Friday, November 21, 2014

Today, I watched you

Today, I watched you


Today, I watched you

As you lay in slumber
cocooned in the warmth of sleep;
Unfettered by care, worry or stress,
your lips broke into a dreamy smile.
That smile made my tired shoulders lift in love.

Today, I watched you

As you took the stage
Confident, poised and full of grace;
Singing a song with the confidence that
Can only come from the innocence that is childhood.
That song made me shed a few tears of joy.

Today, I watched you

As you spoke of a girl
Who needed to be shielded 
Photo from Pixabay
From the curious eyes of the world;
You described how you and your friends formed a circle
So nobody would see her as she changed her attire.
That action made my heart swell with pride.

Today, I watched you

As you spoke ceaselessly of books
The ones that adorn your shelves, every corner and all the nooks;
You labeled the racks to know which was where
All on orange post-its to display your treasured wares.
That deed made me hug you with love.

Today, I watched you

As I watch you every day
blossom into a young girl
So different from that toddler at play;

The tomorrows are coming too soon for my liking
Just once, just today, can we slow down the clock?
Can I gaze at your cheeky grin, that warm glance 
That tells me how special you are?

Today, I want to watch you
Cuddle by my side
Eating ice-cream, giggling at cartoons, 
Exchanging tickles and kisses by the dozen;
Today, I want you to fall asleep in my arms
And I want to feel the nuzzle, the snuggle and the hugs
as I drift off into sleep's warm embrace.

- To my Daughter, Gy



We all need a little moonshine in our lives

Monday, November 17, 2014

Relish the Moment- #MicroblogMondays

Mr. Mundane and I, quite often on this page, have crossed paths with gratitude and warmth.

Remember how Urgency and Importance don't mean the same thing,or why letting the laundry pile up on some days is the best thing possible and what about the last time you did something that you loved?

Yes, the common thread in it all is the idea that relishing this moment, this present moment, comes with a great deal of practice.

This was brought home to me, in a different way, early this morning. Gy has always been a relatively strong child, constitutionally. Today, my strong child fell ill with a severely upset tummy and the protective Mama Bear in me emerged, telling her to stay home and ride out the problem with rest and fluids. To my surprise, she refused as she had an important day at school- one with a full  rehearsal for an upcoming event- and she put her foot down, saying she MUST go. I was speechless and to be honest, a little annoyed.

Just as I was about to throw a fit, asking her to listen, she put her hand on mine and said, 'I promise I will call you if I don't feel well.'

In the next few minutes, she was aboard the bus and I was standing there, wondering when the parent and the child had reversed roles. I even came home and confided in a couple of friends that I was sitting by the phone all morning, biting my nails, hoping that the phone would NOT ring, asking me to dash over to school.

The day ended and she returned. Nothing untoward had happened.

Sometimes, we just need to let go. We gain so much more from that, than in all our illusions of control.

Relish the Moment. It is here for a reason.

Photo courtesy: Pixabay

~~~
Linking up with the Stirrup Queen for #MicroblogMondays

Friday, November 14, 2014

Feed a child, Save a Life

Today, November 14th, is celebrated as Children's Day in India. It is a day dedicated to the celebration of innocence, happiness, love and laughter that are all beautifully embodied by children all over the world.  Children in my daughter's school made bookmarks to be handed over to friends and were studying all about Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, whose birthday it is, today.

As we live in our cozy homes which shelter us from rain and heat, with clothes on our back and food on the table, little do we realise how much suffering surrounds us on a daily basis. Even as I waved goodbye to her as she left for school this morning, my mind was thinking about those countless children who do not have a home, books to read or even food to eat.

When Blog Adda and Akshayapatra came up with this noble intiative, I could not help but sit down and blog about it, right away.

Here are some hard facts I had to stomach, when I began to research this topic:

  1.  Hunger remains the No.1 cause of death in the world.
  2. 1/3 rd of the world's hungry people live in India.
  3. Between 2006 and 2007, malnutrition caused seven million Indian children to die, almost half of them before the age of one.

{Source: http://www.bhookh.com/hunger_facts.php}

Here I am, at home, trying my best to make the tastiest of foods so that my daughter can eat it without complaint and there are kids literally dying, due to lack of food. When did we become such a privileged lot? When did we stop valuing the things we have around us and start taking it for granted?

Growing up, I recall how we would eat anything put before us, relish the food that we had and send up a prayer of gratitude that we had something to keep hunger at bay. I am not saying that my child does not value food. But, she and countless other kids, are simply not aware of the reality that is hunger and starvation that millions of children face daily.

Akshayapatra came up with the very commendable Mid-Day Meal Scheme. Under this, they pledged to end classroom hunger across India, by feeding children from Government schools and Education Centres all over the nation.

But, as we all know, these things can always be helped along by contributors, both monetarily and in terms of ideas.

Here is an idea that I feel can be implemented in schools right away:


Ask your school (the school your child attends) to organise collection of food grains/ items which can be sent to Akshayapatra Foundation on a monthly basis. 

Each child needs to bring just 1 kilo of any food item- 
Rice/ Pulses/ Vegetables/ Fruits- once a month.

The sheer volume of food items that can be made from the contributions of over 2500 children each month can go a long way towards ending classroom hunger.


As we celebrate children today, let us also empower them to think beyond the limited scope of our homes and our families. All the world is ours and we must do our best to give back to it.


Never forget that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

~Margaret Mead


