CUT PERPENDICULAR NOT PARRALEL

This will be my first barbecue season without granddad. The person who taught me all about meats. I have distinct memories of him meticulously cleaning his outdoor grill and keeping all his grilling paraphernalia clean and ready in the third week of March. He always said he was bored of being indoors and cooking outdoors was so much more fun. He was extremely particular about his tools; he created the most lip-smacking creations and when asked for the recipe his answer was standard “It’s in the meat” Granddad took his grilling very seriously. There were never any compromises with the meat he bought, the tools he used or the manner it was presented and served. He very dramatically would claim that all that preparation put soul into his food. Undoubtedly it was always a super serve! I remember the concentration... read more

BEING KIND TO EVERYKIND

I come from a family of non-vegetarians. All of us have enjoyed our meat and relished the steaks. Nobody ever considered vegetarianism as an option, being vegan was never on anyone’s mind. It’s been over six months that I have moved out from my parent’s home. I dare say I am enjoying the experience and at the same time appreciating every tiny act that my mother did to make things easy and comfortable for me. She always says,” however old you become, you will always be my baby.” My time away from home has helped me grow and mature and helped me take some very important decisions. One thing that I am in complete charge of is my food choices. I have embraced, adopted and incorporated veganism as my lifestyle. I do not call veganism a diet because I don’t... read more

THE CHEESY POTLUCK

I am a founder member of a group called ‘Awesome Foursome”. The four of us have been friends for the last twelve years. We first met at our first day at work, all four of us being fresh recruits. Though we have changed multiple jobs the fun bond has only strengthened over the years. We make a concerted effort to remain in touch and meet a couple of times a year. Our get-together have become louder over the years, now each of us sharing stories from our new work-places and neighborhoods. An entirely girly thing follows, the agenda however remains unchanged, we meet, we eat, we laugh, we gossip, we plan the next do, save the date and disperse. Our gatherings are always a pot-luck. No one is the hostess, and no one is the guest. It is always a... read more

CATCH OF THE DAY

I have beautiful memories of spending my summer vacation with my grandparents at their beautiful home. My love for the outdoors, in particular fishing can be attributed to the days spent accompanying my grandfather. A fishing enthusiast, he did not waste any opportunity to take out his motorboat. He taught me everything I know about angling. His hobby of many years has been instrumental in developing in me the love of barbecue. He caught and I cooked. I have realized over time that it was not the fish that he went fishing for. He was seeking peace and solitude. But his CATCH OF THE DAY was the raw material for my therapy too. As fishing was therapeutic for him barbecuing was for me. I found my Zen space standing in front of the grill watching the catch, cook emanating a... read more

LIGHT, SHINE, DAZZLE

As I write this piece, I am in the midst of rearranging the drawing room furniture. I have asked the girls and my husband to stay out of my way. I said I would shout out for assistance when I needed to move the heavy pieces. My family calls me eccentric, as I am prone to these urges of creating a new look! I move furniture around, relocate paintings and artefacts and even change the message at the door! I call this my soul therapy. Not one to indulge in retail therapy of mindless shopping I resort to rearranging furniture. Bringing in and taking out plants and changing the cushion covers from solids to florals. I invariably succeed in creating a new look and ambience. That does a fulfilling job of lifting my spirits. Furniture relocation is occasional, but every... read more

SERVICE AND SUPPORT

For the last few evenings as the family gathers in the drawing room, the topic of a heated discussion has been the brand and model of the car that the family must settle for in exchange of its present Toyota. Each member expressing their opinion and complicating matters further. Having teenaged children expressing their opinion can sometimes be exasperating. They need a style statement rather than a vehicle to take them safely from point A to B. With scant regard to monthly budget and costs of maintaining, they seem to be interested only in the look and the feel of the wheel at unimaginable speed. We follow the majority rule in all our decisions, so on putting to vote, the Subaru Forester won the vote. All’s well that ends well! I am satisfied with the decision and looking forward to... read more

HEALTH AND HAPPINESS- THESE TWIN BLESSINGS ALWAYS

My grandma was one of a kind, a feisty lady who lived life on her terms. Not one to be bogged down by any adversity or challenge she truly believed that she had the creator’s hand on her. Having survived a near fatal accident in her youth, she met and married my grandfather, soon to be widowed. Single handedly bought up two small children. Who grew up to be dynamic successful individuals too! I remember her often saying that she had wanted to name them HEALTH AND HAPPINESS, the ultimate riches of one’s life. A spiritual soul whenever she met you, she always greeted you with the same affectionate blessing of, “May you always be healthy and happy.” Be it an elderly acquaintance or a youngster. Her greetings never changed. It’s been a while that grandma passed on. We as... read more

THANK YOU FOR MY MUSIC

I have always been a shy, introverted individual. I remember almost all my parent teacher interactions; my mother most dutifully attended and came away hearing an almost identical comment each year. “Your Child is capable but unmotivated, shy and laid back. Can do better”. It continued till I reached middle school and opted for music as my extra-curricular activity. I can safely say that year I underwent a total metamorphosis, a shy timid creature had transformed into a confident and vivacious individual. Music made me confident, creative and motivated. I was now passionate about every activity I was involved in, most specially music. This change I attribute to the patience, love and confidence that my music teacher placed in me. From being asked to sing in a choir one year to be given a solo rendition in the next I... read more

LIFE’S ALIVE IN EVERYTHING

It has officially arrived. The clock has been adjusted to the hour, the vernal equinox dates have been crossed, nature is giving its signs, the toads and the squirrels have been spotted. The kids are off from school for Spring Break! It is time to clean and fire up my grill, life’s alive in everything. Its that time of the year, that every single member of my family looks forward too. The kids specially looking forward to their long spring break, grandparents because they get time to spend with their ever so busy grandchildren, my wife and I, as we too schedule our annual holiday during this period.This year things look to be slightly different, an outstation or oversees holiday is not happening as the older kid has made it to the varsity tennis team, that requires him to keep... read more

BABY STEP FORWARD

The wisdom of Aristotle has been a guiding light for many. He said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” Being a student of science and a teacher of geography, I hold the topic of global warming, carbon footprints and alternate green sources of energy very close to my heart. Every year as summer approaches I take climate change as a topic for the week and impress upon the class the need and urgency with which we should deal with this monster and do our best to tame it. Each year I notice a marked increase in knowledge and desire for change. I remember discussing climate change with fourth graders and was impressed with the in-depth knowledge they had. There were many who felt strongly about the callous manner in which their elders had treated... read more

A HUG AROUND HIS NECK

As I write this piece a smile is playing around my lips, and my chest swells with obvious pride. I am particularly partial to the achievements of my youngest son. The youngest of three siblings he has spent almost all his formative years in the shadow of his over-achieving brother and awesomely talented sister. Always a timid and shy but thinking individual he has come into his own. Last week he won the second-best speaker at the MODEL UNITED NATIONS. No mean feat! He beat almost 40 kids to achieve that. Each kid being one the best debaters from his respective school. Preparations for this particular competition began in all earnest as soon as the topic was decided. Research included reading up matter from the internet watching the U-Tube videos, discussion with teachers and peers and of course working on... read more

KEEP THE NEW CAR FEEL

I have the OCD’s and I love them. The OCD that I have is a collection of cleaning appliances, each and every one of them for a specific purpose, fulfilling a specific function. I call it my OCD collection because they are the optimal cleaning device. THE AMERICAN BUILDER 7 PC CAR CLEANING SET. My son started driving the family car a little over two months ago. I admit, with lots of advice and warnings we let him have it. It was a very workable arrangement, with hardly any adjustments in our usage patterns. The only reservation I had was he maintaining the general cleanliness of the car. His room always told another story. I was pleasantly surprised when I took it out this morning. He had kept the “new car feel”. Respecting the fact that it was not his... read more

HAPPINESS AND HEALTH

It was an extremely severe flu that got me to appreciate the importance of discipline and nutrition over taste and convenience. My physical energy and strength totally exhausted. I had been specifically asked by my physician to take good care of my diet and nutrition only that could fight the weakness that seemed to have taken over my body. I resumed work but after making great many changes to my food and eating habits. No more grabbing a bite at the cafeteria or the office canteen and filling up with unnecessary and useless calories. I carry my food along and now by default enjoy a wholesome and healthy meal. I read somewhere, “You are what you eat, so don’t be easy, cheap or fake.” These words have remained with me and now has become my life mantra. So very diligently... read more

NOW IT’S THERE, NOW IT’S GONE

As I settle down to pen this piece, my puppy all of seven months snuggles up and settles herself comfortably at my feet. We are first time pet- parents and loving every moment of it. VIVA our puppy is feisty, frisky and funny. The apple of everyone’s eye, she is openly spoilt and loving it. I often tease my husband that he shows more patience handling and training her than he ever showed towards our boys when they were growing up. I have already gifted him a coffee mug that reads Best Dog Dad! Viva literally gets away with anything. Those soulful eyes, wet and energetic licks saying, “come on forgive me I didn’t mean to do it. It was an accident” is enough. My husband has always maintained that he has two possessions, which he is both proud and... read more

IT’S AWESOME AND IT’S APPROPRIATE

My husband and I have celebrated 28 years of togetherness, and every Valentine celebration has been uniquely different and every Valentine Day gift from him to me has been well thought of and original. I cannot say the same for me. I have utilitarian leanings; my gifts are always need and utility based. I forget the last time I bought something because it was pretty or new in the market. So, my gifts to him are the usual wallet, tie, shaver or briefcase. The thoughtfulness, sensitivity and originality of my husbands thinking never fails to surprise me.Every time I believe he loves me a tad bit more. Every year as we enter the month of February, I secretly wonder what will he present me this year? I must admit I am never let down as every year he gifts me... read more

CAN IT

It was one of the most innovative and attractive invites I have ever received. Announcing the opening of a snack and juice bar, the invite was beautifully worded and tastefully printed in modern calligraphy,the heading declaring boldly CAN IT. The exquisite paper was neatly folded and placed in a mason jar with an attractive lid. We did accept the invite and attended one of the most entertaining, energizing and electrifying events ever. The place was colorful and vibrant, almost every other person from the neighborhood was present, making it a social gathering of sorts. I am in awe of the visualizer and organizer of this new food and drink venture. Every item on the menu was being served in a unique and stylish way. Whether it was fries, nuggets, lemonade, cold coffee or souffle they were all being served in... read more

