Browse Category by Lifestyle and health
Lifestyle and health, Uncategorized

Inspiration for Moms- A guide to Selfcare and Personality Development

This is a guest post by Lt Cdr Vibhuti Agarwal (Retd).

The Mumbo Jumbo of Personality

Wow! She has a terrific personality, but… what about me?

Do I look good? Am I cool enough? Here, we have a mini personality and personal development plan, little inspiration for all moms feeling lack of self confidence.

Well, if you have ever run any of these three questions in your head, then read on. By the time you finish reading, you would have a smile on your face, a spark in your eyes and additional energy in your gait. what I talk about here is not only about personality, but selfcare and holistic personal development.

Personality is all about a beautiful smile, a wonderful heart and open arms. As we run through this page, let us figure out this personality gig. We may not know each other, but we are all sisters, helping each other build stronger images of our own selves. These are a few pointers which I keep reminding myself as I look at the girl in the mirror and as I experience the seasons of life, because after all it is about looking within for inspiration.

Building the girl in me, the woman I respect.

  1. Who am I?
  • Love yourself, love your size, shape, complexion, skin and hair. What the beauty industry tells you is meant only for the beauty industry. Beauty of a woman lies in her smile, patience, compassion, feelings, thoughts and actions.
  • Throw these things out of the window: guilt, low self-esteem, ‘I’m not good enough’. Give yourself a hug and usher in, ‘I am sooooo beautiful’, ‘I love myself’, ‘It is OK that I made a few mistakes, I have learnt my lessons and am growing wiser’.

2. Dress de-stress

P.C.Unsplash.com
  • Clean ironed clothes of any style are good.
  • For interviews: If you love Indian wear, have at least one formal kurta with a simple dupatta that can be slung on a single shoulder. A plain saree always looks classy. If western wear, a formal trouser with a light coloured shirt goes well. Hair tied up in a bun gives a tidy look.
  • Have a black and brown pair of formal bellies. A pair of sport shoes. These would be adequate, unless you love fashion. I’ve never had more than 5 pairs of footwear.

3. The walk, the talk, the unspoken

  • Walk, talk, sit straight… have a good posture. Yoga, walks, exercise, breathing techniques help.
  • Stand against the wall for back correction. Practice walking while balancing a paper glass on your head. I’ve always admired the rustic village girls with earthen pots on their heads, what stride, what style and charm!

4. Practice what you speak and how you speak:

  • Clear well-formed sentences with the right tone / modulation are tools of expression.
  • What language you speak is not important, ability to speak English is over emphasized. Be proud of your mother tongue.
  • Silence works well when you are angry, tired or irritated. Let that moment pass. All humans must master to express their feelings and opinions. 
  • Say what you like or dislike, but rationally and respectfully. It is a helpful skill to master the ability to express your feelings and your needs.

You may like this article about my life story here

5. This is me:

  • Create ‘me time’. Invest in it. It could be listening to music with a face mask/pack or sipping tea by your window after a good shower.
  • Give time to your hobbies- trekking, reading, dancing, shopping (no indulgence, only moderation)!
  • Select a beautiful and happy picture of yours, preferably with someone you love. It could be your childhood photograph with your grandparents or anything that makes you feel that you are you. Use that as your WhatsApp / FB profile picture. You will begin to be more accepting of what and who you are, of the wonder God has created of you.

6. This is what I can be:

  • Learn a skill, master it. It is better if it is related to your interests: cooking, drawing, singing, studying, oratory, dressing up well, computers, mantra recital, mathematics, spiritualism, reading, working professionally. It may be related to art or craft / academics / professional knowledge. Invest your time and energy in learning / gaining knowledge/ empowering yourself. You would be a better version of yourself by trying and stepping forward.
  • Start reading the newspaper / news app to be aware of current affairs. Reading nurtures the mind.
  • Learn how to ride a scooter / cycle/ motorcycle/ car / jeep, to be able to be independent to meet your daily requirements.
  • Be fearless. Make mistakes. Try, learn, grow.

