We Need To Talk To Our Sons Too…PERIOD !!!

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I grew up in a joint family. We are three sisters and I am the middle one. I do remember in Grade seven, having a session in our all-girls school where a video was played explaining what menstruation is all about. Learning about periods is a difficult subject for children at that age. I think all females will agree that you do not really understand what it means unless you have your first period.

Next year we shifted residence and I moved to a Co-Educational School. It was a year of adjustment for me. One day a girl had her first period in the school and stained her uniform. While she was embarrassed to the core, the boys were all giggles. To be honest, I was scared and prayed this should never happen to me. Thankfully for me, I was at home when I got it for the first time and had my elder sister around to comfort me emotionally as my mother did not have any friendly conversation with me regarding this topic.

I also remember once my paternal aunt and her kids had come to stay with us during summer vacations. Her son is one year younger to me. He saw me going to the restroom with a sanitary pad wrapped in newspaper and said: “I know what it is, my mother keeps it at home and I have seen the ad in Television too”. I felt like a culprit caught red-handed and did not know what to say.

I just wish how in both the situations the behaviour of the opposite gender could have been different and better.

I am now a mother to two boys in their tweens and do try to raise them without any gender bias. I try to be mindful while assigning the household chores to my boys. They do support me as much any girl in the traditional household were expected to do. They know it is okay to cry when not feeling alright and being a boy does not change that. The rules are quite clear in our home. These things may seem small but go a long way in having kids who grow up without any gender biases or stereotypes.

Should we talk to boys about periods?

Half the population has periods, so why not make sure the half that doesn’t is also adequately informed. Times have changed now and so has the parenting style. Parents are now more open and friendly while having conversation with their children. I feel my elder son would be ready in a couple of months to hear about menstruation from his parents, and we would want to be honest with him. As it could be an awkward topic to discuss I would want to be prepared ahead of time for that. My idea of wanting to explain it to my kids would be to ensure that they grow up to be allies and empathisers.

Conversation about this topic at home would help children create healthier relationships with their female counterparts. Until we change attitudes, the conversation surrounding menstruation will continue to be hush-hush.

Understanding menstruation can help boys be more compassionate brothers, sons, boyfriends, and fathers or to simply put it- better human beings. There are changes in the female body during periods beyond cramps and the opposite sex can be made sensitive to that.

The more boys understand the experience the opposite sex goes through during menstruation, the more we can help erase the stigma, shame or even teasing that has been associated with periods.

This blog has also been published on:

https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2020/05/we-need-to-talk-to-our-sons-too-period/

https://www.periodhub.com/2020/05/15/we-need-to-talk-to-our-sons-too-period/

https://www.momspresso.com/parenting/a-memory-here-an-emotion-there/article/we-need-to-talk-to-our-sons-tooperiod-81k4wi9qbpdj

Stop Complaining To Start Living… !!!

“The more we complain the more unhappy we get.”

                                                                                        Dennis Prager

Ever imagined how different would our lives be if we stopped complaining.

Complaining is the expression of dissatisfaction or annoyance about something. It can be for a valid reason or simply out of habit.

Complaining out of habit can be harmful to us as it involves constant ranting about how unfair life has been to us. A person complaining out of habit thinks everyone around takes an undue advantage of them and can always blame someone or something for their situation. Habitual complaining can have a negative impact on our lives. It is not good for our physical and mental health.

A person used to habitual complaining tries to gain sympathy by always talking about how bad the world is. It can become a self-defense tool for him as we humans always find it difficult to admit our own faults.

We all know old habits die hard but with persistence and by following some simple techniques we can try to stop complaining and start living a meaningful life :

