Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Progressive India, #DigitalIndia.

Technology has reached new milestones. Worldwide, and in India. You can today see a PC in every house, a smartphone and internet connection in every hand. Why not use these facilities and amenities for our country's progress? This blog is about my opinions on how e-governance through technology can accelerate the vision of a #DigitalIndia.

Definition of e-Governance:

A few current examples of e-governance practices are - online tax payment, online railway ticket booking, internet banking, ATVM machines for local trains, online passport application, online electricity bill payment, online pan card and passport application etc. These features and facilities have helped millions save time and energy that goes in doing the same otherwise.

What are the other things that can be done?

1. Education -

Hall tickets, Date of board examinations, Finding exam center, Roll Number, Results and so on. These things consume a lot of time and energy on a student's part. Going to college again and again instead of using that time to study. Specially if a lot of travel is involved. Maybe a mobile site or app should be designed to give all these details.

2. Online certificate procedure -

If one can register and obtain marriage certificate, birth certificate, death certificate, etc online; it is going to be a life savior. I have personally been a victim of visiting government offices many a times for one small work. If one can simply submit the required documents, pay online and get their certificate couriered, things will be so convenient. People will not get lazy in getting their documents in place then. I know for a fact that one can now change their name online.

3. WiFi & Cloud Computing-

Like Bangalore, all major cities at-least should have free wifi access in the entire city. Since everything is on the internet, it will make accessing information or using all the online facilities very easy. This can also help in transportation, for instance to know where the bus is, or if a train is late or to get live traffic updates. Using cloud computing, all data can be virtually accessible at all times.

4. Social Security number that links all information -

I know Aadhar card has been made for similar reasons, but not sure if it has been working out. Basically, if every citizen has a social security number that also has information about their insurance, blood group, licenses etc; it would make things easier.

5. For complaints and grievances -
An online portal where one can make suggestions, submit complaints against a taxi driver, officer or anyone else. For instance, to complaint against a taxi driver over-charging, if one had to simply click an image with the cab details and send it; things would be so hassle free.

I'm sure corruption would also go down with these e-governance methods. With the super fast, Intel powered tablet pcs that are available at a reasonable pricing, even government employees can probably get their work done faster and in a more convenient way.

I wish we progress and grow towards a smart, digital India soon!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

'My money book' for a happy life!

When I first heard about Exide Life's "My Money Book", I thought it was going to be a book about how to save, invest, etc. A guide of sorts or giving information etc. Little did I know that it is a diary where you can organize and record all your banking and investment related details!

So no more hunting different files and folders, emails or documents. All your important information in one confidential book, of-course, which you keep very safely! So basically it helps me stay organized, is useful when I most need it and is easy and simple! It really couldn't get any better!

It first starts with your personal information along with family's basic information, like any other diary or organizer would ask you do put it. Next you enter your Insurance Policies - Life insurance, Health Insurance, Motor Insurance and Property Insurance. It is very well thought and details - asking for all the details that I would ever need - Policy number, nominee, sum assured, maturity date, premium amount and even company's helpline number.

A record of bank account details along with locker, demat account, credit cards information comes next. This is pretty standard and basic information is asked for. I happen to have memorized all of this, but for people with a lot of accounts this would be very helpful.

Next section is Loans where you can record all information regarding your Property loans, auto loans, personal loans etc. I do not have any currently, but for future requirements it is a good section.

The following section is a very important one, called - My Investments. Here you can jot down information on your fixed deposits, mutual funds, property, PPF, pension schemes and other investments. Personally, I think this is the most helpful section in this book, as one can really tend to be very disorganized about investments. FD's are now electronically generated, we invest in different companies or banks, hence this would really help.

5 Useful Things About "My Money Book" - 

1) Time Saver -
We're always busy in our life, working 5-6 days a week, travel and other things hardly leave us any time to maintain accounts. In such a scenario, this book saves a lot of time when one wants to just glance or quickly find information about their important details.

2) Helps me organize myself -
Having all my important information at one place, in one book helps me keep myself organized. In the process of entering all the information in the book, I also managed to maintain my files and hard copies properly!

3) A better picture about my finances -
Till now things were here and there. Different accounts, different email ids and the sort. Having put everything in one book gives me a better perspective on where I am placed financially, and what should be my goals ahead. Like, till now I used to just invest in fixed deposits, but now I will look at mutual funds, PPFs and some day also property.

4) The look and feel of the book -
I love the red hard bound cover and how it is not very fat and very precise, hence making it thin. It is easy to fit in any drawer, bag, briefcase or purse. Very handy indeed.

