Sunday, 28 August 2016

What's in your plate!

We have always been a eating family. Gourmands. I remember my mother baking almond cake when I was seven years old and my brother and I helping her to bake it. Coming home from school we always were greeted with new dishes which were a feast for the senses. We explored food from a variety of cultures. I remember the quaint pizzas of the nineties which were just a glorified crust. Food has a wonderful healing effect if taken at the right portions and if it is digested well. While we were at the United States  we  enjoyed ourselves even more as the variety was tremendous and the thoroughfare continental with waffles, pancakes, muffins. More so food there is pocket friendly. We would be able to eat sumptuously for only100  dollars a month. Macdonalds sold fries for a mere 99 cents and the whopping burritos were just much the same. The Americas is some way the rice bowl of the world as food seems so pocket friendly. Here at home it still seems expensive and with rising prices the poor are not able to eat well and falling to a host of diseases. The working class have to educate themselves on what is best, nutritious and cheap. Amma's canteen is something that seems to be reasonable and within the reach of the poor. The government should make provisions so that we are able to eat a balanced fare at reasonable cost so that health care costs  are kept to a minimum. 

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Middle age blues.

There were times when festivals brought the families together. Cousins met. Children interacted amongst each other and played wonderful games. This was the magic behind joint families when there was food and merriment which took the drudgery of everyday life. Problems were easily solved.  The grandmother was Dr Spock with her never ending cures. With times changing and families getting smaller everyday life seems to be yawning more than ever before. Stress and depression has become more than before. More so with the younger generation exploring greener pastures the couple are left with nothing to do. So it is important for parents to keep themselves active by engaging or pursuing some old hobby. The couple can keep their romance alive. It is important to have some kind of stimulation of the intellect as we grow older to keep Alzheimers and dementia at bay. Every one seems suddenly to lead such fuller lives with no time for anyone. Artificial intelligence is making the world a smaller place and soon one on one human interaction is going to come down. We are going to share all the laughter and fun with our children on Facebook and whatsapp. So all of us have to keep ourselves engaged and be mentally healthy. Once the birds leave the nest we have to go back to our second childhood and start playing games once again. Do what you like best and cultivate your interests. 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

West ward ho!

As I look at my two children I feel they have grown up all ready to fly the nest. I feel proud of them having given the best as a parent. They are children who have grown up in a mixed culture having made the best of the United states and home territory. United states gave them the time and the space to be multifaceted  with its wonderful open options right from its fun skool toys, sesame street  to the theme parks. A whole world of imagination and creativity. America also teaches a lot of independence at a very early age. I watched my daughter eat her Mac and cheese sitting all proud and tall in her high chair. The transition to home earth has made them imbibe with Indian culture and develop family values. As Indian parents we had more time with the children with the wonderful support system. I feel the children who grow up in such mixed cultures are the luckiest. Now getting to a good American university " The Statue of Liberty"  stands proud and tall welcoming them back. Standing on the green turf of the American soil they will be moulded into independent citizens and go on a wonderful  journey of self discovery. 

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Colgate - Cut, Play and Learn with your child

It was a usual Sunday morning, I was strolling through the shopping center, and I was peeping through the glass at a convenience store when suddenly a bunch of Colgate strong teeth toothpaste boxes struck my eyes. I had known and used this tooth paste since I was young but what struck my eye was the writing on the box. “Free! Magical Sea World Inside” as well as the words “Cut, paste and learn”.

Maybe I don’t need toothpaste for now, maybe another month, but the curiosity of what is inside killed me. My daughter, 10 years old, had grown up reading and talking about Cindrella, Snow White and the mermaids.  She loves sea world, dolphins and the Killer whales, in particular. She is a bit afraid of Sea Pirates but has grown out of that fear recently. Wouldn’t it be nice to share the magical sea world with her? My imagination was going wild even before I could see what was inside. I decided to step into the shop and bought a set of tooth pastes and headed home and impatiently waited for my daughter to return from school.

My daughter returned from school, saw the tooth paste packs and screamed with joy! What a surprise for her. As soon as she freshened up, we started cutting the boxes to take out the Magical sea world. She was surprised and read out aloud all the facts that were in the packs and threw lots of questions at me. How does Puffer Fish defend itself? How many hearts that Octopus have? My quick answer of 1 was called incorrect as she read out the correct answer. We never knew how sea horse carried its egg until we cut opened the Coral Reef. When we were cutting Sea Magic we learned a lot about Sharks and Crabs. There was a lot to play and learn from the magical sea world.

While enjoying the knowledge-bytes thanks to Colgate, we also started cutting the base and the figures and started putting them together. My daughter, obviously overjoyed, became a non-stop chatterbox and started telling me about all the adventure stories she has read. I was little surprised how someone would have thought about using the box which is normally thrown out when you take the tooth paste out, to be made so interesting. Soon all the sea world creatures took up space on my dining table.

She told me about the Robinson Crusoe stories and wanted to know when we can roam about the sea like him. She told me about the shipwreck and how it helped Crusoe learn craftsmanship and built a canoe by himself. Isn’t necessity the mother of invention? She also told me about Friday and how he was saved by Crusoe.
Well I guess everyone should go-ahead and buy these packs as it helps unleash memoirs and encourage children to learn, play and tell stories. Look for the pack that says “Free! Magical Sea world Inside” and you can cut, play and learn with your child.

This blog was written for Colgate.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

The Torch bearers.

Sports help in the all round development of the individual. It helps in leadership qualities and team work.  Indians have been sport lovers all through. Cricket, and football have great fan following in India. The adrenaline rush for sports has been awespiring over the years. Indians have also represented the country in the Olympics and won gold and silver. P.T Usha and Mary kom are household names. The Olympics are an International event which have always been interesting. Like in any other sport the sportsman has to undergo rigorous training. It is a physical and mental challenge for the sportsmen. They have to survive various controversaries and still win the battle. Some athletes get addicted to drugs like steroids so that they can perform well. Afterall winning is the ultimate aim in sport and this they try to achieve by all means. Women have been the highlight in many Olympics showing that strength and valour is not a male domain. Marykom's participation in the last olympics was a much applauded family event. South America home for the lovers of coffee is going to be in the limelight as the venue for the olympics. Hope the Indians with their integrity reach the stars in the Olympics at Rio.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Colours in your Kitchen.

We are leading such fast lives. Not a moment to spare. Grabbing a bite in the morning. The women being multitaskers and carrer women are leaving the kitchen and the hearth. Of course pursuit of intellect is truly wonderful and has resulted in the uplift ment of women. But  these busy carrer women are giving low priority to the pantry and nutrition. Life has certainly become a grind but food still has to be given importance. Specially since we are going to live well above the eighties. Aging gracefully is another attraction if we eat right. So it is important to add antioxidant rich food in the table. Foods with variety and colours. Green peppers in different colours. Purple cabbage and low fat avocados  in salads. Sensible easy to eat breakfast like granola bars and fortified cereals. Millets also make meals wholesome.  So for the savy carrer women it is important to keep a well balanced pantry so that she can whisk meals in a jiffy.  Leave the mortar and pestle and go in for wholesome ready to eats. Nutrition labeling can come to the rescue for the tired carrer women to make wise choices to russel up a quick meal.  Nutritious meals and clean  kitchen will keep the family healthy. Like in the western countries it would be helpful if our food was fortified to a extent.. In the United States  I really felt good drinking my milk as it was fortified with vitamin D. If  food items were similarly fortified it will keep us healthy and it would be nutrition at the doorstep for the busy carrer women.