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My beautifully golden mornings

My beautifully golden mornings

Today morning I climbed out of my bed in a grouchy mood at 6.15 am. Yes, the chilly weather and the warm comforter were one reason for the reluctance but another was a dull headache.

To add to the misery, I realized that there was no coffee in the house. Can the things start any worse, I wondered. Golden home-brewed filter coffee is an absolute must for my morning to be golden. I must have it piping hot in a large mug and savor its bitter sweet strong flavour for my day to begin well. Oh well, I will have to wait for a couple of hours before the kirana store closeby opens.

You know, how mornings are so integral to our mood and attitude throughout the day. For me, they are. Ruined morning somehow translates into a bad day. So when I thought deep and hard, I realized that a few things turn my good mornings into gold mornings:

Coffee: Enough has been said about that above.

Coco: My Labrador, also my third son, greets me lustily, every part of his body moving in joy. Who would not wish to wake up to that welcome? Smiling we both bound down the stairs together.

Songs: The husband leaves for work very early in the morning. So as I go down the stairs I hear the old songs that he almost always plays on his tablet. I am also greeted by the smell of coffee wafting from the kitchen as he has already prepared hot mugs for us. And of course, his smile that makes my sleepy self wake up and feel energized.

My kids: I love the moment when I tiptoe into their room with Coco on my heels. As I switch on the light, I pause and look at their sleeping visages – so peaceful, so beautiful. I take a moment to take that in before calling their names to wake them. As they groan in protest, Coco helps by licking ttheir faces and making them wake up with smiles.

Newspaper: I feel my day is incomplete if I don’t read a newspaper. Hence once the kids are off, I sit with the paper and my breakfast, skipping some news and reading others with interest charged to begin my work.

Talking about gold mornings, Colgate is launching Colgate 360 Charcoal Gold toothbrush which is a beauty with its gold and black looks. It also cleans your entire mouth effectively. Can’t wait to lay my hands on it.

So tell me, what makes your mornings turn into golden mornings? #Colgate360GoldMornings

Happiness is awesome

Happiness is awesome

As we all grapple with sorrows, depression and tears all around us, it is equally important to celebrate happiness and feel grateful for the tiny moments that are so precious. Just thinking about them brings a smile to my face. Isn’t happiness an awesome feeling? Not only does one look forward to being happy in one’s own life but also in the lives of those around them.

For me, I am really happy when my family and friends are happy. Seeing them suffer or unhappy casts a shadow of gloom on me. I may crib about how naughty the boys are but seeing them down or sick makes me sad. Their exams got over just a couple of days ago. I was as excited as them awaiting their return from school. The day is slightly bittersweet. You love it for the fact that you don’t have to study for that year and get loads of holidays. You also feel sad that you will be leaving behind some students and teachers and also for the fact that you won’t be seeing them for a while. That is how most happiness is tinged with a bit of sadness.

I guess that is why festivals like Ugadi which was yesterday ensure that we taste the bitter along with the sour and the sweet to emphasize to us to appreciate the happiness in our lives and to know in our hearts that the bitter phases are a part of life but will be gone soon.

Since I am away from home, I can’t hep but think about my cute Labrador, Coco. He is a bright spot in my life. His enthusiastic countenance never fails to bring a smile to my face. It is as if he were happiness personified. Always goofing around, he has all of us in the house in splits with his antics. And then there are moments when he puts his head in your lap or snuggles against you showing his boundless and unconditional love for you — pure happiness.

Happiness is also seeing the seasons change. Living in Bangalore, we are blessed with a moderate climate throughout the year. Just recently the Tabebuia were in bloom. Seeing the streets burst in a riot of colour with lavender, pink and yellow Tabebuia is a sight that never fails to make me happy. The same works for a beautiful rainy day when my garden looks like an expanse of washed green carpet, lively and pretty. I am also thrilled when my favorite jasmine are in bloom as they are now. I pluck them and inhale deeply to transport me to a blissfully happy place.

