Saturday, January 31, 2015

The War Against The Lone Pimple!

So, I saw this contest about Garnier Pure Active Neem face wash and went, "hmm, I could write this one!" though I am not really someone who gets a lot of pimples. I am more of a whiteheads, blackheads girl you see. So the whole pimple scenario was not very familiar to me. I looked at the guidelines, scratched my chin and decided to give it a go in a few days; there was plenty of time left. The next day, I woke up and reached up to scratch my chin, and hey presto, there it was...a pimple that had come just in time to show and tell how it felt to have one. Maybe it was that chocolate cake I had had for dessert the previous night, or perhaps it was the scrambled eggs for breakfast. But whatever the reason was, there sitting like the crowning gem on my chin was a plump pimple.  

Now this was one of the rare weekends I had decided to step out of the self imposed exile and here I had a pimple that made me look like the witch with wart. It was too late to do anything about it and thus started my frantic search for anything, anything, that would help make it look a little less obvious. So here's all the home remedies I tried and how they fared.

1. Ice: The first item I tried on my face was a cube of ice from the freezer. I had read that ice would help bring down the redness and inflammation, and so went at it with a vengeance. By the point I had decided that the ice was enough, I have to report, I had very little feeling left in the lower jaw. The pimple was still there, a little subdued, but still there alright.

2. Toothpaste: Now this is one home remedy I had heard a lot about and decided to put to test. In spite of the raised eyebrows of my husband, I applied a generous amount of toothpaste on the pimple and started the wait. I have to report that making a goatee out of toothpaste and staring at it intently every five minutes doesn't help remove the pimple.

3. Garlic: I was getting a little desperate as the time to step out started approaching. So I went for the more drastic measure of rubbing a freshly cut clove of garlic on the pimple. The garlic is apparently anti viral, anti fungal, antiseptic, antioxidant and anti - everything-bad but that really doesn't help reduce its pungent smell. Which is why I decided enough was enough after five minutes of rubbing a really smelly garlic across my chin.

A pimple elicits multiple responses from those around me. Some of them giggles and goes, "It's all the hormones!", whatever that means. A few look at you like you did some major crime by allowing a pimple to come up on your face. And yet a few others tsks tsks at you as though that pimple would bring the world to an end. 

I wasn't ready to give up so soon; I wasn't giving up my fight, I was just taking a break. That's the phrase I kept repeating to myself as I dabbed  concealer onto the pimple in an attempt to hide it.  That's when the idea struck me! I promised myself to get the Garnier Pure Active Neem face wash, which with its real neem leaf and tea tree oil extracts, sounded promising. This face wash that promised to fight germs, pollution and oil, thereby helping to have clean, pimple free face was going to be the new ammunition I brought into this war.  The war against the lone pimple is still on!!! Very soon the vile thing's going to know who's the boss around here!
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This blog post was written as a part of Indiblogger contest conducted in association with Garnier Pure Active Neem face wash. This website provides tips and articles on skincare and maintaining clear skin. 

Top Three - Bucket List

So, Blogadda along with MaxLife insurance came up with the #SecondChance activity where they asked what would be the three things I would do if I had a chance to. Now, even before Blogadda had asked that question, I had been doing some introspection and asking me what I wanted to do with life if I had nothing stopping me; so this contest came at the right time. So, here is the list of three things that I would do if I had enough bank balance and guts to call it quits and take the second chance offered to me.

1. Shave my head: I am vain and lot of my vanity is attached to my mane! It rhymed even! Thick, long and lustrous hair is something I used to have. Please notice the past tense. What I have now is limp, long and graying hair which I hold on to because I am not brave enough to let go. Why so, you may ask. It is because it almost feels like my hair is more like cricket where everyone around me has an opinion about it. How long it should be, how thick it should be, should I colour it or leave it to be.  Plus, I am not brave enough to let go of my vanity and my fear of "what people will think". I am quite self conscious and hates drawing attention to myself. So a perfectly round and clean shaven head is going to have just the opposite effect. I don't think I am equipped to handle the amused, accusatory or surprised glances that might come my way. Neither am I ready for the questions that will accompany the looks, said and unsaid. However, if I could, I would pick up the trimmer right now and have a go at it. Just so that I can feel the freedom that stepping out of a stereotypical image. Also, it wouldn't hurt to be free of all the packs, oils and creams I have to use just to make sure that I don't keep shedding like a Pomeranian puppy.