5) Easier for my nominees-
God forbid, but if something were to happen to me someday; this book would make it so much easier for my spouse or next in kin to figure out all my valuables, loans or anything else that they would have to take care on my behalf, or after me. Otherwise they would have a hard time searching for all the information.

What I would like in the next edition of 'My money book' -

Though this book covers most of the necessary things. My personal opinion would have the following additions/changes to it -

Internet Banking Details - Nowadays we all have our customer id and log-in details. I would like that in the bank account details.

Passwords - Now this I myself am not too sure of, but if this book can be kept confidential, it would be nice to have all passwords jotted down in one place.

Debit Card details - There is a section to enter credit card details but not debit, also maybe give space for more cards. I'm sure usually people have 3-4 cards at the very least.

Notes - Maybe a couple of extra notes pages in-case one wants to enter some customized information as per their liking!

Also, the hard copy got me thinking that to have a mobile app 'My money book' would be even better. Here what will happen is if I need to enter any information I will have to look into my book and type it. And what if I misread a number I wrote? In the app I will be able to simply copy paste details wherever I want. And of-course, the app would be password protected.

Thank you for the book Exide & Blogadda! I am sure it is going to be very helpful for me!

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Breakfast at #KelloggsWaleGuptaji

Take a quick look at this video:

I'm sure just like me, you're also curious to know why does everyone right from the school friend, to the neighbor want to be invited over for breakfast at Guptaji's home? I mean, usually we like to be invited for lunch or dinner, fancy food and all that jazz, right?

At Guptaji's home, they keep making a different variety from about 100 mouth watering recipes! And that's not the best part. They use our favourite classic grain based Kelloggs to make each breakfast item! Believe it or not, it's true!

I absolutely love Kelloggs cornflakes. My favourite way is with warm milk in winters or with cold milk and fruits in summers. Those were the only two ways I knew to eat my Kelloggs! Imagine a 100 ways!

I am a hardcore 'apple and cinnamon' fan be it apple pie, apple wontons or apple crumble cake! So when I saw the Apple Cinnamon Cornflakes recipe by Guptaji I was absolutely thrilled! Plus it is so easy! 1. Fill a bowl with the cornflakes. 2. Add the cold milk. 3.Top with the apples, cinnamon and sugar. 4. Serve immediately.

Pancakes using cornflakes! Now that is another recipe I would not have thought of in my wildest dream!

For a chocoholic like me, it's heavenly to see so many recipes using chocolate and Kelloggs! Healthy and sinful balanced, day made! I am absolutely looking forward to - Blackforest shake, nutty cornflakes rocks and Choco Cornflakes Peanut Chikki.

And if you're not much of a sweet-tooth, do not worry, there are salty options for you too! Cornflakes chivda, cornflakes chana chaat, cheesy cornflakes and the list goes on...

I'm sure you are drooling just like I am. The best part is all the recipes are easy, and have ingredients which we will most probably find in our kitchen. Who does not keep Kelloggs cornflakes at home! And they're fast to make, hence you're not spending all morning in the kitchen fixing the family something healthy and tasty to eat!

I am so not a morning person, hence anything that requires minimum efforts sounds good to me! I would definitely love to go to Guptaji's home and try the best dishes they recommend! I'd make it a point to go on a empty stomach. Haha!

And many of the recipes are perfect for tiffin too! Did you ever think you could have cornflakes in your tiffin? I don't think so! I am already planning the week ahead and selecting recipes by Guptaji.

A grain-based breakfast has the power to give you a solid start to the day - every single day! So from today, aaj ka naashta = anaaj ka naashta!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

#IAmHappy and I know it!

Time and again, I have always stressed on the fact that how simple every day things are the ones that make us the happiest, instead of special occasions or over-hyped and other days when our expectations are high.

Food makes me really happy. A freshly baked cake, a perfect cup of coffee or tea, Pizza with chilled coca-cola, French fries and potato wedges. I think you get what I mean. Nothing can cheer me the way good food, drinks or desserts can. I guess I live to eat.

Long conversations with my husband, parents, brother and best friends is something I always look forward to. In this busy city life we hardly get time to connect, and chatting on the phone or reading status messages to know what is going on does not count. When in those rare times when everyone is in the mood and there are conversations flowing (along with coffee, tea, cola or beer as per the situation demands...haha) I feel really happy! And you know those random times when you start laughing for some reason and just cannot stop, and even need to visit the loo because of that? Yes, I love those instances!

Playing with a puppy leaves me laughing! I do not own a dog or pup myself (Insert sad smiley), because I am not allowed plus it is a big responsibility. But I absolutely love to play with stray pups or someone else's pet. They can really take your sadness away, and make you feel the happiest ever! Try it. As long as you do not have allergies or phobias that is.