7. The plastic glam girl, I wouldn’t be:

  • Remember that fashion shows, television programmes, other people’s Facebook and Instagram posts, brands don’t rate our personality or define who we are. We are, who we are. We define our own standards of excellence.

8. Me and my people:

  • Have at least one friend who you respect. Respect is different from love, laughter, fun. Filter out / restrict time with friends who make you feel inferior. Better to have friends who accept you with your flaws and nurture you.
  • Work on all your relationships joyfully. We all work on friends and relatives. By ‘all’, I mean your maid, neighbours, hawkers, shop keepers, school teachers and all people in the community.
  • Work on your relationship with God. It need not be ritualistic. Simple heart to heart communication when you hit the bed each night and after your bath. It is a fool proof solution for all personality traits!! He guides, leads, protects and shepherds. Prayers are a tool to further our plans. Prayers are a weapon to fight our follies and roadblocks.
  • Stay in touch with your parents, children, friends and teachers wherever you may be. They will build you up in your downtime, encourage you when you need them, show you the righteous path when you can go astray, bring out your grey areas when you falter and love you unconditionally.

9. The party begins:

  • Enjoy your outings, dress up in a way that makes you feel beautiful. It may be your favourite perfume or lipstick or none at all!
  • If you drink, ‘enjoy ‘your own drink, don’t go over board to please friends with a one more, one more.
  • Be the person in charge and in control of what your feel / think / speak and do. Don’t go overboard in anything.
  • Use the magic words: thank you, sorry, may I, please, excuse me. Warm gestures, generous smiles, good manners add an aura to every personality. Help, whenever you can.

10. Meditate:

  • Pray. Love and peace within, radiates love and peace around.

The above is the essence. These practices may take time to develop, so, there are some quick solutions too.

The instant solution to deal with peer pressure:

If you want a quick one, wear a pair of goggles, wash your hair well and leave it open, wear your favourite dress, your loved lipstick, sit at the steering wheel, click a pic and post on FB!! It’ll give you a high!! 😊😊.

Rethink. Give this one a thought.

Write down what according to you is personality.

What makes you feel that you need personality development? What is it that you feel you lack?

Is it others who make you feel that you need to work on your personality. Do you think they are right or could they be wrong?

Most important: What is it that you feel if you gain you will have a good personality. Can these traits be learnt / practiced? Do you need others help for this or only your will power and practice?

Rethink over, who you are, what you are meant to be, and how you can rise to your full potential. Work on it!

I’m not qualified or trained to write this. My only ‘experience’ in the field is being a 42-year-old married woman with 2 kids and all bag and baggage that life offers.

Love and light,

Lt Cdr Vibhuti Agarwal (Retd).

Vibhuti is an author of a book, The Inner Chord, printed in 2003. She is a dreamer, a lover, a poet, a writer and often smitten by the wander lust, explores the countryside with her family.

eco-friendly, Lifestyle and health

Bio Enzyme – Natural Multipurpose Cleaner

We have all read the labels of most popular household cleaners. They all come with a warning “Hazardous, keep away from children and animals”; which clearly means they may clean your house but are not safe for you. At a macro level these commercial cleaners are a big environmental hazard too, slowly poisoning our lakes, rivers and soil. The best thing is to switch to Bio enzyme!

It was 5 years ago that I first heard of bio enzyme and regretting that it took me so long to try my first batch of this magical enzyme. 

If you like the idea of low or zero waste, you may find my post on home composting interesting too.

Bio enzymes are natural cleaners made from fruit peels, preferably citrus fruits. Most people use orange and lemon peels for making BE for cleaning, other peels like banana etc. can be used to make plant food/ fertilizer.

