illustrator Matt Burt. His take on the working princesses is just priceless. Here is a look

 

Frozen princesses – Elsa and Anna are climate change specialist, matching the story of frozen. Matt Burt says “They have dedicated their careers to studying climate change and presenting accurate, well-sourced information.” I would say how appropriate.

” Have courage and Be kind”  This is a very famous quote by Cinderella. Cinderella is kind, which is apparent through her story. She believes in kindness and she treats the animals with respect. In Matt Burt’s illustration, she is in a position where she can influence a non-profit committed to promoting animal rights.

 

Jasmine has always fought for what is right and what is wrong. She now adorns a role of an advocate for her country at the United Nations. She would be working for women’s rights. It is to ensure that the women are treated fairly across the globe.

Moolan had to fight hard in the military and had faced gender discrimination. In a university, now she advocates for Gender Equality.

 

Matt Burt says that Rapunzale always had powers to heal. She further went to the university became a neurologist and now she is a famous neurologist in the town. Now she provides exceptional medical care to all her patients.

Snow White is known to be caring and thoughtful. Post her union with her prince, she earned her doctorate in Psychology and is a leader in the field of mental health. She also presents papers in different across the world. She not only helps all her clients whether they are grumpy, happy, bashful  or anything, but also looks after professionals so that they should be able to provide high end mental healthcare to the patients.

All in all it feels so good to see all of them pursuing something they are good at and what they like. Disney princesses are loved by one and all, it is just that after these illustrations they will be seen as idols.

 

 

Quick and Easy School Snacks to Pack for your kids:

Quick and Easy School Snacks to Pack for your kids:

The school reopening time is just around the corner. As the kids go to school life gets easier and complicated in every way. The question which moms face during school days is what to give them for snacks which are healthy and at the same time not boring. School snacks are made easy in this blog post. 

Kids who participate in the whole process of planning, shopping ( if any) and preparing their lunchboxes to develop the ability to choose and enjoy healthy food.

Me and Little Ms.K usually plan our week together. This academic year, we decided to plan the menu for the lunch box as well. So, here are some of the easy school snacks to pack for kids where you can involve kids as well.  Note: I have tried to avoid biscuits and cheese here because it doesn’t suit Little Ms.K, you can add your preferences.

  • Chapati Rolls
    • These are simple ones, you just have to make chapati and roll it with a filling of your choice. When we want it to be on the heavier side our filling has paneer in it otherwise there is Jam ( Homemade) or Ghee and Sugar.
  • Coin Dosa
    • Coin Dosa is my go-to option for a no-fuss snack. All you need to have is the dosa batter. These are coin shaped dosas which can have a topping of cheese.school snacks for kids
  • Khakra
    • This is the crispier version of Roti or Methi Thepla. Very good to give as a snack. 100% home-made and healthy. You can give jam as an accompaniment
  • Sundal
    • This is a very famous dish of Tamil Nadu. You just have to pre-plan a bit. Soaking the chickpeas in advance till they sprout. Before you set up the lunch box take some oil in the wok, add mustard, curry leaves, and asoefotida. Add these soaked but drained sprouts. There are many varieties of Sundal. You can use Kabuli Chana, Green Moong ( Pasi Payir), Mot, Horse Gram or the likes. One can also add finely chopped cucumber, carrot as a topping.
  • Paniyaram/ Appe
    • These are made of Dosa batter. If you have the Paniyaram Chatti or Pan to make these small dosa batter dumplings then it is amazingly easy to make in a jiffy.
  • Sattu Laddoo
    • If you make sattu powder at home, well and good. But if you get it store bought, no worries. Just roast Sattu powder in ghee and mix it with Jaggery. Roll them into laddoos. You can also add dry fruits in these laddoos. Favorite of little Ms.K. I am sure every child will like it.
    • School Snacks for Kids
  • Idli Fry
    • This is our most favorite snack. As I make big idlis, I break them into pieces. Add oil to the wok, put mustard, as it splutters I add onion, curry leaves. Till they are done, I add little red chilly powder and turmeric. Mix it well and add the broken idlis. Mix it well and top it with coriander.
  • Crispy Onion Rings
    • Onion rings coated with wet chickpea flour and fried in groundnut oil is nothing but Crispy Onion Rings. I generally give yogurt or achar as accompaniment. I do not use store bought sauce.

If the lunchbox has chapati and sabji as lunch, then I give Poha or Puffed Rice ( Roasted in Ghee, Curry Leaves, and Jeera) as a snack. Makhna or Puffed Lotus seeds ( Roasted in Ghee, Curry Leaves, and Jeera) also taste good and they are nutritious yet light on the stomach. These are some simple snack items which we can make in a jiffy. Let me know if you have any other snacks which you make often…would love to try it.

 

Exercise Without Realising

Exercise Without Realising

I am a lover of routine so much so that for years you can put me in the same routine and I would not complain, I love status quo, and changes make me mad 🙂 But still whenever I feel to exercise without realizing, I go back to my childhood days to bring back the charm to my otherwise strict regime.

Dance:

My childhood days were busy. I used to sit down only for reading a book or for doing homework, most of the other times I was a busy child hopping from one class to other. I learned a lot in my childhood, and dance is the first thing which comes to my mind when I think of those days. We had these numerous dance competitions in our school, and I used to be a part of all of it. I never realized then that I was dancing my way to fitness. 🙂 As soon as I settled in a city, I enrolled myself in Kathak Class ( A classical dance form of India). Twice a week it works as an efficient fitness routine and also relaxes me. Dancing is a good exercise. It works on the core and stability.

Jump Rope:

Those days all children used to play in their front yards for a couple of hours in the evenings. Today also in gated communities you can see children playing, but then the percentage of that carefree play has come down considerably. Girls used to enjoy playing jump ropes. Two girls used to hold it at its end, and one would jump on it. That was fun. I use to jump rope now when I feel that I need to do effective cardio in less amount of time.

Hopscotch:

This is something I love playing with my daughter. While I was a child, hopscotch in many different forms used to be played in the front yard. Usually, we played single-legged hop, with a small piece of flat stone on the head. Now, when I recall it, I feel amazed by the capacity of this simple game. One legged hop with something on the head is a great lesson for balance and stability. Playing Hopscotch with my daughter is the favorite fun workout which we are going to cherish for years to come.

Tree climbing:

This was my favorite past time in childhood. My grandma’s place had a number of trees, and my uncle was an amazing tree climber. He taught me how to climb up and get down on trees and walls. It helped me to strengthen my muscles and workout without realizing it then. Though I am there in the city since last 20 -25 years, I love big trees that I come across while walking on roads. There is no way that I can climb the tree. But there is a rock climbing arena nearby, which I should join soon. 🙂

Cycling:

I used to cycle to my school. I had a fantastic friend who used to come home, and we both used peddle our way to school over an exciting chat. Reviving those days is so much fun now. I have got a cycle which I use when I feel bored with the routine. A 5-6 km ride around the city makes me and my soul fresh.

Bring back those amazing games that you used to play as a child, incorporate them into your fitness routine and never realize the calorie burn 🙂