Cooking – A life skill that we ought to be teaching

Cooking – A life skill that we ought to be teaching

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Let’s start with questions, how many of us love to cook? More important, how many of us know to cook? And most important, How many of us are teaching cooking to our kids?

Apart from the air we breathe, water we drink, one other very important thing we need for our life sustenance is food. Yet, we are so very dependent on others for this source of nutrition and energy. It’s taken up by all the Mothers in the world to provide nutrition. The Fathers didn’t take it up, coz they were not taught to cook as an essential life skill. Coz cooking has never been considered as an important life skill, not certainly as important as learning to speak out, communicate your thoughts, the ability to analyse and take decisions, the ability to dress smart, to be clean and organised.

Why hasn’t it been considered? Coz the men get married and they bring home the wife a.k.a. the cook.  It has been quite common “for the girl” to learn cooking coz she’s the bearer of this cooking torch from her mother. But there are also boys who picked up the interest to cook and learnt it. Some learnt it as a survival thing; some were forced to pick up as they travelled for work. But it has not been widely encouraged as it is considered a womanly duty to do so. It’s sexism that has discouraged all those young boys who want to learn this life skill.  This is the story of OUR generation who are now already parents.

So what are we actually teaching when we teach the kids to cook?

For the boys; am encouraging my toddler son to observe and learn while I cook. It not only lets me spend time with him, it’s exciting for him to see how the food he eats is getting prepared, in his mind, it’s already a good tasting dish. For a fussy eater like him, cooking excites him and he does enjoy his meal better. Proven fact, my nephew assists my sister in baking, he knows all the ingredients, helps her to mix. He’s less of a fussy eater now. Spending time with me in the kitchen also helps my son, to cross the psychological barrier about cooking. He tells me, he’ll cook for me if I fall sick. Learning to cook also makes him appreciate me for the work I put it; thereby he learns to appreciate women’s work. He gets to be more independent as he would go to higher grades, he could fix his own snack after a school day. Another factor; my husband cooks too, and on those days, he learns that cooking is not only a mother’s job; it is also a father’s. (Side note: Bless the boys, who did learn to cook ;D).

For the girls; well the feminist generation thinks cooking isn’t a skill to learn, coz it has been seen as a ‘why only girls need to do’ kinda thing. They can always hire someone, eat out. It’s liberating for a woman to not think of herself as the cook. But it’s a skill you need to learn for a healthy living.  Yes, like I have discussed sexist parents have made it seem like only girls need to learn as a way to be a good homemaker. But we can be different, when we are teaching girls to cook, we are teaching them self-sufficiency, taking charge of food and health, being independent.  So when you are teaching your girl, to be her own person, to be a go-getter, do teach her to cook too. I’d appreciate if the fathers help out the mothers in this.

So how do we start, without the fear of fire (burning up the house)? Thanks to technology, we have induction cook tops, ovens and electric cookers now. we can use them to teach your kids to cook basic food items – how to make rice or roti, use a pressure cooker, simple one pot dishes. Include them when you make their favourites. Just encourage them, take their help.

Also, cooking enhances certain other abilities too  – the ability to follow instructions by reading recipes, ingredients and proportions helps them with math,  enhances their olfactory senses, they’ll learn healthy eating v/s not-so-healthy.

When kids learn to cook, it boosts their confidence as they seem to do a grown up thing, it lets them believe they can do a lot more.

For all those who saw in wonder, the dishes The MasterChef Juniors brought to the table. They all did learn from their parents and elders.

Alright, I said my piece now you can share your view on this topic.

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In Pursuit of “A happily ever after”

In Pursuit of “A happily ever after”

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Just like in fairy tales, does life have an “A Happily ever after”? Is finding the right person to be your partner for life the quintessential factor for a happily ever after? Is it guaranteed once you do find the right person?

It is, for the most part of it, a happily ever after. Not the version we would like it to be, but the closest life can give us, with all the struggles and learning. Happiness is momentary and transient.  It subsides to give way to calmness and peace. And burdening one person for your happiness is just not fair. Also, expecting all the share of your happiness to come from one person is a sure way to get disappointed.