~~~~

For more information on Akshayapatra's initiatives or how you can be a part of it, check here.

Or, simply donate.

Whether you want to donate your time/money is of course, your choice. But, if you are a blogger, you can surely do this, sitting in the comfort of your home. 

Write a blog post, as I have done. Blog Adda will feed a child for a year.

I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda.

~~~~

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Put down that Tablet; Step Away from the Laptop

I bet you think this is going to be a post about how we need to spend more time with the kids and less time with our gadgets. Actually, no. That's not the reason I am writing this post, although that is a topic all by itself which needs discussion.

The first reason for putting down that tablet is the tell-tale strain you feel in your elbow, a tingling in your wrist and that muscle in your shoulder which is beginning to wince. The second reason for stepping away from your laptop is the fact that your eyes hurt, your neck feels pinched at the base and you now resemble a very good copy of the lead character from the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

About three months ago, I started feeling the warning signs of all of the above symptoms, but chose to ignore them. I told myself what any addict says, 'I can stop whenever I want to.'

If you've been here before, you'd know that I was addicted to blogging. I write two blogs and in addition, I am a Stay-at-home mom who does freelance content writing work and also works part-time at an NGO. Apart from that last job, what this boils down to is a lot of time spent online- writing, blogging and networking on social media.

Last week, I woke up with a stabbing pain in my neck, which quickly radiated to my shoulders. That's when I felt real fear. The very thought of not being able to do my daily tasks, let alone blogging/writing, terrified me. Without delay, I consulted a doctor and she confirmed what I had known all along.

I had iPad Shoulder. Yes, that's a real affliction.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Using a brusque, no-nonsense approach, she told me that I must take steps to reduce this incidence with immediate effect. She said I must do the following:

  1. Cut out all gadget-screen time for one week- Laptop/ Smartphones/ Tablets.
  2. Do no activity which involves bending the neck downward. This extended to reading.
  3. Use hot water compresses on the neck/shoulders to ease pain.
  4. Refrain from activity that involves heavy lifting.
I needed to hear this from a professional in order to get my life back on track. Thanks to her and my pain, I realised that my need to do so much all the time is likely to cause more harm than good.

What I have done

Taking my health seriously is something that I have consciously started doing. To this end, I now do the following:

Monitor my time online: I actually set a timer ( 30 minutes for laptop use/ 15 minutes for Tablet use) and when it goes off, I get up from my chair and walk around, stretching my limbs.

Started doing stretches: These are simple stretches anyone can do at home or at work. I found this infographic very useful!

Uninstalled many apps on my smartphone: Let's face it. That screen and your fingers? Not the best of friends. It causes excruciating pain on a long-term basis. Best to switch off completely. I have the laptop and the Tablet for checking my Blog updates and my Facebook notifications. Those will suffice.

Stopped using the Tablet in bed: I was the one falling asleep with my eye on the latest blog or the newest parenting article. Today, I fall asleep listening to some good music. 

Sleep longer: I would barely get 5 hours of sleep each night, thanks to my screen addiction. Now, I switch off everything by 10 p.m. and get to sleep. The more rested you are, the better you are equipped to deal with the world.

When I first shared this situation of mine with my close friends, Tulika Singh sent me this wonderful video to help minimize discomfort while working at the laptop. It is geared towards adults and kids. Do check it out.



In addition, this article by Jack Schofield is an eye-opener on all the things that we do wrong with the laptop and the Tablet.

I hope that what I have shared here today will help many people- those who work in the corporate sector, Stay-at-home moms who turn to gadgets to stay online/connected, Work-from-home moms who spend a lot of time online and children who use gadgets on a regular basis.

Our health lies in our hands. Let's not throw it away.

Be smart. Turn off that smartphone. It's going to help you.

~~~~~

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