Working out, writing and cooking make me happy. When I get a difficult recipe right, it gives me immense joy. These days, I have begun to experiment and come up with my own recipes too. Working out is fun. It is enjoyable and it makes me feel high immediately. If I don’t work out for a few days then I feel my mood dipping. The side benefits of having a fit and healthy body make me feel proud and happy too.

Thus, as the famous song goes: These are a few of my favorite things (that fill me with joy).

What makes you happy?

She nurtured me!

She nurtured me!

When I look back and think about my childhood, there are so many beautiful memories. The ones that seemed quite harsh back then seem to have blunted with the passage of time. I guess growing up and becoming a parent gives you rare perspective. What seemed unreasonable and harsh behavior by your parents or siblings now seems to make sense as you have your own kids.

I have written both about my father and mother on my blog several times. Each of them has left an indelible mark on my life making me the person that I am today. They showed me love and compassion in a family. They showed me how to stay afloat when nothing seems to go right for you. They also showed me never to shy away from living your dreams. You can never thank your parents enough, can you now? But, you can always hope to pass on the love, compassion and values that they inculcated in you.

I would also love to mention my elder sister. It is often unusual to have a sibling who is more like a parent figure in your life. I remember her being this absolutely compassionate, considerate soul even in the childhood. She would save me and my younger brother from the ire of parents never ratting out our mischief to them. Even at a young age, she had taken on many of my responsibilities like helping me with homework or ironing my school uniform. She was the person I went to for projects or help with assignments. She also wholeheartedly supported me and offered me guidance both academically and otherwise in life. We were really thick throughout childhood. She was almost 6 years older to me. We shared similar views and wavelengths. We were more like friends. She always encouraged me to travel, go for camps and to study what I wanted. She even stood by me in support with my choice of life partner.

She enabled me to think independently and take my own decisions. Her gentle advice which is very similar to my father’s is never overbearing or absolute. She gives her inputs and then trusts the adult in me to take the right call. When I was doing my MBA in Mumbai and living in a PG accommodation, she used to give me money to spend as I liked. She knew that a college student would often like to indulge. She never asked how I spent that money. Her implicit trust made me responsible. I was always independent but the love and support of loved ones made me use my independence wisely and responsibly.

Today, so many years later, it is she I approach with just about any problem, issue or gossip. 🙂 I know she always has my best interest in her heart. I know she is always watching my back. That is such a comforting thought. Again, I won’t thank her because that is who she is – generous and giving. I would just love to pass on the love and compassion to continue this cycle of loving and cherishing.

This post is written for Indiblogger and HDFC Life

Buy better car using Quikr NXT

Buy better car using Quikr NXT

I own a car that is almost 13 years old. Yes, it is as old as my older son. I absolutely adore this car. It is small, easy to drive, easy to park and clearly a favorite of mine. My two kids have literally been raised using this car. I have loads of sentimental memories attached to it. My younger son was brought home after birth in this car. In a way, it is more than a car. It is my friend. It gives me a huge sense of freedom, as I don’t have to rely on anyone to go anywhere – no autos, no buses, no taxis. I take my car, and I am on my own.

But, the fact of the matter is that the car is old, pretty old. It will need to be replaced soon. While, I am eyeing the new beauties in the market. To tell you the truth, I have been considering some second-hand cars as well. There is a showroom of second-hand cars that I have visited recently. All the cars look lovely and shine with pride. My only problem is that I don’t know if I can trust them. What if the second-hand car is not as good as it looks? What if it has faulty parts or mileage that has been tampered with? What if I am being cheated?

And, then I came across Quikr. I mean they actually list second hand cars now. How wonderful is that?

I browsed through their site and saw that it was easy to check out the exact car and model that I was interested in .

