Be The Change

Be The Change

We often think that –  if I were a little more able, I would certainly do that job… If I have a little more wisdom, I will definitely chalk it out…. If I have a little more faith, I will do this….If I were fearless, I would do that… If I have a little more beauty….bla, bla, bla…. Our thought process may be like this. Whatever or whichever the matter be, most of us may insert an ‘’if’’ in front of our desires. Am I right? I would like to tell them that — You are able, you are capable for this job, you are fearless and courageous. You have such a brilliant wisdom in you. Your inner beauty reflects in your eyes. Have faith in you, believe yourself, you can do wonders to the world. Can’t you trust me? OK… Then listen carefully….

Most of us wake up before sunrise and do all the things in home like washing the clothes, cleaning the home, preparing food, helping your husband and kids for going to the office or school as the case may be, look after our parents, etc. We do all these things daily without expecting anything from anyone. Only because we love our family unconditionally. Yes, we manage our homes genuinely and perfectly. Right? Can you even imagine your husband can do all these things for one day, at least for one day?

If your answer is a big NO, you can understand the things I already mentioned above. That is not your husband’s fault. We have a little more compassion than him. Even if you are a manager of a company, or a doctor, or a lawyer, or a nurse, or a police officer, or a writer, or a political leader… You do all these things. Because we are made like that. That’s why it is said that Men are from Mars and women are from Venus.

You are truthful and sincere to the persons nearby You. You are love, You are tolerance, You are wisdom, You are courage, You are the abode of virtues, You are Shakti, and simply You are PERFECT.

Most of us usually travel by bus. While you are travelling a bus, anyone tries to misbehave, you react bravely and boldly, Right? So, you are strong enough to tackle the situation. You have such an amazing strength in you. You have a lot of hidden innate strength in you. We should mine and cultivate our abilities.

In our day to day life, you may go through certain mood swings. You may be confronted with unwanted troubles. In such a situation you may lose your self-control and you may become worried. Most of us face a lot of mental stress and tortures in our life. We always wish to be loved, cared, protected, encouraged, motivated and supported by somebody.

Hey, you people don’t worry. I am here to encourage you, to support you, to appreciate you, and to make you aware of your …. No…OUR rights. Myself Panchami. You can share with me your dreams, your thoughts, your goals, your achievements, your ambitions and aspirations, your worries, your anxieties, your fears, anything. Because now-a-days everything moves very fast.

No one has the time even to hear our troubles and problems. Sometimes I may not be able to find out a solution to your problems. I am here to hear you, I be a good listener, and it’s my promise. You can trust me, we can move together and make a change. No one can stop us. And one more thing, recently somebody told me that — we should defeat the failure. Whenever you defeat the failure or whenever you overcome the failure, you will become positive and can do miracles to the world.

First Published at Creative Moms Hub

Gardening as a Creative Art for Mothers

Gardening as a Creative Art for Mothers

Creativity, in general, makes a huge impact on society. Positive attitude brings out creativity and helps to empower those who are creative. A mother is usually a foundation that a home is built upon, in which to nest a family, then to provide the safe and secure environment wherein her children can grow, flourish, develop their personal talents and move out into the world, where they proceed to blossom into being their own person. One can take lessons learned and apply them to other phases of life. Definitely, creative mothers can change the world through their families. Moreover, nature has a superpower to polish our creativity more and much brighter if we are getting connected.

A garden can teach us creativity, spirituality and many more. It can transform a person, useful to mold a child and helps to use one’s senses. All the great artists used nature to stimulate their senses. Believe that childhood memories can help a gardener come up with a plan even if they have never gardened before. There are so many benefits of gardening for all including children. Stress, moods, blood pressure etc. is relieved when one goes out in a garden to remove weeds or even just watching the green or blooms of one’s own creativity. We are so disconnected from nature. Gardening can foster a great sense of community connections either through parent to parent, teacher to student or student to student. Gardening may stimulate new interest to learn more about plant science, landscape, architecture, photography, nutrition etc. Gardens reduce temperature and increase oxygen production.

