Blog to Feed the child

Experience:

Last weekend, as we were comfortably seated in our air-conditioned car enjoying our Ferraro Rochers, we had to stop by a signal. At the signal, we noticed that some kids wearing ragged clothes, looking starved for long, came running towards the car to sell coloring books, car cleaning clothes etc. We offered them some money, not wanting to buy the books. Very innocently, they threw the books inside our car from the window and went running to the next signal to continue their job. Every time, we pass this signal, this is a heart breaking experience we usually go through and we end up feeling sorry for those less fortunate kids.

Offering some money to them at the signal definitely does not solve their problem. We have only seen a sample of them, and so many of them suffering from poverty like this or worse than this.

Blogadda’s initiative:

Blogadda and Akshaya Patra came up with a fabulous initiative of “Blog to Feed a child”. For every blog entry Blogadda will feed one Akshaya Patra beneficiary for a whole year and how could I not do my part!! I started researching about this topic and I was taken aback by some of the statistics:

Statistics:

  • India is home to a quarter of all undernourished people worldwide.
  • India ranks 136th out of 186 countries in the 2013 UNDP Human Development Index and 94th out of 119 countries in the Global Hunger Index.                                           

   (Source : here)

  • 836 million Indians survive on less than Rs. 20 (less than half-a-dollar) a day.
  • Over 20 crore Indians will sleep hungry every night.

     (Source: here)

and many more heart breaking facts……

Akshaya Patra’s emergence:

“A hungry belly has no ears”. It is unfortunate that in India, we still have many children who are struggling to have one time meal. Right to food is a human right and all human beings deserve to be served with adequate food, and especially the kids. Keeping this as a trigger, the first mid day meal program was started by Thiru K.Kamaraj, then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, first in Chennai and later extended it to all districts of Tamil Nadu way back in 1962-1963.

As per supreme court’s decision, in 2001, all government and government-assisted primary schools are to provide cooked mid-day meals, which not only eradicated hunger to some extent but also encouraged the kids to attend schools.

Akshaya Patra in partnership with the Government of India and various State Governments, and inestimable support from many businesses, philanthropic donors and well-wishers, is the world’s largest (not-for-profit run) mid-day meal programme serving wholesome food to over 1.4 million children from 10,661 schools across 10 states in India.

Headquartered in Bangalore, India, Akshaya Patra was started by Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami when one fine day he saw a heart-breaking incident of  a group of children fighting with stray dogs over scraps of food in 2000. Since its inception, the organization has worked towards reaching more children with wholesome food on every single school day.  More about them:  www.akshayapatra.org

Our responsibility:

As every weekend approach,we as urban middle class group are exposed to swanky shopping malls, are on a google hunt to find out the best eateries and interested in exploring various cuisines across the globe. At the same time,out there is a set of population who is struggling to sleep with at least a full stomach with basic food.

“Little drops make an ocean”. If we all take an oath to contribute a little towards this noble cause, the hunger and malnutrition in kids who are struggling can be reduced to some extent.

Some things I personally vouch for:

  1. Teach children at home to show gratitude for having their share of food, and the importance of getting a full meal. Let them be aware of people who cannot afford for a full meal so that they do not waste food. Not only children, it applies to all of us as well. After all, charity begins at home.
  2. With no hard offense to anyone in specific, I totally don’t believe in the abhishekams done to the idols / movie stars. I understand that there is a certain sentiment behind it, but I am sure even that the supernatural power or the super star would be happy seeing you donating food to a lesser privileged person than pouring gallons  of milk over them.
  3. Large corporates/ gated communities can initiate movements, like 5 rupee / 10 rupee movement. In the corporates where the strength exceeds more than 10K employees, if each employee contributes 10 rupees in a month, it amounts to 1 Lakh in a month, 12 lakhs in an year , 10 such corporates, 120 Lakhs in an year. I am sure that is a huge amount to be donated.
  4. In events like marriages, receptions, the amount of food wastage is so huge. At the least, if even the  left over food is donated, it would make a great meal to the kids.
  5. Last but not the least, we can donate. Please look at Akshya Patra’s link here to know more about how we can contribute.

