Saturday, February 28, 2015

My experience with Quikr

The year 2010 – My husband got a very rare opportunity of working  at a nuclear automation site in the US. It was a challenging role and my husband who loves challenges was keen to take it up but he had to think of the growing children. After lot of deliberations, we decided we will give it a shot, after all we had to take risks in life and after some calculated risk taking debates, the husband moved first. I and the kids were here waiting for the term to get over.

 In the meantime, I had decided to dispose of all the gadgets and furnishings. A few like our antique dining table and other customized furniture we had decided to lock them up in our 3rd bed room.  I had decided to advertise the remaining on quikr but word spread around in my condominium through my maid and the service providing community picked up our folding space saver sofa, spare TV etc, the remaining gadgets like the Fridge, washing machine, double cot were booked by some of our maids. I had told them I would use them till I am here and then they could take after I leave. Even my premium well-ventilated and well lit  flat was booked for rent by one of our co-residents. All things were either sold or" booked to be sold" except our car – Honda city. I had advertised this on quikr site and within 4 days, the car was sold for our price…no negotiations. An insurance company guy from whom the buyer had availed loan checked the vehicle and it was smoothly transacted.

On the other side, For 6 months parallely, we were doing the research on the study patterns of US curriculum and Indian curriculum and we found our children could easily pick up the core subjects, Infact Indian curriculum is much ahead …..the only area where they might find difficult was breaking the group and they had a wide array of subjects to choose from like RJ, VJ, applied arts, soccer etc. We were also told the children would have formed groups in high school and it would be difficult to break into the group and high school in the US is from 9-12 wherein my daughter who was already doing her 9th standard  would be missing a  high school year if she were to be admitted in a school there.

We decided it would be challenging situation, but we trusted  and thought we would support our children to do well and we were also happy that they would get international exposure. When the admission procedure started, the Philly school refused to accept my daughter for grade 10, they said she was underage for grade 10 by US (East coast) standards and my daughter clearly refused to redo 9th grade in the US. She wanted to stay back here alone in hostel or with grandparents and study if need be. We too realized it wasn’t worth moving the family and wasting a year of the child and so we stay put here while the husband stayed for a year more there till he sought permission to do remote engineering from here.

Back here, thankfully some of my furnishings only had been sold, the rest were only booked, so I held back the sale. My car which was advertised on Quikr was  sold in 4 days time. Now, I had to buy a car for my family needs, I decided to go for  a second hand one since my husband would not be here to use it.  And, where do you think I turned to for help? Quikr, of course:)  I advertised on quikr and parallely browsed in the “cars for sale” section the same moment. I narrowed down on a silver Honda city which was to be sold because the owner was migrating to Australia.  After some checks, we found the car was accident free and only had some challans for negligent driving. This was taken care by the seller and so the car changed hands smoothly without any hassles.

Even today, Quikr, is my first 'go to site' not only for buying cars, even for houses,gadgets, books to buy/sell/rent etc . Today, if i were to change my car, i would do with Quikr NXT, this way I  choose to keep my number private and avoid random calls.

Friday, February 27, 2015

My morning raaga

I had never seen the rising sun till a few years back. Having grown up in Bangalore I was allergic to the early morning mist and would end up in wheezing attacks, So my parents would never insist I wake up early. Even during my college days, when I had to be present in my college 12 kms away at 8'0 clock, i would miss the first few minutes since I never woke up early. Marriage did'nt change me much either during the initial years.

 What changed me was the book " Who will cry when you die?" by Robin Sharma some 7 years back. I initially bought this book for my husband's nephew on his birthday but did'nt gift him due to the title. I realized later the title did'nt suit to be gifted to a birthday boy. Instead, me a RS fan started flipping the pages and with every page turn, I must say the book was an eye opener and altered my life completely. Even today, it is my "Go to book" when i feel low. Not that I absorbed and followed everything from that book but one sure thing i did was, I changed from a late riser to an early bird. 

Work or no work , I am up like a lark at 5.15 with the help of a few snooze buttons......even the snooze buttons are to alert me to pray to god, meditate and take deep breaths from my bed. Thankfully all these yogic breathing exercises has kept me away from wheezing problems. That apart, it is such a pleasure to connect with the world during those early morning hours.

“There's a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they're absolutely free. Don't miss so many of them.”
Jo Walton

I could'nt agree more with Jo Walton especially I am partial to Sunrise. During the early dark hours, I am still at home taking deep breaths consciously and going about my basic cooking of putting the cooker on the stove( takes time to cook rice,Isn't it?) and boiling milk etc. Switching off the cooker coincides more or less with the sun rise at 6 and  I am in the front balcony which faces the historic gunrock and it is such a visual delight to see the rising sun and the natural colors of God's palette splashed in the back ground. To complement this would be the twittering birds which flies all around in beautiful V formation or some fly haphardly making such delightful sights. Drinking in these views along with my cup of elixir is such a prayerful feeling. When time permits, i.e  mostly on weekends we would drop my son at the football grounds and would go for walk in the nearby huge lungspace wooded cantonment area and would be greeted with the cries of peacocks.