Uses

A bio enzyme as mentioned earlier is a natural multipurpose cleaner. You can use bio enzyme to clean your bathroom sink, W.C. You can use bio-enzyme for mopping too

  • As floor cleaner- Add 50ml of Bio Enzyme to your bucket of water.
  • As Bathroom tiles/ sink cleaner- Spray Bio enzyme and leave it for 20-30 minutes and then scrub the areas.
  • Laundry and dishes- Add soap nut liquid and use your Bio Enzyme liquid to clean dishes, laundry
  • Plant fertilizer- Diluted Bio Enzyme can also be used as liquid fertilizer for plants, the ones made from banana and other peels. I have only made citrus fruit BE; hence I will only be talking about that in this post.
  • Vegeatbles and toy disinfectant- These days there are several vegge washes and toys disinfectants, you can use BE to clean your vegetables/fruits. Make water and BE solution and dip your vegetables for 10-15 minutes, wash with regular water and then dry before storing.
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health, Lifestyle and health, Uncategorized

Ayurveda for Improving Immunity during Covid-19

Image by Seksak Kerdkanno from Pixabay

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of medicine, which is in practice from more than 5000 years. It is a holistic system of  medicine which includes mind-body-spirit approach in healing the person. The holistic concepts do not try to fix the body but instead help super-charge the body’s inbuilt healing capacity. In this article we will share simple tips that can help in improving immunity for covid-19P.C unsplash.com.

Owing to its effectiveness and medical significance, now the principles and the concept of Ayurveda are being used in the modern world. It helps treat different kinds of chronic diseases and even at this time when the world is dealing with this unprecedented crisis in the form of Covid-19, Ayurveda can prove to be a boon for mankind.

Ever since the origin of the new strain of Corona virus, we have come to know a lot about it; we now know the symptoms, the complications, yet we have not been successful in finding out an effective treatment to curb its outbreak. We can prevent ourselves from getting infected by simply following simple rules like wearing a mask, practising proper social distancing and following good hand hygiene.

Apart from this, your body’s natural immune system also plays a major role in keeping us safe from this fatal virus.  The best way to boost your immunity is by eating healthy food and following a good lifestyle habit.

Prevention is always better than cure. As there is no medicine or vaccination for  COVID-19 yet, the best thing at the moment is to take preventive measures which boost our immunity.  Ayurveda’s extensive knowledge has always been based on preventive care. Following some home made concoctions or making slight changes to our daily routines and eating habits can help us keep Covid-19 at bay. Sharing below an immunity booster Ayurvedic drink that you can add to your diet for strengthening your natural defence system.

You may like my other article on homeopathy, homeopathy for children  

The Ministry of AYUSH has also recommended the following self-care guidelines as preventive  measures and boosting immunity. These are all supported by Ayurvedic literature and scientific publications.

Below are the recommended Measures: Continue Reading

Lifestyle and health

Merchant Navy Facts – From a sailor’s wife

This is a guest post by Remya Pillai, Remya and I bumped into eachother on instagram, being sailor wives we instantly connected.

Remya has done her MBA in Finance and Systems from Pune University. Currently she is working with Amazon India. She has two lovely daughters Shreya and Shrvya. Her husband is a Chief Engineer(Marine Engineer)  and she loves to share her thoughts on lovely journey of motherhood and other aspects of life, what better way to share than writing, so she chose to write. She has also started Momkidlist with intention of making collection of useful lists for Mom and Kid.

Life of a mariner’s wife

Being a wife or a mother itself is a great responsibility, but what`s so special about being a mariner’s wife. I do not wish to repeat the same old tape that being a mariner’s wife is different as we have all heard it repeatedly. I agree one has to be strong;however, does it not hold true for other wives and mummies. If your husband is an actor who travels frequently or a businessman who travels or a soldier or say any other profession that requires being away from home, you are basically living a life quite similar to ours. So, I conclude my words by saying that being a mariner’s wife is not an ocean of harships, its an ocean of opportunities, its only your attitude that matters

Life is glamorous for those who love to enjoy the glamour

For those who love to taste a luxurious lifestyle having 7 star hotel stays and spas being a mariner and wife is one of the best things that happen to you. From meeting wives of fellow mariners, the numerous kitty parties and get- togethers, celebrating every precious moment in life in style. Majority of wives as I have seen are well qualified, having a mind of their own and most important strong thinkers. Ships, exotic countries, smart uniforms, great technologies, enchanting sea etc. might make our life at sea seem nothing short of a Hollywood flick.