  • Having Gratitude-If we inculcate the simple habit of being thankful for the smallest things in our life we surely will have improved health, relationship and emotions. Keeping a simple gratitude journal does wonders for us. We realise how grateful we should be for things once we start writing them down. In the process, we will automatically stop complaining over time.
  • Surround Yourself Wisely– Who you spend time with the most is who you will become. Surround yourself with people who will lift you higher. Friends and peer group are a great reflection of us-so we must choose them wisely. If you want to complain less surround yourself with positive people as they help you see the goodness all around.
  • Acceptance– People and situations go hand in hand, people are responsible for creating situations. Accepting people and situations they are in helps us to complain less. When we accept someone who is different from us, we offer them their space and comfort. This creates a favorable situation for us as well as we no longer feel like complaining about the person in the process.
  • Focus on the Solution-If you are not part of the solution you are the problem. When we complain our focus and attention is on the problem. Instead, if our focus and energy is on the solution, we  will not have any time to complaint.
  • Exercise- Being active has many benefits both mentally and physically. Exercise increases the production of endorphins which helps produce positive feelings and reduce perception of pain thus making us complaint less.
  • Being Mindful-This in simple words means being aware of/in touch with our own thoughts, feelings and emotions. Mindfulness can help relieve stress and increase our awareness and focus. When we are mindful things which would have otherwise made us complaint, don’t bother us much.
  • Be Happy- Being happy gives us a sense of joy, well-being, contentment and gratitude. Also when we are happy our focus shifts from negative to positive things in life hence reducing our tendency to complain.

So let’s try to live the beautiful gift of life, that God has given us, to the fullest ….. !!!

This blog was first published on https://www.momspresso.com/parenting/a-memory-here-an-emotion-there/article/stop-complaining-to-start-living

Quote…

As I woke up this morning and my kids wished me a Happy Mother’s Day, my eyes caught this soft toy from IKEA Group that my younger one had picked up before the lock-down. A quick pic and I penned this. Thought of sharing here 🙂 And this one is a winning quote on hashtag#momspresso too. hashtag#mothersdayhashtag#mothersday2020hashtag#momlifehashtag#motherhoodhashtag#quoteshashtag#winningquote

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Arise from the Dust…!!!

There may be days when nothing seems to be fine

Hold yourself up-strong and give things a little time

The future is not for us to see

And it’s true whatever will be will be

Fear of Death is worse than the death itself

Arise from the Dust, keep reminding yourself

                                                                                    -Gunjan Kapoor

In Ancient Greek folklore, a phoenix is a mythical bird that cyclically regenerates or is otherwise born again. The history is full of examples-be it the British Rule in India, World War II or Hiroshima in Japan, to exemplify that the human spirit has always overcome all the perils to arise from the dust.

The “Thousand Year Reich” and downfall of Hitler


Take the case of Adolf Hitler, who was obsessed with his race and the idea of ethnic “purity”. Hitler saw a natural order that placed the so-called “Aryan race” at the top. With this belief, his Nazi party executed Jews in concentration-camps. It is said that more than 6 million Jews were killed in German-occupied Europe by the end of World War II.

In the end, Hitler’s planned “Thousand-Year Reich” (Reich is German for “Empire) lasted just over 12 years as he allegedly committed suicide in a bunker. After the defeat of Nazi, Germany in World War II, Germany was divided between the two global blocs in the East and West, a period known as the division of Germany which ended with bringing down of the Berlin Wall and unification of West & East Germany.

From this oppression and dark past to today, a lot has changed in Germany. Low levels of discrimination, high levels of innovation, excellent human and capital infrastructure, excellent work opportunities and excellent work/life balance with a strong woman leader (Chancellor) like Angela Merkel at top, Germany has become a great place to live in.

“Little Boy” of Hiroshima

“Little Boy” was the codename for the type of atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 during World War II by the US bomber Enola Gay. It was the first atomic bomb ever used in military combat. The allied forces dropped a second atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki three days later. Almost 70% of buildings in Hiroshima were demolished in the blast. Physically, it took a decade to clear the rubble and begin significant rebuilding of the new cities. Ultimately, it took just 15–20 years for viable cities to rise in both places.

Interesting part is that Hiroshima today is a city that promotes world peace. In 2017, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) won the Nobel Peace Prize. Setsuko Thurlow, a Japanese Canadian nuclear disarmament campaigner and a hibakusha (word used by Japanese for a person affected by a bomb) gave a moving acceptance speech for the audience at Nobel Prize ceremony at Oslo.

Today, Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Museum preserves artefacts and survival stories in hopes of “No more Hiroshimas”. In Hiroshima, every year on August 6, church bells ring at 8:15 am, the exact moment the bomb was dropped. That begins a day of remembrance ceremonies that culminates in the hauntingly beautiful Toro Nagashi festival, where hundreds of lanterns are floated down the Motoyasu River, in front of the famous Atomic Bomb Dome (a world heritage site inside the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park).