Waking up next to the love of your life. Yes, that. There is nothing more content and satisfying (and happy) than knowing that you have found true love and will be spending rest of your life with him by your side. Pillow fights, long drives, movie nights or dinner dates with this one person makes you so happy! I would any day choose these memories over diamonds.

Listening to my favorite music makes me happy. My music taste depends on my mood, but I love most of the genres and love to listen to my favorite songs, sing along if I know the lyrics or simply hum along. And if I am in an upbeat mood, I love to dance!

Going for a walk always works to right my wrong mood. Specially if the weather is pleasant, scenery is beautiful. I absolutely love to walk down the beach when I am on a vacation at Goa. The waves really soothe me and I do not feel like going back home.

Watching a flower bloom, watching the sun set, watching my baby smile and laugh, get unexpected compliments, see the weighing scale show that I have lost a few kgs, and so on. These are just a few examples of how small every day things in life make me feel truly happy rather than vacations planned for months or important occasions like wedding anniversary or festivals.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

#ChooseToStart with the new Moto E!

With a five month old baby in the house, I know that the day is not far when I will have to baby proof our home and keep all expensive, fragile or harmful things away from him. That of-course includes all our gadgets - PC, tablet, smartphone etc.

Me being a social media enthusiast who is constantly checking Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, mails and messengers. Also love clicking candid pictures!

What I would #ChooseToStart with the new Moto E is to document my kiddo's life. Here's how:

1. Thanks to the 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU and advanced graphics on the new Moto E, I will be able to download baby milestone and other baby / kid apps to record and keep track of his developments. Will also be able to entertain him with nursery rhymes or bed time stories!

2. The New Moto E comes with a 2390 mAh battery that is designed to last all day long. That way, I do not have to bother to charge it every few hours and can focus just on my baby. It will add to my mental peace and I'll know that I can rely on it throughout the day (or night when my baby decides to be an owl).

3. The 5 mp camera and the size of the phone that fits so comfortably in one hand will allow me to capture all his beautiful moments. Be it his first crawl, laugh, attempt to stand or walk; I know that I will be able to take awesome pictures. And every mother knows how we have to learn to do things single-handedly literally! The curved design will help me use the phone with one hand in-case I want to take selfies with my baby!

4. The water-repellant coating and Corning Gorilla Glass protect the Moto E from damage.A baby in the house means that day not being far when he picks up things and puts them in his mouth or throws them. This phone will take care of itself in such times. And if at all my little brat manages to break it, my heart won't be shattered, because it costed me only Rs.6,999/- instead of other 20-30k smartphones, so I will not have to get really furious or hate him for doing that. I can see myself buying a 7k phone again, definitely not an expensive one!

5. The three tap share feature and latest Android on the Moto E will allow me to share his photos, videos with all my loved ones! After all, social media brings us closer and removes the distance barriers. And with a 8 GB storage plus expandable memory upto 32 GB, I can store a lot of stuff without the hassle of transferring them to my PC every now and then.

Time flies, and soon my kid will grow up (and there definitely be a new Moto E version to upgrade to); but I will be able to cherish the beautiful memories forever. All because I chose to start something new.

Monday, March 16, 2015

#ShareTheLoad with Ariel's #WashBucketChallenge.

A couple of months back, Ariel and Blogadda asked us bloggers to blog about #IsLaundryOnlyAWomansJob. In the second phase of this campaign, they sent a packet of Ariel Matic to challenge the men to do the laundry.

So on Sunday, a convenient day when my dad and brother were home, me and my mom got them to do the laundry. They had been quite positive and willing, saying that it's just pressing a few buttons and adding detergent, any one can do it.

When they actually got the dirty clothes, ariel matic and stood in the store room facing the washing machine, they were clueless. As my brother Chirag quotes, "I am totally blank, there are so many buttons here! I thought it was just Start - Stop - Pause!" You should have seen the smug look on my mom's face, after all, she's the one who does the laundry daily and was more than thrilled to see them take this challenge up.

 Then my brother realized that it is not as easy also, you need to segregate coloured clothes and white clothes, amount of water and detergent powder has to be judged according to number of clothes, in all he found it very tedious. As a result, a sudden profound respect for all the work females do. He used to take mom for granted and would yell if his favourite tshirt or best fitted pair of jeans were not washed and ready for him to wear when he wanted. 