The only person truly who can make you happy is YOU. Being happy is not a feeling that comes from external factors. It’s a choice and decision that one has to make. Today, if you decide to be happy, you will find ways to make it happen. This is my view on happiness, but off course the behaviour and personality of our partners do have an effect on us. After all, we are needy creatures – in need of love, compassion, appreciation, companionship. If we all weren’t needy we wouldn’t be getting married when clearly everyone says it’s a mistake. Yet we do, not because we think we are going to be the ones to have a great marriage, but we do so to have someone share our life and be witnesses to each other’s life journey.  We are simple human beings who want a validation of a life well lived through the eyes of our loved one.

So what happens after? Expectations build up. Expectations of constant expression of love, Expectations of appreciation and support. Expectation to accept oneself as they are. Expectations to have similar interests.

These expectations make us blind to what the person truly is. Everyone has a capacity to love and to support. These capacities are not in same measures as one expects. Understanding and accepting gives way to happiness.

Another point, we have parents, friends with different level of friendships, kids. Each of these relations makes us the person we are. And so happiness comes from all of them. Not just our partners. When one has a good heartfelt conversation with a friend, when ones parent shows concerns and gives the right advice or attention one seeks. When our kids do all those naughty and funny antics, when they are just our little happiness packages. They each have a part to play to add on to our happiness quotient.

The happily ever after is nothing but the hope we have for our future. Hope is the one human trait that lets all of us sleep and wake up to a better tomorrow.  To a better version of ourselves. To a better understanding of our partners. Always have hope on one another. One day it will all turn in your favour. One day. Keep the hope alive.

Do share your comments.

 

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Doctors Advice: Do not google your illness.

Doctors Advice: Do not google your illness.

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It is quite common these days to google your symptoms and find out if there is a name to what you have or feel if it is something you can ignore or investigate. And most often I am sure; people scare themselves looking it up online. I have too.

I have major interests in all things medicine; I should have been a doctor. But I didn’t want to put in my 20’s into studying also; I was in a hurry to earn money, so I did engineering. I was good in biology; I had a natural affinity towards medicine. Had the curiosity to know the why’s and what’s and how’s of an illness. I would Google it and read it. That’s it. There ended my curiosity. I have suffered through illness – dust allergic related, fractures, ligament reconstruction, accidents minor injuries, pregnancy and childbirth. So I have googled and understood to some level what all these medical conditions entailed. So when the doctors diagnosed the problems and provided a prognosis, I’d think to myself – the online info is pretty accurate.

It always isn’t so. The online information on the medical condition is a very good start point for a curious mind. But its information is wide-ranging when the articles list out the treatment and side effects for all the symptoms they always list from the best to the worst case scenarios. They mostly dwell on the worst case scenarios and off course at the end there’ll be a disclaimer that these symptoms or effects are subject to individual condition. So, even if you aren’t at the worst side of the illness spectrum. You are spooked.

My son has the dust allergy. It came to light when he was 15-months-old. Changes in weather, going out in the cold or dry weather would trigger a cough; it would persist and wouldn’t subside without medicine. This would go on during the winter season and he was on nebulization. Every doctor we visited, not a paediatrician, but a pulmonologist would suggest the same course of treatment. No one suggested it could be an infection in the lung. Googling his condition also didn’t show the possibility of an infection. It would tell of all the other ailments that he could possibly have, chronic conditions, diminished quality of life. Blah blah blah. I stopped reading on it. Took the alternate medicine route, ayurveda, it worked for some time, but it always came back. Even they didn’t suggest a possible infection.

Then we consulted Dr Shamitha Mitra Saha. She’s a pulmonologist. The first thing she asked was is he able to get his sputum out. If so, to get it cultured. There could be an infection. After the culture tests, it was proved that he did have an infection which required 45-doses of an antibiotic that isn’t often prescribed, given through an IV in his hand. I must mention my son is a brave boy; he went through with it without a fuss.

Another scenario, one of my friend discovered that their child had this condition of Congenital Diaphragmatic hernia in the 7th month of pregnancy. It’s a condition where diaphragm that separates the chest and abdominal cavities hasn’t fully developed. The diaphragm makes sure the intestines don’t go into the chest cavity.