We are living in the world of fast foods, packaged and processed snacks, and sugar-laden soft drinks.  Teaching children about healthy eating habits is a real challenge. Gardening is a very pleasant and creative activity that teaches about healthy living, eat organically grown foods, patience, humility, playfulness and getting close to nature. We can learn everything from nature. Children are copycats. What they see they learn. Encouraging children to assist gardening can increase the chance that they will eat more fruits and vegetables.   One can take lessons learned and apply them to other phases of life. Definitely, creative mothers can change the world through their families. Moreover, nature has a superpower to polish our creativity more and much brighter if we are getting connected.

A kitchen garden produces fresh fruits and vegetables and herbs for delicious healthy meals. It does not have to be right outside the kitchen door but the closer it is the better. Think about it in this way: The easier for you to get into the garden, the more likely that you will get tasty things out of it. Many mothers dream about picking fresh herbs and sun-ripened tomatoes right from their garden as there won’t be space enough for one. That is where a mother’s creativity is demanding. Even in the smallest space or a super short growing season, we can still have a garden. So just get started with a kitchen garden and new ideas will bloom up day by day. Don’t forget the participation of the family, at least children.

Gardening is an art. A kitchen garden doesn’t have to be with vegetables, fruits and greens alone. Doesn’t has to be necessarily ground planted. Where ground planting is not possible we can go for pot/container planting and utilize the space in the patios, balconies, and terrace.  If again a shortage of space to arrange them we can go for a ladder or tire planting to achieve vertical gardening in very small spaces. You can also make provisions for hanging pots. These ladders and tires can be made with low cost or recycled materials from packing boxes and can make our own design for that. 

The medium for plant growth can also be made with a low budget or nil budget plans based on ones’ creativity. The vegetable and other organic waste materials from the kitchen can be made into compost and used as manure for plants. For balcony and terrace gardens, this compost can be mixed with coir pith and /or soil in the compost barrel and used as the planting medium. This medium is light in weight, rich in organic and inorganic supplements, and with good moisture holding properties, at the same time keeping the environment clean by using recyclable waste materials.

Containers for planting: we can use our creativity for budget-friendly gardening. The containers should have the capacity to hold the medium and at least a small drainage hole at the bottom of the container to drain off excess water. We can make wooden boxes with the materials around us, from package boxes, re-cycled old plastic, tin, and mud containers, tea cups, water bottles, trays, broken jars, buckets, barrels, bits of PVC pipes, old tires etc are good ideas for plant potting.

A kitchen garden doesn’t have to be vegetables and greens alone. We can have a mixed garden where flowering plants can be planted with vegetables. Selection of plants depends on how a mother has to expand her spectrum of creativity. Attractive crotons and flowering plants in small pots and/or big pots can be included in the garden if some income generation is also in mind. A gift of flowers or a flowering plant does not have to be an expensive one. A single bouquet speaks volumes. Moreover, selling these gifts can earn some money.  It is important to know where the plant should be kept to get the blooms at the right time and shape, and how to look after them. Similarly, for the other plants in the kitchen garden, there should be a basic idea on seasonal and perennial vegetables. Most of the fruit yielding vegetables love open sunlight and leafy vegetables partial shade. However, summer scorching if observed can be overcome by erecting shade net over the plants. Climbers need support for spreading their wines. Herbs can be accommodated in pots on ground planted. Spices such as turmeric and ginger can be planted on the ground or in shallow trays. Black pepper can be made available in small space by planting bush pepper in pots/ containers.