Now, coming to my dad, he found it easy once he was instructed what was to be done. He was glad that he finally learned how to do laundry, and is now confident to do it if the need comes. He told us how things have changed, a decade or two ago society would laugh if they knew the men in the house wash clothes, but today with the facilities, change in thought and gender equality making tea, making their own bed, drying their towel, finding socks and handkerchiefs from the cupboard; men are expected to all of this. So then why not laundry?

But he also mentioned that since the women in our house (joint family) are all housewives, this task comes on them. But yes, if they were to start working, the house chores would definitely be shared between both equally. As he said "If females share outside work, we're more than happy to share home work."

Overall, it was a fun experience for me and my mom watching these two struggle and finally get it right. :)

P.S. Apologize for the bad images, but our machine is placed at such a spot in the store room that the light comes from opposite direction, and even flash did not help.

 Disclaimer: This post is a part of the #WashBucketChallenge activity at BlogAdda.com is association with Ariel India.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Street Food Rocks! #FarMoreSingapore

I had been to Singapore for my honeymoon back in 2012, and it was definitely, without any doubt, the best trip of my life yet.

Of-course there is Merlion, Sentosa Island, Universal Studios, Singapore Flyer etc that I absolutely loved. But the street food! In our travel package we had breakfast and dinner included, so we were on our own for lunch and snacks and loved to explore the streets of China Town, Little India, Orchard Street etc eating amazing stuff.

Being eggetarians, we were thrilled to find options for us too. Among the things I loved were:

1. Flat rice noodles at Maxwell Food Center (Yum and the soy sauce was amazing!)
2. Dimsums or Momos at Maxwell Food Center (Best I have ever had)
3. Fresh Coconut Water at Little India (The size of those coconuts blew my mind!)
4. Fresh fruit icecream (This was Universal Studios I believe)
5. Idlis at Little India

Of-course we checked our restaurants and pubs at Clark Quay etc too. But the take-aways and quantity of street food, and their reasonable pricing, bagged all the awards. I mean, take a look at these memes I made and the food!

Honestly, if I had it my way, I would relocate and get settled in Singapore. It has it all. Even their national mascot, the Merlion would agree with me!

If you love Singapore as much as I do, do visit http://discover.stayfareast.com/

Buying a new car in a metro-city

Buying a new car can be a pain. Deciding whether to buy a hatchback or indulge in a sedan, or to go for a family sized SUV. Then whether it fits the budget or requires a loan. Also whether to opt for a cost effective CNG / Diesel version or Petrol. That's not the end of it, which car, which company and even which colour is a very important decision.

And if you register online with your contact details, the franchise will call you so many times that you will get irritated and decide not to buy that car only! And the worst of all, once your relatives know you're planning to buy a car, they will all pour in their "expert advice" on which car to buy or not. And those are the same people who will ask for a party once I have already emptied my pockets in buying the car.

So when I started looking at options to upgrade my existing Tata Nano, my blogger friend from Bangalore told me how he bought a new car in Bangalore using online search portals.
It made it very easy for him to check car price in Bangalore and decide which one to purchase, he even got information on car loans in Bangalore.

So apparently, you can search for new or used cars, and look at showroom details like website, address, google map, contact number, social media pages, what all they deal in, their rating and if they are a valued partner. What really impressed me is the direct facebook/twitter/google plus and website links, after all I'm a social media enthusiast to the core. There is also a click to call / send sms feature. Saves a lot of time, definitely.

You can shortlist contacts to view them together later on. Once that is done all you need to do is visit the showroom of your choice. Makes it so much easier than visiting individual company websites. My friend told me that after purchasing his car, he also shopped for car accessories online and got them at much cheaper rates than a garage would charge him. He bought a USB enabled music player, car charger, car perfume, mobile mounting stand and tissue holder all from here! I think that's awesome.

He told me used cars are also listed here, since I am on a low budget and do not want to get into the hassle of car loans. I am sure I will get such decent deals in Mumbai as well. And I can even post a free ad to sell my Nano! You can use their website or mobile app, or simply call on 0444-444-4444.

My friend is very happy with his purchases and transactions and recommends online search portals not only for buying a new car or accessories, but a lot more. I definitely need to go to Bangalore to take a treat from him on his new car!

First thing tomorrow, I am going to register myself and shortlist and hopefully this month itself I would have my very own new car! Hurray!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

One of my most memorable days #together with my close ones.

When I think of the most memorable day from my recent past, I go back almost one year ago, 18th March 2014. It was the day I got to know I was pregnant.

I had recently started working at a new place since that very month itself, and was looking forward to the career change. I had no morning sickness or any other obvious symptom, and I was on oral contraceptive pills so had definitely not thought of the possibility. I wanted to wait for another couple of years before starting a family, once we had our own house, stable jobs and the sort.

