Saturday, March 31, 2012

Care about Pregnancy After Delivery

I have to confess that I had no plans to write articles on care about pregnancy before or after delivery. But I saw Vidya Balan's brilliant performance in Kahaani and one thing that struck me throughout the movie is that she is not being careful with her pregnancy. So, on a whim, I went and got some new issues of Practical Parenting & Pregnancy magazine that had medical and nursing experts discuss proper care about pregnancy and voila, here's my post on some essential tips to care about pregnancy after delivery.


Care About Pregnancy: How to cope with colic 
Most moms find it difficult and distressing when babies are constantly crying due to colic. Doctors say that the best way is to walk up and down while holding your baby upright and keep singing to the baby as that will have a soothing effect.


Care about Pregnancy: Do 'voice' bonding with your baby
Some moms have also stated that pregnant moms should sing to babies while they are expecting and the same song should be sung while the baby is having colic or crying in distress. The babies relate to the mother's voice and singing easily and it has a soothing effect.


I have a personal experience to share. My younger sister Sangeetha (who is a doctor) used to constantly 'speak' to Adi while I was expecting him. She told me that babies are very sensitive to sounds while in the womb and that there are medical studies confirming they can recognize the sounds after they are born. Just like she said, when Adi was born, he would stop crying whenever he heard her voice and seemed to look at her with recognition. Even now when my sister speaks to him, he listens carefully. I think it has everything to do with the bonding they had via 'voice connection' while I was expecting him.


Care about Pregnancy: How to clean the umbilical cord
When cleaning the baby's umbilical cord, do it when required by gently wiping the area with cotton wool that is dipped in cool, boiled water. To help prevent infection, you . should keep the baby's cord out of the nappy so that it stays dry. Check for new nappies that have an umbilical cord cut out shape as these are in the market and are perfectly suited for new born babies. This way, you won't have to fold down the nappy. Also, it enables air to circulate around the umbilical cord area which promotes healing.


In some old families in Kochi, there is a belief that a child's umbilical cord should be safely kept and buried under the soil of the ancestral home. The belief is that the child will come back to that home and be emotionally attached to it. It's got no so called scientific basis but many old families do believe in it spanning several generations.


Care about Pregnancy: Use a good handcream
This is something I neglected to do and so do many moms out there. In fact, it is a great gift to give pregnant moms along with the baby care kit for a new born. I think it is important to use a good hand cream after pregnancy because you spend so much time doing lots of nappy changing, cleaning, looking after the baby and yourself with your hands. Use good hand cream as often as you can to keep your hands moisturized and soft. If your hands are rough or too dry, your baby too will feel 'scraped' when you touch him/her. 


I'd love to hear your tips on how to care about pregnancy before or after delivery. Are there any interesting beliefs, tips or experiences you have seen, heard or experienced? Do write it in here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Revisiting memories of a Soul that was never young

As I spend more and more time with Adi, analyzing and attempting to understand his emotions, growth and journey as a child, I also end up revisiting my childhood memories. One striking factor that stands out is that as a child, I was never really a child. I know this sounds silly or maybe difficult to believe but it is how I see myself when I look back.


In my childhood, I grew up in Africa where most of the time you are in a social environment over which you have so little control. When with peers, I was always different and therefore ended up as a sore thumb that sticks out jarringly. I used to read all the time and rarely play. I never liked playing, it was as though the world of stories alone enchanted me. So I'd be the usual object of ridicule on account of many factors but most importantly because of my nationality - being Indian. The funny part was that I was mostly ridiculed by Indians themselves because most of them had opted for a different nationality by then. But as a child, the thing is I didn't understand what I was being ridiculed for? 


Teachers were worse. Most of them were Indians. They always had the tendency to praise the best students, compare the average students with the best in an open class and never really weigh each student's unique factor or that every child has a different ability or talent. Also, most teachers gave more importance to the 'social status' of a child. A businessman's child always had a higher visibility level than a doctor's child. But I am not complaining or making comparisons here. It was a different continent, culture and there were many factors at play that I don't even know about. But as a result, I am still very cynical about schools, teachers and their competence in developing and charting out a child's growth. I know for sure they didn't help me in any positive way. I mean it.  


