Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Baby is a Precious Little Miracle – Pamper her

Only a few moments ago, it seems a precious little miracle happened in our life as our beautiful angel was delivered. Today she sits next to me discussing what would protect the soft skin of a baby.  

It was a brilliant idea, I thought to have a family discussion on a subject like this. Moreover, it provides an excellent opportunity for my daughter, a second grader to participate and brainstorm on a topic.

We started by asking ourselves what was most important for a baby. There was no surprise in that. It was sleep, we all agreed as they sleep for the best part of the day. Babies, however have shorter sleeping cycles compared to adults and it gets even shorter if she became wet and uncomfortable.

That is one of the reasons why we keep a waterproof material for the baby to sleep on. The most common practice is a rubber cloth topped up with soft linen.
“Is this comfortable” I asked the house and it was a "No” in a chorus. “The baby wakes up in the middle of the night crying, every time she wets herself” the daughter quipped.

“A happy baby need to have continuity in sleep and wetness is not permitted”, I try to sum up after everyone has put enough ideas on the tables. I steer the discussion in order to list down 5 practical hints for protecting the soft skin of a baby.
  • 1. “Soft linen is good but it should be dry and therefore she needs to wear a diaper at the night. Otherwise she might have irritation or maybe rashes.”  I appreciate the style as my daughter delivered the knowledge acquired only moments earlier and wonder how fast babies grow up. 
  • 2. “You know, before putting on a fresh diaper one should wipe the baby dry and apply a soft skin cream” she repeats a point her mother mentioned a little while back. 
What else could you think of, I question the two females sitting beside me?
  • 3. “Always wash the clothes using an antiseptic liquid as it is important to disinfect the clothes in addition to cleaning,“ suggests the elder of the two. " Don't forget to apply baby powder before putting on the clothes" reminds my little one.
  • 4. “Should we not use fabric softeners”, I think aloud. “Only if the baby likes the smell” tells my little one. Point well taken I signal with a nod. A sample test required before using this liquid for her clothes.
  • 5. ”The last one should be temperature, daddy” she says. I give her a puzzled look as if to ask what’s wrong about the temperature. “The clothes she wears should always be suitable for the temperature around. She should be comfortable and not feel too warm or cold” she expands. “Ah ha! That’s important to avoid the baby's skin getting dry or sweaty” I make a mental note. “Also make it a point not to use cold water while washing the clothes as results is always better with warm water” the mother chips in on temperature.
“Thanks team! We are done with this assignment,” I declare signalling them to focus their energy and attention somewhere else.

“We can have such discussions more often,” the daughter looks at me expectantly.

“We most certainly shall have more such discussions on a variety of subjects in the coming days”, I get up appreciating their contribution and realizing how involved a child can get given the right opportunity.

“Pampers brings you the softest ever Pampers Premium Care Pants. Its cotton-like softness is #SoftestForBabySkin and allows it to breathe, thus keeping baby’s skin soft and healthy, and your baby happy. ”

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Come on get off my back. Leave me alone!

I am getting intimidated by the demanding and commanding nature of all with whom I have association these days.I agree that I have requested for a wakeup call in the morning but when I open my eyes and give a pat that task should be considered completed. There is no need to keep calling me again and again like a nagging child. That's one time when I feel like throwing the phone away and teach it a lesson but only the price tag even with those sleepy eyes keep me from doing that.

I collect all the resolution it takes and get ready for work get into the car. As soon as I switch the ignition on, the car starts beeping to remind me about the seat belt. I say “Thank you very much” and move on. As I continue with my journey, there it goes again beeping at a much higher pitch. I say “shut up!” you did your duty now let me too have some rights to decide. It gives a damn and keep beeping which I ignore for some time and finally give in as the score goes love - two.

I reach office and try to access my email account but the server reminds me change my password. This is the single most important aspect for me being the communication lifeline, I decide not to mess around and key-in a new password which is easy to remember. The server object saying it’s not secure enough and instructs me to use special character, numerals in addition to alphabets. I somewhat complicate my otherwise simple character to create a password strong enough for their taste and satisfaction. Score goes Love - three.

Now it wants my mobile number so to ensure even more safety and I punch in the numbers eager to get along with my work. But now it tells me that a code will be sent to my phone and it does after a while.

The first mail I check is a promotional one luring me to buy something from somewhere. I bite the bait and head for the mega sale on the Apps. Now the app wants to do is check my location. That's purely an intrusion into my privacy and get worried about the grip the one who woke me up in the morning is trying to have on my life.

“Come on, get off my back! Let me alone!” I murmur before I get going with the daily work routine.

Last score of the morning: one – three. Game paused.

Together & Happiness

"You won't believe who was sitting next to me at the coffee shop this evening!" a friend came and told me today creating the drama he mastered over the years. He later told me that in the table next to his sat a man without a phone in his hand or even a laptop in his table. According to him it was quite odd and was quite certain that he was deranged as only they could act like that.

While I knew he was trying to be funny, deep inside me I knew it definitely was a rare sighting in today's world. Such individuals are few and far in between.