As I was writing this blog post, I  had an apple, I gave chocolates to my son and offered coffee to my husband. Each time, only those pictures of the unfortunate kids and statistics flashed in my mind and I think I am motivated from the bottom of my heart to do my bit. Hope you all do it as well, sharing some of the heart-touching  pictures:

 120216-india-hunger-01.660;660;7;70;0 hunger-2 hunger-3 hunger-4 hunger-5 hunger-6Images source: Google

I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild

with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda.

Bubye Expectations!!!

“One morning  a dog comes running to a grocery store. It has a paper slip in his mouth in which it was written as 1 L milk. Surprised grocery shop keeper gives the dog a packet of milk and follows to see what the dog does next. It then walks towards the newspaper stall, selects the English newspaper his master reads, blissfully starts walking towards his house

The curious shop keeper follows him. The dog crosses the road carefully, waits at the railway gate, jumps the steps, reaches home and opens the big iron gate and finally knocks the door. The master opens the door and starts yelling at the dog and gives him a tight kick. The astonished shop keeper walks towards the master and asks him why the hell was he hitting the dog, when it did everything so perfect, for which the master gracefully replies, “I ask him to take the keys every day to open the door by himself, but he does not” “.

This is the story we have been hearing about since ages, and is a true example of expectations. The master of the dog had great expectations on him, while the shopkeeper felt that the dog was good enough to do the work equal to that of a human being. In a nutshell, the master is disappointed as his expectations are not met.

When I apply this thought to my life, it transforms into a straight answer for me.

tangytuesday

Expectations!!! Disappointments!!

When we expect our life to be wonderful, perfect and realize that there is a gap in between the expectations and the reality, we end up in disappointments, frustrations, anger, sorrow. Look at some of the quotes I find interesting in this regard:

exp2 exp3 exp4 exp5 I love reading self help books and enjoy introspecting deep into some hard realities of life. When it comes to expectation, like most of us, I have also gone through the rough phase of expectations, disappointments,anger, frustrations and slowly trying to change the perspective towards this. In this process, sharing  few universally accepted truths with this post:

Turn Expectation into Aspiration : Often we are so engrossed in expectations, that we live in the world of self assumed goals, we pressurize ourselves so hard that we forget to enjoy little nuances of life. One golden rule for setting this right is to turn the expectation to aspiration. There lies a significant difference between expectation and aspiration, which we usually overlook.

Aspiration is completely  in our hands while expectation is something on which we have no control over. When we aspire to do something, we are leaving the experience open ended, leaving no scope for disappointments if not achieved. For instance, we can aspire to live in a luxury house, and so we are not disappointed not living in one and hope to live at some point of time. On the other hand, if we expect to live in a luxury house, and if it does not come true, we are mellowed deep down, feeling frustrated, undermine our capabilities and the rest of the feelings come cyclic one after the other.

Turning expectations to aspirations is surely possible by practicing it over a period of time, by introspecting the positive and negative effects of a situation.

Count the realities: We often expect our family members and friends to behave in a certain way and when they don’t, we feel utterly disappointed and get angry at them. And the root cause is not because of us or them, it is because of OUR expectation towards them. Doesn’t it sound foolish?

On a regular day, let us observe the actions that make us happy, sad, angry, disappointed and let us introspect how we react to various situations, what makes us feel bad? Is it an expectation from someone else, which is clearly not in our hands? There is no point in whining around for situations which are not under our control, rather we can invest the wonderful time in exploring ourselves better.

Adapt : Expectations come from a sub conscious mind. We cannot have a total control over them. But, we can certainly control our emotions, our attitude towards it. Adapt to the situation, inculcate the feeling of being happy when it is achieved and also at the same time, feeling absolutely okay if it is not achieved. There is always a next time and it is not the end of the road.