When I missed my second period, I was worried that I might have some health issue. What came in my mind was Thyroid or Diabetes, since I so obviously ruled out chances of a pregnancy. After all, I had a phone reminder set to take the pills timely. But before I went to the doctor, I had to be sure, and I got a home pregnancy test.

The morning of 18th March 2014, I got up for work and the first thing I did was take the test. It was positive. I was in a state of shock. I woke my husband up, who in a sleepy state said that two lines means its negative, do not worry. I woke him up and showed him the instruction booklet, clearly stating that two lines meant positive. Now he was in shock too and his reaction made me cry. But he recovered in a jiffy and held me tightly and told me to calm down. He assured me that everything would be fine, he was there with me and I had no reason to worry.

I quickly called my mom to take an appointment with our family gynecologist. My mom obviously understood the situation without me uttering a single word. She sounded very positive and calm on the phone, even though she was one of the few people who advised me not to be in any hurry to start a family.

I obviously was bunking work, sent a quick sick leave email to the boss. My husband also took a day off from work that day, as he knew I would not even be able to travel to my mom's place alone in this condition. Thank God for him!

We went to the doctor, where she did the test again, followed by a ultrasound and confirmed the pregnancy. What was all the more shocking was that I was already 2 months pregnant without realizing it. She sensed my reaction and offered a choice to abort if I wanted. Told me I had maximum two weeks to decide.

But that was absolutely not going to happen. I mean, at 2 months my baby already had developed vital features, including a heart! But I was very very scared. How would I manage, it is a big responsibility, what if I was not going to be a good mom? My life was about to change. But my family's support was more than enough for me to know that it would all be alright.

My mom, dad, brother, husband, in-laws every one were happy, excited and so supportive. My cousin's also got a cake for us to cut and celebrate the good news! Later my husband sneaked me out to take a walk alone, and reassured me that he was very happy and eager to share this wonderful journey of 9 months with me. That this was a gift my God himself, and we're blessed, unlike a few people who would give a hand or leg to get a child.

I finally calmed down, and believed myself, that he or she, my miracle child is on it's way.

Today, my boy is 5 months old and I am truly blessed to have him in my life. I definitely wouldn't have been able to go through it without the support of my family and friends.

Disclaimer: This post is a part of Housing's #Together campaign.

80 Days World Cuisine at Global Culture, Navi Mumbai

So this cool new place at Palm Beach Road, Sanpada, Navi Mumbai called "Global Culture" has 4 entities - 80 Days World Cuisine, The Malts (Bar), Masala Table (Indian Cuisine) and Pan Pan (Asian).

Today we #NaviMumbaiFoodies went to 80 Days World Cuisine, which gets it name from "Around the world in 80 Days", neat eh? And obviously, has cuisine from around the globe - Italian, Lebanese, American, Mexican it was all there. I really wish they had their menu as a world map or country wise, how cool would that be!

The decor has everything to do with travel - country flags, a ship and the sort. There is a big screen on which one can watch live matches etc and also a coffee corner. In all, it looks very inviting for you to go with friends or family and chill on the weekend or weekday!

When we arrived at about 7 pm there were just a couple of tables occupied, but by the time we left at around 9:30 pm, the place was full!

We kicked off with starters and drinks. Olive Tepenade was crunchy and delicious, mini bit sized that got over in a jiffy. The essence of mushroom soup was heavenly, also a must try is their roasted tomato soup which we missed and will definitely try next time we go there. Jalapeno poppers were cheesy and melt in the mouth. For drinks we had Port No. 7, a whisky based cocktail, Green Apple and Hazelnut Martini, Virgin Green Apple Mojito and Mango and Plum smoothie. Lot of green apple they use I guess! The whiskey cocktail bagged the best drink award. Their drinks menu is from "The Malt", their next door bar cum lounge.

For main course there was a lot of variety. I being a vegetarian did not try the non-veg dishes served on our table, but from what my foodie friends say, most of it was decent. We had the Mezze platter which consisted of Hummus, Pita, Baba Ganoush, Falefel and Tabbouleh. The only disappointment in this platter was the Pita bread, which was a little rubbery. We also had BBQ Chicken Pizza, Risoto Primavera, Chicken Milanese and Lamb sliders. The Risoto was tomato based and we personally thought it should have been a little more dry, but the chef says this is how people ask for. Overall I was not too happy with the main course, or maybe we ended up trying the wrong dishes.

