Monday, May 15, 2017

"50 cups of Coffee" by Khushnuma Daruwala - Book Review

Recently got this book in mail and was eager and curious to read it. Not only the title awaken the coffee-lover in me, but recently had been doing a lot of research on matrimonial sites for a client-pitch and hence wanted to read this experience on the same.

Author Khushnuma is narrating her friend's story of meeting dozens of men from matrimonial sites and the good, bad and ugly. Though the instances are funny and there are some note-worthy lessons put at the end of each chapter, the book somehow failed to captivate me or hold my attention. It was too serious or suddenly jumped in places and I found myself struggling to turn pages. 

For me, a book is a 4/5 and above if I cannot keep it down till I finish it, that was lacking here. But overall, if you are someone who is not married and has some experience with matrimony site listings, there will be things to relate with and laugh at. For me that was not there either, thanks to a love marriage. Also, I have read a couple of other books with similar plots of 30+ single women finding it difficult to find the 'one' via dating or matrimonial sites...

About the book: 

Dating is an undeniably daunting task, especially when you're done with casual flings and are looking for the real deal to settle down with. When a 30-something woman signs up on a dating website for people looking to get married, she realizes just how delightful, vexing, amusing and befuddling trying to find the perfect husband can be. Based on real experiences, this book is not a guide to dating, but rather a delightful collection of episodes about meeting potential partners, epiphanies about them and soul-searching questions that will make you see relationships without the rose-tinted glasses.

Especially pertinent to this age of online dating, this delicious-as-a-cappuccino book is for all those in love, looking for love or in between. With advice as sage (gained the hard way) as that in He's Just Not That Into You and scenarios as funny and outrageous as those in Sex and the City, 50 Cups of Coffee is a hilarious, honest and witty book, perfect to curl up with when a suitable beau or bae is not available.

About the Author: 

After exciting childhood dreams that vacillated between astronomy, zoo keeping and diving with great white sharks, Khushnuma eventually settled for something a tad tamer-advertising. Six years ago, while on a sabbatical, she rediscovered her love for writing something more than creative briefs and PowerPoint presentations. Advertising and writing apart, she is extremely passionate about animal welfare, sustainability and of course, regular sabbaticals.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Be a #MealMate with JAMM's Network in association with Accesslife

Cancer – a diagnosis that strikes despair not only in the patient but the entire family. When a child is the one who has to cope with the disease, it seems so unfair and one cannot even begin to imagine what the parents, especially the mother, are going through. Add to that the burden of poverty which makes the situation even more unbearable.

What these children need besides treatment is also adequate nutrition to help boost their immunity and combat the illness better.

JAMM’s (Journey About Mast Moms) empathizes with what these families are facing; as mothers we can best understand the pain of another mother who is coping not only with a child battling cancer but also the sense of helplessness that pervades due to the lack finances.

This is why JAMM’s network has collaborated with Accesslife ( to ensure that these children get their fighting chance and the necessary food nutrition through the initiative 1100 Meal Mate. JAMM’s network will have been in existence for 1100 days and this initiative is a marker in its history of giving back to society. After all, mothers know about giving of oneself and bringing joy to others.

To donate and be a part of the initiative -
PayTM on 8080222377 or click on the link below for contributions 👇

1⃣1⃣0⃣0⃣ Days
1⃣1⃣0⃣0⃣ Meals

JAMM’s network - *Journey About Mast Moms*, initiated by Ritu (Chief Connecting Officer) is a multi-award winning Mumbai based Moms support group for networking that started in April 2014 and has been steadily expanding and evolving since then...

Over 20,000 Moms from various areas connect and communicate online via what's app & a secret Facebook group + meet offline every month via their complimentary workshops, seminars and events which aid informed/conscious parenting decisions!

Over 365 underprivileged kids received haircuts during JAMMs network first anniversary event - Happy New Hair. Over 550 needy visually impaired people received white canes & dark glasses during their 'i-light' social initiative. The 'Mast Santa' social campaign done in Dec 2015 donated unused handbags with goodies to homeless women. 'Step-Up' was their April 2016 social initiative where 730 underprivileged children received footwear and over 910 sarees were collected & donated to less fortunate women during their Nov 2016 social drive.

+91 9930203454

About Accesslife
Access Life Assistance Foundation provides a loving and temporary home for the parent or care taker and the child undergoing the treatment for cancer. Our mission is to offer a home-like environment for these families and we also try to improve the quality of life of these children by providing practical support services, educational resources and recreational programs.
We understand the financial pressure cancer puts on some families so we provide them dignified accommodation at no cost while their child receives the treatment. In a country where care for the needy has long been accepted as dismal, Access Life is working to not only fill in a large unmet need but also to fundamentally change this mind-set. 

Constipation Conversations

Constipation. The word itself makes you think of the pain or discomfort it causes. Infact when someone makes a screwed up frowning face we usually ask them why do they look constipated. It’s something that all of have gone through atleast once in our lives, some are more fortunate and have once in a blue moon occurrence while for others it is a chronic problem.