I don't mean this with any bad intention but I believe I am a completely self-made person. I have never relied on other people's recommendations to get anything in life or relied on any external factors to prop me up in life. I have faced the toughest and most difficult conditions in life with a smile. I haven't ever buckled or run away to hide behind my parents or anyone else. But there is one important thing. 


During the teen years, there was some one very special who gave me that courage to smile through all difficulties. He gave me all His love and attention and continues to. That alone is the reason I was able to and am able to. I call Him my Light because when it was dark and there was no one around to know how frightening the darkness can be for a child, He told me, "I am there with you. Why fear when I am there?" I have never feared for or about anything thereafter. He has seen to it that I don't have to. I am grateful for it.


But during the early years as a child, my defense strategy was simple. Stay out of their way. Keep to the world of books. Be happy.


In the process, I believe I lost many things without realizing it. I lost the capacity to experience and react to the real world. Unknowingly, I enjoyed my splendid isolation so much that I resented any one trying to enter it. And looking back, I realize one fact: the soul in me was always ancient, it never gave me a chance to be a child and there are times when I regret that missed opportunity.


These words from the novel, ''The Bastard of Istanbul' prompted me to write this post because it got me reflecting seriously about this:


"The overwhelming majority of human beings age year by year, but not the clairvoyants: They age story by story."



Monday, March 26, 2012

Start of the Day: How to See God clearly


Start of the Day is the best time to reflect on God's blessings in one's life. Or, so, I believe.

While growing up, my father constantly told me stories from the life of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. The snippets of discussions, debates and conversations between this great spiritual master and his most renowned devotee formed the foundation of my spiritual curiosity and longing to ‘see’ God. At no point of time, did I give up. I believed then and I believe now that if your longing for God is intense and full of love, you will be able to see God as clearly as you see yourself and others around you in your life.

The question remains: How to see God?

 A follower once asked Sri Ramakrishna, “How can we increase our longing for God?”

This was Sri Ramakrishna’s response, “People shed jugfuls of tears for their wives, children or money but who weeps for God? He who longs for God certainly will find Him. Call on Him with a longing heart. You will see him.”

He also said, “You may ask, ‘If worldly life is so difficult, then what is the way/’ The way is constant practice.”

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Life's Lessons & Experiences: Should it be shared with others?

Whenever I am tempted to share some of the beautiful spiritual experiences I have had or sometimes about the wonderful, inspiring people I have met (the rare kind of people who never show off and never advertise how they change the lives of others and make it better, you know what I mean), I think to myself, "No matter what I say, people won't change. Perhaps I wont change either.But if my experiences from life could be written down, wont it make a difference to me when I am feeling low? Or maybe, help me in my 'experiments with Truth' or be of some value to another seeker who is treading a difficult path. 


A selfish thought occurs. Maybe decades after I am gone, my son and his children can read it and feel me speaking to them, sharing my little learnings with them. It may not be the guiding light in their life but it will still be a positive connection, a bond from the beyond. 


But another doubt remains, "Will they believe my spiritual experiences unless they have experienced it themselves?Will they connect to some of the wonderful souls I have met when they didn't meet such people themselves?"


So, while these thoughts are swirling about in my mind, I read these lines in a finely written, brilliant book called "The Bastard of Istanbul" which echoed my dilemma itself: 


"When you didn't tell anyone the extraordinary, everyone assumed the normal."


What do you say?What are your thoughts on this? I'd love to know.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Book Review: Tea for two and a piece of cake by Preeti Shenoy

When I picked up Preeti Shenoy's book titled "Tea for two and a piece of cake," my first impression was that it is a nice book with a lovely cover. I looked forward to reading it. After reading the book, I couldn't get over the niggling feeling that the book has not been marketed well by Random House. They have not played up its strengths one bit. Frankly, I am disappointed with the publishers and decided I would write a book review so that at least those in my friends' circle would seriously consider buying this book.




The story is simple but gripping about a girl called Nisha. The story is about romance, love, friendship and so much more. To be frank, I read it at one go because I couldn't put it down once it started. It is every Indian girl's dream and nightmare come true kind of book.A plump, ordinary girl gets the attention and interest of a handsome rich business tycoon who is so loving, considerate and perfect. They have a fairytale wedding, perfect dream home and romance. They have two lovely kids.