You can see the car from different angles in all the photos uploaded on the listing page. You have all the details like where the seller is located, which year model is the car, the mileage covered etc. You don’t even have to wait to call the person at their convenient time. There is a pretty green icon there that says chat now, hence you can just shoot your query and they will get back to you with a message. Isn’t that wonderful? I have already written about Quikr NXT and why it is the best thing to have happened to Indian classifieds sites.

Quikr has also gone one step ahead to safeguard the users and also offer them a great tool for decision making. They have tied with Carnation Auto. They will offer car inspection Report that will help a customer on Quikr make the right decision. This is a huge help when it comes to buying and selling cars. If you have a credible report from a reputed agency then it takes away the uncertainty that buying second hand cars normally involves.

Hence, I can be rest assured when I search second-hand cars on Quikr that I will get the best value for my money. At the prices at which one gets excellent quality, almost ununsed second hard cars, I am tilting towards upgrading my car on Quikr.

Sweet bedtime memories

Sweet bedtime memories

Whenever I think back of the baby days of my kids, I go all gooey and awww. Those were the most precious days when my little bundles of joy were tiny. Both my sons were very different babies and toddlers. The elder son had a colic issue when he was born. That meant many sleepless nights for us. My husband and I were first time parents and had no help at home. Not only did we share the joys, laughter and tears together but learned to live through the failures learned a lot in the bargain. The little one would keep us awake for almost 3 hours every night till he turned 2 -3 months old. I used to call it a daily matinee show. I was a sleep-deprived and jittery mom. The things I did to make him get a good night’s sleep bring back some fond memories. It started with a nice, warm bath in the tub after a fun massage by mommy. I used to love singing to him. I sang lullabies and old Hindi film ditties. Yes, he did go to sleep listening to the soothing tones. I remember I used to talk quite a bit with him. Though he couldn’t speak yet, he would listen ardently. Then after feeding him and putting on a diaper, I would put him in bed. In those days, he would sleep in our bed, sandwiched between the husband and I.

That way, I could reach him as soon as he cried. I had a comforting rocking chair in the room that I used to sit and nurse him on. Sometimes, that would help to put him back to sleep as soon as he woke up and cried. At other times, we would take him for car rides to lull him to sleep. Normally, he did not need a diaper change unless he had soiled one. Mostly, the diapers stayed dry and could soak in all the pee during the night. This helped a lot when he got older, and I could go through an entire night without changing a diaper.

The younger one had pretty much a similar routine at night. He used to have the problem of acid reflux and that meant that initially he had to put to bed after ensuring that his back was raised. Sometimes, he would just sleep off in his rocker which was in a slightly elevated position.

Later the night time routine changed when both of us began taking turns reading to the kids before they were tucked in. Their night baths continued. That helped with them falling asleep immediately. When I started potty training them, I started removing the diaper during the day. But, at night the diaper continued. The diapers were a huge help during outings. I tell you, they are the best inventions for parents. So many of us are thankful to them for helping both us and our precious babies get their much-needed sleep at night.

Ah, the delightful memories. Sometimes, I wish they were tiny again minus the toil, of course. 🙂

Love Me Do!

Love Me Do!

#SoundOfLove
Pic courtesy: www.cute-lovequotes.com

Love is that emotion, which makes the world go round. Love truly catches your breath at the most unexpected of times. When his hand brushes against yours accidentally or when he smiles and looks into your eyes, you are swept with an unbelievable rush of wellbeing.

When in love, you feel on top of the world, ready to conquer it.

This incident happened many years back when we were newlyweds. It was our first Valentine’s Day, and we were in the US back then. My husband has always loved my cooking. I decided to delight him by making his favorite chicken biryani. I had also bought some exquisite liqueur truffles that I had seen him have gastronomic orgasms with. As a surprise, I had bought him a tiny heart-shaped gold locket with my picture. I knew it was cheesy, but you love doing these things for the one you love the most. So, I carefully stashed one in a truffle. He had promised to be back a bit early from work. I waited for him surrounded with the heady aroma of saffron infused Hyderabadi biryani that I had spent the better part of the day making. The truffles sat on the table in a beautiful heart-shaped box. I had butterflies in my stomach anticipating his reaction. I ran to the door when the bell rang.