However, no lunch comes for free and there is no gain without pain. All these fortunes have to be achieved after bearing the realities. The reality for the sailor is the dirty boiler suits, the torn safety shoes, the condition of one’s face at a dusty port, the fatigue that engulfs them at the end of the day. Agreed that there is a certain level of sheen that exists in our line of work, but that lustre is after the price is paid for it. For the queen it is single parenting, doing household chores alone, handling finances alone, facing all problems single handedly when hubby is away. Though friends and family are always a support system. Optional  support for a spouse is not possible in traditional way of face to face communication. Its digital and at times not there at all.

Family life-caring loving father who finds time

I do not understand why sailors are interpreted to be inherently unfaithful! There was a time when a sailor was greeted at ports with a string of women to choose from. But then that was decades back! However, over time this has become a thing of the past. Combine that with the possibility of ruining one’s health and life back home, we have a purely fictional idea of a sailor’s entertainment at port. It is undeniable that if looked for, services can be found anywhere in the world, but that’s for any human being and not restricted to a sailor. A new country, a new port offers a plethora of sights and experiences. Also, none understands the value of a relationship (and the loyalty that goes with it) more than a sailor. Time away from loved ones doesn’t weaken bonds but strengthens them instead. Unlike others, seafarers know the true meaning of – someone special is waiting back at home.

Today’s mariners  have access to internet 24*7 and available to chat. As I see the world around me most husbands are out on office trips meeting strict deadlines not being able to make time for family. What I understand is that its a matter of time management and taking efforts to make relationships work. We all put efforts in one way or other to make this system called family work. A mariner has his way of contributing in the same. Gone are the days when a sailor hardly met his family and had no updates about his home. Technology has advanced, we evolved and its time to make new family system work. This new family system has its values and traditions which are influenced by globalization and advanced technology. Families spend quality time by going on vacations together, families are digitally connected. We may miss celebrating every birthday and festivals every year but we know the value of time together with family and spend it wisely.

Food and drinks:

We all have a notion that sailors drink too much alcohol and that alcohol is cheap onboard (but that doesn’t give them the liberty to drink it freely, in fact many companies follow “No Alcohol” Policy). The food onboard is prepared for multinational crew and is prepared by a seasoned chef. Thus offering a  multicuisine menu.

Are they rich and earning loads of money?

May or may not be depending on investment habits and spending habits as is true for any individual. Some of the wives have great knowledge of shares mutual funds and other financial aspects while others are dependent just like any common man. Over the years the returns determine rich and poor. General belief is that shippies get paid a huge amount of money. Agreed, the pay is good. However, it is similar to the pay that individuals get after getting themselves a decent MBA/Masters and landing a respectable job (Of course, after certain years down the line in their careers). It is correct that the initial pay is far better than what one would get at shore, but the gap closes up as time goes by. Moreover, people at shore ought not forget the pains a seafarer has to go through to bring in that sort of money- time away from family, living at the mercy of nature, tough labour onboard etc. In our favor though, we don’t have to pay taxes, and rightfully so (Rules on taxes may vary across different countries)!

Get To See New Ports and countries if time permits:

Times have changed and so have trading patterns. Discharging at ports is fast and efficient, leaving little or no time for shore leave. Some ships don’t even get to reach port at times. Bulk carriers  are probably the only kind of ships that have the luxury of being at port for over a couple of days. That too, work shifts and stress makes seafarers put bed rest over going out to the city. Just because seafarers visit new ports and countries that doesn’t mean they have the luxury or opportunity to roam around according to their own wish.

Here again I would like to mention some ships travel shorter distances and cover many countries so you get to see ports with family and shop from around the world. For the wives and family you have to have a passport and valid visa of visting countries and paperwork cleared while reaching the port as routes of travel may not be fixed and you may not be prepared.