And one fine day, the perfect husband calls her up and says the marriage is over. It doesnt immediately register in Nisha's mind. But reality strikes hard. Her near-perfect marriage is over and the blame is squarely put on her. He didn't want kids, but she did and the fact that her whole life and behavior was centered around the kids marked the beginning of the end of their marriage.

A heartbroken Nisha tells her best friend Chetana about it and she realizes a bitter truth. Her best friend is actually happy that this happened to her and she is even gloating about her own happy married life without offering any suggestions on how Nisha can pick up the threads of her life.

Nisha, in the process of looking after her kids so that they don't suffer the impact of their father walking off happily, offers some invaluable tips to all women who have happy marriages:

1. Always be sure whether your spouse wants children as much as you do. There should be a clear dialogue of what to expect for both husband and wife. Later on, there should be no "I didn't want a kid" walk out scene.

2. Many wives rely on their husbands when it comes to financial matters, especially if they are comfortably settled. But it is important to know how much your monthly expenses are, how you can save money from household expenses by knowing exactly what costs how much and how further you can bring it down and what other options are available.

3. No matter how comfortably settled and married you are, it is important to find your areas of talent or strength, train yourself to be better at it and make it a source of income for yourself. You never know when that little bit of effort will take you a long, long way in life when you expect it.

4. If you see a friend in distress, the most important thing to do is to act immediately to offer an effective, humane solution rather than gloat about your near perfect decisions and perfect life. A friend in trouble needs your love, understanding and care, not your expert analysis of what you could think he/she could have done better.

5. Always identify those who value you and those who don't. Friends or anyone who don't value you as a person - walk away from them because they are looking for opportunities to make you feel low about yourself. Be happy to weed them out of your life. 

As for Nisha, her life was full of situations that she had to tackle on her own. But life handed her a fantastic surprise. It brought into her life a second chance for romance and this time, she knew it was right and just perfect for her and the kids.

Love is not about perfection. It is about being with some one who understands that perfection happens when two people understand and respect each other totally, without any terms and conditions.  

As an avid reader, I must say this: Preeti Shenoy is a writer to watch out for. She understands a contemporary Indian woman's world in a very simple, heart-warming way.





♥♥  I thank you with all my heart for reading my post. I dedicate this post with love and gratitude to all those who enjoy reading books by Indian writers. REQUEST: Please SHARE this article on your favorite social networks. Every share, like or tweet makes me reach out to more people who love reading books by Indian writers. I am grateful and I appreciate you for doing so. ♥♥

The Penguin Car & World Book Fair 2012

At the World Book Fair 2012, Delhi, I had a great day exploring my favorite world of books, writers and publishers. Juhi and I explored stall after stall, hunting for the kind of books that we can't typically find. It was a fantastic all-day experience. We talked, thought, bought and binged over books, books and books!We also had fun at the Penguin stall, where a blazing orange colored Penguin car stole the show over all the rows of books.


The crowd was pouring in so we took hurried clicks, asked some persons around us to click a snap of us together. Hurry, chaos and noise - but we loved being in the world of books. Here are the pics we took:












Of course, we are looking tired because it was a tiring day and we are definitely not looking at our best. But the Penguin Car is and that, dear friends, is all that matters for book lovers like you! 


Happy Reading!

A Book Review: Samira's Awful Lunch by Bharathi Jagannathan and Preethi Krishnamurthy

A book review for you, dear reader.


At the World Book Fair 2012, I bought a lot of books for my son, Jyotiraditya who loves it when I read out books to him. Wherever we go, I always tuck in two books for him in my bag. And I read out to him whenever he asks.  I make sure I keep two new books always because it is wonderful to see my son's surprise and enthusiasm when he sees it. Today, when we went out and were at McDonalds, Adi suddenly asked me if I could read something out to him. I took out a book that I had bought for him. I wasn't sure if he would like it.


Titled "Samira's Awful Lunch," the book is short, simple and well conceptualized. It is written by Bharathi Jagannathan and Preeti Krishnamurthy. Pratham Books is the publisher.  