Taming of the “The Empire on which the sun never sets” in India

Almost everyone in India knows this by heart — the British ruled India for 200 years. We can, with better accuracy, say that the British took nearly 100 years to conquer India and then ruled India for 100 years.

The upshot of the empire, as Dr. Shashi Tharoor puts it, was that “What had once been one of the richest and most industrialized economies of the world, which together with China accounted for almost 75% of world industrial output in 1750, had been reduced by the depredations of imperial rule to one of the poorest, most backward, illiterate and diseased societies on Earth by the time of independence in 1947.”

The British systematically purged India’s riches destroyed its institutions and created divisions among its peoples. But the country emerged out of this and in just 70 years of independence started being a force to reckon with globally again. If you really think, there was a silver lining of this British rule – there wouldn’t have been a political union called India! In the post-independence era, India has emerged as the largest democracy in the world with its own constitution, a great governance system and has made huge strides and progress in multiple fields with significant impact to local and global economies.

The virus that made the entire world disconnect with each other, yet together in pain

While the Pandemic is spreading like wild-fire globally, looking from the recent examples few countries have started to get a glimpse of life on the brighter side in hopefully post-coronavirus (Covid-19) scenario.

Worldwide hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by the virus, but the daily number of new infections has dropped in some of the most impacted countries like Italy, Spain and China (where it first started). We do see a silver lining, which I sincerely hope will last for all, giving other countries a hope of what might it look like once the worst of the epidemic is over.

Physical distancing is the only way to combat coronavirus. As India also faces this global pandemic and is in a lock-down, our honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji has asked all Indians to observe resolve and resilience during this crisis. I sincerely hope that entire humankind comes out of this crisis soon, as a more empathetic, caring, connected and respectful beings.

There is a beautiful Sanskrit shloka which I wish to share below:

उध्रेदत्मनात्मानं नात्मनवसदयेत आत्मैव हयत्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मनः

(Udhredtmanatmanam natmanavasadayat atmaiv hayatmno bandhurthmaiv repuratmanah)

Which means “Elevate yourself through the power of your mind, and not degrade yourself, for the mind can be the friend and also the enemy of the self.”

This powerful shloka, and the important message it conveys, can be applied to any situation.

Power of mind is one of the strongest and most useful powers we possess. This power consists of our thoughts. While nobody chooses negative circumstances, our will power and how we respond to them is certainly in our hands. We can choose to be destructive or constructive, elevate or descend, rise or fall, create or destroy, be a source of light or spread darkness. The power of human mind is limitless, it’s up to us to realise our full potential in a positive way.

Let us all endeavor to rise and shine and arise from the dust. Remember this too shall pass…!!!

All Will Be Well In The End…!!!

Me and my friend were chatting one afternoon. She is a qualified professional, married and expecting her first child soon. As much as she was excited to welcome the new member to the family I could see her anxiety as to how she would manage her job and kid post-delivery. Though I tried to comfort her stating things will fall in place and at this stage her health should be the priority  I could resonate with her feelings as I have gone through that stage myself.

Life changes for a woman after she becomes a mother and it changes manifold after the second child. How much thought through the decision to take a career break may seem the mind never seems to be prepared. Be it seeking advice from women having kids, taking a count of percentage of working mothers in my neighborhood (and the percentage of those working with two kids), I have done it all. Whatever decision a mother takes -to continue working or take a career break-is always a stressful one. Career breaks can be a tricky thing to negotiate, especially for women who find themselves torn between their job and taking care of a child. Besides, it can make things overwhelming for the new mother.

The stress post-delivery can take a toll on the new mom’s mental and physical health. Here a few things that can be done to help minimize it  :

  • Take out time for yourself-Me time is very important. Try to keep one hour a day for yourself by indulging in something that interests you. It could be walking, going to the gym, watching a movie etc.
  • Try to get as much sleep as possible as sleep deprivation can make everything seem worse.
  • Do not hesitate to ask for help or accept help when being offered. These days especially because of the nuclear family set-up child care can be really strenuous especially for the new parents.
  • Make friends with mothers having kids of the same age group. This can be a big support group as it helps you share and also bond with other moms.