But all these changed with time.....that is till i took to gardening. I still wake up early, only now it is not the front balcony that frames the sunrise that is my morning raaga. Like many things that change with time, my morning raaga too has changed. Now, seated on a jute moda, drinking tea and catching a  glimpse of my jugaad ( read vegetable garden)  is my morning bhoopalam. It is such a pleasure to feel the green leaves, the new shoots, the touch of the lively soil made soulful   with the compost that I have created from waste. And when all this takes the shape of the beautiful harvest in my upcycled containers, it is a great feeling,very therapeutic and almost alien, the moistness of the compost, the smoothness and color of your harvest is so real. It is this morning sun rays that subtly shifts my work and efforts to create something so beautiful, It is an amazing thing to experience. Pure magic. This is when i believe in the adage-

   One is nearer God's heart in a garden,than anywhere else on earth- Dorothy gurney 

 My front balcony frames this sight in the morning....the small hill you see is the historic gunrock where Britishers( and later the Nizams)  stored their guns and gun powder.
                                                        And that is a glimpse of my jugaad - my carrot saplings takingoff in hide'n'seek biscuit containers, thai basil in a paint can, raddish and methi in strepsil's containers . My yellow capsicum in a terracotta pot and coriander in a karachi bakery cardboard box. Not in picture are my chillies growing in atta bags:) More terracotta pots  in my sunlight starved porch.

        That's the view from my drawing room sofa, another place from where i catch glimpses of my jugaad.

This pretty raddish flower greeted me Happy morning today:)

Below are some humble harvests from my jugaad

                                                             Coriander and methi

                                          My harvest sometimes makes me an inventive cook, added the above lettuce to the bhelpuri and the mint and chilli went into the hot-sweet-sour homemade bhelpuri chutney  (only the lettuce, chilli  and mint are my harvest). There are days when i use my thai basil to make pasta sauce. Tastes delish...

                        I have to narrate that green paprika tale in a post, the tale has its origin in  my Grandma's kitchen

and this beautiful red green orange beauties on some days steal my heart

The green journey and the raaga is on..i will share more for happiness shared is joy doubled:)

*Morning Raaga is one of my favorite movie too starring Shabana azmi, prakash  rao and Perizaad

Monday, February 16, 2015

Reflecting on his school graduation day

It was his graduation day (farewell ) at school (Feb 14) and he was to be dressed in formals. In a blazer and tie he looked dapper - my son. I could’nt resist uploading his pic on my whatsapp profile and my status read “ The other man in my life” …and a few minutes from then I got whatsapp messages from friends and relatives complimenting him and a few more said they refuse to believe that he looks so grown up.

And my reply to them “Haan, patha hi nahi chalta, bacchein kab badein ho jaate hain” ( yes, don't know when the kids grow big)

Seriously, this is one sweet bitter moment in any parents life. I did’nt relate when many of my young friends were lamenting that their babies were becoming “big” and going to kindergarten. I would think the young parents were over reacting and fussing.

But now, suddenly seeing my son in a formal suit and when he said today is his last day of high school( Class X) , I turned wistful. Even going by the facebook posts of his friends parents who turn emotional with “sniff” and “awww”, Like all, I too wonder where the time has gone.

It seems like just yesterday we sought admission in Carmel School Bangalore where his elder sis was studying UKG. At two years and 4 months due to underage he was refused admission. ( 2 years and 6 months is the admission age for ICSE )

Months later when we shifted towns we thought we were lucky and saved our admission amount and we remember asking the CBSE school in Hyderabad to admit him to LKG. The Principal, a visionary and child educationist said, even two months can make a difference in the motor skills of the child and so she said, if we insisted she would take him to LKG but it would be better if he were in nursery and thus started his education in this school at 3 years.

Yesterday, seeing him in suit and boot, i suddenly recalled the firstday of his school and the rocking horse that I have related here. 13 years have gone by since then....where during every PTM he has made me only proud and the previous class teachers would say " I miss him in my class" and it is more heartening to see his teachers who have been transferred to different cities( most of them are naval officer's wives and so get transferred)  wish him on FB  even now.( He has not been a topper in class but his teachers would acknowledge his intelligence and as a parent, I am so proud he has never been to any private tuitions so far and has done well in his studies and sports. 

sports day in UKG(left) 

All of them have been instrumental in chiselling  him into a fine young man and although wistful that he is growing big, I am happy he is only growing to  build bridge towards his dream. All set for his class X boards next month( he turned 16 on jan 26th)  and he his more than ready and excited for his next school and his next stage of his life as a secondary school student.

