Nurture with Nature

Sun Flower
When I was a small kid, I was fascinated with mud. It was great to play after the rains in the mud. We made caves and decorated them with sea-shells glass pieces and flowers. It was fun playing in the open, running, screaming, laughing and touching the earth.

One of my loveliest memories of childhood is holding the hand of my grandfather and going for a walk at night. He would tell me stories of his childhood how he would walk through a patch of woods to go to school, how he met a hyena one day and how he climbed a tree to escape. We would come back home and on winter nights, grandmother would have hot chocolate waiting for us. As we drank the delicious chocolate we would smile as our affection spoke silently.

I wanted my daughter to experience the beauty of togetherness with nature. When she was a toddler, we chased butterflies together. When she turned six, we started a nature journal practice. It is lovely to go for walks and collect twigs and leaves. We observe trees, the sky, seasons, animals, insects and birds. We make notes. It is fun to paste these notes, draw, paint and sketch with the date and time.

Last year, we discovered a tiny nest on the top of a tree next to our terrace. In this nest, small babies waited for their mother to come.

A lone woodpecker used to visit a leafless tree near our house. We used to wait for the bird (our Woody) to visit. Every morning we observed Woody religiously visiting the tree.

However, that tree was cut down, and we lost our Woody forever. I could teach an important lesson to my daughter. We need to accept the change as only change is constant. Friends may come and friends may go, but life goes on.

I want my daughter to discover relationships beyond SMS, emails, social media or the Internet. Today an overdose of digital media and 24×7 connectivity is making us isolated ‘islands’ existing in a zone to become a zombie.

I want my daughter to experience the sunrise and sunset, to feel the difference between a breeze and a wind, to sit under the canopy of star and have conversations in person not on a mobile.

I want her to know that nip in the air announcing the winter and observe the slanted rays of the sun telling us that the days are getting shorter. Our nature journal consists of lovely notes of all these occurrences.

Nature journal practice has bonded well. It has also made us revere and respect nature in an amazing way.

Life changes literally and figuratively. These lovely moments of togetherness keep you grounded and become an anchor later in life.

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Connect Faster with 4G Airtel

technology
From pigeon mail to snail mail to telegrams and wireless to land line phones and cordless to pagers and mobiles and then to Smartphones we have come a long way.

There was a time when you had to book a call and wait for it to happen.  Sometimes you waited for hours before you could hear the voice of your loved one in another city, and if it was a small town, then it was a test of your patience.

Connectivity was through telephone exchanges where you booked your calls and waited in a queue for endless hours. Overseas calls would take longer and were exorbitantly priced. It was tough and people hardly called except in emergencies.

Then times changed and we got the STDs or Standard Trunk Dialling system that offered us the convenience of dialling a city code to connect.

It was better way as you could directly call and there was no need to call through the telephone exchange. However, the calls were expensive and people preferred to call after 10 pm when the rates were lowest. A long ring on a land line announced a long-distance call and was exciting.  Families would wait for these 10 pm calls.

Then we got the cell phones or mobiles. A mobile phone connected you through a radio link that made it possible to make and receive calls while moving around a wide geographic area. This was done through the cellular network provided by the mobile phone operators. These stylish gadgets become very popular. It was a style statement to carry a mobile.

However, calls were expensive and incoming calls were also charged. If anyone called,  you shared the bill for that call. Slowly, the mobile bills reduced as more companies entered and competition provided more options to the customer. With technological changes, mobile calls became affordable.

Today, Mobile phones together with standard features offer many useful facilities like text messaging, MMS and email, short-range wireless communications like Bluetooth, Internet access, gaming, business applications. These mobiles are called Smart phones. It is so easy today to connect, share, and respond to friends and family. You carry your office with you as the world works almost 24×7.

With Airtel 4G, things are definitely going to be fascinating. We will be able to access rich content and multimedia applications as movies easily. It will enable downloading heavy files or high-definition multimedia content at the same time.

I would love to experience seamless online streaming and forget the buffering. Face-to-face video chatting seems like the icing over the cake.