I’M RED, WHITE AND CUTE

I spent the better half of Sunday watching the recording of the Golden Globe Awards 2019. I had missed the original telecast and was looking forward to a relaxed evening. Though I knew the winners, just watching the grand show and the razzmatazz had me all wide eyed wanting for more. The beautiful sets, the flawless presentation, the effortless hosting had me admiring the event planner! What a team! And what creativity! But the back of my mind was cluttered with thoughts of the event that I had to host. An event that I have been hosting for the past nine years without much stress and effort but this year I seemed to be having some difficulty putting my act together. My son was turning ten,it was his first double digit birthday. He wanted a party but without the birthday... read more

BRANDED BURGERS

However hard I try I fail miserably at comprehending the lingo used by the generation of today. The OMG, LOL are some that I have memorized. Last night my grand daughter asked me, gran when are we having BB’S? I looked at her bewildered, not another one of those ridiculous abbreviations again. This was a new one for sure, I was so tempted to ask her what it meant, but, I did not want to show her my ignorance, so I let it be and just answered her soon and let the matter rest. That was last night! Again, this morning she wanted to know when we were going to have the BB’S, that’s what got me asking. She looked at me with the incorrigible look, that meant you don’t know what BB’S are? BB’S are your branded burgers! Branded... read more

BOLD & BEAUTIFUL

As I sit down to write this piece, my head is in a pleasant place. Slowly but surely, I am beginning to witness and experience what I had yearned for, for the last fourteen years. Being a friend to my girls!I am a mother to two teenage daughters aged 14 and 16 years. They have reached an age where Mom plays the role of a friend and not a guardian. We are a small close-knit family of four members My husband, the girls and myself. The shared responsibility of bringing them up as smart, confident, well-educated individuals was taken on equally by both of us. Though I must admit that playing the good cop bad cop game I landed up being the bad cop more often and dad was more often the cool one. During their formative, growing up years... read more

STRONG, SPECIAL, STYLISH AND SERRATED

As I sit back and relax, mindlessly flipping the television channels, I am engulfed with a sense of satisfaction. Today, I achieved what I had set out to achieve, that is to receive a compliment from my perfectionist daughter. I must admit I am not the most motivated or inspired cook. Yes, I do get by. My food is palatable but not the most delicious. Cooking for me has always been a chore to complete and move on, never a passion to create and perfect. The cutlery in my kitchen drawer will tell you how casual or basic is my interest. I till very recently owned only two knives! One a chef’s knife that I used to cut and chop all and another a utility knife I used when for some reason I could not find the chef’s knife. But... read more

BE SMART, WEAR SMART

As I step out of the Cardiologists Clinic, I am in awe of the youngster walking beside me. A lad of 21, my oldest grandson. A boy who has done us all proud with his perseverance, hard work and commitment as he pursues his degree in Electronics and telecommunication Engineering. Last month he requested me to be his live model. He needed some heart beat readings for his final year project on CARDIAC ARRHYTHMIA DETECTION USING IOT [ Internet of Things]. He walked into my room with some wires and electrodes and his laptop. Wanted me to lie still as he stuck those electrodes to my chest, waited patiently as the readings were sent to the microchip which converted the data and sent it to his lap top. A simple exercise that look no longer than a few minutes. I... read more

You’ve Such A Lovely Temperature

The family had gathered at our ancestral home, after a rather entertaining and heartwarming service at the local church. A service attended by family and friends from far and near and without exaggeration almost a member from every household in town. The eulogies honoring and celebrating grandma truly and fittingly described her as a woman well before her times,a lady who touched many a life with her compassion, wisdom and endearingly naughty nature and warm hospitality. I have vivid memories of many childhood summers spent at grandmas. Grandma donned many hats, she was a Montessori school teacher, she called herself grandpas best friend, but for us children she was the magician in the kitchen. A faint expression of the desire to eat any particular food had her rush into the kitchen to create it. Her home was always inviting, warm... read more

DINNER AND DANCE

As I step forward to discard the much scribbled on calendar. I smile and unconsciously give myself a little pat on my back. I have just got off the scale and I am happy to share that I am 40 pounds lighter than I was on the same date last year. 9TH Jan 2018 saw the scale tip at 175 pounds and today 9TH Jan 2019 I stand slim, svelte and super satisfied with what I see in the mirror. Last year’s New Year’s resolution was “Lose it forever” It was meant for the almost 45 pounds I had gathered due to my extra sweet tooth, lack of discipline and an unfortunate accident that saw me hobbling around in a very inconvenient cast for almost 6 weeks. I must admit I started, tried and failed. Started tried and failed again.... read more

GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE

The magic of December has truly and fully set in. This month is special to me, being my birth month and cause Santa visits. Santa’s visits without fail. As far as I can remember he has visited my home every year for the past twenty seven years enjoying his cookies and milk, leaving me a gift and now he is scheduled to visit my work place too. We are a group of approximately fifteen people working under and for a self-motivated individual. A person who treats us as family and is more than willing to share his spoils with us, his extended family. One of our seniors was travelling and was to miss the annual party on the 24th Eve, so,on the boss’s suggestion, it was decided to reschedule the party so that we could have full attendance and every... read more

GOOD HEALTH- A CAPITAL ASSET

An annual visit to the general physician served as a jump start to an active me. A visit that served as an eye-opener. To be told in no uncertain terms that I was inviting upon myself a host of health problems due to my sedentary life-style, food habits and sleep schedule made me feel idiotic. Her last comment as I walked out of the clinic still rings in my ears, “Don’t be stupid and selfish, you owe it to your family! Your good health is their biggest asset.” The last year saw a steady increase of almost 25 pounds in my body weight. I indulged and over indulged, kept telling myself that tomorrow was the day for the exercise routine to begin but my running shoes continued to gather dust. The reason was always stress and the release I found... read more

WAGGING TAILS AND WET NOSES

Friendly, fuzzy, adorable, playful, smart, sociable are some words that closely describe our tiny pet puppy, Sparkle. All of 6-months-old she walked into our hearts and home a fortnight ago. Though it was an unplanned decision, it was a unanimous one. The entire family was gung-ho as we went to the shelter to pick up that tiny ball of fur. The journey home was uneventful. All of us tentatively looking into the crate every time the car went over a speed breaker or stopped at a signal. As we drove into the driveway my older one commented that somehow now, he felt that our family was complete. All of us nodded in unison. There could not be a truer statement. The food and water bowl, kibble, the squeaky toys, the small tennis ball, a pink leash with paw print on... read more

TRUE LOVE TRAVELS ON A GRAVEL ROAD

This holiday season has been exceptionally busy, exciting and at the same time strenuous. Our family is hosting a dual celebration! Besides the annual dinner on the 24th eve we are getting together to celebrate and recreate the soulful ceremony where my grandparents exchanged their marriage wows of “Till death do us part” a golden 50 years ago. Initially, we planned it as a surprise, their wedding albums were the only documentation that we had. Recreating the ambience at the altar, the flower and décor arrangements and also the clothing style was possible. However, the emotion and the excitement we could just not replicate. It is part of family lore that the celebrations and dancing that followed their wedding ceremony was the talk of the town for some time. That got us all thinking and with consensus it was decided... read more

COOKING WITH LOVE IS FOOD FOR THE SOUL

Cooking for me has always been an emotional exercise, seeing the satisfaction and happiness on the faces around the table always gives me a tremendous high. However, some time ago I had an altercation with my children, the disagreement was on food. They said they were craving lasagna and would like to order in! I offered to cook it for them using my exclusive recipe, which they flatly refused. They relished it as kids, I did not see why they could not eat it now. Needless to say, I was hurt and upset. The TAKEAWAY won over mom’s regular cooking! I choose my battles carefully, I chose to let this one go without a fight. I knew it was a matter of time before I won them over. Having adolescent boys who are always rummaging through the pantry looking for... read more

PLAYLIST COMES TO LIFE

I am definitely not the first, nor will I be the last to thank Dr. Jaap Haartsen from the very bottom of my heart. The invention of the Bluetooth technology by this super talented gentleman and his team of dedicated engineers has truly revolutionized the way ordinary mortals like me listen to, enjoy and share music. Music is my escape, music gives me solace, music is my strength. Someone once said when words fail, music speaks. Nothing can be truer. My state of mind determines what I hear. My music cheers me, motivates me, calms me. The weekend after Thanksgiving I spent in the company of patients at a nearby convalescent home. A small facility with about 12-15 beds. Last summer my grandmother had spent almost a fortnight there recovering from her hip replacement surgery and my regular visits to... read more

FIVE FABULOUS FOODS

My children call it the Five Fabulous foods creator. It is none other than the 5-in-1 CAST IRON PRESEASONED SKILLET FROM JIM BEAM. Till very recently the mornings in our home were rushed, noisy and nerve-racking. All of us leaving within fifteen minutes of each other, preparing and serving breakfast, packing two lunch tiffin’s was an absolute nightmare. I don’t remember ever enjoying a hot cup of coffee, unless I rose half an hour early to indulge myself. We are a family of 4. My husband, myself and our twins. Though the twins look identical they are as different as chalk from cheese. Their temperament, the way they dress and even their food habits. Talking of extremes, where one is a hard-core meat eater, the other has recently turned vegan! The reactions of our extended family and friends ranges from... read more

WINTER WOES, SET RIGHT

This morning I woke up to sneezing sounds, five consecutive loud sneezes followed by a bout of coughing. It was my son announcing in his style the arrival of winter and along with it a string of allergies. He has been prone to a number of allergies especially when there is a shift in seasons. Come spring and the pollen content increases, he is affected with red eyes, so blood shot that it seems he is suffering from some kind of serious eye infection. As the season progresses it settles down automatically. My tall strong, athletic boy invariably turns into a red nose reindeer in the winter months. But now I have found the solution that will get rid of this permanently. His winter allergies too have a simple solution. THE ULTRASONIC HUMIDFIER. It is time to bring out THE... read more

THANKFUL AND GRATEFUL ALWAYS

Thanksgiving is upon us, another beautiful occasion to remember, pray and thank the beneficent creator for all the good that was, is and will be. Thanksgiving as a custom is not localized to America only but celebrated and observed across the world. Though the dates and months may differ, but the ethos and intrinsic spirit of Thanksgiving remains the same. Food, flowers, decorations and celebrations has always been a huge part of the thanksgiving. A thankful heart is always a happy heart! Like most families we too have an annual gathering. All of us converge onto my grandparents home to celebrate and cherish this beautiful occasion. Our numbers always seem to increase from the previous year, either there has been a wedding, or a baby welcomed into the world or another friend who is now like family joins the Thanksgiving... read more