The world has taken giant leaps over the past century and left behind the old ways of life. The Generation X of the world who was largely responsible for this change are fast turning into senior citizens challenged with the impacts of their own revolution. Some of us are stuck in the middle struggling with the new way of life while still romanticizing with the past.

We conveniently blame our smart phones and other gadgets as reason for not being able to spend quality times with our family, friends and loved ones. But the fact of the matter is these gadgets are here to stay and the sooner we learn to adopt those into our lifestyle, the better it is for us.

Our ability to remain connected to the internet 24x7 doesn’t not mean that we should be constantly surfing the net. Similarly it also doesn’t warrant that we should keep passing on messages to a large group of friends or acquaintances as soon as we receive those from somewhere. There is no denying that we cannot shun those from our life any more as our favourite pastime, reading, too has become digital. Only when we bring discipline in our life we will be able to use these technologies as tools to improve our life and not let them become the wedge that pushes the family apart. Otherwise persons around us shall continue to become invisible as we stay engrossed in our computers, laptops or other handheld devices and each individual becomes an isolated island.

Only when we control what we do, when we do and how we do things in our life shall we create little islands of kissanpur in our daily life and enjoy the joy of being together and happiness or in other word togetherness.

The joy increases manifold when we all go to a new place with our extended family and spend at least a week in a hotel where all we need to care about is spend quality time, laugh together remembering all those sweet memories from the past and at the same time creating memories for the future.

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Once upon a time on a Road

“Not everything that happens in our life could be explained by our common sense or knowledge or for that matter known science” Ron reflected quite engrossed in his thoughts as Ana looked on. It’s been long since the last time they sat together talking about past. Ron always had lots of stories to tell and while he insisted that those were all his life experience, Ana believed most of them were either borrowed from others life or simply made up.

“Today, I will tell you about an experience I had almost 15 years back but don’t ask me to provide any explanation as I have none” he said in the beginning and started to narrate a journey that he and his friends took to and from Dubai.

That night Ron accompanied by 3 more friends were heading towards Dubai border. It was a long weekend ahead and they would be visiting Dubai for the very first time. Quite obviously they wanted to take advantage by driving through the night so that they could spend the maximum time there.
That had packed everything that would possibly need including condiments, water, sodas coffee etc. They were tempted to add a few cans of beer as well but the better sense prevailed this time.  
The traffic was thick as there were other likeminded holidaymakers trying to do precisely the same. The highway was straight devoid of bends and that made driving even more dangerous as the challenge was to stay awake at the wheels. The car was from a rental company with no emotional attachments making it easy to take turns with driving. Three of them were licensed to drive in both the countries and they set the rule that the person in the front passenger seat shall not sleep and keep company of the driver.

Highways are famous for Ghost stories and there have been many popular stories that has been told countless times with slight variations. Everyone has perhaps heard of a haunted house where nobody can spend time inside and those who have attempted were found lying by the highway outside, next morning. We also heard of highways where a veiled woman is seen walking towards the car and many driver list their life trying to swerve so that they could avoid hitting her.

Everyone have their own belief, conviction or take when it comes to believing in the ghosts though it is understandably difficult to believe that ghosts should have a form. If they did have one then which one would that be and who took those decisions. This was the topic of discussion during the long drive to Dubai that night.

Suddenly, there was a sharp whistling sound outside the car on the highway. It was loud and shrill. Ron was at the steering wheel pressed the brakes instantly and put his hand over his ears. As the speed came down to 100 KM/hr the sound went away. They accelerated again and the sound came back.

After driving 10 more minutes they thought there could be problem with the car and accelerated with to verify. But this time there were no such sound. They forgot about this incident and had great tie in Dubai. On their way back they had the same experience in the same stretch of the highway.

Reaching home Ron was shocked to learn that one of his colleagues had  lost control of his car and got killed in the same stretch of road they encountered the whistle the night before.

Ana and Ron, both had to rub their hands on the arms to get those goose bumps go away!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Addressing Mental Illness

What is a mental illness? In common man’s term, it could probably be defined as the lack of balance of mind or brain. In other words inappropriate thought process and action that result in the affected individual’s failure to cope with life’s ordinary demands and routines. Early indicators are changes in mood, personality, habits and social interaction.
Medically there are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness. Some of the most common types are:  clinical depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. Like all other illness, mental illnesses too vary in severity ranging from moderate to severe.
This could develop due to external stresses, internal chemical imbalances and genetic factors or after some accident. But many affected individual succeed in coming out of this illness and learn to cope with the conditions with proper care and treatment.
However, the biggest obstacles that prevent people seek professional help and treatment is the stigma associated with mental illness.
The most common are anxiety and depressive disorders which are more extreme forms of feelings of anxiety, tension or sadness that most of us normally experience. In India, there are very few people who would or have access to medical professionals when faced with such conditions.
In the place where we grew up, I observed something that is probably unique. We had sadhus and sanyasis associated with various sects of Hinduism. They dedicated their life for their Gurus as well as the service of mankind. Some of them were truly learned and whenever any disciple had feeling of extreme sadness they used to use situation out of the holy scriptures and pacify the sadness and help them back into the normal walk of life. I am sure such pious man existed across all religions.