If you have decided to take a career break please do consider the following things:

  • Always assure yourself that the break does not mean a decline in skills.
  • Do not compare yourself with others-you don’t know what their situation and journey is all about.
  • Don’t let the confidence go down and stay motivated and focused on getting back to work whenever the situation permits.
  • Be ready to take on a few challenges when you return to work-could be starting at a level you had left while others have moved up the ladder in your absence.
  • Take on a freelance or part-time work if your profession allows even if the pay does not seem worth it. It will at least help you to be engaged in something.
  • Keep in touch with old colleagues and employers. Networking can increase your chances of getting selected.
  • Keep telling yourself that the situation will not remain the same and improve one day.

How much ever testing the situation may appear always be positive and remember if it’s not well it’s not the end… 🙂

This blog was first published on https://www.momspresso.com/parenting/a-memory-here-an-emotion-there/article/all-will-be-well-in-the-end

The Magical Bond…

I had a magical connection with my elder son
Something I felt was super-duper fun

So, when I conceived for the second time
I thought, to create the same bond, I will have to work overtime

He came into this world and I didn’t feel the same
And thought I am to be blamed

But slowly my heart became bigger
To shower my love on both the kids forever

So, my younger one “Anmol”

You may not be my first born but the last child I will have
And I love you to the moon and back… !!!

Breaking Each Other’s Barrier…!!!

“Just hold your breath for few seconds and don’t worry, Mamma is here, if anything happens, I will immediately jump and help you” Ria told her son. “But you don’t know how to swim” Ansh said. Being an aqua phobic herself, it was heart breaking to see her son, struggling like her.
One day Ria just decided to get into the pool with Ansh.
With a leap of faith, she took the first step. Ansh was floating, so was Ria !!!
In an attempt to break my child’s barrier, I actually overcame my own fears, she cried and thought !!!

Abhi Dilli Thodi Door Hai…

I have been born and brought up in Delhi and have been happily staying in Hyderabad with my family for the past 15 years since I got married. I had in one of my earliest blogs (link-https://www.momspresso.com/parenting/a-memory-here-an-emotion-there/article/we-never-really-leave-home) mentioned about my yearly trips to Delhi during the summer vacations.

More than me now, it’s our kids who really look forward to almost one full month of pampering, no sticking to the routine and unlimited masti with cousins during the summer break.

Due to the current national lockdown, we will not be travelling to Delhi this year. I am sure, there are many like us who are in the same boat. Forget Delhi, we have actually not stepped out of our apartment for almost a month now. I was talking to my mother this morning who was feeling emotional about not being able to see the kids this summer. She was also hopeful and said “Don’t cancel your return tickets now. If situation improves come at least for a week in May”. I told her in a jovial way “Aap apne ghar ka bartan jhaddo pocha karo, humein apne ghar ka karne do 🙂 ” (You do your household chores and let us do ours here 🙂

While there was an initial adjustment phase for the entire family with no outside support in the form of maids, cook, pressure of work from home etc., looking at the positive side, this has truly made each one of us responsible in more ways  than one :

  • We have become more mindful of our actions and their impact on everything around us. For instance, we now cook exactly how much we will be able to consume so that there is no wastage. We realise that there are people around us who are struggling to get even two meals per day on their plate.
  • We are learning to manage with what is available. Thankfully there is a supermarket in our gated community and we have learnt to be happy with the choices available to us.
  • We celebrated the nine days of Chaitra Navratri in March. Unlike every year, there were no flowers to offer to the Goddess, no neighbourhood girls for Kanjak on Ashtmi Day. We just focused on Pooja this year. Even minimalism can be satisfying, if we want.
  • When the lockdown was announced, I wanted to check on a couple of friends whom I have not been in touch for a long time. Even some relations where there was a reluctance on either side, I just wanted to call them and make sure they were doing fine. This feeling itself was a good sign for me to make a fresh start. And trust me they all reciprocated with the same warmth and affection. Relationships are taking precedence over ego.
  • My Nanaji (maternal Grandfather)is 95 year old and stays alone after my Naniji’s demise. Old age makes you rigid and stubborn too. He gets restless if he is not at his home for more than an hour and refused to refused to stay with my parents, even for a few days. So, my Mom was going every day with his food since his cook has not been coming because of lock-down. A lady in his neighbourhood noticed this and spoke to my mother. Since then, she has been sending him one meal (she actually volunteered for both meals) so that my Mom could go just once. We are highly indebted to her. This made our belief firm that humanity is still alive.
  • We (myself in particular) really don’t need so many clothes in our closet. We are just managing with few set of clothes. Though for the last couple of months itself I had consciously stopped impulsive buying, I surely am going to be more sensitive in the future. Mindful consumption is the key.
  • Families are moving to the new paradigm where people are getting more time with family, learning new things, reinventing old passions, spending more time with kids, going back to board games, enjoying food as all eat together on table, watching reruns of old DD National programs (Ramayan is the current favourite with my kids) .