 Its contract based not 6 months sailing and 6 months on shore:

There’s a universal idea that all seafarers have a ‘common 6 months on, 6 months off’ regime. So naturally, they believe that the life is easy for we work for 6 months and laze around for the other 6! Ridiculous, come to think of it. First of all, contracts differ in tenure. It can be 4 on, 2 off or a variety of other combinations depending on the rank and company. Secondly, the months that we don’t work, we’re only spending and not earning. Even with companies that pay while their seafarers are at home, it’s normally much reduced. Third, the work that we do over the few months that we are onboard, makes it necessary for us to go back home and relax; else we’d all go insane. Couple that with handling family, relationships, exams etc. and we barely get proper time to completely switch off, life certainly is not easy!

Education is important to be a sailor

Gone are the days when joining the merchant navy meant getting on a ship when one came of age and sailing away. Many people think going to sea doesn’t need many qualifications. But the truth is today, every rank, including the crew of the ship, has to be well informed, educated, trained and dexterous in theory as well as practice. As far as the officers are concerned, it is a different ball game!

Studies pertaining to the merchant navy have become very intense. Those who have been through 3 years of BSc in Nautical Science or 4 years of BTech in Marine Engineering will clearly know the hell they have to go through! It is a competitive exam that requires immense preparation and grilling which can be a whole new article. Officers earn ranks and certificate of competency after an engineering degree, a maritime course and then a marine engineer which is a real tough path involving a lot of sacrifices.

Solitude and idle sea life

Life is easy for seafarers, there is nothing much to do on board ships – that’s what many people think! A myth goes around that people at sea just laze around, fish and make merry once the ship sails. As many don’t have a clue about the working of the ship, they think seafarers have lots of time in hand which allows them to booze, travel and relax. However, the fact is seafarers are one of the most hardworking people in the world who have to face serious issues everyday on board. I became a blogger while I was on ship. At the end, however many inappropriate things seafarers might hear about their profession, the love for the sea and their job is never diminished. Sailors love talking about their job and their stories at sea. Seafarers work very hard through the roughest weather putting their lives at risk.

checkout my post on challenges and perks of being a sailor wife

Shipping is noble field of work though not recognized

It’s important that the common folk is well informed about the merchant navy and life at sea; for if it wasn’t for seafarers, the economy of the entire world would come to a halt! From oil, laptops to clothes and almost everything in-between, how do the goods needed to power the world get from one place to another? Even in our modern, speed-driven and globalized economy, 90 percent of everything still travels as it did almost 500 years ago: by ship. The shipping industry carries necessities like food and clothing all over the world, and yet it’s an industry that goes largely ignored by people outside of it.  There are many issues that do not gain importance from the isolation of a shipping crew to the complicated business of flags of convenience. I do not know why shipping goes unnoticed though no matter what the future holds, the world will always need ships. The merchant navy is an auxiliary entity that might be called upon in case of dire emergency to assist the navy. As in a business wherein goods are exchanged for monetary gains, the merchant navy involves the same process where goods are handed over from A to B for money. Might be a reason they don’t get national recognition for their hard work.

Lifestyle and health, Uncategorized

Seven Easy Mango Recipes To Try This Season

Mangoes are here and I’m sure we are all having them to our heart’s content.

Every year summer time brings back childhood memories, when we eagerly waited for the mangoes of our Dussheri Mango tree to ripen. Mango is every child’s favorite and just like me now my son loves them too.

While all fruits are great source of essential minerals, vitamins and fibers, Mango is known as the king of all. It may not be the healthiest of fruits owing to the calories, but it is rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and A. It is therefore perfect for boosting your immunity especially during current times.

Mango can be relished as it is and if you are bored of mangoes and wondering what to do with the dozens of mangoes you have got, then here are some easy yet, interesting things to make with Mangoes. Try these 7 Simple recipes in 7 days of the week.

  1. Ice cream

Summers are best celebrated with Ice creams and what more when you can make your favorite mango flavored ice cream at home with readily available ingredients – Mango, Milk and sugar.

