Tuesday, 24 March 2015

My Breakfast Menu for Hubby

My husband is very particular about breakfast and never misses it. He pretty much has a standard breakfast - tea with 2 khakhras; except for those times when we would make upma, poha or other hot breakfast - which is usually once in the weekdays and in the weekends.
We have lived with his parents and brother all the while now and we are soon going to move to another home - just me, him and our one-year old.
I have been thinking about the various aspects of living "alone" (without my in-laws) and how things will change for me. I have to take care of the entire house and my child and my hubby too. There, my mother-in-law will not be there to share the load. I will be all by myself.
When thinking about breakfast, i was hoping to give my hubby some variety but then I realized that I will have to pack his lunch too so how will i manage to make his lunch and breakfast together in the morning ... and not to forget my one-year old who could wake up at any time and start running around.
So I began thinking about what preparations for lunch i could do the previous night and what kind of quick-recipes I could use for breakfast. He has not been living a healthy life in past several years because of all the travel he did and I intend to bring his health back on track (weight reduction goal of over 20% - and if that does not give u a perspective, let me tell you that he tips the scale over 92 kg these days)
They have very interesting recipes on the page. The FB page also has links to the Kellog’s website where you will find a whole lot of recipes and other info about Kellog’s products (their nutritional values etc)
These are the recipes I have picked up to try them out myself first (before subjecting my husband to them)
1.    Choco Cornflakes Peanut Chikki – He is BIG peanut chikki fan and a chocolate fan. This is like bringing together both worlds for him

2.    Choco Mint Cornflakes  - I have seen him relishing mint chocolate so this will be perfect

3.    Cheesy Cornflakes – He loves cheese and anything with cheese on/in it. Once in a while, I would let him have it his way.  
4.    Chikoo Banana Cornflakes – Chikoo milkshake is his favorite. Banana not so. Lets see how this goes down with him.
Besides the breakfast snacks, there are some shakes also … this will surprise hubby completely
Black Forest Shake – From the black forest came to the milk shake. He will love this.
While visiting their FB page, I came across their #KellogsWaleGuptaji campaign and the TV advertisement. Well, I would love to visit the Gupta family and learn the tricks of healthy breakfast with variety from them.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Happiness is Time with Hubby Dear


Spending a day with hubby would not be considered as a Big Deal … right ?

Ask the wife of the guy working in merchant navy who spends 6 months on the ship away from home.

Ask the wife of a soldier who husband is away on the border for most part of the year with danger lurking over his head (literally)

And last but not the least; ask ME whose husband is a frequent-flier Consultant, who is traveling not only across the length and breadth of the country but also across borders to nearby countries of the Middle East.

We got married in 2010. I was told that his job requires travelling to other countries and often it is for long term (more than 4 months) in which case, I will go with him and live in the other country. In case of shorter than 4 months period, I will be staying back in India. It was a difficult to imagine what it would be like at that time.

Fortunately, the first project was a long term project of almost 2 years in UAE. Although I could not travel with him, but followed after 15 days; I was there with him. We were in Sharjah for 10 months of 2011 before his full time tenure on the project was reduced to part time and we had to come back to India.

AND then I coined the word 'frequent flier consultant' for him

His 'part time engagement' in the project meant that he had to travel to UAE for 2 weeks every month. That was a 50% Veer-Zaara situation for me. And that was not all. His office was in Pune while we lived in Mumbai. It did not make much sense for us to relocate to Pune since he would be out of country for practically half the time so he made a request to management which got approved. He now went to 'office' 3 times a week … and the rest was 'work from home'.

This translated in the fact that for 2 weeks of the month, he was away in UAE. During the remaining 2 weeks, he would spend 6 days in Pune (for that he had to leave home at 5 am and would return by 11 pm) and the remaining 8 days were in Mumbai … with family … with ME.

8 days out of 30 … that's just about 25% of his time. 