There he was with a huge bunch of red carnations in his arms and a large smile on his face. He pecked me on the cheek and then I saw him. His old college friend, Chandra, was standing next to him beaming at me. I gave him a big smile. I had heard a lot about him but was meeting him for the first time. My husband moved inside bringing Chandra in. He nodded approvingly at the inviting aroma and then saw the box of truffles. Before I could say a word, he opened it and put one in his mouth, offering the same to his friend. I was in a state of panic. My surprise was in there. I did not want it going inside someone’s tummy. The Sound Of Love that I had imagined coming from his mouth after seeing the gift was turning into a choking sound in my mind. What a horror! I immediately took the truffles out of his hand much to his astonishment. No way out of the sticky situation, I carefully removed the truffle with the locket and handed it to him. With a puzzled look, he took it from me. I asked him to bite it gently. Then, he felt something hard in the soft gooey filling. The expression on his face was priceless on seeing the gift.

He gave me a bear hug. He immediately wore it in his chain. His friend was quite amused. Later the 3 of us enjoyed a lovely dinner of biryani and wine. That was a spectacular night as I heard the two old friends swap funny tales of college, as I lovingly looked at my husband who was wearing my token of love close to his heart.

When Cupid strikes hard

When Cupid strikes hard

Cupid games

That huge rush of being crazily in love. It is an aphrodisiac unmatched by any other. It is a true blessing to be in love. It makes two very different people find their perfect symphony. It is also fraught with its own dangers. Does he love me back? With the same intensity? What if he does not reciprocate? I have always felt that staying friends later is overrated if the love affair fizzles out. Once you have shared a physical and emotional connect with someone, it is very difficult for those feelings to completely go away.

Anyhow, so women almost always want to be wooed, treated like princesses and like to feel cherished by the men in their lives. Most often than not, proposing is left to a man. And, I wonder why so? I mean seriously. This is the 21st century. We talk of women being equal to men in all respects so then why should they stick around minding their feelings and waiting for the man to pop the question. It is just so uncool. Personally, I love women taking the initiative. One, the surprise factor is beautiful. Two, it is a very beautiful feeling to be fussed over, and why must we deny our men that.

In order to propose to the guy I love, the surprise element would be the most important ingredient in my setting. Nothing matches the joy of being surprised and touched. Do it when it is least expected with less fanfare and more warmth. I would also not prefer to do it with flowers and chocolates. God knows, men just don’t dig those things as much as women do. They also get awfully wary of very formal settings.

I think I would love to do it in a casual manner while out on a vacation or a trip when the two of us are alone with trees and mountains for company. As the both of us enjoy traveling so much, a casual hike up the mountain would be a great setting. While we will slowly soak in the natural beauty of the lush green trees, the music of the birds and the narrow unending roads that curve to eternity. While both of us are sweating it out walking the steep pathways, I want the surprise to floor him.

The boldness will reflect in my attitude. I think I would enjoy using the tapori style. “What say, bhidu? Apun ke saath shaadi karega kya? Life ban jayegi teri!” And then in true filmy style, I would fish out a gawdy ring, that would give Munna from Rangeela a run for his money. I am imagining the amusement that would show on his face, as he would burst out laughing. And then, I would hand him a letter that would be handwritten, of course. In true writer style, the letter will enlist “10 reasons why he cannot live without me.” I always knew that my writing skills would come to my rescue in the sticky situations of life. And, to round up the proceedings, I would whip out a sinful chocolate cake that the Resort would have thoughtfully packed for us along with some other yummy treats. Yep, he adores his food.

So, I am all set this Valentine’s Day to floor the love of my life. How about you?

Get some great ideas for this Valentine’s Day at http://cupidgames.closeup.in/

Image courtesy: http://vagendamagazine.com

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