Learn to love art and not to become super singers!

I heard a grandmother talking about how her 5 – year old is learning music and how..wait for it! The sentence did not end about how proud she was of the little one singing but ..again..wait for it.. about how her beats are uncoordinated with her tune and how initially her singing was off-tune as well. I unfortunately couldn’t keep quiet during this conversation and blurted out. It is a five year old ..FIVE YEAR OLD! And this is not the first time I hear such things. I have seen people around me having high standards, not for themselves but for others around and especially the next generation. It isn’t surprising because I have heard the same from my own mom, grandma and other family members when growing up.

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Q & A Time

Perspective and Prejudices had tagged me to take up these five questions and participate in the Sisterhood of the World Q&A. I have just modified the questions a bit to suit my needs 🙂

  1. One beauty product you would recommend to all your girlfriends that you always carry around:

Hard to pick between these two: Kajal and Lip Balm

Kajal ( or eye-pencil) for that instant ‘did not wake up and just come’ look and my argan oil lip balm because if I dont have it , you would be watching a pathetic looking, lip peeling woman which no amount of make up  can help. So I guess the winner is my lip balm.

2. Three books I love and everyone must read: 

a. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins/ Big Little lies by Lianne Moriarty 2015 books, both were #1 New York Times Bestsellers. i do not want to write reviews here but I enjoyed reading them both. Not your feel good kind of stories that make you happy. They are deep, a bit dark, make you think. If you had followed my blog from the beginning you would know that I advocate for Domestic Violence (DV). So, the only thing I am going to reveal is that the baseline of these two books was DV and it was heart wrenching to know that it still exists on a large scale even in developed countries and the bright (kindof) side of it being millions of people are reading it and hopefully they stay safe and out of it.

b. Harry Potter series: Well, I am not going to reason it out. (Enid Blyton’s books also were fighting for this space.)

c. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Her cells changed science and many peoples lives. Must read by any science student and by everyone else too.

3. Favorite online shopping site/s: 

Two  sites I frequent every week are Door to Door Organics for my groceries and Graze for snacks.

You would see me browsing any shop that sends an email with FREE SHIPPING subject line. Unlike others, I don’t shop much on Amazon. I rarely buy online though I browse a lot.

4. Favorite phone app: 

Instagram and WordPress, I have been most active on them of late. And I seem to get most notifications from either. Facebook and Twitter seem a thing of the past.

5. One dish you’re really good at love making and its recipe: 

I enjoy cooking and I love making authentic south-Indian dishes like molagootal, kootu, rasam etc. In my experimentation with healthy options , one thing I loved making (and eating) was Indian Style Couscous upma.

Recipe: (I have never attempted to write a recipe before so pardon me and let me know if you need clearer instructions)

Boil water in a large pan, add couscous and let it stand for about 5-8 mins. You have to make sure it doesn’t get overcooked , so just fluff it and add some butter/oil and pinch of salt when cooking it. Once it is cooked keep it aside. (or you can cook in two pans at the same time) I like the pearl couscous which resembles javvarisi or sabudana and not the other kind.

In the other pan, add oil, toor dal, ginger, curry leaves, pepper, all vegetables you like cut into small pieces. Fry the vegetables (add required amount of water and salt) and cook until done. Finally add the cooked couscous and cook it for couple more minutes and garnish with cilantro.

Another version: I love making couscous salad where I cook couscous, make a black bean salad with black beans, corn, bell peppers, tomtoes, onions, cilantro and lime juice. Mix both with desired amount of salt and pepper. You could even crush some tortilla chips on top for a crunch.

Okay! Now that  I am done with my turn, I have to nominate few female (I beleive!) bloggers to answer the same or similar questions of their choice. Here you go:

  1. The Thought Card
  2. Stephellaneous
  3. Thinkingua
  4. Shalijay
  5. Cybernag
  6. Kripa’s HodgePodge

Tell me what you think of my answers and please feel free to take up the challenge even if I did not tag you 🙂

Power of Touch

In response to Daily Prompt’s Power of Touch

I was watching the new show on Netflix yesterday called ‘Master of None’ by Aziz Ansari. In that particular episode, titled ‘Parents’ , Asian/Indian parents/parenting was portrayed. I could relate to it A LOT and I would confidently say many such as me would relate to it. In a scene, they talk about how Asian parents never hug or touch their kids in anyway. This is something I have lamented about my own many a time. My mom recoils if I even touch her accidentally and she kind of takes pride in that and finds (I think) the concept of touch kind of gross. I would find it extremely weird and thought maybe that is how it is supposed to be. So I don’t really have memories rushing in related to touch and childhood.

But things changed when I got to high school and college (No no, don’t let your imagination soar, I am from a very conservative society so the touches I am talking here are handshakes and hugs from close friends!). But growing up with almost no touch I found it weird to even shake hands with people in general and at the end of high school , I think it got better.

Then came college where the awkwardness loosened and hugs with friends seemed pretty common . The positive thing being, when I think of touch all the memories do come rushing in about the fun I had had with the closest friends (who still are) in my life. And it only got better during grad school.