2. Travel like a gypsy: The first thing I would do once I am done shaving my hair off will be packing my bag. You see, travelling across India has been one of the top most items on my ever growing bucket list. Since hypothetically, I have a bank balance that never dips, I can quit my job and update my profile to say vagabond and set off on a journey from one tip of India to the other. I would spend this time to immerse myself in the experiences I would gather on my way as souvenirs of my adventure. Rather than do a touch and run, I would stay around and enjoy what each place had to offer before moving on. And once this was done, I would spread out my map and look at the nearest countries I can march into.

3. Publish a book: Once I am back from my adventures, I would start working on that book that I always plan to write but never get around to doing because life gets in between. I would write about everything I ever wanted to write, weave stories and tell my experiences and have at least one book published in this life time. I would also find a work from home opportunity, be it a job or business, and make sure that I spend some precious time with my darling baby before she grows up and flies away from the nest!

So that's the top three things that I would do if I had a second chance, people. Thank you, Blogadda and MaxLIfe insurance for giving me an opportunity to voice out the dreams or hopes I have and hope to achieve some day.
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This post is a part of the #SecondChance activity at BlogAdda in association with MaxLife Insurance

The Car!


It is a different thing to be a singleton, quite another to be married, and yet another thing to be a family with a kid. During each phase, your needs, wants and priorities change. Where one could have gotten by riding pillion on the bike or taking the bike, it becomes essential to own a car. However, when you choose a car, it is essential to ensure that it suits your needs and wants from a vehicle. Tata has introduced Bolt into the market as an Indian made car in reply to the multitude of foreign manufacturers' cars. Having designed keeping in mind the Indian terrain and requirements, this car is surely going to give its competitors a run for their money.

I got a chance to go visit when Bolt was displayed in the campus of the technology park where I work. Here are the few features that I liked about this car, and which makes me feel that it would be suitable both for users from all walks of life.

1. The overall look and feel of the car: The car looks quite compact and sporty in look. This car's design looks sleek and elegant and offers five different colour variations. With the Tata Bolt, you don't have to compromise style for comfort. The interiors of the car , all black, are equally well done and stylish. 



The car in itself is quite roomy and gives adequate leg space; especially in the back seat; which is not the case with all hatchbacks. All the tall lads and ladies, no more bending and folding your legs into origami shapes to accommodate them inside the car.  The roominess is displayed not just in the leg room department but also in the dashboard holding capacity. If you are single, stuff juice, soft drinks, chips and chocolates; and if you are a parent use it as the holding space for the n number of bottles, toys and other parenting paraphernalia.

2. Navigation feature: Before I get into the feature, let me tell you that both my husband and I are terrible when it comes to directions. So much so that we have got lost on our way to the office my husband joined the first time he took me there; after three months of working there! So, the navigation feature that uses the smart phone built in GPS is a blessing in disguise for the likes of us. This vehicle also comes with blue tooth connectivity, SMS read out, picture viewer and video playback from the SD card, all with the touch sensitivity feature.



3. Boot Space: Another feature that makes me like Tata Bolt is the boot space and the flexibility offered while using it. It has ample boot space that allows you to have all your baggage in. Additionally, this car gives you the flexibility to rearrange the back seat so that you can choose to have the whole back seat or the single seat folded in in order to accommodate the additional baggage you might have.

4.  Multi drive feature: Tata Bolt comes with three engine modes that you can switch between while driving. The default mode, otherwise called the City mode that provides sharper throttle response. Economy mode allowing for smoother power distribution and driving. This mode can be used when you are focusing on fuel efficiency, good mileage and fuel efficiency. The sports mode on the other hand is more aggressive and gives a power surge and brings in the maximum engine usage. For me, a lot of this is Greek and Latin, but I do understand one thing and that is: fuel efficiency, fuel efficiency and fuel efficiency.




5. Steering ability: Tata Bolt comes with electric power steering which can be used comfortably while driving within the city or on long drives. It allows for easy and smooth manoeuvring because of its lightness while within city limits. However, it is well connected and ensures substantial stability when on a long drive as well. In other words, Bolt comes equipped with a speed sensitive steering which responds well to the slow drive within city or a higher speed drive on highways.