Coming to the desserts, since we were full and also in a hurry, we shared a Chocolate Marquis. This was simply amazing, dense chocolate, not to sweet, Reminded me of Mocha's chocolate avalanche. I also took a Baked New York Cheesecake as take away, and it was amazing too. Their desserts are outsourced, so well done whoever makes them!

My overall verdict is that I would definitely like to head back here for the soups and salads, starters, drinks and desserts. Worth visiting with your folks for the ambiance and chilled out atmosphere! Waiting to try Masala Table and The Malt too!

If you've been loving my food blogs, do comment and let me know! Stay tuned for the next place visited by the #NaviMumbaiFoodies and do follow us on twitter too!

How I #SlowDownZindagi in 5 steps.

Life in a metro like Mumbai is a stressful one, running around morning to night to earn the meager bread and butter leaves us hardly any time for ourselves. And then the weekends flash by in doing chores, shopping, or catching up on sleep. 

It is very important to de-stress before the frustration gets the better of us and we eventually burn out. Here are 5 ways that help me de-stress and slow down:

1. Taking a walk

It is really not compulsory to join a gym or yoga classes to be fit, mentally and physically. A good 45 minute brisk walk around your neighborhood, or jogging with your pet dog or walking your baby in his/her pram can get you some fresh air and time away from the daily grind. That's what I do at-least 5 days a week, and it really helps me refresh myself and burn calories too! You could try putting on your favorite music too, or get a buddy to tag along if you get bored alone.

2. Entertainment

Music, movies or reading books. I love 'em all. Whenever I am too stressed or tired, I like to put on some soothing music and listen to them. Or sometimes even put on some dance tracks on loud volume and dance my woes away. A good movie or sitcom episode is a sure shot stress-killer for me. If there is some popcorn or chips along with that; and good company, it's all the more better! But sometimes I like to be left alone in my solitude and peace and do these things. Which is why I love reading. Whether before bed or while travelling, I can get engrossed in the world of fiction and temporarily forget all my worldly problems.

3. Cooking (and eating)

I am a sweet toothed baker who loves to bake cakes and eat them too. Cooking, the aroma of freshly baked goodies straight from the oven and the tempting dishes work to keep my stress at bay every time. At times when I am too lazy or tired to bake or cook, I like to head out to a cafe or restaurant and devour my stress away. I am a complete foodie, so some cheese and wine are more than welcome on the rough days.

4. A good hair/body massage

Whenever I am very tired, have cramps or a sore body, or a really nasty headache; I make it a point to ask my better half to give me a nice massage. Whether it is a head massage or back massage, some warm oil and loving hands always do the trick. A nice warm shower after that works like magic! Obviously, Parachute oil is to the rescue, I do make it a point to warm it a little before using.

5. Playing with my baby

All parents will agree that however stressful or hectic life is with a new baby in the house, there is nothing more elating than your baby smiling, laughing and cooing for you. One smile and I forget all my blues!

How do you unwind and loose yourself? Do share in comments!

I am going to try a new quick way to De-stress & #SlowDownZindagi using Parachute Advansed Aromatherapy Oil in association with BlogAdda

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

#StartANewLife with Housing

Change is the only constant. That is something I have learned with time. I got married at the age of 23 because my parents started pestering me to meet guys they liked even though I had already committed myself to someone else. I am an ambitious career oriented woman, and workaholic you can say.

And then I had my baby. But a few months on leave and I'm all set to resume work, for his better future if nothing else.

But life is not all ice-cream and cake. My husband is tired of assisting his dad in the family business. He wants to follow his own dreams & aspirations. He wants to produce music, have his own studio. In-fact he's been wanting to do this since years, but every time he feels not so confident and postpones due to something or the other.

His dad gave him an ultimatum, that if you want to be with me, you have to go by my rules. With both of us determined to make a better future for ourselves & our child, it was finally time to take a bold decision.

Moving out of a house or shifting is not easy. The long procedure of hunting for houses, talking to agents, looking at nearby amenities & facilities, brokerage, deposit, and the list goes on. And what if the decision is wrong? Or we were not shown the best places by a greedy broker? 

Enter housing dot com. My one stop destination to look for the best rented apartments in the locality of my choice. They now have a swanky new look and user interface, full of positive energy and optimism. Also a mobile app, so that you can hunt for property listing or list your own property for sale/rent.

Select city or locality, filter according to budget, number of rooms, lease restrictions, furnishing, amenities, etc. You can also choose to look at properties listed by owners if you do not want to contact an agent. You can also choose to get alerts based on your requirements.