 I am so lucky to watch my kids grow and record every meaningful day of their life….even if that means growing away from me.... but it surely is a mixed feeling.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Shattered dreams - a book review

Many a times we wonder, if age-old epics have relevance to our lives in today’s space age. Many dismiss them as myth, folk-lore and not relevant to today’s life.   Shattered dreams is a 387 book which breaks that thought and brings out gently Ramayana’s wisdom and  teaches how to handle  the various downturns  and pitfalls of our lives positively.

Ramayana – The game of life, Shattered dreams is second  in a series of book from Shubha vilas , the first being Ramayana –the game of life  titled Rise of the Sun prince ( my review here) . 

This book deals with the attempt of Dasharatha to bequeath his throne to his son Crown prince  Rama and so preparations are on for the Coronation.  How the coronation gets thwarted through   the story of kaikeyi’s boons , the banishment of Rama into exile,  the steadfastness of Rama in the face of his people’s shattered dreams, the beautiful  12 year old husband-wife  relationship dynamics of Rama and sita, the misunderstood Bharata  who goes to Chitrakoot to convince his brother Rama to rule form the narration of the book which itself is retold from Valmiki’s Ramayana, Kamba Ramayana, Ramcharit Manas and with folk tales thrown in from Lokapramana.

While I have read many books on Ramayana and have even watched the TV series, what made the read interesting was the unknown details of the great anti-hero Ravana.  The first few pages deals with the  birth of Ravana , his acquiring the pushpaka vimana and his international conquests.  Then it was  heart tugging to read the  love  of a royal father, Dasharatha when he is snatched the coronation rights and is forced to send his loving prince to exile. 

In between, I found certain chapters very preachy and too philosophical but the book turned dramatic with the meeting of Bharata and Lord Rama at Chitrakoot.  Rama offers his footwear to adorn the imperial throne and gifts him a set of five management mantras which form the base of vision based leadership leading to Rama Rajya.

The book finally ends with the exiled trio of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana moving ahead of chitrakoot down south towards Dandakaranya  with a visit to Sage  Atri’s hermitage.

There are interesting little folk tales embedded which makes it a fascinating read and also there are footnotes on each page which correlates the Ramayana situation on that page to our modern life.  While these footnotes help you to reflect and ponder at the same time, it  breaks the continuity of the story.  Some of the footnotes were  simple yet  profound like

 “when you focus on things that you have gained, you become grateful, when you focus on things that you have lost, you become hateful.”

Overall, a very interesting book that connects the human struggles and  power strategies of the world’s revered epic to modern day struggles.
Written in simple English, it may be a worthy read for people who love reading self-help motivational books and mythology.

 About the Author

Shubha Vilas, a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker, holds a degree in engineering and law with specialization in Patent Law. His leadership seminars are popular with top-level management in corporate houses. He also helps individuals deal with modern-life situations by applying the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana and other dharmic traditions.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

My wish list

Progress in science and technology is conquering nature  and who else, but we humans are responsible for vanquishing nature by misusing and  overpowering it with our wasteful and materialstic lifestyle . We can’t do much about the damage that we have already done but we can control the damages by changing our lifestyle to a sustainable  one by backtracking from consumerism and materialism. One of the benefits of such lifestyle apart from reviving nature is,  it improves our quality of life and well being, after all isn’t that why we all rush daily to earn money,  to live a quality life. We can do this  by leading a healthy life just the way our ancestors lived harmoniously with nature.

It is on my wishlist that….

1)   I live in a place with natural surroundings  and practice organic sustainable farming using absolutely no chemicals and live harmoniously with nature and impress my surroundings to practice such farming. 

2)  With the surplus organic produce, I would like to start a small eatery which promotes and  serves healthy locavore food and just like pizzas, burgers, coke and cola  invading every little corner of india, I would promote healthy foods like   Idli, dosa, paratha, herbal juices  and other millet based Indian foods open their kiosks all around the world. 

3)    Also, I wish to open a holistic learning center for children especially where there is no structured syllabi , competition, exams  and the children learn through exploring and gain knowledge just like this favorite and my oft quoted  poem of William Martin.

“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”

William Martin

With my present  commitments it is not possible for me to do all the above three now in fullfledged manner ( I am practicing at a small level though) , but it is on my wishlist and have putoff for future, but given a chance would definitely do right now.

This post is a part of the #SecondChance activity at BlogAdda in association with MaxLife Insurance”.