There was a stigma associated with going to a psychiatrist but there was no barrier reaching out to such gurus.
Today there are more impersonators, quacks and opportunist in the society making it extremely difficult to trust. Medical supports are available but the society still has to evolve to embrace the sick and able alike with open arms.


Monday, October 12, 2015

The Pearl Hunting

The winter before last we visited the Andaman Islands. We bought our air tickets early followed by booking for our accommodation in a government run hotel called Andaman Teal house. Incidentally this hotel did have a web page but no online booking facilities, making us to use postal and fax services. The price was too good to be true for the location, view and our expectations. We were once again reminded that if something seems to be too good to be true, it's probably not true.

Early next morning we moved to another hotel nearby as a stop gap arrangement since the Teal house did not offer the type of accommodation we got used to. We also learnt that the diversity of India also transpires to the functionality of its tourism industry and if you are visiting Andaman, you better coordinate with a travel agency.

We spent the day visiting the other islands and relocated to a place called The Park hotel early next morning. Though it was not the brand that we all know, it finally brought the much needed relief and joy. This hotel was similar to old boarding houses with an open corridor serving the series of guest rooms. The corridor had a distant view of the ocean along with a view of the landscaped garden below that was equally refreshing. Our daughter was by then enjoying the trip with uncle and the grandparents from both sides pampering her.

The beach, which was 10 minutes walk didn't have a name to go by but generally identified as the beach near Rose Valley Resort. It was pristine and almost untouched. The hotel owner assigned a lady accompany us and show around for the first time. My daughter even adopted a puppy on the way who accompanied us to the beach.

After reaching the beach we were all got scattered and a sudden excitement brought us back together. The lady had found a pearl within a sea shell and so did my father-in-law. That was another too good to be true incident.

For the next few days whenever we had time to spare we were at the beach looking for pearls with vengeance driven by the desire to have this unique experience. We found everything from live Molluscs, snail, conch shells, cat eye shells but no pearls. I ended up having serious sunburnt on my arms, legs and feet.

The morning we were leaving the hotel, we met another family who checked in last evening and they excitedly narrated their experience in the beach this morning. The lady of the hotel took them to the beach in the morning where she found a pearl and luckily they too found one on the beach.

Deja Vu!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

October of the Wheel of My Life

When I was a young boy I was restless like others of that age, eager to grow up and be independent. We wanted freedom; we wanted to break free and not constantly told what to do by parents, teachers, siblings and all other elders.

Childhood was bliss and reasons for joy were in abundance. There were nothing that was not worth celebrating while we particularly looked forward to the festivals. The festive seasons started with Saraswati puja in February and ended with Christmas and New Year in December. The days would pass counting down the days from one celebration to the next one. All in all it was chasing the next event in the calendar and enjoying life throughout.

As the numbers in the calendar kept changing, we continued to add years to our age and life got a new meaning. Life became front loaded with responsibilities as we stopped growing up and started to grow old instead. Those dark hairs now got transformed to a combination of salt and pepper. It’s only a matter of time before they all turn to be salt only.

Today as we approach the October of wheel of our life, we continue to chase the days. But those are the days between one weekend and the next. There is hardly a moment to pause a look around in this journey.

The days always passes at the same pace but sometimes it appears to be lot longer than other and 2015 is one such example of a long year. This year has been a cruel reminder of the greatest truth of our existence. We are mere mortals with a definitive beginning and an end. The scientists are working towards “curing death” but that is still a long way from reaching lesser mortals like us.  

For the past few years, the world has been dogged with conflicts and has lost many a life due to those easily avoidable wars in the Middle East, man-made disasters, natural calamities, and of natural causes. We have also lost in 2015 more than fair share of lives that touched the lives of thousands of people outside their respective families.

On a personal level I have lost two very dear friends and few relatives. Both the friends were on the other side of forty. As in “God of Small Things” they were “Not old. Not young. But a viable die-able age." I have learnt that each day above ground is a celebration and not to be wasted by grumbling or whining about haves and have nots.

This is a life changing experience for me which created mayhem in my inner self. I had the feeling of extreme grief and got distracted by the thought of what could happen to a person, a family within few moments. This is unexplainable and could only be defined as the vagaries of twenty fifteen.

I will be naive to imply there had been no positivity or achievements in this year as there has been plenty but the negativity is weighing it down for me. So this year needs to end sooner than later as this has been unquestionably very furious but not fast enough.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

An Art for Drinking

Last week we went to Mc Donald café for a cup of coffee Latte and when they served it we were pleasantly surprised.

It’s called Latte art of coffee art and I have seen such pictures earlier. But honestly, I never had an opportunity to drink a painting of sorts. The coffee tasted good and the artwork added the little extra that gives us happiness.
Conventionally the decoration is done by pouring the steamed milk on espresso coffee to generate the foam and creating a pattern on the surface of the drink. This art is particularly difficult to create due to lack of consistency in the top layer of the foam.

A little google-search enlightened me further.  I also discovered that a company called “Steam CC” has developed an appliance called “Ripple Maker” which can print incredible beautiful and artistic foam prints like the one above. Read more here.