VINYL HAS SOUL

The words that describe me accurately would be an aging, music obsessed,record collector. I have always been a compulsive collector of every release of country and classical music. Blessed with an extremely supportive spouse and ample space I store my collection, neatly and meticulously labelled in two huge record storage racks. My grandson all of 15, like most youth his age is never seen without two things! His smart phone and the ear phones plugged in his ears. He dreams of making a career in music and we often discuss and debate on various aspects of music. On his last visit home, he commented on the meticulously placed records. He was of the opinion that digital recordings had revolutionized sound and streaming music off the internet was the best way to listen to it. He very magnanimously offered to download... read more

CARVE THIN, CARVE PRECISE

This morning I prepared a guest list for our thanksgiving dinner. I jotted down the regular invitees which included my parents, my brother and his family, few cousins who lived in the same town and were regulars every year and then added to the list my first-time Thanksgiving dinner guests, our new neighbors. They had moved into the neighborhood a little over six months ago and we had developed a friendship based on our common love of barbecuing. The past summer they saw us in our back-yard grilling and barbecuing almost every weekend and soon we developed what we called our fabulous and flavorful friendship. I am not apprehensive about hosting the family, cousins and new neighbor for the Thanksgiving dinner. We have done it in the past several times and every year it seems easier to organize. Experience over... read more

A GRACEFUL GLOW

I often wonder if I am the only one who starts removing the holiday decorations, lights and all the accompanying paraphernalia almost a month in advance. I spent last weekend bent over the carton pulling out all the fittings from last year! Mentally imagining and deciding how differently I was going to place them this year. Some needed to be replaced, others were in mint condition. There were pockets in the house that needed a touch of lights. I was pretty sure there was room for shopping! Living in a multi-level house gives me the freedom to decorate and dazzle, create and feed the festive spirit wholeheartedly. Last year the focus was on scented candles and fairy light lit windows, this year I want to do something different. Scented flame-candles are not a viable option anymore as now I have... read more

THE PRACTICAL AND PRETTY PILL BOX

No act of kindness, no matter how small is wasted. Aesop My daughter and I returned home exhausted after our marathon shopping session. As soon as we off-loaded the purchases, she recounted what had transpired at the cash- counter with the customer ahead of us. The person concerned was a middle-aged lady with her arm in a plaster. She seemed to have difficulty reaching into her handbag to retrieve her wallet as she stepped forward to complete her billing and make her payment. Watching her struggle my daughter had offered to help her and with her permission not only removed her wallet, made the card payment, collected her cartful of purchases and helped her load the boot of her car. She received in return the choicest of blessings, praises for her sensitivity and thoughtfulness. Half way through dinner she looked... read more

SPOILT FOR CHOICE

There is almost a month and a half to bring out the tree and decorations, but Santa has already stopped by our home. He bought our family 4 stoneware bake-ware dishes! Something I wanted for a very long time. Our Santa is my father and a first-time granddad to my daughter. A man who is an epitome of unconditional love, patience and generosity. It was one of their many unannounced visits. My parents often drop by and spend time with my daughter. She looks forward to these visits because she always gets to do exciting and entertaining stuff with them. They give her their undivided attention, while I am usually multitasking while spending time with her. That day they walked in with this rather bulky bag. All eagerly gathered around the breakfast table as dad helped herrip open the packaging... read more

TANTALIZING TIKKA

A great introduction to cultures is their cuisine. It not only reflects their evolution, but also their beliefs and traditions. -   Vikas Khanna A bowl containing neatly folded chits was passed around the class. Every child was to pick one and read out aloud the name of the country on it. My son picked INDIA, a country almost 13000Km away. INDIA was the topic of his annual social studies project. He returned home that evening after school a little disturbed and nervous, repeatedly asking me if I would help him with his school project on COUNTRIES AND CUISINES. My knowledge of the country was limited too, but I soon reassured him that, that weekend we would start preparation on the project in earnest with a visit to a restaurant serving Indian cuisine. INDIA, being the 7th largest country in the... read more

A YOUNG 75

I am about to fulfill the promise I made to my Nana almost 10 years ago. As I entered a very competitive world of event management, confident about myself but uncertain of the surroundings, she stood by me and my career decision as a pillar of strength and encouragement. Always egging me on to be positive, work hard and leave the rest to the almighty’s will. Today 10 years later after my share of trials and tribulations I have come out many times stronger, satisfied and successful and on the threshold of fulfilling my promise of organizing her 75th birthday party. My Nana is a very young 75! Gregarious, popular, witty and well-loved she cuts a grand figure as she is always seen with her well- coiffured hair, manicured nails and well made-up face. Never a strand out of place... read more

ALWAYS READY TO ROAST

We have entered in to my favorite trimester. Come October every year I automatically go into celebration mode. Not only because is it my birthday month but also because planning and purchasing for thanksgiving and the holiday season has begun in all earnest. I thoroughly enjoy scanning the market for new, appropriate and innovative products. I have a huge family; their yearly gifting happens now. I also work in Human Resources, so the boss requires us to research and recommend appropriate products for gifting. This year is no different and we have already received the guidelines and budget, the team collectively decides on appropriate gifts for the season. Vendors have already started their sales promotion, the sales pitch getting louder and fervent with every passing day. Though the team has met a couple of times to discuss the various samples... read more

FRIENDS FOREVER

Our family moved into town 18 years ago. My triplet sons were all of 4 years then. Life revolved around home, play-school and the super market. Providence played his hand and we chanced upon my husband's college friend on one of those grocery shopping trips. That was almost 17 years ago. Our extended family has only grown and now consists of 36 adults and 14 teenagers. Our friends forever family for the past many years. Our life-line and support system. We consider ourselves truly blessed. Never missing our blood families in trying times of ill health and even death of a parent. Our friends forever family took over. Be it watching over the kids while one rested and recuperated from an exceptionally high viral fever or the emotional support generously extended in the disturbing times of the sudden death of... read more

FLAVORFUL FONDUE

We have recently returned from our family trip overseas. My husband and I along with our teenage twin daughters visited Switzerland this summer for the very first time. A country known for its pristine surroundings, serene lakes, quaint villages, chalets and castles, chocolates and cheeses. I am convinced that no image or travel video that we saw while planning the trip did justice to its beauty and no adjective adequately described the taste buds’ pleasure as we savored the first bite of the local cheese. All of us being absolute foodies, the local cuisine was a huge attraction. Some part of the day was spent researching and locating the local delicacies. Cheese and chocolates the biggest food groups that Switzerland offers always topped the list. We savored and feasted on the delectable chocolates and cheeses directly from the local dairies,... read more

SOFT, SUBTLE AND SERENE

The theory that your home is an extension of your personality, a projection of your soul is what is emphasized upon in design school. Understanding and implementing the preferences and choices of the customers, subtly to make the space their space is always the motive. Lighting plays a huge part in creating the ideal space. A glow here, a shadow there is what creates the mystery and the magic. Lighting placements go a long way in making the space alive and engaging, an appropriately placed light can go a long way to set a welcoming and comfortable tone. The mood for the evening can depend on what the lights do when they come on every time. My team and I are at the threshold of submitting to a customer his newly revamped home. With crazy deadlines and working hours the... read more

PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS- PERFECT, PRODUCTIVE AND PRACTICAL

I belong to a family of professionals with no one having any entrepreneurial inclination in the least. So, when my nephew decided to open a gymnasium in partnership with his school buddy we were all a little apprehensive, not sure whether such a huge investment was warranted. Most of the family had reservations about the success of the venture. Gymnasiums were located at every alternate block, this would be just another room full of humongous machines is what we said to him. I must admit I absolutely admire the perseverance and the dedication with which these two youngsters have given shape to their dream. No amount of statistics of gym closures and failed projects could deter the two. For every statistic that we presented they presented us with data that showed how the fitness and health food industry was only... read more

CHANGE IS THE ONLY CONSTANT

I am all of 65 years old, being born almost in the middle of the last century. I must admit my grandchildren do look at me as though I am a relic and say the funniest of things as they see me grappling and struggling with the different gadgets and technology that they seem to be constantly surrounded with. I am amazed at the easy with which they handle their phones, their music and pretty much everything else. Change is the only constant is a phrase I have often heard and used. Yesterday, I found my wedding album, a huge bound book full of black and white pictures, memories of an era gone by. Our hairstyles, dresses and pant length and moustaches had my grandchildren rolling on the floor in laughter, they refusing to believe the couple getting married were... read more

COLORS FOR COMPANY

I teach fifth graders and I thoroughly enjoy my job. Being in the company of these 11-year-olds keeps me alive, informed and thoroughly entertained. No day can be called uneventful, because invariably some incident occurs that has us all in a state of panic or rolling with laughter! The batch is truly an incorrigible lot. Warm, endearing and smart kids. However, I am often engulfed with a feeling that a few parents are hell bent on turning their kids into zombies. Zombies who only show reaction to a gadget and not to a human. They are forgetting how to interact with speech, expression and emotions. Gadgets are taking on the role of the babysitter! The logic that the parents put forward is that the kids are constructively occupied, out of mischief and so are safe. The working parent’s dilemma of... read more

AN ATTEMPT TO TEMPT

My daughter is all of 5. The princess in her home, having her father at her beck and call! Her wish is his command. Needless to say, she knows it and uses it to her advantage. Watching her I have come to the conclusion, children can be so effortlessly manipulative and parents so gullible. But then it is the combination of indulgence and love that makes them so.Getting her to eat her meals is a task. A picky eater, there is really nothing that she absolutely relishes. Yesterday she announced that eating food was a waste of time and it would be so much easier if God had made a hole in our throat into which the food could be poured! She would eat without a fuss and mom would never have to yell “finish what’s on your plate” However,... read more

WE RISE BY LIFTING OTHERS

Most parents are sent for by the school management to inform them about the below par performance of their child or ward, or for some disciplinary issue or in the case of unexplained absenteeism. I can proudly say I am one of those blessed parents who was called by the school management to share and applaud the thought provoking and beautiful essay written by my 12- year -old on the topic “What gives me happiness”. “What gives me happiness” was all about sharing and caring. The pure and simple thought of putting before yourself the less fortunate. The language was simple but the thought and emotion intense! She spoke about spending her birthday and other special days of the year, that we as a family celebrate, with the less fortunate. Yes, last year we had visited an old age home... read more