Say Goodbye: I know it is very difficult, but it would be really great if we can all say goodbye to expectations. Take life as it comes and try to find happiness in our destined life. When we say goodbye, we are not setting a standard to ourselves, we are totally open and enlightened to accept life as it comes to us. That is the stage of total satisfaction and if we are able to achieve it, there is no doubt that we have converted ourselves into a divine form of happy energy.

Easier said than done, I am in the phase of grooming myself to achieve the divine form of satisfied life, and in the process sharing a few thoughts. One very important thing I learnt is

“It is difficult to live without expectation, but it is good not be too hard on oneself. If the expectations are not reached,we do not have to get morbidly insane. Just accept it the way it is, and live with it.” Do you agree?

Joy of Defeat

As my son is growing into a naughty boy from an innocent toddler, I am in the phase of enjoying my defeats in tussles with him. Every day in our arguments, either he wins or I lose. Last evening, we had to do a practice session for “Show and Tell” activity that was to be conducted in his school.

The topic was “My favorite toy” and he determined  to talk about a car and very definitely only about a new one. He was very sure only a new car can make him deliver his speech and so he insisted on buying a new one. As an obsessed mother, I could not say no to it and finally we ended buying a new yellow car.

I was very excited to teach him simple speech about a car. Speech as fancied by me was:

“Good morning Friends. My favorite toy is a car. This car is yellow in color and it has four wheels. I love driving my car. Thank you. Have a nice day!!”

I believe in memory retention, and was completely sure he would memorize and deliver a good speech at school. Snippets of conversation we had:

Me: “Dheer, you have Show and Tell tomorrow at school, what are you going to talk about?”

Dheer: “I am going to talk about my new yellow car”

Me: “Hmm…why don’t you talk about the old car?” ( Thinking I asked him a tough question !!)

Dheer: “ For Show and Tell, we should talk only about new car, not the old” ( Stressing it enough for me to understand)

Me: “Ok fine, let us start practicing speech about car. You have to say Good morning friends ……driving my car”

Dheer: “Yes Amma, but I will not tell here. I will tell only in school”

Me: “Okay Dheer, but we need to practice it here”

Dheer: “Ma’am told me all kids will speak only once. So, I will speak once in school amma, not at home”

Naughtiness strikes!! I decided to counter attack  this time.

Me: “ You know what, I have show n Tell at my office tomorrow, let us practice the speech together”

Dheer: “ Is it? You also have, I too have it in school. Okay, you tell, I will listen”

With a hope that he will repeat after listening, I started saying the speech aloud.

Me: “ Good morning friends ……….I love driving my car”

Dheer: “ Amma, you don’t know how to drive a car, how can you say that” ( Least bothered about repeating the speech leave alone memorizing )

I gracefully agreed my defeat and appa joins to rescue me.

Appa : “Dheer, I will say the speech for Show and Tell, you correct  me if I am wrong”

Dheer: “ Do you also have show and tell in office?” (with curious eyes!!)

Appa: “ Yes dear. Good morning friends. My favorite toy is a bus” ( deliberately making mistakes for him to correct it)

Dheer: “Hahaha!!! Appa does not know how to talk about car” ( By this time, he was very sure that he does not want to repeat the speech at home)

Appa continuing to make mistakes with a hope that he would correct “I love dancing in the bus”

Dheer: “Hahaha!!! You should also say Thank you friends. Have a great day. Good night every one” and gracefully dozes off to sleep.

collage-dheer.jpg

Sometimes it is good to leave the kids all by themselves. They need not be restricted, they have clear thoughts in their minds and are very sure of what they want to do. One such incident is this.