What my friend did about it, is this. He listened to his doctors completely. Didn’t Google about the condition. He got all his questions answered from the doctors. But he did research online on who will the best Surgeon to do the corrective surgery when the child is born. He knew about all the worst case scenarios that online information provided. He didn’t give heed to it. He prepared himself, made sure his baby got the right people to help her when she comes into the world. By God’s grace, the baby is doing fine.

If the diagnosis of a condition isn’t correctly done, the prognosis will also not be correct. This is known and understood. But he further said, all that one can do is find the “right” doctor, who will give you that “correct” diagnosis. I am happy that he kept his cool about it and the new parents will be going home with a healthy baby. Thank God.

This post isn’t probably entertaining but hopefully insightful.  Our stories needed to be told. As always, your insights, comments or stories related are most welcome.

 

 

Good samaritans of Bangalore – are you one among them?

Good samaritans of Bangalore – are you one among them?

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It was disheartening to read a news article where an 18-year-old was bleeding from an accident and it took 15 to 20 minutes to rush him to the hospital where he eventually succumbed to his injuries and died. Even worse was the fact that there were many onlookers who took pictures but dint go to help him. For more info, read this article.

Although a situation like these gets noticed and reported. There are innumerable acts of kindness that don’t garner media interest. For the life saved isn’t worth reporting (sad fact!).

Last evening, I and my son went out to get some snacks and at the corn vendor’s stall, there was a man who was chatting away with the corn vendor. One minute he was sitting and the next he collapsed shaking heavily. He had a bout of fits or seizures. A bunch of men standing around immediately came to his aide, helped him with ways they knew – they got a metal chain for him to clasp on. They didn’t leave his side until the episode of seizure stopped and he sat up. They sent a guy to call a doctor. (For those who ask what I was doing, I did too go to see if I there was something for me to do, but there wasn’t).

[Side note: Could read the WebMD article on helping someone during a seizure]

Bangalore – its people have always been there restoring my faith in humanity.

There have been times where I have found my way around Bangalore just asking directions from an auto driver. They are the ones who even tell me the shorter routes and routes to avoid. They respond for a simple “ondu nimisha (one minute)” even when we are driving parallel.

One such auto guy had helped me when one night I was stupid enough to not check the fuel gauge when I borrowed my friend’s bike to ride back home, after midnight.

I was working in ITPL and in second shift (3.30pm to midnight) and on a whim wishing to ride his pulsar back home borrowed it from him. Then I sped off. Half way through I checked the fuel gauge, it was running already in reserve fuel and by then I had passed petrol bunks that were en route. My friend lived in Shivajinagar; I guess he thought it would be enough to get him back home. But I lived in Rajajinagar. As it should the bike chugged and came to halt. I just pushed it along down the race course road to the Sivananda signal. There was a petrol bunk at that intersection, so I went in saw the staff sleeping inside and knocked until they woke up. Even though he wanted to help me, he couldn’t as the key to the fuel pumping machine was with the owner. So dejected, and wondering how I will be going home that is almost 4 km away. I just towed the bike afoot. Just ahead of the Sheshadripuram college circle, an auto guy who was delivering a box of ice cream with a guy stopped and asked if I needed help. He offered to leg-tow my bike (for those who don’t know what that is: the auto guy pushes the back of a bike/auto with his outstretched leg while driving his own auto). The leg-tow wasn’t popular in 2008 as it is now. So obviously, I was amazed that he could do that. He towed all the way to my street. I have never felt gratitude for someone like I felt that day. I dint know how to show it and gave them Rs.500 that I had on me.  I was glad that I didn’t have an untoward incident and counted my blessings.

This is just one incident of my life, which I recall to when I talk about the people of Bangalore.

Have you been in a situation where you were helped by a total stranger? Were you that total stranger to someone else? Do share your stories.

 

Having one child, is it enough?

Having one child, is it enough?

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Quote: “Having one child makes you a parent, having two makes you a referee”. When I said this to my mom, she asks, having three makes you what? I think for a while and say, it makes the parents just audience, coz there is nothing one can do when all three siblings are going at each other.

This is a topic I have started discussing/debating with almost everyone since I became a mother. Here I have tried to consolidate a few points of view and also put forth mine.