HOPE FOR THE BEST, PREPARE FOR THE WORST

Some body once said,” When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person that walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.” Nothing can be truer! Hurricane Irma changed me forever. This cruel and wasteful storm of 2017 ravaged my beautiful home. I have been suffering from nightmares since the hurricane season began this year and the smallest mention of winds building speed send shudders down my spine. We are half way into hurricane season 2018 and thankfully mother nature has been extremely kind. The updated hurricane forecast predicts a below average activity due to “the colder than normal Atlantic Waters.” My understanding is there may not be as many storms as last year, but it does not mean that the storms that do occur will be weak. Last years under preparedness taught me a... read more

HER FAITH IN ME AND MY FOOD

I come from a family of professionals. My parents both practicing lawyers. My older sister having graduated from college last summer landed her first job as a software engineer, a dream start to her career in Computer engineering. I am in the senior year of school, and as my peers discuss and dissect their career options I have long decided. I decided almost eight years ago! It was during our school trip to the Smithsonian museum. An afternoon was spent looking at the past that made me decide my future. Even as a little girl I thoroughly enjoyed pottering around the kitchen, helping my multi- tasking mother serve the meals to the family. That afternoon we were being guided through an area that displayed the artifacts from JULIA CHILD’S KITCHEN. Julia Child was one of America’s renowned cook book author... read more

CANINE CONFETTI

The entire household was up nice and early, all eagerly awaiting to welcome the newest member into our family. She entered our home and our hearts and has since then being the unanimous choice for the most loved and spoilt member of our family. She is VIVA our Lhasa pup all of 5 months old. A bundle of energy she has us all wrapped around her tiny paw. Experiencing her unconditional love, devotion and loyalty often brings a lump in my throat as I wonder what the creator was thinking when he created this loving species. I pride myself on training VIVA in the matters of answering calls of nature, however, I have failed miserably in keeping her off my bed and the living room sofa. Where ever she sees us seated having a conversation or watching television she promptly... read more

CHEERS! BOSS

I am a fresh graduate, a little over a year into my first job. There were horror stories that I had heard about the corporate world, the cut throat corporate culture and the one up-man-ship game. However, my experience has been entirely different. All due to a particular gentleman who I called boss. My past year has been memorable, besides all the theoretical knowledge that the degree gave me, I can vouch that I learnt best and most on the job. The guidance, encouragement, inspiration that he gave and the patience with which he listened and answered my fresher queries truly made him a dream boss. My boss is now leaving, moving on to greener pastures with his well-deserved promotion. The sincerity to his work and the conviction he placed in his hand-picked team will be sorely missed. Each of... read more

SUMMER OF ‘18

Last weekend as I helped my 6th grader pack for her first ever overnight summer camp, I was engulfed by nostalgia. Remembering my school days, friends, camps, teachers, exams and all. I repeated IN MY TIME umpteen number of times that made my daughter remark,” Mom, please will you stop.” My reasons for enrolling her for the seasons camp was the same as that of my mother. Age and experience both vouch for the benefits of going to camp. Besides it being the fun part of the summer involving singing, dancing, playing with friends, you learn many a lifes lesson at camp. I can vouch that it taught me to be independent, bought to the forefront my hidden talents and grew in me a desire to study unconventionally, it was during one such summer camp that sleeping under the clear... read more

GREAT MUSIC GREAT WORKOUT

I am one of those human specimens blessed with a very slow metabolism. There are times I feel that the mere smell of freshly baked bread or simply stepping into a pastry shop can make me heavier by a pound. I am at constant loggerheads with my weight and must work hard to maintain it. I exercise with discipline, missing a workout session at the gym is not an option. Packaging, advertising promos, marketing and social media are all focused on making me reach for that one savory or that one instant snack. I must admit I have often succumbed to that temptation, only to hit the gym in all earnest the next day. Music has always been my faithful companion in my quest to maintain my ideal weight. Whether it is a morning jog or a run on the... read more

FIRE AND ICE

Style Asia Jim Beam Cast Iron Skillet Set
I am in the midst of organizing a birthday party for my twins. Born in the middle of summer their birthday celebration was usually clubbed along with the many barbecue gatherings our family organized. But this year it was slightly different. As they are growing up and learning to assert themselves, the demand was for a color theme-based party. They had insisted on a color theme of black and white! So, the decorations included black and white balloons and black and white streamers, there was matching table ware, the furniture too was color coordinated with a white table and black chairs. They had color coordinated outfits too. My son came dressed as Batman [in black] and my daughter, dressed as a flower girl in white. Though ideally, I would have loved to coordinate the menu, but I found it very... read more

THE GREATEST WEALTH IS GOOD HEALTH

” Two sides to a coin” is an oft used phrase to represent the different aspects to any situation. Without a doubt it can be said that the changes that society is witnessing or has witnessed in the recent past can be linked to the advancement of technology. The advent and growth of mechanization, automation, computer technology have been singularly instrumental in simplifying our lives across all fields, be it education, communication, transport and even the vast medical arena. I do not think the younger generation can even imagine a world without computers or google for that matter. Yes, all the comforts, simplification that technology so generously bestows upon us has come at a humongous price. Deterioration in our health! The apps on our smartphones have made the walk to the bank redundant. Students no longer feel the need to... read more

MY WOK AND MY VEGAN FRIEND

Growing up we were known as the awesome foursome. Four girls who came together in kindergarten and went on to share twelve glorious years of togetherness and companionship. To each other our lives was an open book, no secrets, nothing unknown, nothing to hide. Our different ethnicities were never a hindrance, in fact it made our friendship more colorful, complete and constructive. We enjoyed different cuisines, tried to learn a smattering of each other’s languages. Our friendship added to our personalities. Never needing anyone else, we were the four quarters that made up the whole. We are coming together again after almost eight years. Having chosen different courses, we moved to different colleges and campuses but made it a point to touch base with one another when we returned home. Careers parted us further, though we have been in constant... read more

FREEDOM, FAMILY, FOOD AND FUN

I have spent the better part of the last month conceptualizing, discussing, agreeing, disagreeing and agreeing again, organizing, scheduling and rescheduling itineraries for arrival and departure for my guests. With only the weekend to fine tune all the arrangements I am excited yet nervous I have been muttering to myself and simultaneously repeating things aloud. My son does not fail to ask me at least four times a day as to Why am I walking around with a smile stuck on my face. Basically, I am all over the place, but I want the 4th of July to happen now! I am super excited! It all started with a friend request on Facebook from a distant cousin. Having connected with her after almost a decade made me nostalgic. It brought back memories of countless summers spent in the company of... read more

BRING ON THE NIGHT

My husband and I are in the midst of party mania. Our only child is turning sixteen over the weekend and we are having her Sweet Sixteen birthday party at home. At the initial planning stages, she had requested that it be restricted to few of her close friends, but we convinced her otherwise! After all she was turning sixteen, her doting grandparents wanted to attend, her numerous cousins were excited and wanted to be present too. We decided to go all the way and have everybody over. Birthdays come every year but this one was special; my baby was turning sixteen and it had to be perfect. She soon got drawn into my contagious excitement and gracefully accepted the antics of her over the top mom! We decided to have a sundowner, Theme, venue, date all set. We were... read more

LITTLE ARTIST

I have the amazing privilege of being a mother to twin 8-year old girls. Life has been challenging, but extremely fulfilling and satisfying. Their smallest feats make my chest swell with pride. The bond they share is breathtakingly beautiful. Their world is complete with each other and they never seem to need another. I am engulfed by a sense of wonderment as I watch that bond only strengthen with each passing day. It was particularly difficult last week when one of them contracted the viral flu and the pediatrician advised me to keep their interaction to the minimal. Keeping them apart was a task. At my wits end, I resorted to indulging, actually bribing the healthy one! I took her shopping and bought her plenty of Knick knacks so that she was fruitfully occupied and did not disturb her twin... read more

THE CLEVER CLOCK

My tryst with technology began with the simple unassuming bed side alarm -clock.  I remember I was all of five when my mother bought me one as a birthday gift, it was shaped as a sunflower and the alarm when it sounded off filled the room with the sound of chirping birds. What a pleasant sound to wake up to! I always wondered how the chirping birds woke me up at the same time everyday without fail and my mother would say,” it was a clever clock.” This ubiquitous tool found almost at every bed-side has been a constant in my life too. I do not remember ever rushing to school or to work as I have always been woken up, well in time by its melodious chime. I must admit that though dependence of any form is to be... read more

MY GRILL, MY RULES

My mister is a grilling master and takes his role as grillardin very seriously. By profession an IT expert, he metamorphizes into this grilling genius every weekend during summer.  Having lived almost all his life in the same town there is no dearth of weekend company. Most weekends spent in the company of his band of boys either from his workplace or the neighborhood, with his family by his side. He has always maintained that grilling serves as his stress buster, having a high-stress, energy satiating job, grilling he says is therapeutic as it calms him, helps him put things in perspective and more over time spent in the company of buddies is only going to elevate him emotionally. An expert on food and flavors he is known never to compromise on any ingredient [witnessed him driving an extra 10... read more

I am responsible for the energy I bring into my home.