That schedule went on for almost another 10 months before he decided to resign and take up another job which would give him more time with me. He joined a company in which his friend worked and he had very little travel. Unfortunately, the team my hubby joined was pretty small and once again his travels began.
As per his statistics and records (and he is very good at keeping records  - and unfortunately not too good at keeping records of other things - if you know what I mean) , during 2012-2013, in a span of 12 months; he took 54 domestic flights (that's domestic 27 trips) and spent almost 40% of his time away from Mumbai. In 2014, the tide turned and once again his international trips began and it felt like it was his previous company all over again. He was spending 2 weeks outside the country every month.

With a job like that and he missing almost all our precious occasions – my birthday, his birthday, marriage anniversary – it definitely is a thing of joy to spend a day with him. Go out for lunch and dinner and even evening snacks of samosa with coca cola (have you tried that combination, it's a killer).

Coca Cola has always had family and happiness as their central theme in ad campaigns that's why it appeals to me more than any other soft drink. Watch the Coca-Cola India Video Ad and visit http://CokeURL.com/96jnc - It is pretty interesting

Monday, 16 March 2015

My Most Memorable Day

My First Wedding Anniversary was the most memorable day of my life.

My Hubby had planned out the whole day and kept it a complete surprise for me. It was the extremely rare occasion in the past 5 years that he actually planned a surprise and it panned out beautifully. I was delightfully surprised every hour of the day with new and new things coming my way in different forms and experiences.

The day had begun very normally with me doing the daily chores and hubby dear giving no sign of any special plans. Not even wishing me properly.

At around 10 am after we were done with morning chores and a nice brunch, he suddenly said, let’s go out somewhere. I did not ask much and decided to get ready before he changed his mind. We left home and once we were on the way, he said something about going to the beach (and I was thinking inside my head “Are you out of your mind?? Going to the beach at noon in 45 degrees”). But I gave him the benefit of doubt – thinking there might be something near the beach that he intended to see –  indoors. After all, he himself is not comfortable spending too much time in the sun.
Once we reached the beach, he made a call and I heard him saying “We are Here” which gave me the inkling that this was not random but a planned move. A guy came walking towards us and handed over life-jackets to us. I looked enquiringly at my hubby who simply winked at me and pointed at a speed boat. My day was made.
I had wanted to ride the speed boat since quite some time and he knew it. And he decided to fulfill it on the anniversary. It was a nice little ride which I enjoyed very much … only to realize that they had begun to pull out harnesses etc. And that was when I realized that it was not just speed boating but Para-sailing also that was in the package.

I have no words to describe my ‘flying’ experience.

After an event time at the beach, hubby suggested we go to the nearby mall. We went there, got some snacks to munch on and then started wandering around. I had a feeling that hubby was ‘not simply wandering’ but had a clear path he was taking me on. In a few minutes, we were standing at the gate of Snow World.
A magical (for me at least) world of snow when the outside temp was close to 45. I was watching at it with awe when hubby tapped my shoulder and simply said “Let’s see it from the inside”. The next 2 hours were the coldest I have ever been … and smiling and blushing and laughing all along. I saw the child in my husband and I became a child myself as we both had fun in the snow on the slides, sleigh and tobogganing.

The evening was a contrast to the rest of the day … sea-side stroll followed by a candle-light dinner.

It was a truly awesome day and THE MOST MEMOROBLE day of my life ... of our lives ...

In a nutshell, we experienced the scorching heat at 44+ degree Celsius and the freezing temperatures of minus 4 degree celcius – the entire range in a single day.  We took a speed boat ride in the vast azure sea water and then went sliding on a snow-sleigh and a tobogganing tyre – we experienced the different extremes with complete exhilaration. We walked on the foot-sole scalding sand and then waded through waist and chest deep calm waters and then we found ourselves sliding and slipping on the frozen snow. In between we parasailed over the beautiful and breathtaking Dubai Jumeirah skyline. It was a heady mix of experiences which will last a life time.