First of all, it’s easy on the parents to have a single kid. You get to be parents and not a referee.  It’s easy financially; you get to use all your resources on one. It’s easy on parents as one doesn’t have to revisit the baby phase of sleepless nights, lugging everything when you travel or move, constantly having a need to be physically present. You have one kid to focus on providing that undivided attention kids need, to bring in a positive emotional development and improving their thought process. Having one child could lead to good parenting.

But is it easy for the kid?

On some single kids it is. Single kids love the attention they get. They are used to being heard, that makes them confident. They end up making more friends as the parent feel guilty on not giving them a playmate, and so encourage them play with others.  They end up carrying the hopes and dreams of parents, and invariably take up a good number of hobbies. But for all the love of parents and having innumerable friends, I have heard single kids say that they would have loved to have a sibling, even if they had ended up fighting.

Offcourse, the more popular choice is having two kids. There is a lot of advantage in having a sibling. Mostly the kids learn to share and learn to compromise for the love they have on one another. The kids don’t feel alone, always have playmates. They’ll take care of each other through life. They’ll always have a family even when their parents aren’t around. Many siblings become confidants and best friends.  There’ll be an “us v/s them” when there are siblings.

Having two kids is a bit difficult for the parents but very good for kids. Will it be?

I don’t think so.

Having a child is a choice that parents make; to have another should be the first kid choice.

I have come to know a few people who weren’t asked this question when they were young and had a sibling thrust upon them. This is grave mistake many parents do. They bring in another baby into the house when the first child hasn’t even understood what it is like to share his/her parents love. This leads to deep unseated feeling of neglect in the first child. It’s not for the child to understand that there is a new person to share the limelight. It is the parent’s responsibility to make the first child comprehend it. How many of our parents have done that? How many of us with two kids have done that?

When the first child makes a choice, they are a good 4-5 years old. Old enough to know if they’d like to share their parent’s attention and love with someone else. They do. By that age, parents also have a chance to see their child’s behaviour amongst other babies and younger kids. They are independent enough to let you take care of another child. Also they’d be your helping hand with the child. You’ll end up inculcating a deep love and care without even trying.

My son asks me, every time we see a baby; shall we take the baby home? He’s very kind and loving towards other babies or younger kids. He shows a lot of brotherly care towards younger kids. When asked of hypothetical situation like: Mamma won’t be able to carry you as she would have to carry the baby. His answer is quick: My Father will carry me. What will he do when the baby is crying? He answers: I’ll share my toys and play with baby to make it laugh. When we are in bed, if I say that the baby would sleep right next to mommy? He’ll say its okay; I’ll sleep on the other side of the baby and keep it safe.

Having a generation difference between the kids is the key to their individual development. As there wouldn’t be a room for comparison amongst themselves, coz they would be at two different stages of their lives all through the growing years. Financially, you’ll also have a chance to allocate your resources one at a time. Moreover, mothers will have selective amnesia about the pain of child birth and tiredness of the first few months.

This is my take on this topic. What are your choices? How did you decide on them? What’s your take on having a sibling? Do share all your stories… I would love to hear them.

 

 

 

Indian Armed Forces – Living a life less ordinary

Indian Armed Forces – Living a life less ordinary

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As you all know it is the ad line for the Indian Army. The ad makes you take notice and watch it. It gives me a kind of goosebumps. I don’t know how many of you feel the same, but am sure if not goosebumps you are definitely in awe of the Indian Defence Personnel.

I had visited the Aero India 2017, and of course, it goes without saying, the aircraft, the stunts and formations, everything is awesome. It’s given. The idea behind this blog is the people behind this show. Our Defence personnel – The Indian Airforce and The Indian Army. I am in complete awe for these men and women. Totally. Their uniform and those aviator shades. That is COOL. Never goes out of trend cool. The cool, that comes from confidence and pride. It’s not just the uniform; it is their way of life that I am most impressed.

Career in the Indian Armed Forces; choosing to join the Defence garners so much of respect and pride for the young men/women and their family. It’s a career where what you earn as a salary is not considered as a marker of success.  It’s the only other career apart from being a Doctor, which gives you a title, a rank before your name. It’s an entitlement of a different sort. It’s a career that has no parallels to compare. It’s a career of adventure and character building. The Camaraderie that develops is for life. No other career builds just strong bonds with your fellow colleagues (recent OROP movement is a fine example). It’s a career where the system recognises the skillfull and the hardworking. By studying further, taking exams you can get promotions. It’s a career that takes care of you for life even if it’s a 15-20 years of service that is put in. A Defence personnel identifies him as an Indian first, and then comes his region.

