My Mentor and I!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Mentor Me.”

“Ruth” – The woman who trusted me in a  new country and gave me a kick start for my career. I was at a point where I had enrolled for a program which had no students (Yes..NO OTHER!). This was a niche and I had no idea that I was going to be alone until after I had decided my career path. Graduate school, new country, new courses. I randomly emailed her seeking help. Telling her that I wish to pursue a career in her field and maybe she could help me. She did..what started off as an unpaid internship ended after two years as an almost full-time position.

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She taught me all I needed, molded me, rectified and repaired my flaws and mistakes with patience. More than double my age but we also bonded to be friends, a person whom I sought to share my emotions, my joys and disappointments. She was my confidante, my friend , my mother-figure, my boss and my teacher. She was my pillar when I was on the verge of failure too. Just the fact that a stranger could trust me so much brought out the best out of me. I learnt not just professionally but personally to be a better person.

I have moved away and still I look forward to sharing the changes in my life with her and also knowing about what she is up-to.

She is one person whom I  dedicate my career to. She was my inspiration, I admire and adore her. I will always love you Ruth ❤

If you have had a mentor who had you under their wings and then let you fly , you are a very lucky person. So tell me who that was and how they influenced your life 🙂

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Not repeating outfits.. Etiquette or Social norm?

Weddings or family functions were a rare occasion when I was younger. I hardly went for them and  my collection of “grand” clothes were pretty limited. As I wore my bright orange salwar for a wedding I remember someone commenting ” That is a beautiful dress, didn’t you wear it to X’s engagement?” It sounded accusatory to me and even if not I felt the second sentence uncalled for. And also amazed that a stranger remembered my wardrobe.

After that incident I started observing the trend and realized that many women around me never repeat clothes. Even if they do, they make sure people forget it before they wear it again. As I grew older and started mingling in social circles it only got worse in a new country. There seemed to be unsaid rules such as “Do not wear the same dress for an occasion where there are going to be the same set of people.” I am talking about having almost new clothes and yet having to buy new ones. Even I was caught up in this trend for a brief while before I realized it absolutely adds no value and just makes my wallet lighter.

On the other hand it wasn’t the same for the men, most would just have a couple of ethnic wear/suits that they would sport all the time and nobody seemed to care. You can ask me why I care, people have the money and so they fill their wardrobe. I care because it creates an unwanted peer pressure among adults and a stupid measure to judge people. So this is for those confused souls who probably cannot afford and/or do not want to waste money on a new dress each time they get an invitation. So..

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What it is to repeat clothes?

  1. Socially responsible: There is absolutely nothing wrong in repetition. Etiquette calls for wearing appropriate clothes for an occasion which means if it is a black tie , you wear a black tie and if you don’t have one you buy one and if you have one, you wear that and go. So, you are being socially responsible by not falling prey for senseless social pressures.
  2. Not being judgmental: If I am repeating my clothes it means I won’t judge you for who you are and you are welcome to respect me back for the same.

What it is not!

  1. Showing wealth: Sporting a the latest style or a brand new dress for each occasion shows off your wealth. That is stupid! It just shows how wasteful you are.  Even if you are rich you can put the money to a better use.
  2. Good fashion sense: Fashion sense and one-time buys do not go together too. You can be fashionable, wear elegant or classy clothes and also make sure you wear them enough times before buying new ones.
  3. Stingy: No, it is not stingy . You spend for what is needed. And that party was not one of them. Period.

What if you want to fit in and yet not be extravagant?

It is only natural to try to want to fit in because that is easier that being a “don’t care” person. So here are some tips for the same.

  1. Mix and Match: If it is a skirt , then invest on just a new top or a new jacket to be worn on top of a dress. In case of Indian wear, keep it simple like plain leggings and a grand kameez or a plain top with a bright colored shawl once and chunky jewelry the next time. Sarees could be worn with different blouses or jewelry for different occasions.
  2. Exchange/borrow: If you have a mom, sister or a friend who thinks the same then exchange clothes and just invest on altering or stitching what is needed.
  3. Try a hobby: if you are the creative kind then transform a plain dress to an embroidered or dyed one for another occasion 🙂 Or give it to a friend who does that.
  4. Sell, buy or rent: You now find so many services where you can sell used clothes and buy used ones too. So if you strongly feel uncomfortable repeating then sell your old (almost new) dress and try buying a used one for around the same price. You can even rent clothes nowadays. So, that’s another option.

What if you don’t want to fit in?

Don’t! Again, if people comment or judge you for repetition that is their problem and not yours. Be comfortable with your wardrobe and your choices. Same goes to not repeating. If you love shopping for new outfits and like dressing up new for each occasion please go ahead , there is no judgement in that as well.

So do you agree or disagree with my thoughts? Do you agree that not repeating is becoming a trend nowadays? Let me know what you think 🙂

Let’s talk about the cool Maamis and Mamas!

So you must have heard the youngsters crib about how the mamas and mamis are behind them asking their scores,
jobs, salary, marital status , birth control or the lack of it(!) and what not! I being one of those people, felt that I should also give credit to the cool mamas and maamis out there for diverting their energy into more cooler things other than somebody’s personal life :D. So here are a few I have observed around me:

The Chef maami

Amazing chef who doles out a variety of dishes and feeds her children and everyone else’s children all the time. Her goal is to make sure everyone is kshemam (happy/satisfied) by feeding. The latest version of her makes all traditional food healthy style by substituting rice with quinoa, brown rice, oil with olive oil and yet they taste amazing. And that might be a reason why her children have so many friends 😛

The Style maami

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Image created by sasank gopinathan

This is my bff’s mom. She loves shopping. It is not just for sarees or gold but for the latest trends. She shops for my friend to make sure she wears the latest trends out there (sigh! J) She also wears clothes that are fashionable and age appropriate. She sports sunglasses and tees. She travels and shops weather appropriate as well.