As parents, we tend to get excessively possessive about our kids. I have seen many parents who do “over board” parenting. Personally, I feel If kids make mistakes while coloring a picture, if one of the projects turns out to be messier, it is perfectly acceptable. Allow them to make mistakes, grow by themselves and let us enjoy the joy of defeat. I am sure we all believe in the age old saying “Experience is the best teacher”. Let them learn from their experiences.

Happy children’s day to all the kids. Enjoy being kids.

Also linking this to “Shankhnaad for happy children” . Read my other articles about children here.

This is a wonderful initiative by my blogger friend Kiran, more about it here

SFC2

Love remains intact

Destiny it was, calamity alas!!

Preyed into the jaws of death, loving souls bereave the earth

It was not a myth, it was the rebirth

They incarnate as insects, love remains intact.

jaws-of-death(32 words)

This post is Linked to the Fiction Challenge ‘From 15 to 50′. Please visit the blog here

Child is the father of the man

When in my high school, I was one of the privileged school girls who got a chance to sing the prayer song in the microphone from the Principal’s cabin. Every day was a proud moment to enter the hall which had many small proverbs, medals and paintings. Among all these, was hidden a saying “ Child is the father of the man”. When I read that, there was no day I was convinced about it, sometimes, I even felt it was a foolish adage, how can a child be the father? hmmm…I laughed to myself.

Today, as a mother, my perspective towards the age old saying is completely transformed. The saying makes so much meaning, this transformation taught me myriad lessons of life. Motherhood is divine, this made me strongly believe the fact that this is the way nature is teaching us to be better human beings, learned selves. Sharing some of the lessons I learnt from my son in this processing of growing up together.

True emotions: The way he laughs his head off with shaking tummy is just so incredible. The emotions are so true and expressive. Often I observe that kids don’t mind crying loud in a shopping mall, or laughing loud from the rest room, they are just true.  While we as adults are trying to falsify our emotions and be good to ourselves and to the rest of the world, kids are happy being themselves and being true.

Innocence: The innocent way in which my son trusts that we can get chocolates only when we say “aam-boom-bush” is just too divine. Kids have the highest order of innocence, not being aware of this unruly world that is awaiting their growth. It is unfortunate that we adults are considered lame if we are innocent and so we make rampant efforts to mask ourselves from this big bad world.

Confidence: So many times I felt my heart in my mouth when my son does a somersault on the sofa. I could virtually hear the heartbeat as loud as a drum beat. But, he is confident. He knows how to jump and where to take control. Even he fails, he quickly gathers himself and gives the next attempt. That is the definition of confidence, I learnt from him.

Adaptation: I joined back my work when my son was as young as 5 months and since then, he is unperturbed by the fact that Mommy spends only an hour or two with him in a day .While I am still struggling to stomach this fact, he relishes the time spent and adapts to the situation effortlessly.

Happiness: My son has taught me that happiness can be found in small gestures. Small things like coloring a picture properly, eating french fries gives him immense happiness.. As adults we are failing to find happiness even in little good gestures of life. We are greedy to earn more, live more and are busy thinking about tomorrow that we are forgetting to live today.

This children’s day, let us take an oath to keep the child in us alive. Let us pledge to be true and not be ashamed to be innocent, let us adapt to the situations and find true happiness in little gestures of life. “Happy Children’s day” to all the children who are hidden in the form of adults, and of course to all the lovely children who are teaching adults wonderful lessons of life.

Also linking this to “Shankhnaad for happy children” . Read my other articles about children here.

This is a wonderful initiative by my blogger friend Kiran, more about it here

SFC2

Quick, Quikr, Quickest!!

Hey, did you notice the title? Yes, I spelt the word quicker as quikr, as that is how the shopping experience in quikr has been, so quicker!!

The tune “quikr, quikr” (Singing) has always been fresh on my mind. Though I saw their colorful flex posters, all throughout the city, I did not bother much to shop at their website until last week, when blogadda announced a contest for a sponsored shopping on quikr. Who would not want to shop when it is divinely sponsored ? I was right up there :-). More about the contest here

Blogadda has shortlisted 100 bloggers out of the all the applicants and I was one among them. Thank you blogadda for considering me worth it and so here goes my post about my experience of shopping with quikr.