So have you ever considered joining? Or have your kids enlisted?

I have married into a family where the Fathers have served in the Army. My husband too tried to join the armed forces. He came very close to being chosen for the Navy, he had been preparing for his SSB from the age of 12, and he regrets his plan to finish Engg to join as an officer. He regrets coz, it gave him less time to apply and try for all the SSB’s. It’s not that he got out on the first day; after completing the 5 day selection he lost it out only after the final psychological test. One of the traits that I like about him is this yearning to serve.

It’s kind of amusing or ironic, that our son was born on 26th Jan – The republic day. There I was sitting and watching the republic day parade and am thinking so it could be in the stars that my son joins the Armed Forces. He could well go that way. We would surely influence him but, the decision; the commitment to that decision will only be by him. (I also keep telling myself, that India has never in its history initiated War, calming the mother in me).

So, any of you has been influenced of the Indian Armed Forces, do share your stories in the comment section.

PS: the movie Lakshya is a good watch in this regard.

 

Retrograde thinking…

Retrograde thinking…

 

If given a chance, what would you tell your 18-20 years old self from where you stand today?

For clarity, this is not a post about living in hindsight, living with regrets. It’s not, for I believe, We as people take decisions or make choices for that given moment, with all our experiences and resources, information, emotional maturity and behaviour of people around us at that time. It is our best-informed decision for “that” moment alone.

So it’s upon us and us alone for all that we are now! Period.

But it’s therapeutic, or has a calming effect, to think that you could have been someone else, a better version of yourself if only you knew back then, what you know and feel now!

ah ha! but we can’t do that, but we could indulge ourselves.

So the list of info or advice I would give my younger self!

  • Have a better plan for your life.                                                                                                                              I had a very simple plan, finish engineering, get a job and then earn well. That’s it. For the 18-year-old me, it seemed good to have this clarity at least. But when It was achieved I didn’t know where to go when I had to change companies. I didn’t have clear career path to follow. I went with my gut, that’s it. Even if my plan hadn’t worked, I would have a guideline to work with. But like they say “Life is what happens when you are busy planning it”. It did!

  • Don’t be scared to test your love.                                                                                                                          I had this opportunity ( I had the visa) to study masters in Germany, but just before I went, Love happened. He encouraged me to go on and pursue my studies, he believed that we could get through a long distance relationship. But I didn’t, I was scared to loose what I just got, scared about the uncertainties if I went. So, I decided not to go.

  • Exercise more, don’t be lazy.                                                                                                                                 My weight was a concern, but not an issue. Didn’t feel that pinch, didn’t discipline myself to be healthier, even when I had a sister and friends who did motivate me. Now I am trying to take on my advice. Finally.

  • Don’t be complacent. There is always room to improve skills and knowledge.                                    I wish had taken this piece of advice given by a friend of mine. I didn’t fully comprehend what he meant. I tended to not think about, or dwell on it. He meant to put in a little extra effort to score better marks, to actually study. I coasted by with last minute studying for the exams. But when I started my career and moved along, I understood what he meant that day. That I tend to take the easy option when I little effort could give much better results. I settle for “it’s good”.

  • Trust a friend, not their judgement on others.                                                                                               I was very naive and gullible in college. So if someone was my friend, I had complete trust and even trusted their view about someone, their views and opinions became mine. Especially with a couple of people, I had this major presumption about them that hindered our friendship. I have made amends long after, but I don’t think that was enough.

  • Appreciate her certain choices, creating a wishlist/ bucket list, being self-aware.                           Appreciation for a lot of things that did work out in my favour, I made a list of things to do for when I earned. I did tick off most of them – travelling, trekking, being out a lot, hanging out with buddies, taking guitar classes, having my own RXZ (sold it later!), engaging in a lot of good conversation with good people, living life on my own terms ..to name a few.

This is my retrograde thinking. What is yours?

Well, if you do have something that you would want to tell your younger self, do leave a comment. I would definitely appreciate the effort and time. Thanks!

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