The story talks about a problem we, as parents, tackle every day - kids who don't like to eat veggies.


The story revolves around Samira who doesn't like to eat healthy food.She tells her mom that upma tastes like wet sand and idlies are like balls - you can toss them,  catch them in the air but don't eat them! As I read it, I could see my son 'connecting' with Samira totally! He was sympathizing with her 100%!


I wondered to myself:how will the story move on?


It moved very well. Samira meets interesting characters who give her other food options.The options are logical from their perspective but it makes Samira realize that the options her mom gives her is more suited to her palate. 


Moral of the story: Veggies taste a lot better and healthier than you think.


When the story ended, Adi said, "Please read it again. One more time."

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Balanced diet for ladies: Eat according to your body’s age

Experts say that as years roll by, your body’s ability to absorb nutrients decline, so it is even more important to formulate a balanced diet and eat according to one’s age.

The following age-specific information (excluding the details given under ‘Expectant Mothers’) is a summary from an article I read in the popular UK food magazine called Delicious and the article is titled “Eat your age: Wise up to your changing needs.” It is written by Anna Montague and published in  March 2011.

Balanced Diet during Teen Years
Iron deficiency is seen as a pre-dominant condition in most teenage girls and this trend is increasing. Teenage girls are not getting enough iron from their diet.

  • 200gm of low fat yoghurt every day
  • Lean meat, fish, pulses and eggs
  • Dried fruits
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Fresh fruits
  • Say no to sugary drinks
Having a daily sufficient calcium intake is important for girls as it is like having ‘bone in the bank’ for the future.

Balanced Diet in the 20s’
  • Fortified cereals
  • Have fresh and dried nuts
  • Fruits
  • Low fat yoghurt
  • Watch portion size
Balanced Diet in the 30s’
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Fibre
  • Green leafy veggies
  • Whole grain bread
  • Pulses
  • Fish
 Balanced Diet for Expectant Mothers
It is important for expectant mothers to maintain a proper balanced diet. High levels of caffeine can lead to low birth weight or even miscarriage.

  • Women who are pregnant need to have folate-rich food besides 400 mcg folic acid supplement daily to reduce the risk having a baby with neural tube defects such as spina bfida.
  • In South India, it is recommended that having coconut water thrice a day is highly recommended as both mother and baby will be replenished with natural vitamins from nature. Also, most mothers who have tried this method vouch for babies with smooth, glowing skin.
  • Customary practice is that expectant mothers can have warm milk with saffron it it. However, my gynaecologist advised me it is not good for the baby because saffron has a ‘drugging, sedative effect’ which is not good for a baby’s developing brain. So, I didn’t touch it.
Balanced Diet in the 40s’ & 50s’
As you grow older, it becomes more important to stay fit and healthy.

  • Have plenty of calcium rich foods for your bones as a woman’s body at this age produces less oestrogen and therefore, bone loss also accelerates.
  • Bask in the sunshine. Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium effectively. Sunlight on the skin is a main source of vitamin D.
  • Fruits and vegetablest
  • Salt intake should be carefully monitored.
  • Cut down on saturated fat.
  • Fibre rich foods like oats, beans, pulses and lentils can help reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Have a balanced diet whatever phase of life you are and try to always eat according to your body’s age. 


Other Popular Posts

♥♥  I thank you with all my heart for reading my post. I dedicate this post with love and gratitude to all those who are looking to improve their health and nutrition.REQUEST: Please SHARE this article on your favorite social networks. Every share, like or tweet makes me reach out to more people and hopefully, more women. I am grateful and I appreciate you for doing so. ♥♥

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Happy Holi 2012 & Watch this Golgappa Eating Competition

Happy Holi to all of you, dear bloggers, who've made a colorful splash in the blogging world.  This year, I had so much fun playing Holi with my two friends, Juhi Mohan and Anubhuti Rao. To be honest, I've never had so much fun during Holi as much as I did this year. And yes, we painted our faces yellow! Believe it or not, I was even bestowed the Ms Rangeeli award in office during the Holi celebrations and got a gift hamper full of Holi goodies....! Wow, Holi 2012 rocked! 