I am responsible for the energy I bring into my home. Yes, the entrance to my grandparents’ farm has this sentence beautifully engraved on a wooden plank by the gate. My grandfather a man of few words but many virtues, is a hero in his tiny town.  A principled man who commands immense respect, he was the one entirely responsible for convincing the local community to change from conventional lighting to solar lighting.  A self-taught Solar Energy expert he was often seen explaining the benefits of tapping solar energy, working relentlessly to convince the fellow habitants that savings were guaranteed, and they would pay much less to power their homes.” Be in control of your utility bills” he implored.  “Use the energy it’s for free every day, all day.” With Father’s Day fast approaching the excitement within my family both... read more

PURPOSE AND PERFORMANCE

I have entered the fourth decade of my existence and I am enjoying it to the fullest. I have often heard life begins at forty and I couldn’t agree more. You are wiser, more established and people view you in a different light. You are no longer considered frivolous or immature, you have age and experience by your side. You are in a happy place except for the changes your body is going through. I have never worn spectacles my entire life! Lately I found my self squinting at the fine print on an envelope, unable to read the address. I chose to hold it under a magnifying glass to tide over the situation. That was no long-term solution and a visit to the ophthalmologist was inevitable. Sure, enough I was diagnosed with Presbyopia, in simple terms the loss of... read more

THIS CAN TRULY CAN

I am amazed and astonished at the high levels of creativity and innovation that we are surrounded with. This combination of innovation and creativity often makes me look foolish and outdated, as I often embarrass myself refusing to accept at face value that a thing like that could exist. Let me share an incident that had me stop and talk to a stranger, to clear my doubts and once again expose my ignorance. Last week on my bus ride to work I noticed a youngster on the seat next to me lip singing one of the latest chartbusters, earphones plugged in, he seemed to be drowning in the joys of his music. Nothing unusual in that! What bothered me most was a COCA-COLA can precariously placed in the small compartment at the side of his back-pack. It was an open... read more

LET THE RELAXATION BEGIN

Tomorrow is a big day for me. The workplace is throwing a party in my honor. My “Farewell Party”. I am retiring after 28 years of service and I am excited. Over the past two months I have been regularly approached by familiar faces from various other departments, individuals with whom I barely exchanged morning pleasantries. All stopping to wish me well and giving the unsolicited advice! Agree they are all my well-wishers but, their suggestions, tips mostly border around how I should manage my health and a lot on how Yoga could change my life. Their words created a notion that after retirement my life was over! But, little did they know that there was no place for “Retirement Blues” in my retirement plans but only “colors”. I was going back to my first love of sketching and painting.... read more

REACH OUT, REASSURE, YOU ARE NOT ALONE

I am traversing through those years of my life where in I can claim to have fulfilled my responsibilities towards my children. They have completed their education and flown the nest. I am about to enter the phase of taking over the responsibility of my aging parents. Life has come a full circle and now it is my responsibility to care of them and do everything in my capacity to better their lives. Recently my mother was diagnosed with Dementia. I did not realize anything was wrong until she called me by my sister’s name. A few days later, she returned empty handed from the grocery store, saying she couldn’t find it. It pains me to see her struggle with small details. A lady whose strength and compassion kept the family together now seems to be unsure and insecure. Dementia... read more

TENDER AND TASTY

My daughter and I share an extremely healthy and happy relationship. This Mother’s Day we spent doing what both of us enjoy the most, cooking! More specifically grilling. In our quest to eat and serve healthy we decided on cooking an elaborate barbecue meal and having family and friends over. We had a total of eight mother/daughter and mother/son combinations and every single one of them shared a uniquely beautiful and pristine relation with the person he/she called MOM. The oldest guest was my mother! A tender, affectionate, ageless lady whose enthusiasm, exuberance and energy at all such gatherings would put many to shame. Her knowledge and experience with BBQ and meats was undoubtedly the main element for the awesomeness of the burgers that we churned out that day. It was on her insistence that we used the Jim Beam... read more

HABITUALLY PUNCTUAL

Among the handful of worldly possessions owned by Mahatma Gandhi, was his famous watch. A simple piece that hung from his loincloth with the help of a safety pin and a piece of khadi thread. A piece he depended upon to keep pace with his busy life. A frugal man, his focus on punctuality is well known. He firmly believed any abuse of time was unethical and is known to have apologized for being late by a minute for his appointment. Lead by example is one of the main tenants of good parenting. Expect from your children all those virtues that you have inculcated and built in yourself. If you are constantly running late, rushing to work, sometimes tempted to press the accelerator to make it to an important meeting before the boss joins in, expecting them to be ready... read more

Light up the darkness

Worst nightmares can also appear with your eyes open. My worst nightmare unfolded in front of my eyes as I witnessed the damage caused due to hurricanes. Yes, I have lived through hurricane season 2017 and often break out in cold sweat just thinking of the damage and destruction that it left behind. Nature when angry has little regard for what’s in its path! I have yet to see a video, an image or a clip that does justice to the sense of helplessness and vulnerability that engulfs you, as you stand in its path desperately trying to salvage and protect your home and your loved ones. It was my first year of having moved into the area, which was often described as the holiday paradise in the manuals that sold homes in the locality. The house was in a... read more

ALWAYS MY MOTHER, FOREVER MY FRIEND

As a little girl the only thing I wanted was to grow up, dress up and look like my mother. She was a stunning looking lady; poise, perfection and all heart would be the words to describe her. Often family, friends and even strangers commented on my resemblance to her, my immaturity made me believe that I could be her. The hair and the dress could be replicated but never the zest with which she faced life, its adversities and challenges and the humility with which she counted her blessings. I am a pale version of the super woman I call MOM. I still turn to her, for her comforting hug and her ever soothing voice saying HAVE FAITH, THIS TOO SHALL PASS reassures me instantly. My mother has always been mine and now is the role model for her... read more

WITH DEGREES OF DONENESS, MASTER THE HEAT

Style Asia Jim Beam Mini Thermometer
Every day, without fail I listen to the weatherman explain the diagram before him, more out of habit than need. Over the past one week I have been enjoying his report immensely, only because he is announcing the definite onset of summer. Warm, bright and sunny days sound musical to my ears, the snow and sleet relegated to a distant memory. Its time to unpack our outdoor BBQ unit, wash the tools and prepare for the first barbecue gathering of the season. Every year, most weekends are spent in the company of family and friends doing what we do best grill and giggle and guffaw. The following weekend is to be our first barbecue and tailgating marathon and the memory of last year’s infamous instance of serving some pieces of undercooked steak makes me shrivel up with embarrassment. The humor... read more

HAPPY BARBECUE MONTH

HAPPY BARBECUE MONTH Its officially arrived. Barbecue season is upon us! The month of May heralds the beginning of the favorite national pastime BARBECUING AND TAILGATING. The weatherman is surely reporting more sunny days and fewer cloudy ones. Most households are readying their outdoor and indoor units, the barbecue paraphernalia is getting a scrub down, a trial run is planned before the season opens to the traditional, American celebratory custom. Be it Graduation season, Birthday parties, Memorial Day Celebrations or the 4th of July Celebrations barbecuing, and tailgating continue to be the most preferred form of celebration. This year the Memorial Day holiday falls on Monday 28th of May, which gives us the benefit of enjoying a long relaxed, sumptuous and delicious weekend complete with family, friends fun and frolic. As tradition would have it the family’s first barbecue gathering... read more

NOT OLD, CLASSIC

Last week granddad turned 80. His cake read “Not old, Classic”. Simple words that so appropriately and completely describe the man. A man of impeccable integrity, benevolent, charming and principled. A combination so difficult to find today. Deciding and agreeing as to what to gift him on his big day was an uphill task. Entrusted with the responsibility of buying the gift, I was categorically informed of the characteristics that were to be mandatory to the gift. It had to be something that befitted his stature, something he would use, usage to be simple, traditional but contemporary [he not being a great fan of many things modern this seemed most difficult to fulfill] the list was exhaustive. Every suggestion was promptly struck down by the family on some pretext or the other. The date was fast approaching we had organized... read more

PURPOSEFUL AND PRACTICAL

My work requires me to travel for the better part of the month. Traversing airport lounges, clearing immigration, clearing security checks, waiting in transit is all a part of the days work. I am a salesman but not in the traditional way. I work for a charitable organization and I seek help for our primary beneficiaries- the homeless. My job is emotionally draining and every trip I wonder when will every human being have a place to call home. The time spent in airport lounges is spent catching up on my favorite activity of reading. We all lead overextended lives and vacations is the magic word for the overworked soul. A promise that I had made myself that I would spend quality “me time” with myself is sacrosanct. So, every year, a week off is what I dedicate to myself.... read more

IN HARMONY WITH NATURE

Two thought provoking instances, unrelated but still connected, occurred in a short span of a fortnight. It caused us much mental turmoil and emotional anguish. However, a positive approach and desire to resolve and make amends saw us take small but meaningful measures.   The first instant required the family to have a discussion with our grand-daughter about, The destruction of the environment and the factors responsible for the same. As the discussion progressed I felt small, selfish and like a greedy plunderer, who for his selfish cause of development and so-called progress had battered mother nature making her survival arduous and challenging. Every time the discussion veered to who caused it, her eyes looked sadly and accusingly at us. The generation to which her parents and grandparents belonged was invariably the answer. A school project that succeeded in bringing... read more

GOD IS IN THE DETAILS

“God is in the details” is what I learnt in my very first semester at the institute where I studied interior design. The teacher did not stop emphasizing this and every assignment that we completed only strengthened this theory. Interior design is a multi-faceted subject. It is a science and an art. It is the creativity along with practicality that is used to successfully create an ambience that satisfactorily expresses the personality of the client, making his home an expression of himself. Transforming a personal space, making it visually appealing, functional, beautiful and meaningful would ideally be the job requirement of an interior designer. My first job as an intern required me to assist our senior most designer as she redid the home of a doctor couple with two small children. It was on my very first assignment I learnt... read more

START TO FINISH

I have always enjoyed building, breaking and rebuilding. For the first twelve years of my life I don’t remember playing with video games or for that matter any outdoor games. I was a Lego addict, every free moment was spent building with the colorful blocks. That attraction to build, rebuild continues till today, however, now I am a do-it-yourself enthusiast. No plumber, carpenter, gardener is to be called for any repairs or construction until I have tried to achieve the desired result. I can proudly say that so far, my DIY tools have never let me down. For me repairing, rebuilding, restructuring and renovating are rejuvenating. Its my stress buster and I am happiest in the company of my plier, hammer, drill, screwdriver with the many bits strewn around. The sense of satisfaction that engulfs you after you have repaired... read more

VINYL IS BACK!

Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase Hakuna Matata Ain’t no passing craze It means no worries For the rest of your days…… [ Hakuna Matata in Swahili means “no worries”] The movie “Lion King” released in the year 1994. I was all of 5 years old and the song Hakuna Matata was on every ones lips. It is by far the happiest song ever! Hakuna Matata stuck with our family long after the movie was out of theatres. We were either listening to it, humming it or saying it to one another. Grandfather said it to dad and dad often repeated it to me. The original sound track was released in tape and CD, though for the longest time my grandfather looked for the LP records as, he was the proud owner of an incredible stereo and Turntable. Sadly, he... read more

A TRIGGER CALLED INCENTIVE

From a mediocre student I grew into an achiever all due to the tool called incentive. From the small stars and smileys saying keep it up! to additional class responsibilities all served what they set out to achieve. Motivate me, unleash my capability and help me grow in confidence and self- belief. From a mediocre student I grew into an achiever and then the ultimate achievement of VALEDICTORIAN of my batch of 2005. Incentive was hugely responsible for the change. I have consciously used this tool called Incentive in my professional life. Incentive works across all ages! It has successfully helped me grow my business, achieve targets, maintained employee loyalty and at the same time inculcated a spirit of positive competition amongst the staff members. The logic of using incentive as a tool for business growth is simple, incentive helps... read more

RECOGNISE THEIR CONTRIBUTION

The entire staff at the office was excited. We had been looking forward to the exciting mid-week outing. Office was to shut an hour early and the boss was to personally drive us all to the final game between the NY Knicks and the L.A Lakers. He was fulfilling a promise he had made. His incentive to all of us as we strived to meet some very tough and unrealistic deadlines. The past two weeks had been strenuous and stressful, frayed nerves, raised voices and late nights finally culminated into a triumphant Yessss! TEAM WORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK. His well thought of incentive served its dual purpose, we bonded over a great game and felt rewarded for all the extra effort and time. A simple gesture that went a long way in binding us all, a feeling that we... read more

RELIABLE, REMARKABLE, RESPONSIBLE RADIO

Of all the celebrations that the family calendar is marked with, 13th of February holds a special place. Neither is it a birthday or anniversary of a family member, nor does the date hold any religious significance but I must admit the celebrations are very elaborate and to an outsider may seem a little over the top. We are a family of music lovers and radio loyalists in particular. We celebrate 13th February WORLD RADIO DAY extravagantly. The cake is always shaped as a radio. It goes back at least two generations when the radio was primarily the sole form of entertainment and with the newspaper an important media tool too. I am told it was the most important piece of furniture around which the family gathered every evening. listening to broadcasts on current affairs, comedy shows and soap operas.... read more

PORTABLE POWER SUPPLY- AN INTELLIGENT INVESTMENT

“The future is green energy, sustainability, renewable energy.” Arnold Schwarzenegger I grew up watching his films and have followed his political career ever since he entered it. I endorse his views on renewable energy and I am strongly motivated to try my level best to reduce carbon imprints on the planet. My immediate and extended family is aware of my fascination with this big guy and I am often at the receiving end of their humor at most family gatherings. Some even calling me Arnnie in zest. Thankfully, I have succeeded in convincing my twin grandsons about the future of green energy and the importance and urgency of embracing solar and other forms of renewable energy. Its been a while that I have visited their school for grandparents’ day activities and celebrations, but last year early in the morning on... read more

A LIFE TIME SKILL FOR ALL

The following is the list of quotes that ring in my ears as I set up my out-door barbeque unit. It is with utmost pleasure that I repeat and sometimes shout it aloud. It gives me some sadistic pleasure, as two decades ago I was on the proverbial, other side. Now I am in charge and it is my domain. • Always be nice to the chef. • Annoying the cook will result in smaller portions. • Only I have the license to grill. Till very recently I fell in the category of a reluctant, bottle/packet ready to open and enjoy kind of person, for whom the concept of instant and microwave cooking was magical. Circumstances are now entirely different. A health scare of dear relative and two small children have converted me forever. For me cooking, specially grilling is... read more

Promotional and Incentive Product Series Part 2: The Landscape

In this second part of our multi-part series on the promotional product and incentive market we plan to provide a rough industry outline of all the verticals that exist in the market.   Promotional & Incentive Marketing and Products:  Promotional marketing is marketing that any brand or retailer that includes an incentive to persuade the target audience to take immediate action, driving some form of brand interaction that enhances a current purchase or that induces a future purchase. Within the promotional and incentive segment, there are first multiple tiers to items. Premium Incentives are other branded items given away with a purchase in order to increase the overall value to the customer. These can be the same brand or they can be complementary brands to the original item. One of the biggest promotional and incentive product markets that Style Asia... read more

Promotional and Incentive Product Series Part 1: Introduction

Part 1: Introduction to our Promotional and Incentive Product Series   We are happy to announce the launch of our first ever multi-part series on the promotional product and incentive market. Over the course of our 33 years in business, we’ve worked closely with customers who specialize as promotional, premium incentive, and gift giveaway buyers. After working with our amazing sales people, we’ve crafted an in-depth series on must know information about the promotional and incentive market.   How is the industry changing? How businesses like Style Asia play a role in the supply chain? What will specific segments of the promotional and premium incentive marketplace look like in 2018? If you've ever thought about any of these questions, our series is perfect for you!   With consumers spending their money in new ways, online and on experiences, it is more... read more

A GLOW THAT ILLUMINATES AND SECURES TOO

A GLOW THAT ILLUMINATES AND SECURES TOO. Solar garden lighting is a very practical and naturally popular option among home owners. With its use of free energy, easy to install feature and automatic ON/OFF, it effortlessly succeeds in adding convenience and character to its surroundings. I am a first-time independent house owner and am leaving no stone unturned in my research to get the best deal, service and look, for the entire gamut of furniture and fixtures for my dream nest. My front garden though small, is my pride and joy. Besides the perfectly manicured lawns and trimmed hedges, the seasonal flowering plants adding their multiple hues to the surroundings, what gives me extreme satisfaction and deep pleasure is the ambience that is created with the solar lighting. Placement of solar lighting is of extreme importance. Careful never to place... read more

MAKE UP IS ART, BEAUTY IS SPIRIT

MAKE UP IS ART, BEAUTY IS SPIRIT I am a mother to twin teenage daughters and I am in a constant dilemma as to the appropriate age to use make -up. What is the right age? Will early usage translate into an unhealthy obsession with appearance? Or will usage cause damage to their skin?  One of them is blessed with flawless skin and the other suffers from regular bouts of acne. All through their growing years we as a family have stressed on the need to accept and be comfortable with their imperfections always reiterating we love them as they are.  They looked fairly similar though not identical but comparisons from acquaintances and strangers are the norm. Some insensitive souls blatantly drawing attention to the acne and giving unsolicited advice. Every time that happens the demand to buy concealer grows.... read more

HAPPINESS IS HOMEMADE

Style Asia 5 pc bakeware set
HAPPINESS IS HOMEMADE Family is the building block of every society. Strong, supportive families go a long way in creating stable, secure and confident individuals and by default these very virtues transcend over numerous boundaries leading to a balanced, humane and stable society. My Grandmother often said,” Happiness is Homemade” Whenever, we gathered at her residence she reveled in the bonhomie displayed by her clan and at the cost of repeating herself and being called senile often muttered “Happiness is Homemade”. Contentment in her eyes and an angelic smile on her face she went about feeding all, her home-made goodies. Her cakes were most sought after and there was yet to be a gathering where there was any left over. Every scrumptious crumb was devoured. The lady had a heart of gold, so generous was she with her time, money... read more

SIMPLY, SMARTLY SOLAR

My tryst with solar lighting started due to a school project. My 10-year-old was to make a small presentation on Conservation of Natural Resources and the Benefits of Green Energy. He was required to give day to day examples of conservation of natural resources and the usage of green energy in the vicinity of the home and school. He worked in all earnest on the presentation, the kids of today take to technology as fish take to water. It just a  matter of time an extremely informative, explanatory and factual power point presentation was ready, underlying the effects of Global Warming, primarily its adverse effects on flora and fauna and human health. One slide showed the emergence of the ZIKA virus in the cooler latitudes due to rise in temperature caused by global warming. A harsh reality that sent shivers... read more

QUESO, CHEESE, FROMAGGIO, KESO, PEYNIR

Queso, Cheese, Fromaggio, Keso, Peynir the most delicious words in Spanish, English, French Swedish and Turkish. Cheese has been known to mankind for over 5000 years. History records its making as accidental and there is no concrete and conclusive evidence to show where its making originated. However, it can be safely said that cheese as an ingredient has always played a pivotal role in all world cuisines and helped transform many a staid dish into an appetizing meal. Besides tantalizing taste buds and suiting various palates it is a wonder food containing the goodness of several nutrients including proteins, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin A, B2, B12. However, I Must caution that it must be consumed in moderation as it is a primary source of fat too. On my travels across the continent of Europe I had the pleasure to... read more

IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH MY PASSPORT

I am a photographer first by passion and then profession. It was after great persuasion and pleading that I had managed to convince my parents about my career choice. I wanted to be an event photographer and shoot weddings in particular. That was almost 15 years ago when freelancing photography wasn’t the most stable and substantial source of income. I always said that I wanted a passport full of stamps and not a house full of stuff. I have always pursued my dreams and encourage all youngsters to do so. It is my tryst with the camera that has allowed me to traverse continents and shoot destination weddings and events. I truly believe that the best stories are found between the pages of a passport and I have been extremely lucky to have experienced some amazing ones. It is with... read more

CHILL AND GRILL

bbq table
It all began 33 years ago, a goodwill invite transformed the lives of three families. We were the oldest in the neighborhood, my parents invited two couples over for tea, coincidently they had moved into our neighborhood within a week of each other. Having children close in age made it all easier. The uncertain smiles were soon replaced with exchanging notes on parenting. Before we knew it, a strong bond was formed between three families and two generations. Instrumental in creating that bond was a common love for grilling. Before long we graduated into weekend gatherings in the park, chilling and grilling. We called it our C&G parties. Sprawled out on the luscious lawns with our picnic baskets and grilling appliances, many weekends were spent under the sun. While the parents grilled the most amazing dishes and created scrumptious meals... read more

PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT

Grilling is both my hobby and a passion. I dream of becoming a chef of repute, with BBQ and grilling being my forte. In the quest to achieve my dreams, this past summer I invested in an outdoor grill unit. It now occupies a position of pride in my backyard. It was a precious purchase as a lot of sweat and sacrifice was required to allow that purchase to happen. This first investment to achieve my career goal is indeed my most prized possession and I will continue to treasure it forever. With winter upon us I have the urgent task of protecting it. The size of the unit makes it cumbersome and difficult to cart it indoors time and again. So, the best, safest and most practical option will be to cover it safely and fully leaving no room... read more

WELCOME # HOME FRIENDS

“Cheers to renewed friendships” is what the invite for the party scheduled for New Years Eve is going to say. Renewed friendships because I moved back to my birth town six months ago after a very long span of almost 30 years. I left as a college kid and returned with kids in college. Connecting with childhood friends and picking up from where we let off is the most precious and special connection. There is no “getting to know each other period “you just know each other. Nothing artificial, No pretense!  Some friends I met up with at the local Parish, one another in the supermarket and slowly but surely managed to connect with almost my entire batch over Facebook. This party is a reunion of sorts for my batch of school friends and those who I grew up with... read more

BE SOMEBODY, WHO MAKES EVERYBODY FEEL LIKE A SOMEBODY.