We're currently in the process of looking at the apartments, and then if it fits our budget and other requirements we will shift! I can hardly wait to be free. To get up in the morning, make pancakes, omelettes, toast and coffee for everyone. Send husband off with his tiffin, and then get baby ready. Then I can do my work from home. Followed by going to the garden in the evening and then get dinner ready. We might have more responsibilities, we might have to work harder, but we will definitely be happier and finally be able to create our own brighter future.

Take a look at their awesome new video too:

Have you taken a bold step towards a better life too? Do post your comments on how you will #StartANewLife and #LookUp towards a brighter future.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Dry baby, happy baby!

Now that my little one is almost five months old, he has started responding more, playing more and has also had his first laugh! Oh the joy it is to see him smile innocently (and also mischievously).

Among the many things that make him happy, a few are:

1. His rattles and teethers
He loves to hold his toys (or anything else that he can get hold of, like blankets, his own clothes, my fingers and so on) and put them in his mouth and chew on it! He totally gets thrilled in doing so, and if by any chance he cannot put something in his mouth, it frustrates him! Haha!

2. Pooping
Yes, I said it. You should see the joyful smile of relief on his face once he's pooped! And he makes this naughty expression that says, "Mommy, time to clean me!". Thank God for his Pampers diapers, cleaning up is so easy! Just throw the soiled diaper away, clean him up with baby wipes and done!

3. A good nap / sleeping all night
My kiddo has very little sleep. He is so hyperactive all the time (I sometimes feel it is because of all the Redbull craving and stealing sips during the 9 months of pregnancy?) that when he finally falls asleep and manages to sleep through the night, or when we take him for a stroll in the garden and he sleeps soothed by the motion and cool fresh air; and then wakes up all fresh! The way he stretches, lazing around and smile sheepishly! I must give some credit to his Pampers diaper again, staying dry for a long time and hence avoiding irritation.

4. Putting his foot in the mouth, literally
Now this is something fairly new, he's learnt to catch hold of his toes and put them in his mouth! And seems to thoroughly enjoy doing so and can do it for a long time, till he's hungry or distracted by something else. And it is so much fun to watch him do that again, and again and again.

5. Talking
Obviously not framing words or sentences, but my baby loves to babble coo and talk to whoever is ready to talk to him! And I'm pretty sure I have heard him say Hi, Ma and Wow (Unless I am over-enthusiastically hallucinating?)! Love to baby talk with him all the time!

And of-course, when his dad comes home from work, that makes him super duper happy, but that goes without saying, right?

Can't wait for him to start crawling, walking and jumping around so that I can play endlessly with him! Will then do another blog on his new tricks and mischief! Check out this super cute video by Pampers:

Truly, a dry baby is a happy baby! *Touches Wood*.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Meri entry now!

When some of the best in their respective fields come together, there is definitely something epic cooking, right? Director of movies like Barfi, Kites, Life in a Metro none other than Anurag Basu was spotted in this video. Is he casting for a new movie? Is this a new blockbuster in the making? Also spotted famous music director Pritam who has given us endless hit music for movies like Cocktail, Dhoom, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and I'm telling you, its a long long list of some awesome music. And then there is everyone's favourite, the heart-throb Ranbir Kapoor!

Wait a minute, these all have way too much in common! They are all a part of the upcoming movie Jagga Jasoos, and also worked together in the hit - Barfi! I also spotted choreographer Terence Lewis, is he going to get Ranbir groovin' to some awesome music? Also, what's with Ranbir's rowdy attitude here!!

And wait a minute, if this is all a B-town gimmick, what on earth is Virat Kohli doing here? OMG! Is he making his Bollywood debut? But right in the middle of World Cup and with IPL on it's way? This just does not make any sense, but he's very much there! Is he auditioning for Anurag Basu?

Looking at the video closely (after playing it for the umpteenth time in all the sheer excitement), did I just see Mr. Basu do some moves along with Ranbir? And whose that girl out there? Introducing a new actress in Bollywood? The suspense behind all this is killing me! I don't understand why they're all fighting behind whose movie it is, after all, isn't the movie the producers?

Love the jingle Pritam is singing, I want to hear more of it! And a lot of "beeps" too, why are they all so agitated? Someone please tell me what's cooking, what's coming up this summer!? ROFL Ranbir is just too funny, he and his original stunts. They all say "Meri Entry Now", but where? Entry to what? I demand to know!

Where did this shooting take place? Is it a stadium? Has it got something to do with Cricket or with Bollywood? Is it a merger? A movie on cricket? Man, this is one wild goose chase.

I'm sure the spy who caught all this on camera definitely has some answers! And at 1 minute and 35 seconds there is a complete shocker! See for yourself:

#LookUp towards a positive tomorrow.