Logging into quikr (www.quikr.com) and creating an account was as easy as buying a candy at a local store. The first login prompted to select my city.

Pic1

Most of the cities were marked in the list, and I chose Chennai to start the shopping extravaganza.

pic2

Once I selected my city, look what I found just at the top, “download the app”, what better way to flaunt my new iphone in this post 🙂 , I immediately downloaded my IOS app of quikr from the appstore. Just in few seconds, the app was downloaded and I was ready to make quikr my shopping partner for next quik moments!! (Yes, quick is spelt as quik)

pic3
On my phone

IMG_1045

While I was doing this, I also made a to-shop list:

  1. Dresses
  2. Tupper ware
  3. Household items
  4. Books
  5. Mobile
  6. Tablet

This list will go on if I don’t force myself to stop doing it.

Registering in quikr was just about 5 seconds, thanks for not prompting irking instructions like “password should have a combination of words, letters etc etc”. I got a confirmation email right in my inbox within next 5 seconds, with clear instructions written.

pic4At this juncture, I was not aware that the process of shopping in quikr does not even require you to register, it is simpler than that. I will explain in the post further about this.

I started looking for options. The categories were divided into 12,  It made life look so simpler now.

pic5

Vow!! Quikr is surely one stop shop for all the services. One can virtually, study ( Education and learning), get a job (Jobs), fall in love (Community & events), get married (Matrimony),plan a honeymoon (Travel agent services), give birth (Doctor services) buy a house(Real estate), have a pet (Pets & pet care), buy a vehicle (Cars & bikes), the entire life cycle of a human being is virtually mentioned here.

Out of curiosity, I tried surfing in all the categories to take a look at the span of services offered by quikr. You will not believe it till you see it below:

Slide1 (2) Slide1 (3) Slide1

Look at the amazing services they offer!!! Inspite of all these, if you do not find what you want, look what quikr has to offer, it gave me a customized free alert

pic6I spent some considerable time in  quiking around ( yes, like googling around, this is quiking, as quikr is also like an ocean) and saw all the options available. In the process, I also found some funny ads..

pic7

See the ad, murthy richards, may be brand competing with murphy richards 🙂

pic8

Camera mad in Japan or made in Japan 🙂 and it is a madical stores and not medical stores ( These ads are shared just for a laugh, not to belittle anyone in specific, Read more, you will know what I meant).

Yes, yes I am coming back to my shopping experience, I thought it was not a bad idea to take you around for a tour.

After having quiked ( Past tense of newly invented word quiking) all the criteria, I have shortlisted Home and Lifestyle. This category was neatly divided into various sub-categories.

IMG_1049

 

As an obvious choice, I chose clothing and Garments. You can check their clothing and Garments Section of Chennai here

Quikr has given me whooping 7614 results for the clothing garments section.

pic9

Out of these abundant options available, I had to shortlist  goods worth Rs.5000. This process was made easier with various options available to refine the results on the left hand side of the page.Slide1 (4)

Since my budget was fixed at 5000/- (though I would love to shop more), I refined my results with the criteria upto Rs.5000

The results were now  reduced and I got 3722 to choose from. ( Yes, I still have 3722 to choose from). Quikr also gave options of having the latest ads first ( you see the Date in the highlighted area of the photo), price of the product ( can be ascending, descending)

pic10

In the options to refine results, I find refining with sub-categories really impressive. So, I further shortlisted the results by selecting, casual and ethnic wear. Now, I am left with 2938 results

pic11

I started shortlisting the ads, there was another good feature I have to mention. Once we open the ad and we like the product, there is an option to Save the Ad, and a separate list of all the ads are saved. Good for confused shoppers like me, who want to see more and more and more before shortlisting.

pic12

I was surprised when I realized that I do not need to register on quikr for making a purchase.  (This is what I meant earlier when I mentioned about email registration), Interesting, isn’t it? Want to see how?

