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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.

 

 

 

 

Home Decor, Lifestyle and health, Uncategorized

Easy Upcycling and Decor Ideas

Repurposing and Upcycling can save you money and we all know the joy it brings.

I have loved creating stuff out of waste from early on in life.  I used to think of ways to put old, abandoned stuff to use.

When we reuse things, we help a wee bit by not having the stuff dumped into the landfill.

This Native American Proverb “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children,” sums our environment threatening lifestyle and how we must not take our planet for granted.

Using old clothes: Old clothes can be reused/repurposed or upcycled in multiple ways. I often keep old bed sheets, curtains, etc. to be turned into cloth bags. For past 3 years, on my son’s birthday I get these cloth bags made locally and give return gifts in them.

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Lifestyle and health, Uncategorized

7 everyday Eco-friendly switches

7 Eco-friendly switches one can make in their daily life.

Firstly let’s understand what eco-friendly is, Eco-friendly means something that is friendly to our mother earth, something that doesn’t harm the environment.

I won’t talk about being plastic free- that is too much to ask for!

Sadly we have come too far to go back. We all know single use plastic is not good for the environment and we all know that it is difficult to do without it.

Let’s not talk about what we can’t do, let’s take a look at what we can do.

Listing 7 easy eco-friendly things you can do to make a difference-

  1. Using bucket to take bath instead of shower –

When we use a low flow shower we end up using 3-5 liters of water a minute. Now, if someone takes a bath for at least 10 minutes they end up using 30-50 ltrs of water, could you believe that? While a bucket just uses 20 -25 liters of water and cleanses well as the water comes with greater force. Now when you take a bath, wash your face or brush your teeth just think about what you are doing to conserve water.

  1. Carrying your own cloth bags- This is a very simple and easy thing to do. Having a checklist while stepping out and including a large cloth bag in it can save you from bringing back home a plastic bag.
  2. Cut down Impulsive shopping (online and Retail) – Knowing your needs and wants and buying only what you need is the key. With buying things just at a click, rampant online discounts leading to impulsive buying and a surge to the sales of things that otherwise wouldn’t happen. Be mindful of what you are buying and not only will you save money, you will contribute in saving the environment too.

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doctors, health, hospital, Lifestyle and health, sustainability, sustainable

Antibiotic Resistance- What is it?

Let us read a small  story by my friend Dr. Sonia Hemnani-

A young boy had a very good family and a number of wonderful people around, whom he did not care for or listen to. Whenever this boy was in need he would trust the random strangers, who he thought were the right people. One day all those strangers started avoiding him due to recurrent calling, which led to more frustration. Ultimately the boy broke down.

Moral of story – Trust what you have within you and around you.

Here the young boy is “you”; his friends are the ecofriendly bacteria which are already present in our body, the vital force, the calm mind, and the natural sources of building immunity, organic real food, required food and thought. Continue Reading