Some pictures of our adventures ...




https://housing.com/ believes in the inimitable power of optimism. We also know that it's difficult to be optimistic all day, every day; and sometimes we need a little nudge to get back on track! This is the time we need to be with the ones we love the most. It could also be the simple act of meeting a long lost friend, having a cup of tea with a parent, or going for a walk with your best friend. Most times, it's the company that matters more than the advice, and that is the power of being #together!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

First time away from home - Big Change

Marriage is one of the most difficult changes in life … especially for a girl.

I can go on and on about all the changes that it brings in terms of life-style, the home where you stay, the people whom you stay with, new relationships, the numerous restrictions and the host of other adjustments that one needs to make, but you already know about them. So let me skip that part

I got married to a consultant – his job could and would take him places. Some of these places would be his home for a year or two and I would get to go with him and stay with him in those foreign lands. Sounds interesting. Right?


I have never lived away from my family. Never lived alone.

And now I was looking at the prospect of staying in another city, another country, with a new person in my life (hubby) who would be out of home most part of the day leaving me alone in a new apartment.

I was SHIT SCARED. Really really scared. Did not know what I will do and how will I manage the loneliness.

Thankfully, the very first project he got was in Dubai-Sharjah. Several things good about this place (as mu hubby explained).

Its close by – just a 3 hour flight from Mumbai.

Its very Indian – 70% of the population out there is pretty much Indian  (what he did not say was that most of them will be South Indian)

There is a prominent gold market in Dubai – which means Gujarati and Marwari crowd

Plenty of Indian restaurants and some pure veg restaurants too – food is not a problem.

He tried to make it easy for me but the deep-seated uneasiness would not leave me. I knew all these things were out there to comfort me but the loneliness inside the house was going to be overwhelming.

This was going to be the scariest change in my life.  

The first few days were really really scary. Lonely. I wanted to just sleep off the days so that I don't spend time thinking endlessly.

Hubby would take me out in the evening, little strolls in the neighbourhood. We explored the nearby shops and stores, identifying where to find the basics and locating the nearby vegetarian restaurants.

Then the weekend arrived and we went out on tour-of-sorts of Dubai. Went to the Dubai mall, the Burj Khalifa and the continuous series of very very tall buildings of Sheikh Zyed Road and Jumeirah Beach Residence. I was overwhelmed (my hubby's term for me that day) and he said that he did that intentionally.

He told me that now that I had seen the 'largeness' of the place, everything that I see now will seem small in comparison and almost nothing will over-whelm me.

Wow. What an approach I thought. Scare a person so much that anything scary afterwards will seem like child's play thereafter.

BUT, it worked. It did happen the way he said. I got comfortable with this new place and city.

It was a very welcome change and the one year I spent changed my outlook towards life significantly. I began to appreciate things in a different way.

I began to look at my own apartment in a very different manner. It was now my home and I was solely responsible for it. During the apartment search, I was making decisions and giving my opinion on what the apartment should be like. I had never experienced that feeling, that rush before.

Recently, I came to know about the transformation  https://housing.com/ is undergoing to gear themselves for the demands of today's consumer. The video about their new campaign 'Look Up' is pretty interesting …

Friday, 6 March 2015

Looking up to my Gang of Girls


I wish I could go back in time. I had some wonderful college friends and we were a livid group of girls (yep … it was an all-girls gang). We had a lot of fun and we were a very closely knit group with no fall-outs during the several years in college.

We started out as 5 and we are still 5 who have remained in touch through all these years.

I look up to each one of them as individuals who have guided my life and made me into what I am today. They have molded my thinking and shaped my thoughts over the years.

I would have been a very different person if not for them. I would probably have ended up being an introvert and a person devoid of the zing in life. I would have submitted to the vagaries of life and become a docile person who would take life as it is without challenging it ever.

My friends taught me about life. How we live our life in the way we want. We make the choices and we are responsible. It is weak to blame the circumstances because even in the worst of circumstances, we have the choice. And the circumstances are in a lot of cases, a result of our earlier actions and decisions.