Garden arrangement is also a creative work to save space and water as well as to get proper growth yield and flowering in all plants with an attractive visual treat. Small plants have to be planted in the middle open area of the garden and the tall ones in the periphery so that all plants get adequate sunlight.  To save space and water pairing of plants can be done by selecting those that have similar needs for water and sunlight. Mixing colors, flowering with non-flowering etc. makes the garden attractive and educational with the touch of a creative mother.  Planting Marigold in between vegetables adds colours as well as protects them from pests. Even more attractive factors are the plants attract pollination and tubular flowers attract humming birds. Kids exposed to bright colours and shapes of flowers and fruits in the garden develop a sensory experience. We can decide whether to include a bird house, placing stepping stones with special dates and foot prints or a place to sit and enjoy the garden or creating a place to put the garden tools.

 Lots of people having tasted garden-fresh fruits and vegetables appreciate them for their taste, flavors and vibrant textures. There is absolutely nothing quite like fresh veggies especially if we grow them ourselves, that we can. Whenever we take up any creative activity, we are bound to be happy. So mothers, be creative bring out a healthy and happy family and contribute your share to the society.

A Silent Revolution for the Future Women

A Silent Revolution for the Future Women

Women’s day is perhaps only an occasion to reiterate the glory of womanhood. A glory we fail to see because we are constantly being made to feel we are not as significant as our male counterparts. If women can understand their inner worth, the joy of embracing the feminine, then we can make it better for the women of today and the women of tomorrow.

So how do we know our worth? It begins at home! Let’s try not discriminating and perpetuating gender roles within the family. If a girl can cook, so can a boy? If a boy can ride a bike, so can a girl. A more democratic way of parenting can empower both girls and boys in the family. So it is again a woman in the role of the mother who can usher in this change.

We also need to educate our boys and our men to treat women with respect and these seeds have to sown from childhood itself. Even in school, the boy-girl divide should give way to treating the opposite sex as individuals first and boys and girls later. This will reflect in how women will be treated later as girlfriends, wives, and mothers. Then of course, no woman will be weighed in gold before being married off .No girl will have to give up her dreams of a career after marriage .No woman will feel she is an object to be gawked at, or groped for pleasure.

So amidst the rumbling voices clamouring for liberation, let us also start a silent revolution from our homes and schools- a revolution that will light up the lives of our women in future.

First Published at Creative Moms Hub

Lady Who Built Indra Nooyi

Lady Who Built Indra Nooyi

62-year-old Indra Nooyi took over as CEO in 2006, becoming the first woman Chief Executive of PepsiCo. After serving for 24 years at the helm of PepsiCo and 12 years as the Chief Executive of the company, Indra Nooyi has now decided to step down.

At several occasions had Indra mentioned the role her strong mother had played throughout her childhood and adolescence. The traits of that strong lady had definitely helped this corporate woman who is an epitome of success for the millions of young Indians who aspire to be like her as they watched her journey through the ranks of PepsiCo and eventually leading the global conglomerate.

At a “Women in Leadership Panel” in New York, Nooyi said she’s always pushed back against adversity and her confidence is built upon an unusual daily habit her mother made her and her elder sister, Chandrika, practice when they were just 8 to 11 years old.

Nooyi grew up in the socially conservative city of Madras. Her mother adhered to some traditional beliefs- she stressed the importance of seeking a good husband early – but she also instilled in her two daughters the belief that they could grow up to become whomever they wanted.

Lady Who Built Indra Nooyi

“Every night at the dinner table, my mother would ask us to write a speech about what we would do if we were President, Chief Minister or Prime Minister- every day would be a different world leader she’d ask us to play”. “At the end of dinner, we had to give the speech, and she had to decide whom she was going to vote for”.

The winner of the debate then signed a piece of paper that stated they had become whatever the world leader of the day was. The girls and their mom would laugh and have fun with it, but Nooyi said she and her sister came to appreciate it, even after they became too cool for the ritual when they hit adolescence.

“Even though my mother didn’t work and didn’t go to college, she lived a life vicariously through her daughters”, Nooyi said. “So she gave us that confidence to be whatever we wanted to be. That was an incredibly formative experience in my youth”.