But even though it is such a traumatizing experience, why do we not talk about it openly? If you’re taking a sick leave due to a viral infection you will be openly talking about it when you tell your boss why you cannot come, but would you ever tell them that I cannot make it today because I am constipated? I don’t think so.

So what is constipation, how is it defined? If you go by the books it is when you have less than 3
bowel movements in a week, or basically when you do not pass stools daily. Chronic constipation can lead to serious health issues like piles and hemorrhoids and like any other illness should definitely not be taken lightly and one should visit the doctor if they are continuously suffering.

For me, I have seen constipation very commonly in my family, but surprisingly we always battle the instances with some or the home remedies and have never tried to go to the underlying cause. Even my 2.5 year old kid is constipated at least a couple a times a month and kids get very irritable and fussy when they’re constipated – I can tell you that. My husband and father both have chronically suffered from constipation and always tried home remedies or herbal/ayurvedic ones but nothing helped a lot. Infact if they’re reading this now they’ll probably ask me why am I telling this to the public, that’s how the Indian mentality is.

Kids, pregnant ladies and senior citizens are more prone to be affected by constipation. If you’re on iron supplements it may also cause constipation. Irregular routine, unhealthy diet and lifestyle, frequent travel, lack of water intake, not getting enough exercise, ignoring the urge to go to the bathroom are a few factors that cause constipation.

This is quite true, sometimes when we’re on vacation or travelling we need to pass stools but are skeptical or going to unhygienic public toilets or stinking ones. Once I was travelling from Goa to Mumbai by bus and there was some accident ahead due to which we were stuck for hours at a no-man’s place. I really had to ‘go’ and there was simply nothing I could do, I was literally ready to burst and at one time felt that I should just go do it behind the bushes but there were too many people around. After that, I was constipated for a couple of days and it was very annoying.

In India the issue is that people are too humiliated to talk about it. Usually families discuss their day while sitting together at the dinner table, but if someone brings up things like – their day was not so great because they were constipated and had a terrible headache, their mother or grandmother or some senior at the table will cringe their nose and say please don’t talk about this right now. They wouldn’t have said that if you had broken your nose or even fainted.

If I have to think why is that, I feel it’s probably because constipation is a problem where you silently suffer without much of a physical proof to show people. Like, if you had diarrhoea, one could actually see you continuously go to the bathroom which is not the case here. You feel irritated, anxious and strained – which is something others will probably pass as your general personality or attribute to your day not being so good due to other reasons.

Now what can we do to avoid constipation?

The ABC’s to prevent constipation:

• Aware and alert: Be aware of your regular bowel routine and alert to any significant change

• Bowel routine: Empty your bowels at a fixed time every day

Constipasana (the correct posture to sit on the western commode toilet) to sit right:

Remember to use a footrest and to lean forward if you sit

Drink sufficient fluids: Include 2-3L of fluid in your daily diet.

• Exercise regularly: physical activity helps the bowel muscles to contract during a bowel movement

• Fibre is a must: High-fibre foods including whole wheat grains, nuts, seeds, help to keep your bowel movements regular

Go when you need to: Do not ignore the urge to empty your bowels

And if you think you follow all of this and still have frequent bouts of constipation or it is chronic – you definitely must visit your doctor and take treatment for the same. If you know someone who has been silently suffering, do not mock them and encourage them to visit their physician. We all tend to make poop and shit jokes, but constipation is a serious business and not funny at all.


I attended a panel discussion on constipation awareness facilitated by Abbott India Limited. Any opinion expressed in this blog is my personal opinion and not the opinion of Abbott India Limited. Abbott India Limited does not assume any liability for the content of the blog. The blog post is not meant to be a replacement for a doctor consultation, nor is it a medical recommendation or prescription of treatment for people having constipation problems. Any reader of this blog suffering from constipation problems should specifically consult his/her doctor for the same and follow the suggested course of treatment

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Tips for your li'l one's first movie-in-theatre experience

As a new parent, you're wondering when would it be the right age to take your li'l one to the movies!? Some of you may have quite easily taken your infant along with you if they're happily sleeping while you watch the movie. But I just couldn't get myself to do that thinking the loud sound will not be good for him, what if he cries and disturbs everyone else and a lot of other things.

And ever since he learnt how to walk, there is no stopping him or making him sit in one place. As a result, I have hardly seen any movies in the theatre myself over the last 2-3 years. When Bahubali 2 released, I had to see it on the big screen, I had seen the first part on small screen and was regretting not seeing it on the big screen. Now everyone obviously wanted to go see it and we had to decide who would make the sacrifice of staying at home with the kiddo.

We couldn't make up our mind and decided that we'll take him along since it was a U/A movie, and will see what happens. Worst case scenario I would come back home with him. Fortunately, it was a success, I was able to see the full 3 and a half hour movie without him crying to go home or anything! Yay! I thought I should put together some pointers which helped me:

1. Aisle seats

Now this happened incidentally for me, but the second half of the movie was spent by my li'l one climbing up and down the steps with the help of the guiding lights on the steps. This would have been difficult or would have disturbed others had I not been sitting on an aisle seat. Also, it makes it easier to go out and come back if needed without any hassle really.