My brother has been the rock and anchor in my life. My friends (the gang of girls) have been the waves which shaped my life. They gave me a fresh new outlook to life. They helped me form my own thoughts and draw conclusions from them. They taught me how to take decisions and be responsible for them.

I cherish all the fun times we had in college.

I cherish the endless discussions on varied topics we had.

I cherish the occasional fights and differences we had.

I cherish all the coming together after the fights and quarrels and laughing at ourselves.

I cherish all the 'girl-talk' we would have and all the ogling we would do.

I cherish all the super-fun moments and pranks we played.

And I miss them all.

Life happened to us. We went our own ways. Some worked, other waited to get married. At this stage, all 5 of us are married and have children of different ages.

We remained in touch over phone and meeting each other rarely over the years. We somehow could never arrange to have all 5 of us in the same place at the same time in the past 10 years. Email was not something we connected over while in college so it somehow never became a communication channel for us. Then came whatsapp and we connected again. And now we could all share our lives on that small screen. Sharing our pictures, our moments of joy and pain. We have begun to share our life again … as we did in college.

Looking up from the mobile screen where one of my friends shared an old photo of ours I wish we could all go back in time and take admission in a college with a hostel and spend more time together.

Just today someone was talking about moving into another house and when asked how did they find it, the response was Housing.com … https://housing.com/lookup

Looking up to my elder brother


Everyone needs an anchor in life … to keep you steady. Life is full of ups and downs and then there are times when you are completely shaken (so life is sideways too). Early on, you give too much importance to the random ups and downs and then something called 'maturity' and 'growing up' happens to you. And you begin to take things in your stride. But life is not out of its tools and it gives you some rocking experiences that shake you up.

Irrespective of the stage in life and whether you are mildly affected or completely shaken, you need someone who will help you through. They are your anchor. They are the ones who show you the right path, who shine the light (and often are the light themselves) when the world 'seems' to be dark all around you. They are the ones who truly care about you and are ready to hold your hand when you feel lost.

For me, it has been my elder brother who has been the 'rock' and 'anchor' of my life. He is like … Always there for me. Calm and serene - as if there is no problem in his life and he is ready to solve all of yours. In the toughest of times, he was the personification of calm and peace. It was often irritating for others to watch him calm while everybody is tensed and worried.

I always thought he never had problems (I was a child then). Only after 'growing up', I realized that it wasn't that he did not have the multitudes of problems of his own; the secret was in his way of handling and treating them. He had his own problems to tackle but he would be ready to advice you on yours. Also, what I learnt from him about handling problems was his clear objectivity in handling them.

His Golden Rule for problems: If there is a problem and it can be solved, then stop worrying and start working on the solution. No need to worry. If there is a problem and it cannot be solved, then stop worrying. If it cannot be solved, then ask for help and if it cannot be solved even by others, then stop thinking about it completely. No amount of worrying will solve the problem. Learn to accept it and live with it. SIMPLE. In summary – there is no need to worry in either case.

He has always given the right advise to me … encouraging me to 'look up' from the situation of calamity and rise above the problems. He used to say that to solve a problem, you got to lift your level. You cannot solve a problem at the same level of intellect at which they were created. Profound words indeed.

Just few days ago, a mutual friend was tensed about finding a rented accommodation and when he talked to my brother, he seemed surprised. He said that in this age of technology how can you worry about something trivial as that. Just look up. Our friend asked 'where?' and my brother again said 'Just Look Up' and this time he had mischief in his eyes.

He then told our friend about Housing.com and https://housing.com/lookup

My Happy Baby and her happy tune

Babies can be difficult to please. And there is no magic formula or a sure shot way of keeping them engaged and happy too. As a first time mother, it is a journey full of discoveries and even inventions (which I am sure has been invented before).