“In my heart, I said, ‘I can do this better than anyone else can, and if everything else fails, they’re going to come to me and say, ‘Fix it’, because I know I’m that good”, she said. “Remember, I could be President of India!”

Throughout the gathering in New York as well as in many more interviews and chats, Indra Nooyi has always held high the spirit of an Indian woman who has been molded and brought up by a mother whose will power and determination was always instilled by the belief in her daughters.

First Published at Creative Moms Hub

Creativity Comes Out, Just Like That

Creativity Comes Out, Just Like That

Remember the recent floods! My house was nearly inundated. It was August 15th, a holiday for everyone in our country. While sitting reading the previous night, I could hear the rains in different ragas and pitches-light, medium, high and it went on and on…….and I dozed off in its rhythm.

Being a holiday, my son and I got up late. It was then that we realized that the power supply had gone. It was cold and damp and still drizzling. We could hear some noises here and there from outside. After a sumptuous hot breakfast of Masala Dosa, we both venture out equipped with a cap and an umbrella.

We have a temple very close to our house, hardly a stone’s throw away. The temple, our house, and the surrounding area is situated on slightly higher ground. When we walked down the slope, we approached the footsteps of the temple…we got the shock of our life! The roads to the temple were like a slightly deep canal and water had reached its steps, the initial ones from the road. A boat was plying on the waterlogged roads. Suddenly, a fire-engine appeared from nowhere to rescue some residents on the other side of an actual canal that flows a little distance away, behind the temple. My son was excited to see all this buzz whereas I was apprehensive.

We came back home. There wasn’t much to do, and my son started saying “It’s boring….” He’s in Grade IV. To keep him occupied, we started with some board games. After some time, he got enough of it. I suggested about doing some studies, to which he wasn’t very keen saying he’ll do it when the power supply resumes. He couldn’t play outside nor go on a few cycling rounds.

Next, I suggested doing some coloring or drawing. We used to do this right from his kindergarten days. It was always like, he would color one side and me on the other side in his coloring books. Like all other kids, initially his colors too would fall over and out of the figures he was coloring. But gradually he learned how to keep it within the frame. Of late, he’s been doing some drawing too. And it’ll invariably be some or the other kind of an alien. He does mention about joining the pilot cadre of IAF when he grows up, but these drawings have given me food for thought; I’m wondering whether he aims for the NASA or ISRO to reach the outer space and meet some aliens who come in his imagination.

He brought out his coloring and drawing books. And we started. First, we did our good old coloring of the given pictures in the coloring book. Then we shifted gears to draw. Both of us let loose our imagination and put it on paper. I started with the scenery that I would do often in my school days. I know many of you can visualize it, a mountain range in the background with a rising sun behind it, a lake flowing nearby beside a house situated in a lush green surrounding and a boat in the lake and some birds flying in the sky.

And I was surprised to see what came out of my son’s pencil. Even though it was on outer space, his images had now become clearer and there was a kind of theme in what he was doing. It looked as if the figures were shaking hands after a treaty or so which reminded me of the recent Trump-Kim meetings. He continued with a few more of such pictures, thrilled at my excitement and appreciation. I was excited to see the change in his drawing skills and planned to put him somewhere to hone his creative skills further.

We both were lost in another world that day developing something that lay within us. The rains had stopped which we weren’t aware of, but the power came only the next day. On that weekend I enrolled him at a reputed center, which enhances our artistic and other creative skills, located at a close distance from our residence.

It’s nearly 3 months now and he’s showing immense improvement treading on to other areas than outer space. His Teachers at the school have put some of those on display for their school art exhibition. Maybe one day we will host an exhibition of his works if he continues at this pace.

 By the way, I forgot to mention that I too joined along with him at that art center to keep him company rather than just drop him and later pick him. So please don’t be surprised to see some of mine too in a corner “Amateur” of my son’s exhibition. Know why??? Because our Trainer says, with persistence I too can reach heights (if not Mt. Everest at least the ranges) in this Creative skill of mine.