In a nutshell, I think that Bolt is a car that doesn't compromise on quality or features but still comes at an affordable price.  So whether a party freak or a family guy, Tata Bolt is a car to consider if you're the kind who goes "Get.Set.Bolt".




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This post is a part of the Get. Set. Bolt. activity at BlogAdda.

As a part of the contest, I am supposed to upload a picture of mine. So, here's the picture of yours truly at the Bolt display arena. See how I got blurred when even the camera fixated on the smashing dashing Bolt, J



Saturday, January 24, 2015

Who Am I?

There are a million pieces that make one an individual. Miniscule bits that draw a picture when pieced together. They go beyond labels, beyond definitions and are more of ideas, ideals and values that you hold close to your heart. Here are a few things that define me as a woman:

1. An optimistic dreamer: Yup, I'm a dreamer. So much of a dreamer that I have the habit being lost in my thoughts and dreams occasionally. However, I can gladly say that I am quite an optimistic dreamer. All my dreams are happy ending and all my thoughts are tinted with optimism. This is not to say that I am the bright eyed smiling girl all the time. Yet my thoughts are mostly aspirations, hopes and things I want to achieve.

2. Armchair traveller: If I look into my diary from when I am fifteen, I'd see "travel the world" as one of my bucket list items. However, I haven't been able to for a multitude of reasons. However, I have decided not to let that get to me and live vicariously through articles, TV shows and blogs pertaining to travelling; for now at least.

3. A ram with a pinch of bull: I am an Aries who was born mid April, close to the Taurus sign. And so I call myself a ram with a pinch of bull. I am headstrong and impulsive but I am also reserved and patient. I don't relate to either zodiac signs in any way and seems to be a curious mix of both.

4. Equalist: I believe in women empowerment and freedom of expression for women. However, I don't think I am a feminist. I am more of an equalist who believes that men and women are two sides of a coin and so deserve equal status, rights and responsibilities. That ways, I believe in the "ardhanareeshwari" concept.

5. Ambitious and resourceful: I have always been ambitious. I am not aggressive, just ambitious. I would also like to believe that I am resourceful and prepared to face any unexpected incidents or situations.

6. I forgive easy and never forget: Forgiveness comes easy to me, forgetting a slight not so much. I don't forget even the slightest scorn, backstabbing or insult that might have been thrown at me. However, I choose not to stress myself out plotting revenge. I choose to forgive, but I also choose not to forget.

7. Spiritual without a religion: I was born a Hindu and am married to a Christian. I continue being a Hindu and consider myself spiritual. However, I believe that I am more spiritual than religious and do not really confirm to rules.

8. DIY fan: I am a great fan of DIY projects and people who have the interest and ability to finish the projects that they take on.  I enjoy watching and reading about these projects and feeling proud for the DIY-ers. However, I prefer to look on from a distance and never involve myself in the projects. I just don't have the attention span for it.




Add a little craziness to the cocktail above and that's me in a nutshell....defined by values but above all labels!
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This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Healthy Baby, Happy Home!

The last time Dabur had run a blogging contest on how a healthy child makes a happy home, I didn't know what to write. That's not to say that I don't understand or appreciate the sentiment. It is just that I didn't have much of a personal experience to draw from. I am a new mom and my baby girl had been healthy except for an occasional cold or a slight temperature once in a while.

However, all that changed in the last week. Everything was normal up until Sunday evening. That's when I noticed that my baby was running a temperature which seemed to be rising instead of dipping as evening set in. Her body was hot to touch and she seemed to turn crankier by the minute. And that was just the beginning of a five day viral fever attack my nine month old had to suffer through.

We hurried her to the paediatrician early next morning and was given the diagnosis that it was just a "normal" viral fever and it shall pass. We gave her the medicines as prescribed and kept checking her temperature. We tried to keep her warm in sweaters and woollens and tried to feed her frequently. She refused food, cried and threw a tantrum every time we gave her the medicines and grew crankier by the minute. After another night of tossing and turning, her temperature had soared to a 103 degrees F.  We got the same advice when we contacted the paediatrician. The fever would pass; but in the meanwhile we had to get her temperature down - sponge bath every few hours, breastfeeding frequently, medicines administered at frequent intervals. We followed every instruction to the T and did everything as instructed. Those two nights were when I learned what worrying out of your mind actually meant.

