Thursday, July 5, 2018

Plastic ban - Vegetable organizer bag

Single use, super thin Plastic bags are getting banned in one state after another in India. It is already banned in Maharashtra and is going to be banned in Tamil Nadu from January next year (I think).

From my usage pattern, I observed that the biggest dependency on plastic carry bags for me is to organize my vegetables at the time of purchase itself as I am otherwise too lazy to sort them all over again after coming back home. I used to re-use those thin carry bags for this purpose  But with Maharashtra state government's ban on plastic bags, vendors are refusing to give vegetables even in plastic bags that I bring along with me, fearing the fine. So what to do now? Enter the brain of a educated graduate who does not have a paid 9 to 5 job.

I rummaged by almirah and found that I had a few pillow cases that I would like to discard as they are old, faded and look worn out. But the fabric still has some life in it. So here is how I am converting them into bags to carry vegetables.

Here is the pillow case 

Cut into two halves. Using a scissor, open up one side of the seam up to half the length of your forefinger. 
Fold along the edge leaving enough space to pass a drawstring through it. And sew it along. 

I don't have a sewing machine, and it has been ages since I have hand-sewn anything. So this is what my stitching looked like in the first few minutes. I wanted it to be a little durable, so I decided to do a blanket stitch so I won't have to search for  a roadside tailor to re-do the stitches for some time at least. I removed all the knots and persevered again. 

Here is how it looks after the second attempt 

Finished stitching around the edge
Drawstring inserted

Vegetable organizer ready



Saturday, May 26, 2018

His Loving Gaze

From a very young age I have been known to be a poised person, not one to be taken over by impulse. But post delivering my son 15 months ago, my hormones have been raging like that of a teenager. And there are no words to describe how it is to feel like a 17 year old in a 31 year old physical form - where you have to 'adult' (verb form usage mean act like an adult) with people around you, especially your spouse who is super-adulting due to his corporate work environment where he spends close to 10 hours a day. 'Frustrating' describes this situation rather mildly.

Nevertheless, like it or not, one needs to deal with 'it' as you have mouths(and hungry stomachs) to feed, and a baby to be taken care of  which necessitates the need for atleast some amount of stable mind and rational thinking.  And the only way to do that is to channelise the surplus swinging temperament into something creative. So here is a poem I wrote recently -


His Loving Gaze

His loving gaze
That melts you from inside
That warms your heart
That fills you with hope and strength
That reassures you that He is there for you
That makes sure you are protected. Always.
That sometimes turns into "I told you to listen to me" look
That traces your curves as you do your morning stretch
That turns away when you turn and look for it
That you have learnt to sense from your heart
That you want to enjoy eye to eye
That is cast upon you only exactly when you look away
That, by now, you have learnt to enjoy through the corner of your eye
That is as warm as his embrace
His Loving Gaze, His Loving Grace


When reading the above please read every line to begin with the phrase 'His loving gaze'

Image credit - https://i.ytimg.com/vi/7PkV0EQjiVk/maxresdefault.jpg


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Sense of Value and Worth - a Rat Race in itself

In today's modern day Indian society, women are being taught about a sense of value and worth that is measured by the money they earn on their own. Various practices that transpired in the 50-60 years prior to the turn of the century, have resulted in this scenario in which a woman who does not take up paid work assignments feels a reduced sense of worth and value.  I, my younger self, have gone through this state of mind, and it left me quite distressed. While it is a sound idea to instill a concept of self-esteem, the concept of hard work and working to earn your bread, generalisation of this idea has led to a mass mentality of aspirationalism - if that is a word. What is all this ranting driving at, you may ask... The fact that it is okay to be not working for money, even if it is for some duration of your life - has gotten buried and is getting lost in the minds of people in today's society. 





This ranting drives in the direction of my present state - I recently delivered a healthy baby boy. Mentally I have been preparing for the fact that this will mean that I will not have a 9-5 office schedule for a few years atleast. And I am glad that I have been able to develop that stable state of mind. I have been interacting with some mothers on a couple of community forums. The above rant emerges from the interactions I see in those forums. The quest for financial independence today is at a state where a child's need for its mother's attention and care in the early years of its life is a tradable commodity.  And because this has become a mindset at the societal level, it has become an accepted norm to find substitutes for all aspects of mothering. Starting right at the first touch point for the child - its food - breastmilk and breastfeeding.  I see enough mothers in the groups who even before delivering their child hope to substitute the breast with a nipple. The rat race driven way of life for the child begins right there when the mother keeps hoping that her child will accept a bottle with an artificial nipple on it. What bottle to buy, what size nipple to use, what type of pump to buy, what type of pump accessories to buy - these deliberations take up the entire mind space of a lot of new mothers today.  Having brought the child into this planet, the effort then begins to teach the child to go against its nature given knowledge of how to extract milk from a human nipple. From being a means to an end, this becomes the end itself, where people forget that one must attempt to feed the child directly when possible. I am not referring to the section of people who have medical compulsions to do so, I am referring to the majority of normal mothers who introduce their children to this rat race as early as 2-3 months because they have their own rat race to catch up with. And after the ordeal of getting the baby to accept the artificial nipple, the next immediate lament is that now the baby prefers the bottle over the breast!!

The point of this post is merely an observation of the state of the society today, and in no way an attempt to claim moral highground against these present practices. Just that as member of this society myself, I feel like a hypocrite when people cry loud against the industrial ways in which dairy farms extract milk from cows, and then in the same breath go about prescribing appropriate pump brands that will extract milk from yourself.