The Blogger mama

This mama blogs about everything under the sun on his blog. He has a wonderful command over English or a language of his choice. He knows history, philosophy, politics , business and sometimes even gives relationship advice.  He reaches out to everyone and has a fan following. He is progressive, wise and probably is his son/daughter’s best friend.

The Retro patti

This is mine (Proud!). .  Her advice to me when I was 22 was ” Study, travel and shape your own life.” When i was 24 was ” Find love, chuck horoscopes and be with the person who matches your heart not your horoscope” When I am 25, she follows all latest wedding trends on her tablet and emails me all updates 🙂 She cooks pasta and pizzas at home. She can make all smoothies you can think of. She bakes, knits and maintains a rooftop garden. (Happy tears)

The “Sports” thatha

This is mine as well..His exact words every time I call is “Hello my dear granddaughter”. He loves sports , watches all cricket and football matches aired on TV and has even pulled all-nighters. You will probably see him making a long conversation with someone only when it involves sports, gardening or something worthwhile and not someone’s personal life. He loves travelling with his significant other and wears tee-shirts that I get him. The last one I got him had a quip about beer on it 😛

The Gadget and Social Media Gurus

They have a smartphone, tablet or an iPad on them always. They tweet, Facebook and whatsapp. They follow their kids, nephews, nieces, kid’s friends and also create all kinds of whatsapp groups. They are tech savvy, know online etiquette (most of the time), connect with like minded people -be it religion, cooking or sports and know how to have a good time with gadgets. The only con is they sometimes tend to embarrass their kids by commenting inappropriately or update a personal message as a status instead of sending it personally. But once they cross the initial glitches they do work towards becoming pros.

So do you know any of the above kinds of aunties or uncles? Maybe a different kind? Let me know 😀

Single person survival guide..food, transport, online, apps!

I have been living alone or more precisely fending for myself the last one year. After living with 5 roommates for two years , it was a huge change. One being a quieter house, second was trying to cook for one person and third was getting around. It also resulted in lot waste as I had mentioned in my previous post. So I started scouting around for options to make life easier yet socially conscious (to some extent). So here is a list of five of my main findings related to food and transport that might help you if you live alone or not! One other reason these options were preferred by me was they were smart phone friendly 😀

  1. Door to Door organics – An online produce store. Fresh and organic. I am not
    siding towards organic produce but I love them for the following reasons. Whenever I went to buy groceries at a supermarket I tend to buy a little more than required or I would see something new and plan on cooking or trying but plans change and there is nobody to eat the left overs and 😦 they are thrown away. The switch from going to a store to buying online was one of the best decisions I made. They charge $25 for a small veggie, fruit or mixed box. It is perfect ..PERFECT portion for a single person.Vegetables or fruits were enough for me to last for a week and in case I changed my mind, I would just cancel my next week’s order. Easy-peasy. Plus if you needed anything more than what was offered you could buy from their site and add to your order.

2. Grubhub : Online food delivery service from restaurants. You can download the app or order online. My roommate and I had a bunch of options we used to like and the minimum billing amount worked out for two of us. They were efficient, had even tracking systems for many restaurants and had a good customer service when we faced delays.Seamless and Eat24 are other services which offer food delivery but I haven’t tried them. If you live in California then you should check out Qulinary which is an app that links chefs around the area and provide meals.

3. Uber and Lyft : You might already know but if you don’t, Uber and Lyft are cab-like services operated by common people. You can download the apps and use them to get around many cities around the world. Our  shopping buddies. My roommate and I used to use this often to go to places that was not accessible by public transport. Uber is more prevalent than Lyft but I had a good experience with both during every ride. Cheaper than cabs, better maintained cars, friendly drivers..you could research about insurance liabilities in your state if you are a freak about it. I do have an Uber referral code that is worth a free ride for 500rs or $20 for the first ride. Do ping me if you are interested.

4. Marley Spoon : If you prefer cooking but would like some assistance then Marley Spoon is one solution. wpid-screenshot_2015-08-05-17-22-23.pngThey provide  all ingredients for a dish. Every week has new recipes and if it is to your liking you could order and cook at home. it the best of both world’s between home cooked meal and easy grocery shopping. All you have to do is follow instructions and cook. A little pricey but works if you don’t care about it. I haven’t tried them but having been following their recipes on Instagram and they look amazing. Other similar options are Blue Apron and Plate.

5. Zipcar : If you have a license and not a car, this is one of the economical options to rent a car for a couple of hours. I pay a very low annual fee because of my employer. So check you have similar dicounts. Evn if not if you are going to use it a bit, it is a good idea. Helps you practice your driving and gets you around. You could download their app, look at cars near you and pay online. User friendly!

 

I always love to hear from you,so please let me know which ones in the top 5 was new to you and if you have any other services that would help the readers.

Its been a Smooth(ie) week!

I am a very conscious eater (thumbs up) plus an impulsive foodie (thumbs down) . Being a foodie is awesomee but I tend to over eat every time I see something I love and then don’t bother to work/burn it out. I buy a ton of fruits and vegetables and hardly finish eating them within a week because I would have had a Thai food craving or Indian food craving and would go to a favorite restaurant for take-out. And lo and behold all my beloved fruits and veggies are rotting already and my weighing machine was smugly grinning with extra pounds. So it started with guilt and turned out to be an amazing way to drink it off for one meal everyday. Healthy and guilt-free!

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