And now many a time memories with touch comfort me. Being in a long-distance relationship (LDR) with R is probably one of the best experiences in life. No I don’t exactly support it, LDRs suck but they also teach you of appreciating what you don’t have. What a hug everyday doesn’t bring out is brought out when you receive the same every few months. It taught me the power of touch and how that enhances your relationship with anyone. I hug my friends, family, my nephew and nieces and anyone who needs it. I hold anyone’s hand who are in need of comfort and love.

There is a lot that can be conveyed via touch which cannot be expressed through words. That reassuring squeeze on your shoulder, those fingers interlocking your hand, that warm hug, that tight hug, that warm tight hug, that shoulder to cry on, that lap to rest your head, just the very minimal touch with your dear one next to you doing your own thing, did I mention hug?

So yes hugs rock , any good touch makes a lot of difference in your quality of life. What is the touch that affects you the most? And what do you miss? or wish to experience? Let me know 🙂

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

Cheatsheet..to eat healthy!

I was texting a good friend of mine and as we kept rambling we touched the topic of food. She complimented about my skin (Had to type it! :P) and we both started talking about how hard it is for food – lovers to stick to a diet or healthy eating process. My curse is salt while hers was sugar. As we kept discussing it struck both of us that that could be a good blog post idea. So how can you cheat your diet and yet be healthy. Few ideas, tried and tested:

#1 50-50 rule
Eat only half on your plate . Especially when you are eating out, ask for the take out container before you start eating and fill it with 40-50% of your food. Now finish what’s on your plate. If they don’t have take out option then do the same by segregating your plate. Don’t over fill yourself. This discipline itself helped me cut down on over eating and also made me realize that that I was over eating most of the time.


#2 Stop when you aren’t hungry anymore and not when you are full

This is just another version of the above tip. Meaning stop eating once your hunger is satiated. Just stop, regardless of how much is left on your plate. If you are hungry later you can finish your plate. Initially this might lead to wastage of food but remember your body is not a trash can. So, don’t feel guilty for the leftovers. Store them if you can and over time you will start serving yourself only the right amount you need.
#3 Never skip a meal

Trust me! I have done it a gazillion times and the end result is hogging on the first junk food you see. So never starve yourself. Munch something before you get out of the house in the morning or have a snack at your table when you know your meeting is going to last through lunch. And never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Research has proven that we buy more junk food when hungry compared to when we are not.
#4 Eat your greens first

Start your meals with the good (healthy!) stuff. The salad or the fruit bowl or yogurt and then go on to eat the entree. This will help you fill up and leave less room for the chicken or the yummy roast potatoes or the pasta.

In case of Indian food, it is very hard to resist the pakoras or vadas that are appetizers. Try eating the vegetable curries (entrees)  first and save the pakora for the end. Or take half of what you would if you can’t control yourself.

#5 Make Smoothies if you are lazy

So I am lazy, especially when it comes to morning foods , it is very rare that you will see me have anything other than a cup of tea. For a brief period I stuck to smoothie breakfasts. Do click on the link to read about it. And yes it was great, filling and I realized when you eat healthy first thing in the morning , you tend to tone down on quantities over the day. So that nutribullet is an investment if you like drinkable meals.


#6 Go on and indulge (with control!)

As I said, I am a foodie and it is hard for me to resist. So, I did indulge but with portion control. Previously, in a buffet I would eat my fill of everything and by the time I reached dessert I would be over-over stuffing myself. And the ride back home would be miserable. But once I started portion-control of  consciously serving myself only half of normal portions. I had enough space for dessert and I enjoyed what I ate better without guilt and/or feeling like an inflated balloon. So go ahead , take a spoon of everything in that delicious buffet and you will be fine (only a spoon though!)

If it makes you feel better, it is extremely extremely hard to practice control especially when delicious food is right in front of you so over indulgences and over eating does happen but make it a habit to compensate by exercising or having healthy few meals. Over time, it will become a natural instinct thing to eat healthy in right portions.

Disclaimer: The above ideas are just ideas to help you balance and not recommended if you are working towards losing weight or toning your body.

So what do you do to stay healthy without following a strict diet regimen? Let me know!

Follow me on Facebook for regular updates and feel free email me at jansdoodles@gmail.com.


Blog, blogger, blogging!

My recent friends have been fellow bloggers from the city I grew up in. Never met most of them but blogging brought us together. People have found the best of friends on that group. They are supportive, encouraging and appreciative. It does not end just at blogging, the relationships extended to where you know that you can fall back on and they will be there for you.

At the point when I thought I wish I could meet fellow bloggers around where I live, I chanced upon Danielle‘s blog and that led me to meet a couple more like minded bloggers and we had our first meet up in New York City (Yay!!).

bloggers meetup, NYC Blog Meetup #1

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SURVIVOR not victim

  •        vic·tim
                       noun :a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action
  •       sur·vi·vor
               noun  a person who survives, especially a person remaining alive after an event in which others have died.
    A long pending follow through, a brief post on domestic abuse and what everyone should know about it. One of the main things I was taught as a volunteer for an organization that deals with domestic abuse and domestic violence is never to address them as victims. You read above, the definition is precise. Victims are those who are harmed in the process whereas survivors are those who fight through and come out to live better.  Continue Reading