For those of you who love eating golgappa, here's a sneak peak into the Golgappa Eating competition we had in office and you will know what I mean when I say that I had so much fun!






Once again, dear friends and bloggers, Happy Holi 2012! Wishing you all lots and lots of fun and happiness.



Sunday, March 4, 2012

Should spiritual seekers save for the next day?

You may think I am joking when I say this. By choice, I will never 'SAVE' money for the next day. That doesn't mean I throw away money that I work so hard for. But let me clarify - I don't work for the money. I work for my learning, my growth and for my awareness of the abundance I create around me by working the way I do - with integrity.

It sounds scary, foolish and impractical, given how 'having money and material comforts' dictates our standing in society and how we are perceived. I believe I have no reason to fear tomorrow. I have gone through the toughest and most difficult tests of life without any so-called 'savings' to prop me up. All I have is Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba whom I revere as my Divine Father and my God. For as long as He is there with me, I fear nothing and I do not intend to 'save' for another day. He is my Provider. 

In our frenzy to secure a 'happier future,' we tend to find ourselves in a dilemma of compromising on happiness. Why? We want a financially 'secure and stable' future for ourselves and our loved ones.

'Scarcity of Money' is a Myth 
From a spiritual perspective, lets look at this differently.To be more accurate, let us look at the 'scarcity of money' perception that makes us feel vulnerable as human beings in a quest to conquer more.

Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, who captivated millions through Autobiography of a Yogi, often stated that a true spiritual seeker should never save for the next day or worry about the next day. Reason: They are divinely protected. Their lives are subject to the absolute will and protection of God based on the strength of their faith and love towards God.

Sri Paramahansa Yogananda cited Jesus Christ who said, "The birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head." Why?

Sri Paramahansa Yogananda says, "The Power that supports your heartbeat certainly knows your lesser needs. If you live solely for God and have faith in His power, He will give you direct help."

Read up on the life of any spiritual master. You will see that they never save or worry about providing for themselves. 

God knows what to give, whom to give and when to give

While serving as Seva Dal in Prashanti Nilayam, with our daily meals, every day I ( and other Seva Dals with me) used to get prasad that is specially blessed by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Usually, we got tasty ladoos. Knowing how blessed it is to receive this from Swami, we used to store it away it in little sachets. We saved these ladoos so that we could take it back home for our families and other devotees. 

On second day, Swami sent us a message at the canteen just when we were about to eat. The message was "Whatever I give you, do not save or keep for others. The prasad I give you is not meant to be saved, it is for you to have because it has come from your karma itself. What is meant for your families, I will give you separately to share before you leave Prashanti Nilayam.

The lesson we learned is this: To understand that God knows what to give, whom to give and when to give to spiritual seekers.

All my life, I have seen my parents demonstrate the same absolute faith in God, without keeping anything to themselves. A part of my father's savings, for as long as I can remember, has been kept aside for the poor, the needy and the ill. People used to tell my father to develop a 'saving' mentality so that he could have enough money to buy gold for his daughters' marriage. After all, he has two daughters to marry off. 

You may not believe it but it is the truth - my father NEVER spend money on gold jewelry for his daughters. His logic is, "If i can use that money to save some one's life from starvation or illness, I cannot find a greater meaning to use that hard earned money. God will provide for my family when the time comes." I LOVE and RESPECT my dad for his vision and his faith in God.

And yet, when the time came, my father was able to conduct the marriages of both his daughters with abundance. Where did that abundance from? He had no 'savings' tucked away for his family. He spent everything he had usually to help people in need, sometimes even absolute strangers, who sometimes would not even thank or acknowledge his role in saving their lives.

My father's life and faith in Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has been so strong that I saw and learned one thing from it: 

WHEN THE NEED ARISES, GOD PROVIDES. TRUST IN GOD! 

The best way to show your commitment to God is by helping people in need without expecting anything in return. God will provide for you. 

Believe this because it is a LAW OF THE SPIRITUAL WORLD.

♥♥ I thank you with all my heart for reading my post. I dedicate this post with love and gratitude to all individuals who are on the spiritual path.  I am grateful and I appreciate you for reading this post. ♥♥

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