What's the point of living without any optimism & positive energy? Nada.

With the ups and downs that I've faced in the 25 years of my life, if there is one lesson that I've learnt, it is to not give up, not loose hope and think optimistically.

Whenever I feel low or frustrated with the lemons life throws at me, I always make sure I have some tequila for shots! What I mean is, I ask myself "Can I do something about it?". If the answer is yes, I should not waste any time and work towards a solution. If the answer is no, well what's the point in taking tension then? Some things are best left up to the almighty God.

I would sometimes be stressed about my financial conditions. But then I'd think about all those thousands of people who are homeless or do not get food to eat or clothes to wear. And then I feel better about myself.

I sometimes worry about my relationship, all the nasty fights. But then I try to be positive about it and recall positive pleasant memories from the past. I remind myself how I had promised to stick through thick and thin.

I sometimes worry about my parents and brother. Then I promise myself to spend more quality time with them. And that does not mean being engrossed in my phone half the time.

When I was pregnant, I was worried if I'd make a good mother. I also suffered from post-partum blues initially. But I never lost hope. I kept telling myself that I am a fighter, I am not going to give up on myself.

I sometimes worry about our house, the tiring process of rented apartment hunting etc. But then thank god for Housing.Com, it is a smooth, easy process! Have you seen their super cool new optimistic website?

If you've seen the documentary 'The Secret', you'll know how your positive thoughts reflect to the universe and come back to you. It is based on the law of attraction and claims that positive thinking can create life-changing results such as increased wealth, health, and happiness.

Or in our Bollywood language, "Kehte hain agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaho ... to puri kainath usse tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai."

It's cool to pray, in times of need. But do not forget to thank the same God when good things happen to you. Another tip, never let go of people who spread positive vibes. And if you yourself are a cheerful peppy one, go spread the vibe in someone else's life! Make someone smile today!

Whenever negativity starts creeping up on you like a dementor, remove you wand and say "Expecto Patronum!" (Only Harry Potter fans will get this one, sorry!) Know your stress busters. It could be chanting or meditating, it could be watching your toddler laugh, it could be seeing your dog's excitement when you get back home, playing your favourite songs, dancing like no one's watching, catching up with old friends and so on. Know what works for you and do that!

You only live once? False. You live everyday. You only die once. So eat, pray, love and make merry! 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Father My Pride! #MyFamilyMyPride

The person I am today - Confident, Independent, Self-Reliant; is all because of one person, my dad.

Ever since I was a kid, I have always been a daddy's girl, and his words have always been like verses from the Bible or Geeta or Quran for me.

He's always taught me to make my own decisions, whether right or wrong, let me learn from my mistakes. And the most important lesson he taught was to always stand on my feet. He would always say, that if you are capable of earning enough to sustain your personal needs, no one will ever be able to suppress you or dominate you.

He would give me examples of women in our family or relation who did not study or take up a vocation and how they're now reliant on their father/husband/son and have to do as per their decision verses women in our family who were ambitious and are earning well today and have their own standing and can make decisions in the household and have a say in important decisions.

He also taught me the importance of saving, of not spending too much on things we might not require and of maintaining accounts and have a record of our spending. He also taught accounting softwares like tally to me, so that I could maintain my own accounts.

If he wanted he could have kept accounts for me, done all my paper work or applied for the pan card, bank account, passport, driving license etc on my behalf when I turned 18 years of age. But no, he left it on me. In the beginning it was difficult. I managed to take care of a few things on my own, some with his or my grandfather's help. But there were a few things I was just not interested in getting done.

He did not do it on my behalf, but kept urging me to do it before it was too late. He would keep reminding me. When I started my own business, he did not stop me from getting a credit card too. That turned out to be a big mistake as I was spending more than I was earning. He already knew that might happen, but he wanted me to make my own mistakes and learn for them. He felt that lessons learnt from one's own experience are something we'd never forget.

In the last 5 years or so, I always bought my own gadgets, clothes or anything else that I wanted or needed. I would never ask my father for any pocket money. Of-course, he continued to make suggestions and guide me and advise me to invest etc.

Eventually I got married, and continued working. Today I am not dependent on my husband for any of my requirements or needs. God forbid if we face any problem, I am confident that we'll sail through them. For that, I shall forever be indebted and grateful to my father. And now he's teaching the same things to be my younger brother, who just turned 18 himself.

Just like me, take a look at this ad by HDFC Life, and how her father teaches her to be self-reliant:

Disclaimer: This blog post is a part of Indiblogger's campaign for HDFC Life.