Airtel is the first telecom operator to roll out 4G services, nationwide across 296 cities. It is offering 4G at 3G prices. You can get your 4G SIM home delivered for free.
Welcome 4G we look forward to having you in our life!

Appreciating Cracks

There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.
~Leonard Cohen

Yes, there has to be a crack for light to enter. This is one of my favourite quotes. Though I had read this quote long back I grasped it much later.

It was during a difficult phase in life; I understood this quote. There were challenges and obstacles in every sphere of my life. I went for long walks in the evening with my small daughter. Those walks helped us to smile.

On a particularly difficult day, we decided to take a new path. It would be a long way back home, but somehow it felt right. This was not a familiar route.

We passed few landmarks and suddenly stopped. There stood a lovely house all in ruins. It had been an elegant structure. Though unoccupied, for years, it had been maintained well.

My daughter approached the guard to find out. The house had been burnt in a fire accident. By the time help arrived it was late. Thankfully, there was no one inside. We asked the guard’s permission to go inside to look at the once beautiful garden.

The path was covered with charred pieces of wood, bricks and heaps of ash. I looked around strangely captivated by the havoc. My daughter had many questions. However, the futility of those questions made me sadder.

I sat on a flat stone while my daughter explored the gardens. Devoid of colour the landscape looked bleak. Grey, black and strange white were the only hues.

My eyes scanned thoroughly and I noticed something. Pulled by a strange force I ran towards it.

Yes, there was a crack for light to enter.

On the corner of an ash heap was a tiny leaf dancing on a thin stem. We knelt to observe.
Life hoped to live.

Tiny

Tiny After two Weeks

How interesting, to see some seed taking root in this barren place. How did a seed land and embedded itself? How did it sustain? There were no obvious answers, and yet I had found answers to my questions.

Yes, Life goes on to bloom in any circumstances. Somehow even my daughter understood this truth.
Perfection binds you, imperfection provides hope.

Cracks are required for letting the light pass. In periods of transition cracks are bound to appear. Transformation goes through disintegration. We just need to cherish hope in our hearts
Our journey back home was different. I felt optimistic and capable of facing the challenges ahead. That tiny seed transformed  my thoughts.

“Mama let’s come every day to meet ‘tiny’.”

My daughter suggested. And we came for about a month until the day we relocated to another place. By that time ‘Tiny’ had become a small plant.

Today that plant is a metaphor we refer when things are difficult. Remember ‘Tiny’ is all we have to say to smile and sing.
This post is for Indibloggers – Lookupstories
https://housing.com/lookup

Healthy Pancakes

Healthy Pancakes

Pancake

Ingredients

The Batter
3 cups chick pea flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 onion grated
salt, turmeric and chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

The Filling

Carrot and Radish

Carrot and Radish

1 radish grated
2 carrots grated
2 tblsp coriander finely chopped

Oil as needed

Method

Mix the ingredients for the batter and keep aside for ten minutes.
Heat a pan apply some oil and spread the batter. Sprinkle the filling and press it with the back of a spoon so that it sticks. Flip and  cook from both sides. Colourful healthy pancakes are ready. Enjoy with a tangy chutney or tomato sauce.

When Virtual becomes Real

The internet has made life easy and complex at the same time. I would like to share my experience with you.

Last year in one of those terrible moods, one day on the net, I was desperate to do something mom would not like. I logged on the computer and went on a chat room of a strange website. This was not the first time. I had chatted earlier but today my rebellious mood was responsible for my adventure.

There was someone called ‘Soul friend’ in that room. My hesitant “Hi” was met with an enthusiastic “Hello darling!”

The conversation took turns and changed tracks. We continued to talk every-day for about a month. I became comfortable by this time and exchanged our email IDs.

One day, he suddenly started asking me personal details. Not being very extrovert on this subject, I immediately tried to change the topic. He became lurid and cheap. I switched off the computer thanking God that this was all virtual and not real.