First Published at Creative Moms Hub

Christmas Cake and Santa Claus

Christmas Cake and Santa Claus

For most people, Christmas is the time of cake and wine, candy and cards, gifts and Santa Claus. For moms, Christmas is the time of making Christmas cake and wine, of making sure candy fights don’t escalate into warring battles between the children, of writing out endless greeting cards and of wrapping gifts to place under the Christmas tree. At least, Santa Claus is off the list for moms!

The alarm clock rang out, interrupting my thoughts. Christmas cake, I thought as I opened my eyes.  I have to do it today. For nights, I had been having the same nightmare. All the ingredients of my Christmas cake recipe marched in a procession and then departed in a huff. Butter had glared at me accusingly till she melted into a golden puddle. The enraged cherries had flushed redder than crimson.

Brandy, with his legendary flaming character, had fizzed and spluttered with fiery scorn. The raisins had stared menacingly with their eyes as dark as black pools. The eggs decided to commit suicide by rolling off the kitchen counter. I mean Humpty Dumpty was innocent. Eggs nowadays enjoy playing Game of Thrones.

I cast a look at my sleeping husband before dragging myself out of bed. He had been chosen to be Santa Claus at my daughter’s Christmas school programme this year. His protruding belly rose and fell gently. His cheeks looked unusually rosy and his face had a reddish glaze to it. He seemed the perfect candidate for the role of Santa.

Ambling over to the kitchen, I began working on the Christmas cake. The house was quiet and there were no interruptions. The cake was in the oven by the time my husband had woken up. I gazed at his face, now covered with a red rash. He was running a mild temperature as well. “I called Dr. Mukesh. He’s advised rest for a couple of days and some meds. I have to give up being Santa this year,” he said with a trace of a smile.

“Whaaaaat? Christina will cry her heart out,” I spluttered.

“ I know,” he said. “That’s why I have the perfect plan. You have to be Santa Claus!”

“ Santa Claus is a man, a dad, a member of the male species.”

“Well, I’ve asked everyone at work and no one is free to be Santa on that day.”

“So?”

“So, you have to be Santa. I called the school and they said they are fine with you being  Santa, if there’s no one else.”

“Look, I’ll even throw in the fire engine at my place. You can ride in on the fire engine, wave to the children, give out the gifts and leave. They’ll play music the whole time so you won’t have to say anything.”

I looked at him with the collective rage of butter, cherries, brandy, raisins and lastly, the suicidal scorn of the eggs before they shot off the kitchen counter. Nothing worked. My husband is a Game of Thrones fan. Before I could say more, there was a knock at the door.

“Mrs. Stephen, I must say you are a most extraordinary woman. Not many would agree to take on the role of Santa Claus. I thought a smaller sized costume would be needed so I brought this over. And I see you are making cake for us! See you, tomorrow!”

In a daze, I watched the retreating figure of my daughter’s class teacher. My legs were turning rubbery. Maybe like butter, I could choose to dissolve into a formless pool.

“Wow, mummy! This is even better. I’ll be the only daughter in the world with a mummy claus,” cried my daughter, running up to me and hugging me. I forgot I was butter and immediately stood up with resolve.

Christmas Cake and Santa Claus

The next day enrobed as Santa, I proudly stood on the top of the fire engine driven by my husband’s colleagues at work. As we neared the gates of the school, the children could hardly control their excitement. They had never seen a Santa on the top of a fire engine. I waved merrily as we approached.

Suddenly to my surprise, the sirens of the fire engine blared out. The fire engine took a sudden turn and before I knew it, we were heading away from the school towards a fire. My debut as Santa had lasted less than five minutes. These days, I bake Christmas cake with a light heart. My husband also is content with the same.

The school has officially banned both of us from taking up the post of Santa for life. Life is good. As for my daughter, well, I had only to remind her about Humpty Dumpty. She is the daughter of a fire-fighter and mummy claus. She understands.

First Published at Creative Moms Hub