 My daughter is the most beautiful one on planet earth (yeah yeah … I know … every mother feel the same about their child). And is unique in many ways (yeah yeah, I know what u r saying – 'she is unique … just like every other child')

She is 9 months now and has not yet begun to form words. She will make the Nana, dada, mumma sounds and it is still difficult to get 'papa' from her (much to the disappointment of her 'papa'). She has just about began to crawl on her knees and has also begun to walk with support of her walker (standing outside the walker and holding it – rather than sitting inside).

She has her very own favorite time to become hyper active … and it is about midnight … when I am really really tired from the days work and want to doze off. But the active one would not sleep and start talking (read: blabbering and gurgling and laughing) and in general trying to get my attention.

If in the few moments, I do not pay attention, she will start wandering around in the room which is not exactly what I want her to be doing at midnight when I am trying to sleep. Any attempt to confine her in some space or near me (without me paying active attention) and she will start making noises which can be almost be seen as crying.

Most of the time, it is the wetness around her legs and bums which will make her cry so that's the first thing I check. Second will be the attention she needs (my hubby calls it the ASB … attention seeking behavior … and says it is very very natural).

The Pampers Baby Dry Pants (http://www.rewardme.in/tag/Pampers.) solve one part of the problem at least. They claim that the Magic Gel locks in moisture so that the baby's skin remains dry and healthy for up to 12 hours – well, I don't know science behind it but I guess it works. Now wetness is not the reason for her to cry since the new product is efficient enough to absorb almost instantly any wetness giving the baby a dry feel.

Now coming to the ASB part … ever since I was pregnant, hubby chose a particular whistle tune and would constantly play it when he was around me. Even after the baby was born, he would hummm the same tune to calm the baby. He had some weird logic and theory of 'familiarity giving impression of safety and comfort'. He also recorded the tune on my phone so that I could play that even when he was not around.

Over the months, I have found that my daughter does respond nicely to the tune. She begins to look around for the source of the tune (her papa) and even if she does not find him, she is generally calm when the tune plays. Calm and happy

Once she is calm and happy, I give her one of her toys so that she can focus on it and be still in one place and gradually go to sleep.

The tune (which my hubby told me later was from the movie Kill Bill) has become one of the most effectively used method to keep my baby calm and happy.

You should watch this too … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTlVOdovIZ8


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Look Up ... to rekindle an old flame

A loving husband who becomes the center of your life but has to travel time and again because of his job is a strange kind of punishment. You long to be with him and he has shipped off to different places every now and then.

The few days that we would spend together became the essence of my life. Those days were the ones I really lived. The rest of the days, all I did was survive.

The first few moments after his arrival from business trips when he would give me a hug and hold me in his arms … pure utter bliss. Those moments of looking up to his face and seeing his stubble and the deep eyes which had nothing but love and care for me … I can never get over those moments.

Life begins to look up at those times and during the time he is around … and looks down when is away 'saat samundar paar'

And then came the angel. Our daughter was born and that changed everything. She became the center of my world and she occupied all my time. I did not have time for hubby dear and gone were those moments of post-arrival-hugs. Life changes when a baby arrives and the same happened to me.

And then he decided to quit his travelling job and take up something stable. I was happy to hear that but then he dropped the bomb. The job was in a different city and I would be joining him there after a couple fo months after he set-up things there and had taken a good flat in a good locality for rent to call it a home for foreseeable future.

And then it hit me … that he was going to be away for a couple of months.

Packing for him began and the day of his departure arrived. He was all set to leave and came to our room for a final good-bye.

He played with our daughter for a few months and then hugged her. And that's when he turned his face and I saw a tear escape his eyes. Our eyes met and he just opened his arms for me and took me also in a tight embrace. Those 2 minutes and the look on his face … I will never forget.

That one look rekindled in me the old flame. I was determined then and there, that when I travel to the other city and begin a new life with my hubby; I will give my old love life a fresh kick start. I looked up into his eyes and told him what I was thinking. He smiles, kissed me passionately and left …

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And now I am also working in parallel to find a good home in the new city. Housing.com would be a useful tool so checking out https://housing.com/lookup