Next day, I discovered my email account overflowing with his mails. Deleting the email account was not an option as the guy had my phone numbers, my address and other details. I realised I was in for a big trouble.

I decided to confide with my dad. That night my parents patiently listened to my story. The worry on their faces made me cry. Dad consoled me. He and Mom were happy that I shared this ordeal. The next day I surrendered my mobile phone number and got a new one The Email ID was deleted.

We could not change a house it was difficult. However, dad got in touch with a friend who is in the police. I was not allowed to go alone. Life was very difficult when I wanted to hang out with friends.

For about ten months, I felt he was following me. Even in the house I was never left alone. Last month, Dad was transferred to another city, and we were happy to relocate.

This was a lesson, well learnt. Now I am more careful of not disclosing my personal details. I am aware that the Internet is not a safe place for anyone. Chat rooms are the places where these characters hang to trap the innocent. Please have faith in your parents and do listen when they tell you to be on guard. The conversation channels with parents should always remain open.

This is a real experience of a sixteen-year-old daughter of a family friend. This incidence emphasises the need of having a supportive relationship with kids. The need of the times is to be a patient, understanding and non-judging parent.

This post is written as part of the Women’s Web – eKavach This Digi-Parenting Life!’ campaign.

A Rainy Afternoon Treat

Imagine a rain-soaked afternoon and your kid wants something different and yummy. What should I cook, is an eternal dilemma of a mother.
Try this easy snack.
Easy and quick to cook, it packs the goodness of mung beans. Mung a native of Asia is rich in fibre, calcium and iron.
This can be packed in a lunch box for school. Use it as a burger with cheese, tomato and chilli sauce or whatever your kid likes.

Mung Dal Snack

 

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Ingredients
1 cup whole mung beans
1/2 cup flour (maida)
½ tsp of green chilli paste
3 tbsps Chopped coriander
Salt to taste
Oil to fry

Method
Cook whole mung beans in a cooker by adding just enough water. It should be cooked but not get mashed. Cool the mixture.
Add salt, green chilli paste and chopped coriander
Make a thin batter of maida
Heat oil in a pan
Make round balls of the mung mixture flatten it a little
Dip in the maida paste and fry on slow heat until golden
Crispy mung snack is ready to eat

 

Freedom to Be

The Independence Day comes over again and our Tricolour freely soars in the August sky. It flutters and sways in the wind.

Flag2

This is how our life should flow through the winds of destiny. With all kinds of freedom, the freedom to be what you ‘are’ is extremely important. Today, I watch my daughter with a happy smile.  A confident eleven years old, comfortable in being whoever she is.

Few years back I remember she suddenly became an introvert, hesitant child. What exactly had triggered this was not obvious, though. As a mother, I helplessly watched her going into a shell.
I was aware this would require a lot of love, acceptance and patience. I did not want to hurt her in any way. The fragile emotions were delicate and precious.After introspecting, discussing and researching I decided to convey the message through a story.

She had always enjoyed bed-time story sessions. As a toddler she would often give me subjects to create a story around. These story sessions would continue until she fell asleep.
While conversing, I realised that she had been comparing herself with her friends.
This is a trap we fall into. No one can help us to find our unique abilities. That discovery solely depends on us.

I wrote a story of a sad peacock who thought he looked dull. This peacock waited for someone to help identify his strengths. A squirrel who became his true friend helped him discover his talent. The colours were a gift from his friends as a token of appreciation.
This story helped my daughter immensely. She would listen to it almost every day and slowly things changed.

Today, she is a cheerful well-adjusted child. She is aware of her strengths and comfortable with her weaknesses. This is the real freedom.

This story has been published by Mangoreader. It is award winning reading library. It is an amazing resource for kids, parents, teachers, readers, writers and artists. Digitally interactive stories enhance imagination and creativity.

I appreciate Artika Ranjan’s contribution in creating lovely illustrations for this story.

Do read and share this story with young readers.

The Peacock’s Secret

Peacock's Secret

Happy Independence Day !