Once you arrive at your results, there is a reply button on the right hand side, which allows you to directly contact the seller without any need for registration. It also prompts if you would like to be the mailer list for the Email/ SMS alerts for the similar search.

pic13

pic14

I cant stop writing about good features, navigation to the next ad or back to the results was user friendly, the navigation to the next photos in the album was also just at the click of the mouse.

pic15

Now that I shortlisted couple of vendors, I started interacting with them. Most of them had detailed description of the product, with mobile numbers, email ids, personal websites.

While I was quiking on my phone ( yes, I used the word quiking again), there is a nice feature of calling the seller directly from the app. I have highlighted in the photograph below:

IMG_1041

After quiking through several pages, talking to couple of vendors, I finalized two sellers and we had great conversations on whatsapp. One of them was sweet enough to bear with me when I asked for more varieties. She sent me about close to 80 choices to choose from and finally I have shortlisted two of them.

Sharing some of the snippets of the discussions we had

IMG_1026 IMG_1029

After long discussions and elaborate choices, I selected a saree from one of the sellers and two anarkalis from another vendor. (yippe!!! I defined it as an extended shopping for Diwali so that my husband dear do not deny buying new ones for upcoming New Year and Pongal)

Adding to my pleasant experience, next morning, the courier was delivered to my home and the saree was in my hands. I had always shied away from shopping online for dresses, but now I am very confident that I found a good online shopping partner for the same. My son was more excited than me, blame the genes  🙂

IMG_1055

IMG_1093

 

Overall, it was a great experience shopping with quikr. It had the options of calling a seller, meeting, emailing, whatsapping, as per our convenience to make a purchase sitting comfortably in  my couch at my home. In fact, some of the sellers offered to come home with their stocks so that I can make a choice.

Pros of shopping with Quikr:

Quikr is a great platform for all the individuals who cannot afford for a retail outlet. Some of  the sellers could not have the basic spellings in place (This was what I meant with those mispelt ads) , but are using this platform to expose themselves to a wider audience, which is a great encouraging experience for budding entrepreneurs.

Gone are those days, when we did not have a clue of what to be done with unused goods at home, today we have a modern day genie called quikr. Instead of moving an used article to the lofts, move it to quikr and sell it quicker. Lazy husbands be aware, ladies of your house  might  even click your picture and sell it on quikr :p

Budgeting shopping. Not at all times, we would be willing to splash thousands of rupees to own a commodity. Sometimes, when it is for a temporary purpose, we might look at used goods for the clouds to pass by. Quikr is one such avenue, where we can choose the goods we want, at the price we want, in the condition we want.

And finally, our difficulties to find a parking lot, billing ques are answered. Shopping is just a click away now!!

Cons:

Too much of anything is too bad, Yes, I had so many choices to choose, which left me confused and had to take an opinion poll with my friends and family.

Some of the ads posted are not genuine. Quikr can do an initial verification before the ads are placed to check the authenticity.

Some sellers still keep their ads active, though the product was sold out. Keeping a check of this would save time for the buyers.

Thanks blogadda for giving me this opportunity to shop with quikr.

Little information about Quikr: Quikr is one of the India’s largest online and mobile classifieds portals based in Mumbai, India. Quikr was launched on 12 July 2008 and is currently present in 900 cities across India. Quikr provides the local community with a platform to help them buy, sell, rent and find something and address needs across many categories. These categories numbering over 12 and sub-categories over 140 range from Mobiles, real estate, cars, services, jobs, entertainment, furniture, electronics etc.(Source: wikipedia)

Now that my gifts arrived, my little son is questioning me when he would get his gifts from quikr? @Blogadda, any new contests??

This post is a part of Quikr.com activity at BlogAdda.com

IMG_1093.JPG