Take 2 cups of mango chunks, 2 cups of milk (reduce it to half) and add sugar as per your liking. Additionally for flavor you can add vanilla essence or powdered green cardamom.

Blend everything together, freeze for 4-5 hours, take out of the freezer, let it thaw a bit, blend again and refreeze in next  hours your mango ice cream will be ready.

  1. Lassi or smoothie-

Who doesn’t like cool Lassi, be it plain or flavoured. Lassi is one of the most popular summer drink in India and now is enjoyed world over, what better than to combine it with mango.

Here is my smoothie recipe, you can make changes (reduce milk quantity) to it to make Lassi.

Chop 2 ripe medium sized Mangoes. Take 1 cup curd and 1.5 cups milk and Sugar/honey, Jaggery powder to your taste.  You may take green cardamom powder for flavor and chopped dry fruits

Blend all ingredients until you get a smooth paste like consistency. Add chopped dryfruits and serve chilled.

  1. Milkshake

This is the most common and easiest of mango preparations.

All you need is Mango, milk and sugar to taste.

Take 2 large mangoes (peeled and chopped) and 1.5 glass of milk, add sugar to taste. Blend all the ingredients and your Mango shake is ready.

Add crushed dry fruits and green cardamom for enhanced flavor. You could add a scoop of vanilla ice cream too.

  1. Baked yogurt

I absolutely love baked yogurt, I can never have enough of it.

Mango Puree ½ cup, Yogurt/Thick hung curd ½ cup, unsweetened condensed milk  ½ cup, Sugar 2 bsps or to taste and condensed Milk ¼ cupHeat the oven at 350°F

Prepare a Bain-marie (double boiler) for your bowls or dishes.

Mix mango puree and all the ingredients- hung curd, unsweetened condensed milk, sugar, condensed milk and check for sweetness.

Pour the mixture into dessert bowls and keep these bowls in your double boiler, put it in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Let it cool, refrigerate and serve chilled.

Check Bappa doi OPOS recipe to make similar dish in a pressure cooker.

  1. Aam papad or Mango Fruit leather

Do you love aam papad? Well I do and since childhood. I can gobble one whole pack in one go and so can my child.

I never knew it was as simple as this until I learnt it from a friend’s mom.

All you need is Mangoes, little ghee/oil,  sugar and sunshine.

Blend 4-5 Mangoes into a fine paste, ensure that there are no chunks.

Take a pan and add the mango paste into it, put it on slow flame and keep stirring, gradually add sugar. Let it turn into a thick paste (this will take around 4-5 minutes)

On a plate apply a thin layer of ghee. Pour the mango paste into it spreading evenly. Dab the plate to avoid any bubble formation.

Cover it with a light cloth cover and place it in the sunlight. It will take 2-3 days of good sunlight to get your Aam papad ready.

  1. Mango Sorbet – Here is an easy-peasy recipe for you, if you have children at home they will love you for this, well mine certainly does love me more on days I make his favourite sorbet.

You need water, sugar/honey and of course mangoes.

Chop mangoes lay them in a tray, cover and freeze. Take out after 4-5 hours and blend with little water and honey/sugar. Blend till smooth.

Lay the mango paste in a tray and freeze for another 1 hour. You can add half a lemon and few mint leaves for tangy and refreshing flavor.

  1. Aam Panna with Ripe mangoes- While we cook raw mangoes to make aam panna, this one with ripe mangoes needs no cooking.

What you need-  2 well ripened mangoes, few mint leaves ( 10-15), little chopped coriander, kala namak or table salt ( Himalayan pink salt) gives a different flavour, it also aids digestion, red chilly powder 2 pinch, roasted cumin powder 2-3 pinches, sugar to taste, half a lemon if you prefer it little sweet and sour.

Mix all the ingredients, blend and refrigerate for an hour or two, serve chilled.

Enjoy the mango season till it lasts, experiment with mangoes and let me know your trials, I will try them out too. If you have little ones at home then don’t throw the seed as you can try this activity here.