2. Snacks

They generally allow you to carry food/water for babies & toddlers so make sure to carry your kid's favourite snacks, munchies, candies etc to keep them happy if at all they start to fuss. I was carrying some biscuits & corn chips along with a bottle of water.

3. Mobile with offline videos

My kid did not see a minute of the movie, he had absolutely no interest in it. So when he got bored of sitting, he was happily watching his favourite cartoons on my smartphone. Now this is something you would have anyways, so just have a good data connection and keep some videos saved on offline mode too because sometimes you don't get network connectivity inside. Do make sure to keep the volume low so that you're not disturbing the people around you!

4. Popcorn

Fortunately every multiplex these days has a good variety of options - you could buy fries, smileys, sandwiches or whatever is more appalling to your kid. But popcorn is usually a hit with kids as well as adults, plus it keeps them busy for a longer time. We took a big bucket of salted-caramel popcorn and he was happily munching on it throughout the first half of the movie!

5. Diaper

Now this is a given, if your munchkin is not potty-trained, make sure to diaper 'em up so that you don't have to get up again and again. It's cold inside so they'd want to go more frequently. If the kid is older, you should definitely make them go once before the movie starts.

6. Comfortable Clothes

It's still okay in the summers, but otherwise also throughout the year the AC is on full blast inside the theatres, so make sure your li'l one is wearing snugly clothes. It's always a good idea to carry a jacket so if need be they can wear it. Socks would be a good idea too.

7. Type Of Movie

Now this obviously is quite important. Most of the A rated movies won't allow a baby or kid but you never know sometimes security is lax they allow but that doesn't mean you take your child for it, it's kept with the rating for a reason after all. Honestly I was not very comfortable with the thought of having my kid for Bahubali 2 also, it does have a few violent scenes even though its rated U/A, fortunately he was not at all interested in watching the movie. But opt for light-hearted, animated or romance - something that your kid will also enjoy. Do not, if your kid is above 2 years of age, he/she will require a separate ticket, keep that in mind!

I hope these pointers help you! Do comment with what works for you...

Guess what, in all the excitement for the movie and keeping an eye on the kiddo, I forgot to take a pic of his first ever movie experience. :(

Himalaya Babycare Gentle Baby Bath - Product Review

When it comes to bath time with my toddler, it is full of challenges. First to convince him to take a bath I have to lure him with his bath toys and have a big tub ready in which he can sit and play. He really dislikes the sound of running water hitting the tub for some reason, so I have to make sure I have warm water ready for him in advance. He will then enter the bathroom skeptically, check if the tap is running, check if the water is not too hot (if he finds it hot, he will say the typical baby language word – taataa hai).

Now once he’s all settled, he just wants to play with water. He comes only for that. He has absolutely no interest in getting his body cleaned with soap – he absolutely dislikes me rubbing him all over with soap. Contradictorily, he dislikes having any stains on himself or his clothes too, whenever he makes a mess while eating or colouring and the sort, he gets very irritated and asks me to wash his hands or change his clothes immediately. It is surprise that a 2 year old has so many whims and fancies, emotions and needs to express! But well, that is the story of my life as a parent.

I was recently sent the Himalaya Gentle Baby Bath for review, and I have used their soaps for my kid before this. I was happy to review this, as I told you my kiddo doesn’t like me using the soap, so changing it to a body wash for sometime would atleast change his mind for a bit.

About the product:

What it does:

Himalaya’s Gentle Baby Bath is unique by its natural formulation, infused with the goodness of Chickpea, Fenugreek and Green Gram which cleanses your newborn’s skin, gently.

Key ingredients:

Chickpea cleanses and soothes baby’s delicate skin. Chickpea contains antioxidants that are helpful in treating skin diseases and in battling dandruff.

Fenugreek, traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicines, is an excellent moisturizer, especially beneficial in hydrating baby’s dry skin.

Green Gram makes baby’s skin soft and supple. It removes dirt without causing any irritation.
Pack size:

100 ml and 200 ml priced at Rs.75 and Rs.140 respectively.

Directions for use:

Pour Gentle Baby Bath onto a wet sponge or hands and apply to baby's skin. Lather, rinse and repeat, if necessary.


The packaging is similar to the other bottle products like their lotions and powders. It is a clear transparent liquid soap-like texture with a very pleasant refreshing fragrance. The bottle instructs to pour some on a sponge and clean baby with it, which is probably a good idea to do at least twice a week if not every day – kids play all day and are so active, they perspire and fall and their knees, elbows, neck region, pelvic region are prone to get darker. Even the folds of skin can hide dirt if you don’t wash properly. My mom taught me to use a soft, used cotton handkerchief or napkin to bathe my baby with, so I would so that instead of the sponge – as baby skin is oh-so-delicate.

The product does not lather a lot like shampoos do, but its sufficient enough to match a soap’s lather and what is most important that it is made out of natural ingredients like chickpea, green gram and fenugreek which help keep the baby’s skin happy and healthy, and also not irritate the baby’s eyes or irritate them.