Photo credit : https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-rat-race-image27745659

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Let there be light

Anyone who has studied Mathematics or any other subject that inculcates deep problem solving techniques will know that most of the times, the way to find a solution to a problem is to define the problem statement very clearly and very precisely.

After reading my previous post about clueless helplessness, I received quite a lot of warm wishes from some good close friends, who were a bit taken aback by the gravity of the words used. I am happy to share that the outpouring(so to say) in the previous post fulfilled its purpose - helped me spell out my problem statement very clearly there by putting the focus light of my attention to solution.  The whole of last week I have been actively working to fix multiple items that have been constantly pushing me into a state of anxiety. Hope to see the benefits of the same soon.

Sharing here a picture of the Karthigai festival celebrations at my home today.


Inspite of having a child who is at an age where he needs constant attention, I was able to have a decent celebration after a series of flopped festival celebrations. The confidence and enthusiasm levels are quite a bit up compared to last week. Here's to a power packed December - and here's to getting things done and progressing in life no matter what impediments come my way. Lighting these lamps diligently has had a very soothing effect on my soul - I discovered this last year when we were thrown back to pre-electricity era for 15 days after the Vardah cyclone struck, and like the olden days we only had these oil lamps for illumination. Lamps do illuminate you from the inside - do try it out. Light a lamp every day - need not be in front of an idol if you sail on the atheism boat - see the transformation happen slowly but steadily.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Confused. Lost. Clueless.

Lost. Puzzled. Confused. Clueless. These are some of the words that describe my state of mind today. So far in the many years of existence, time and again life throws me into this spot where I have no clue how to respond or what to react to the scenario, where I feel like I am engulfed in pitch black darkness, with no idea of what to do at all - to breathe or not to breathe, to move my limbs or to shake my head. With much effort I put pieces together and break that spot, only to find myself in another spot of cluelessness of higher complexity. 


Totally tired of fighting this constant sense of darkness. Searching for that guiding light, guiding energy of my life. This post may not be of much meaning to the readers of this blog, but this is the only space where I can put this out. So bear with me and if you can, pray for me.



Photo Courtesy - http://deeptrivedi.com/be-your-own-guiding-light/

Saturday, May 27, 2017

That moment had come...

I participated in a contest by https://getfreewrite.com and one of the tasks to be done to enter the contest was to write something quick in 15 minutes time. And here is the short story I came up with - 




That moment had come. He had given so much of himself to this... It was hard to believe that all his efforts were now coming together.  As he waited with a bated breath, the doctor came to him, and his bundle of joy was in his hands. Scrawny, and tiny. It had all seemed impossible just a some months ago. And then his thoughts veered towards his wife. Although full of life, this was one thing she had been very hopeless about. With a heart full of love and determination, she had turned around quite a few things in his family's life. But this. This had shaken her from within. And he had decided he wouldn't let her get shaken. It had taken days and many nights of consoling and pepping up to get her to the hospital, to face the batteries of tests, the endless hours of waiting in the hospital lobbies.  And finally, it had all come together. This was that golden moment to see the life they had created. Together. Just as he zoned out of these thoughts and zoned back into the baby in his arms, there was hurried activity in the labour room. His stomach tightened, there was no news of her. He had been carried away with the child in his arms. After a number of nurses running in and out, the doctor came out and told him that it was almost over, and his wife wanted to see him.  His heart sank.  Rushing into the room, he saw her lying helplessly. But he wouldn't let The story end this way. He held her hand and whispered in her ears.. "Don't do this,to me, to us, and to the baby. Forever, together, triumphant". And that was the what she needed. That reassurance. She smiled, and her vitality monitors smiled as well. Yet again, he had brought her back on track.  Theirs was love story, unparalleled. Full of opposites, but all the more reason to stick together.


Image Credit and Copyright - https://plus.google.com/photos/116224859398999719483/albums/6337007875921259681/6337007876686977602

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Book Review - "Devil Does Care" by Pravin Shekar

Why Should I care about ‘Devil Does Care’? 


Laid out in an airy and breezy format, this book defies the stereotype of a typical ‘Mantra to Success in XYZ’ book even though it fundamentally belongs to that category.



For those who have, successfully or not, tried their hand at ‘running’ any intiative - be it a company, organising a ticketed event, or simply launch a simple product/solution of your own – a book, a photography service, call it what you like – they know that inspite of all the gyaan available and discussion around the importance of finding customers, and sales, and marketing, only one thing is relevant about getting sales and increasing your market awareness -

IT IS ALWAYS EASIER SAID THAN DONE

Replete with real life scenarios and examples, the author walks you through a good number of instances of successful zero/low budget marketing initiatives that converted to actual sales numbers, which you can use to wrap your head around what you should be doing for your specific case.

The subtle ideas, key pointers and examples in the book enable you to think about how to get it ‘done’. The biggest plus point here is that in case you are stuck at some point of your sales and marketing strategy, the author is absolutely approachable, and you can approach him for some focused mentoring on the matter at hand. You can easily reach him through his website

I would like to highlight some of the sections that I liked, and connected with, the most –
  1. The growth hacking example of Minance Capital – how they got 130 people signed up as paid clients in one marketing stroke
  2. The story of how carnatic musician Chembai Vaithyanatha Bhagavathar got his singing slot in a reputed music festival after being openly turned down initially

All in all, for its price of Rs 250, the book seriously nudges you to find ways of running your next marketing strategy while spending less money on it. And it does this without being preachy about it even one bit. Definitely worth the money you will spend on buying it.

Here is a photo of me receiving the author signed copy of the book -




Pick it up from online retailers using these links – Amazon , Flipkart