It’s been 21 days since lock-down and this thought crossed my mind few days back….kids have been most supportive, patient, acting beyond their age and intellect (actually beyond my imagination). They have not stepped out for almost a month now. Not only do they help by doing age appropriate tasks, but also till date we have not heard any negative thoughts or expression of anxiety from them. Something we adults need to learn from kids. My elder one, 11 year old, is fully conversant with the situation. In fact, he reads the e-paper in the morning and is up to speed with the global situation.

Waiting and patience are both virtues which nature has compelled us to practice now. Being restless will only make us miserable and frustrated. May be this entire Corona episode was a much needed pause for the humanity to stop running, to stop chasing. And to think of it what were we running away from and what were we chasing?  Sometimes I feel sorry about this entire situation…. what are we leaving for the next generation ? Hope some lessons are learnt soon…Maana Dilli abhi thodi door hai but we hope to be there soon !!!

The Change I seek WITHIN…a reminiscence of the year gone by…!!!

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“ Teaching is more than Imparting Knowledge, it is Inspiring Change ”

– William Arthur Ward

I had volunteered for the Teach for Change initiative for the last year and had written two blogs on Momspresso and Womensweb. Links attached:

https://www.momspresso.com/parenting/a-memory-here-an-emotion-there/article/the-change-i-seek-within-part-1

https://www.momspresso.com/parenting/a-memory-here-an-emotion-there/article/the-change-i-seek-withinpart-2

Today I had this sudden urge to write the concluding part about the year gone by at the school.

As I was reflecting on my experiences since I started this journey last year, I do want to share a couple of things through this blog:

  • There were many occasions I came back from the school teary eyed. Well almost every single time. The love showered by kids made me overwhelmed and valued.
  • I had gone to the school on 14th August 2019 and asked the kids about what they knew about Independence Day. During our discussion they shared they had to come to the school on 15th August. “We will be scolded if we don’t come, one kid said with innocence”. The irony of the situation made me feel helpless.
  • There were few late new admissions in the class. Many super intelligent kids (especially girls) had joined the class. Lakshmi Prasanna- there is no way I can skip mentioning your name. You make me so proud as your teacher. Since she had joined the school late, she could not get the exercise book distributed by TFC as the books were over. She literally pestered me to the point that the very thought of going to the school to me would mean explaining her the reason for delay in issuing the book. This girl was so keen on learning and actually made me religiously follow up with the administration team to expedite the issuance. I really liked her attitude and sincerely pray that some good opportunities come her way in the future.
  • 4th September 2019 the kids had study desks. One of the Corporates had sponsored the desks as part of their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibly) initiative. They could not contain their excitement the moment I reached the class. I also felt a sudden spurt of joy inside me. That day I considered myself eligible to sit on the chair kept for teaching staff.
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The entire process and associated experience made me a better person in terms of appreciating smaller joys of life.

I have more patience now to deal with any situation specially while dealing with my own kids as I can empathize with them better.

Technically speaking I did manage to complete the syllabus and had just one last visit pending in which I was supposed to conduct the exam for the students. This is still pending because of the lock-down, due to Coronavirus and I kind of feel incomplete because of this.

 Through this blog if I can inspire anyone to be part of any teaching initiative, I will feel my efforts of penning it down have been fruitful. And trust me you will come back richer …!!!

The Mask…!!!

Our real self is hidden deep down inside

Layers of mask we put to maintain our pride

Some to please our friends and family

Some to hide our pain and agony

Some we wear longing for acceptance

Some to show, others our rock-solid endurance

Only the close ones know our real self, hidden deep inside

During our difficult times we must keep them by our side…!!!

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