The house that normally woke with her had slept. There were no shrieks, no laughter and no crawling around and gibberish talks. The toys remained untouched as she continued sobbing and lying listlessly in turn. The food remained untouched, water was spit out and she refused to feed. She refused to be set down on the bed, was too restless in our arms and was too hungry to go to sleep. When she did sleep, she slept for so long that I wondered if I should go back and wake her up. I don't think I had ever prayed so fervently previously.

On the third day. her fever broke; and with it came a sense of relief. Her temperature dipped and came back to normal gradually. She resumed feeding and agreed to have a few mouthfuls of baby food occasionally. As a precautionary measure, I continued with the sponge bath and medicines for another day. On the fourth day, she seemed to have recovered adequately to throw her toys away and smile sweetly.

Maybe I had over reacted. Maybe it was just a simple viral fever as the doctor had said. Yet it truly brought home that the fact that she made our house a home. It was her laughter, her naughtiness and her energy that kept our home in the perpetually happy state. I understand what my mother meant when she spoke of the sleepless nights she had spent by my bed when I fell sick. She would know, I was a constantly sick child. I would never undermine all that my mom had and still does for me.

And indeed, I do agree that it is  a healthy child who makes a happy home!
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This post was written as part of Indiblogger Happy Hours in association with Dabur Chyawanprash (https://www.liveveda.com/daburchyawanprash/)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Washing Powder Nirma!

Remember the old Nirma song? It went like this...."Washing powder Nirma, Washing powder Nirma....blah blah blah....Hema....., Rekha..., Jaya aur Sushma.....sabki pasand Nirma", the jingle went showing the modern lithe woman doing aerobics, the Indian girl dancing dandiya, the working woman and...gasp, a woman driving a car all linked together thanks to their love of washing powder Nirma.



This ad was made a good fifteen to twenty years. These days, there are a few changes in the advertisements of course. These days, Hema, Rekha, Jaya and Sushma are not just modern women but they are doctors, scientists and who knows, maybe prime ministers and presidents even. But there's one thing that hasn't changed. And that is their love for detergents and washing soaps. We have proffered women empowerment, gender equality and freedom to women, but every time those advertisements come on TV, it's always a woman who tips spoonfuls of detergent smiling at the camera as if they are doing the world a favour.

Well, here's some good to know info, ad men....you're not! What you are doing is indirectly hinting that soap suds and soft hands go together.What you're saying is this...You want to keep your man happy?, wash his clothes! You want to be the loving mommy in the world?, wash those clothes! You want to be the  best daughter in law? , wash those frigging clothes!    
 
World has changed, we have all moved on but when it comes to household chores and laundry in particular, it's always the women's forte. We have come so far and yet, we don't have Suresh, Ramesh, Rahul or Aryan offering to wash clothes. Be it movies or ads, a working woman juggling office and home; easily, might I add, is considered the example of how a woman should be. You see, after all, she is being given a chance to work, isn't she. 

Here are some statistics to help you understand where I'm coming from. As per Ariel's survey conducted by AC Nielsen:



But a man helping with household chores, oh my, isn't he a gem! Even as we speak about gender equality, there is an underlying message that screams that it's the woman's job to keep the house running. I am not saying this is the case everywhere, but try asking your husband to help with the dishes when his mom is around and you will know what death by glare means. Ask your husband to do the laundry when your mom's around and you will never hear the end of it. How can I blame the men when the previous generation, media, the print and the twisted ideas they present make us believe that they are entitled not to lift their pinkie finger at home.

Thankfully, I am married to a guy who enjoys doing household chores much more than me. Thanks to him, we don't live under inches of dust!These days, he also offers to do his own laundry. His interest in doing his laundry is so much so that it irritates him if I try to do it for him. 

But don't fool yourselves into thinking that he reached there all by himself. Oh no, he didn't. In the beginning, I was one of the 2/3rds, 76%, 85%, 73% and 77% women mentioned up there.

The reason for his sudden interest in household chores might or might not be because of the fact that his favorite t shirt shrunk without a reason. Or it could be the disastrous experiments I tried in the kitchen that was offered and forced to be eaten as I waited eagerly for a comment. Or it could be the fact that his jeans had started to look like a tie and die pants after a wash. Or it could be the fact that his belongings went missing for days altogether when I went on a cleaning spree. Or it could be that his whites always came out as pinks after the wash. 