I have very fond memories of my grandmother and many a summer spent in her company. She was a lady of few words but many virtues. It was she who always said to me BE SOMEBODY, WHO MAKES EVERYBODY FEEL LIKE A SOMEBODY.A simple piece of advice I follow religiously and that has helped me both in my personal relationships and my professional career. I work in the field of education, I am an assistant Montessori teacher and I aspire to continue in this field, making a difference in the lives of the tiny tots as they continue to march forward in their quest of an education. The present batch that I have the pleasure of teaching has children from varied social class and background. Everyday adds to my learning curve too. The children of this generation are out-spoken and... read more

ROSES ARE RED, VIOLETS ARE BLUE, I’M YOUR SECRET SANTA, AND THIS GIFT IS FOR YOU!

Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional. Yes, I have grown old, the creaking knees, teenage grandchildren and the number of candles on my cake shout it out but, I haven’t grown up the least. I’m a little kid at heart, so my eyes light up when everything is lit. Its holiday season and my living room is lit, ready with decorated tree for the seasons celebrations. The loud laughter, constant banter, unlimited supplies of goodies is what our holiday gathering is all about. I haven’t grown up but, the others haven’t too. We have this tradition of playing Secret Santa, that all young and not so young look forward too. The picking of the numbered folded chits, analyzing the size of the wrapped package, imagining what is inside, is riddled with humorous comments and more comments. The... read more

“LIFE IS ABOUT USING THE WHOLE BOX OF CRAYONS”

Strange, odd, quaint, eccentric, peculiar were some of the adjectives used by acquaintances, neighbors and others to describe my grandfather, a grand old man of 87 years. Unique, singular, original, non-conformist and learned was how I saw and described him. My grandfather was an extremely well read man, way ahead of his time, with great love for prose and poetry. He often spoke in verse and phrases not stopping to explain the meaning or connotations but repeating them often. His favorite one for me was “Life is about using the whole box of crayons” I have been fortunate to have enjoyed his company and wisdom for the better part of my life. However, it is only on his passing that I have been able to truly understand and appreciate the depth of that phrase. I am an introvert, shy and... read more

The Party Is This Way —-> I think…….

It was my youngest son's 13th birthday. Having two older siblings the hype created on him becoming a teenager was evident. The upcoming party had been in planning mode for weeks. The older fellows were in charge. I picked up titbits from their conversations that I overheard in the passing and I must admit I had my reservations. I was developing an impression that the party was going to be a rowdy, noisy and a messy affair. The birthday falling bang in the middle of football season had given them a reason to have a theme party which revolved around football/friends /food. As the ideas flowed and were exchanged I was very politely told that I was not part of the organizing committee but a very special guest. They collectively decided that they were going to TAILGATE. All my objections... read more

GRANDMA DOESN’T BABYSIT, GRANDMA HAS PLAY DATES

dunlop holiday games
Yes, its that time of the year where I have the sole attention and possession of my grandchildren. The twin girls are all of eight and my grandson is four. It has been a tradition for almost five years now, that after spending 24th eve with the family my son along with his wife takes off for their annual holiday, leaving the children in our care. It is that time of the year where I don’t mind the mess, noise and disruption in routine. In fact, I relish it and so does their grandfather. I must admit, I quite look forward to having the kids all to myself. I have the liberty to indulge and pamper them or discipline and regulate them. There is no one to prompt me. If there is something as mothers’ instinct, there is also a... read more

FOR ALL THAT YOU HAVE DONE, THANK YOU

A day into the Thanksgiving week and the excitement is palpable. Everyone, whether at work or in school is impatiently looking forward to winding up matters on hand and joining in the celebrations with family and friends. There is something about this season that revives in you, the faith in humanity. Problems that seemed unsurmountable seem easily solvable, nothing seems unattainable and impossible. It’s the spirit of that season that creates this magic of positivity and hope. Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends is a tradition followed in most households and ours is no exception. We gather at what we call the headquarters, that is the house where we all grew up, our parents’ home. My sister and myself converge a day before, husbands and kids in tow, my brother arrives on Thanksgiving Day as he lives a distance away.... read more

DIY

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For the longest time I did not know what the abbreviation DIY meant. Now it has become the philosophy I live by! DO IT YOURSELF. There was I time I was dependent on the services of carpenters, plumbers and other utility workers to get the odd repairs done around my home. Not only was it inconvenient to wait around till they arrived but also shockingly expensive. Very often after they had left I would think to myself ‘that’s it, it looks so simple I could have easily fixed this myself” It was solely by chance that I was introduced to DIY tools. We were expecting guests and the handle of the guest room door had come loose. It was not a regular kind of screw but an itsy bitsy one that needed a precision screwdriver with a 2mm head. Ooops!... read more

IT IS TIME TO SHINE

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“Do what you love and don’t look at the clock “is definitely not the best advice to give a 14-year-old. I have learnt this from the daily altercations that I have with my son.  Ironically this is what I happen to have said to him often in the summer when he took up extra coaching for basketball, but now this teenager with his warped sense of humor claims he will only play and nothing more. Says he is doing exactly what I had advised him to do, doing what he loves and not looking at the clock. Yesterday, I helped him pack his kit as he was to accompany his school team to play the elimination round for the local championships. He must have reminded me to put in his alarm clock in the backpack at least thrice and I... read more

DON’T LISTEN TO WHAT THEY SAY, GO SEE

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Every single member of my family and all my close friends were involved in the planning. I could sense the exhilaration and the excitement as they put their heads together to make my big 50 a memorable one. They tried their level best to keep it a secret, but nothing escaped my sharp astute ears. I had this silly smile stuck on my face as I played pretend, I didn’t know exactly what they were up to but something special was cooking. I felt blessed and loved. Realization dawned at 50! I had covered more than half my life, life had just whizzed by. The children had flown the nest and parents were at eternal rest. My days were no longer spent being the primary care giver, I had so much time on hand that I did not know what... read more

KEEP CALM RENOVATION IN PROGRESS

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Happiness is ………... buying your dream home. I am the proud, new owner of a very old house. I fell in love with it the minute I saw it, a quaint little house away from the city crowds. I have lived and worked in the city all my life and now as I approach retirement I am looking forward to living in the lap of nature. Surrounded by peace and tranquility. With my children having moved out in pursuit of their respective careers, this decision was collectively taken by my spouse and myself. We had a common vision of how and where we wanted to spend our twilight years. The minute we stepped on to the property, us being there just felt right. We were engulfed in a warmth that said WELCOME HOME. Yes, it needed more than just a... read more

KEEP CALM AND ENJOY THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR

holiday lights
KEEP CALM AND ENJOY THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR May all your troubles soon be gone, Oh, beautiful lights keep shining on…. That’s what my grandmother got us to chant as all the family got down on their knees and decorated the tree and strung the fairy lights around the house. The tradition continues and come November this tune buzzes through my head and no matter what I do I can’t seem to stop humming it. Holiday season is around the corner and I am excited. It’s the magical season with family and friends bonding, a time to share and bask in the warmth and goodness of love and happiness. A mere mention of this holiday season spreads cheer and warmth all around, its thought brings on a smile, no matter what trials and tribulations one is facing.... read more

SHAVE | OLD MEN LOOK YOUNGER | YOUNG MEN LOOK HANDSOME.

SHAVE OLD MEN LOOK YOUNGER YOUNG MEN LOOK HANDSOME. It started as a fun challenge in our group of girlfriends, who met up once a month. That gathering always succeeded in rejuvenating all of us mentally. We led such mundane lives that these gatherings served well to entertain us and kept us in good spirits. We played nonsensical games, laughed without reason and had loads of fun. We played games and whoever lost had to complete a task or a dare. As luck would have it, last month I lost the game we played and had to perform a task chosen by the group as my punishment. My task was not an easy one, I had to demonstrate the use of an article that could be used by a teenager and septuagenarian alike but the article could not be a... read more

NINE O’CLOCK IS NOW WINE O’CLOCK

NINE O’CLOCK IS NOW WINE O’CLOCK My mother is the humorist amongst us. She says the wittiest things always. She is the life of every gathering and everyone looks forward to her one liners. The last few days have been tough on our family as she suffered a mild heart attack and had to be hospitalized. Not a complainer, all she told her well-wishers was that her heart had skipped a beat and that she was in the hospital to tune it but would soon be ready to rock-n-roll. The day she was to be discharged was like a mini- celebration in the hospital. She had endeared herself to one and all and she was being sent off with gifts and cheers. All that was missing was a celebratory band! She received a variety of gifts ranging from books, DVD’S,... read more

I AM PROUD TO BE A WATERHOLIC

I AM PROUD TO BE A WATERHOLIC Its 6:30 A.M. and I am up and about. We have a walking club in our gated community and I am the latest entrant. Enthusiastically I collected my house keys, phone, ear plugs and water bottle all that I would need for my morning workout. Wow! that was a lot to hold in my hands. I returned from my very first workout exhausted and extremely irritated. If this was to be my morning routine, I definitely needed to find a way of making it more enjoyable. I had struggled with and juggled with all the paraphernalia I had carried along. There had to be a better way I thought to myself. I had dropped my keys twice, my phone once and I couldn’t take a sip of water as I had dropped it... read more

SING, SMILE, CLICK

Among the human work-force multi-tasking is fast becoming a disliked word. A couple of years ago if multi-tasking was an attribute you claimed to have, you would probably be the favorite of the HR head, but not anymore. Multitasking has been known to affect quality of work and  cause mental and physical stress besides which  nobody is looking for a Jack of all trades and a master of none, It is all about specialization now. However, the same does not hold true for gadgets. Infact, more the variations, more popular the gadget proves to be. The gadget that successfully performs the function it was built for and meant to perform but also does something additional is well liked and received .Wow! Now for the price of one you are getting multiple function gadgets. Multi-tasking gadgets are here to stay! The... read more

THE GREATEST GIFTS ARE NOT WRAPPED IN PAPER BUT IN LOVE

The joys of receiving a gift are boundless, irrespective of how old you are. A child’s joy on tearing out the wrapping off his present is in no way less than the joy of an adult opening his. The sense of excitement experienced when the gift is exposed is always consuming, no matter how many gifts you receive. Gifts and the idea of gifting is loved by one and all. Primitive man gifted, modern man gifts too. Human beings are social creatures and gifting expresses emotions of love, helps form connections, creates memories. Human physiology is such that it interprets the act of gifting as an utterance of affection and appreciation. Birthdays and Christmas are not the only occasions to receive or present gifts. Gifting needs no occasion. Seeing someone after a very long time, visiting a sick friend, you... read more

CAN YOU NOT, FEEL THAT KNOT?