 Either ways, these days he has agreed to take over doing the laundry...for the sake of the innocent clothes in our household. So you see, we do have gender equality in our household, however we reached there.




What can I say...irrespective of how we got there, Go Women Power! 
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I am writing for #IsLaundryOnlyAWomansJob activity at BlogAdda.com in association with Ariel.”

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The story of "&" and me

Once upon a time, long long ago. I lived in the far away Land of "Or".  This land was black and white, and we lived in little perfectly cut out boxes. The rule of the land demanded that I could either be tomboyish "or" feminine. I could either be logical "or" emotional. I could be either demure "or" aggressive. None of us could be this and that, and if we did....oh, Heaven forbid! To live without conforming, oh the horror! You had to pick, you had to choose, you had to decide what was you and toss everything aside. You see, in the Land of "Or" we constantly measured one thing against the other all the time. If I wanted to be this, I had to let go of that, if I had to be this, I had to let go of that. No reading and partying, no pretty and sporty, no biker and banker.

It worried me...why couldn't I be? I was greedy, I wanted this "&" that. I walked along the straight line along the pavement, looking wistfully at the little pebbles I wanted to kick but couldn't. Thats when I saw a strange black little thing lying in front of me.

"Hello, what's this", I wondered aloud as I bent down and ran my finger along the curled line. It looked simple enough and yet, so beautiful. Was that possible? My "or" sensibility said that it could be simple or beautiful; so there was something wrong. I picked it up and looked at it a little more closely. Thats when it spoke.

"Hello, I'm '&'. "

I gasped.

"Would you like to go on a little trip with me?", the strange symbol creature asked, lifting one of its two hands.

"Um...", I didn't know what to do. I was curious, of course. But I had to cautious. It was caution or curiosity. I stood there, my mind working hard to pick one. I kept thinking and thinking.

"You could be cautious and curious, you know!"

I gasped again! It could read my mind!

"I....I dont think....", I fumbled.

"Here, take my hand and let me show, said "&" and I hesitantly took the hand it extended towards. We were zapped and I went on the journey of a lifetime...and here's what I saw:

1. Daughter & Son: I was born a daughter to my parents. I was born as the elder daughter who had to take care of things at home and outside in my dad's absence. I was automatically put into the chair of the "responsible one". I would occasionally hear my father remark that I am like a son; ever since "&" came in, I guess I'd just say that I am the docile daughter and the responsible son.

2. Pink and Puzzles: I like pink, I like shopping, I like gossip. I also like reading and solving logical puzzles, I like heated debates on politics and I like a good action thriller. Thank you very much!

3. Tomboyish and feminine: When I was a teenager, I have had one of my friends tell me that "I never considered you a girl!". Ha and a Ha Ha! I am tomboyish, yes, but when I do get out of my grubby jeans and shapeless tunic and clean up good, I can also be one of the pretty looking girls with curves.

4. Quiet and assertive: I am quite, and quite reserved. I do not handle crowds well, and I am awkward in the presence of new people. But that doesn't mean that you can get away with anything with me. When the time comes to say 'no', I will say 'no'.

5. Mother and career woman: Ever since I've had my baby, I've had questions from different quarters about whether I would work. My answer has been and will be, "yes, I will continue to work. I love my baby, and I love myself too. I have a wonderful support system and I enjoy working."

6. I am emotional and I am professional: Yes, I am emotional. I sniff my way through emotional movies and TV ads and I will cry at the drop of a hat. That doesn't mean that I am going to bawl my eyes out at every inopportune moment and work. It also means that I am good at drawing lines between my personal and professional selves and managing both.

7. I am plump and I can dance: I am thickset and more than pleasantly plump. That doesn't mean that that automatically removes me from the dance floor. I enjoy dancing and I am good at it too.

There are so many more "or's" I came across on my little trip with "&" which made me think hard on why I had to choose. By the end of our trip, "&" had showed me that I could be everything I wanted to be, without giving up choice.

"What a journey that was!", I exclaimed as I gave a quick on the blushing "&"'s cheek.  I embraced the hands of "&" and promised that we would live happily ever after.




 (Yup, I can look normal & be whimsical too!)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.