Massage therapy dates back thousands of years to ancient civilizations both in the east [India and China] and west [ Egypt]. Massages have proven to soothe muscles, relieve pain, strengthen muscle and heal injuries too. Ayurveda the traditional medical system in India propagated that an individual who was not in sync with his natural environment would feel sick. To be healthy again Ayurveda taught that the five senses would have to be balanced, treatment included diet, herbs, aromatherapy, color therapy and touch therapy. Touch and massage stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers and brings about relief. Massage in Chinese medicine too was based on a similar concept. Derived and developed in the East these concepts soon spread to the west. Athletes in Ancient Greece kept their bodies well in shape and ready for competition using the massage... read more

BE SAFE, NOT SORRY

BE SAFE, NOT SORRY We belong to a generation where in most households both parents work and children are encouraged to become independent at a very early age. Right from answering the telephone, taking messages, learning the emergency contact numbers by rote, to using the gadgets in the kitchen, this modern generation is quick to learn through observation and practice. Often children return from school to empty homes as their parents are away at work. Independently go about their chores for the evening from preparing food and feeding themselves and sometimes their younger siblings too. All very commendable and definitely something to be encouraged. However, I am of the opinion our responsibility as parents does not end there, in fact it has only just begun! The fact that our children are returning to empty homes their safety and security fall... read more

TRULY SMART ESSENTIALLY CONFIDENT : MAKE-UP 101

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TRULY SMART ESSENTIALLY CONFIDENT : MAKE-UP 101 Some were pointed, some were blunt, some were fluffy some were stiff. I was totally perplexed and did not know where to begin. I was out shopping for some make up and brushes. However, I returned empty handed as I was bewildered looking at the vast variety of shapes and sizes available. Did I really need so many? I really did not know what to do with those thin sticks that they were passing off as make up brushes. I needed make up brushes for personal use, not to distribute in the neighborhood. What to buy? How to use? Where to use? were the queries that raced through my mind as I looked at the brushes collectively. I decided to research my make-up brush requirements and revisit the store with complete information. Those... read more

HURRICANE SEASON 2017- We too are RESPONSIBLE!

Hurricane season brings a humbling reminder that, despite our technologies most of nature remains unpredictable. -Diane Ackerman Hurricane season officially began on June 1st and will end on 30th December but 2017 has been a year of exceptions! Arlene an off-season Atlantic Hurricane formed off the coast of Bermuda in the month of April. So, we can very safely say that 2017 is slated to have a long Hurricane season. What is disturbing is that Irma had developed into a category 5 storm while it was still over the relatively cooler waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricanes usually gather momentum as they enter the warmer waters of the Caribbean Sea. But Irma had gathered momentum long before. These two instances of Hurricane behavior are consistent with results of Global Warming. Nature is all powerful and all giving. The earth provides... read more

LISTEN TO YOUR NOSE. IT KNOWS!!

Style Asia North Point Air Humidifier & Diffuser
My nose is special, it knows. It announces the change of season before the weather man does. I dread the months from November through March. That means almost 1/2 of the year I behave like a bear with a sore head. Trust me It is not a very pleasant situation for all around. I enjoy the holiday season, I enjoy the snow, but what acts as a spoiler is my itchy nose. I have lost count of the embarrassing situations that present themselves due to the uncontrollable sneezing that invariably occurs during this season. The most embarrassing one so far occurred during the examinations last year, just before schools closed for the holiday season. Every one of us were writing our paper with utmost concentration and then it started, the uncontrollable sneezing and sniffing. If looks could kill I would... read more

STRESSED IS JUST DESSERTS SPELT BACKWARDS

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Everyone deserves a place to call his own, a place where he can be himself, a place to unwind, a place to destress, a place to create. I found my space, I found it in my home, it’s in my KITCHEN and my lifeline is my OVEN. I made my career choice at age 5 and it has forever remained unchanged. Lots of cajoling, loads of appealing from my parents to reconsider as it was not considered challenging enough, fell on deaf ears. It made my resolve only stronger. I wanted to be a baker and a top one at that. My grandmother was my mentor. I was awestricken as I observed her work in the kitchen. I always thought her to be performing magic as she converted the most basic ingredients into the most delicious breads and cakes. Baking... read more

For it is in giving that we receive

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Buy one get one free”, was the sign that stared down at me. I was 10 when I insisted that my mother buy the multiple pack of apple juice, one for me and one for my sister. I could not fathom how we were getting a carton of juice absolutely free! We were not to be charged a cent extra! Not wanting to witness a tantrum in the middle of the supermarket aisle, she bought that pack and inadvertently created a loyal customer in me. I continued to buy that very same brand of juice even after the offer was discontinued. HURRAY!  For brand loyalty. At the very onset let me reiterate that I am not a marketing guy, but an entrepreneur looking to grow his business in this highly competitive marketplace. After trying various strategies for promoting my business... read more

ADVENTURE ACCESORIES

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My work requires me to travel, and I am often asked which is your favorite city? My answer has remained unchanged over the years and that is, I am happiest in the lap of mother nature. I am an outdoors enthusiast and every opportunity I get, is grabbed with both hands. Setting up my tent under the star lit sky with my solitude for company or walking through the forests looking through the canopy, spotting a native animal is my way of dealing with stress and anxiety so rampant in our lives. I clearly remember my first sojourn. It was special, as for the very first time I was allowed an overnight trip, not accompanied by my parents but in the company of two cousins barely a few years older. It would be an absolute understatement to say we were... read more

Excellent ideas for decorations with tea lights to avoid candle fire accidents !

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Some of the most dangerous things are weightless-fire, love, regret. -Jonathan Carroll This very intense quote by Jonathan Carroll is the crux of my thoughts today. More about fire and regret and a grandmother’s unconditional love.  My granddaughter all of six returned from the trip to the fire station all sad and cranky, very unlike her usual chirpy and buoyant self. On gentle prodding, she informed us that during the visit to the fire station the children were informed about fire hazardous materials, causes of fire at home and in the kitchen and a whole lot of useful information that every child must know. Her parents and I could not yet understand what had affected and disturbed her about the trip, as whatever she told us seemed very relevant and important information for a six-year-old. It was only when I... read more

A STITCH IN TIME SAVES NINE

Style Asia American Builder 3-In-1 Auto Vacuum Compressor
Road trips with friends and family is an activity that many of us have undertaken. Considerable thought went into zeroing in on a location that was agreeable to all members, the toss usually being between beach or mountain. My father never participated in these discussions, he was more concerned about the condition of the car that we were travelling in. He said he owed it to the family, he took the responsibility of family safety very seriously. He never failed to relate the incident that occurred when he was a teenager. The front tire of his vehicle burst due to inadequate pressure! The act of kicking and punching the tire to check if there was adequate pressure has never been a foolproof inspection. It was his wise experience speaking, so we always left him in charge of the vehicle. My... read more

Do More of What Makes You Happy- COLOR

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To be able to express your innermost feelings and be embraced by all, is the test of true acceptance. The inability to express oneself verbally is a challenge faced by many, often leading to reclusive and introverted behavior. We are all masters of our own identity. We may not be eloquent speakers or orators but can choose various other mediums for self- expression, music, dance, sculpturing, painting, doodling or even calligraphy and coloring. To be able to express oneself freely allows free flow of emotions, which in turn is very important for a healthy mental framework. I distinctly remember the first set of coloring pencils I received on my 4th birthday. I was so excited that I hugged it tightly and went to bed that night. I refused to open the box and use them lest the pencil points broke... read more

TRULY SMART, ESSENTIALLY CONFIDENT

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Personality and confidence are great friends. Where you have one, you will soon find the other. A person who is confident has a magnetic personality, the vice versa also stands good. One with a compelling personality is invariably confident. Fierce competition in every walk of life is a grim reality. The first impressions we make not only must be the best but must be a lasting impression too. To maintain an advantage and to create a positive impression on our coworkers or bosses we must make a conscious effort to be well dressed, well-groomed always. To walk into a room and make heads turn is in your hands literally. Either you will feel the complimenting gaze or you will sense the disapproval. You can choose to be either mediocre or magnificent! Applying makeup is an art. The different brushes used,... read more

ALWAYS ON TIME

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In this age where reuse, recycle, reconstruct is the norm for almost everything TIME is an exception. One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time. This lesson learnt early in life goes a long way in shaping your personality. Nobody wants to be perceived as unreliable, rude with scant regard for another. If people think of you in such terms you most definitely are unpunctual and willingly making a habit of it. The saying LIKE FATHER LIKE SON does not apply to the virtue of punctuality. You do not inherit this virtue, it is not part of your DNA. It is a virtue that must be adopted conscientiously, nurtured and maintained. A person who is punctual says a lot about himself without trying too hard. It shows he has purpose, builds for himself a positive reputation and is regarded as... read more

FEARS OF A GRANDMOTHER

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I.T was always meant to be INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY but we are solely responsible of having mindlessly transformed it into IRRESPONSIBLE TECHNOLOGY. ALBERT EINSTEIN had rightly envisaged when he said.” I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots” We have created a generation of digital gaming addicts whose idea of fun is interacting with a screen, who have lost all their social skills, are strangers to their siblings and have evolved into emotionless robots. This was my observation on interacting with my grandchildren over the weekend. I had offered to look after them while the parents were fulfilling their work commitments. I was so looking forward to spending some fun time with them, taking them to the park, playing indoor games, sharing a tub of ice cream, pouring over photo... read more
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