Friday, May 31, 2013

A Child's Self Image

This post was first published on Parentous.

Height: I am of an average height; my mother is a little shorter. All through my growing up years, she was almost obsessed about my height. Her worst fears were that I would not grow up even as tall as her. In retrospect, I am convinced she had to listen to a lot of taunts about her own height and therefore, she did not want her daughter to go through that.

Teeth: Same goes about my teeth. I don’t have a perfect jaw line. I had been taken to an orthodontist but somehow never got around to getting braces because I lived in a small place. The dentist tried to convince my mother that braces would significantly improve my side profile (rolling my eyes).

Complexion: I am wheatish.

No, she was not nursing any dreams of sending me to a beauty pageant. Those were just the concerns of a well-meaning, conventional mother of a girl. I am sure you would have come across many such mothers or parents. It is not unusual in this country.
Throughout my teenage years, I have been made conscious, directly or indirectly, about how I did not match up to the common perceptions of perfect beauty, but moreover, how it was important (in the marriage market).

Today, none of those things matter to me. It never even crosses my mind. So, the issues which took my mind space for a significant amount of time in those years eventually have no bearing on my life. It did only harm to my self-image.

Those thoughts are the basis of this post: self-image or self-worth of our children, and our role as a parent.

Self-image, self-worth or self-esteem is related to “a person’s overall emotional evaluation of his or her own worth”. Healthy self-image of children can take them through many unfavourable life-situations. The role of parents is extremely critical in children’s life in developing a positive self-image. Often, parents’ insecurities get passed on to their children (as was evident in my own case).

Parents should be aware and careful about what they say to and around children, whether it is about themselves or about the children. If you have a poor self-image or body-issues, it should not come as a surprise that your child may have them too.

Of course, self-image may alter later in life with influence of friends or interactions with other people, but certainly, the foundations are laid in the initial years of a child’s life when he/she spends most of his/her time in the proximity of parents.

Children who are confident about themselves and know that they are loved unconditionally (by their parents), can also stand up against the negative peer pressure because they are not needy of acceptance.

Look at how advertising is unabashedly and aggressively promoting the idea of physical beauty being the parameter for acceptance. Now imagine what it will do to an adolescent who is already in a state of confusion and self-discovery. It needs a tremendous amount of self-belief to not get sucked into this make-believe world.

So, what are your thoughts?
Do you also think we should resist the temptation of gushing over the pretty little faces?

Read my other published articles HERE. 

May Photo A Day : Day 31: Four Things

Needless to say, I will use every opportunity to talk about books. Here are the four books which I am going to review on my book blog soon.

To the uninitiated, I have a separate blog for book reviews, recommendations, current offers etc, called Recommend Books. I buy books like Becky Bloomwood from Shopaholic series buys clothes and shoes. For the last one year or so I have been getting a lot of review copies too. I don't get enough time to even read those, but still I buy books whenever I want to do something exciting. Buying books is my instant pick-me-up.

I also make note of every Book Sale in town, though there aren't many. I have taken the little one to Book Sales when he was barely 3 months, all thanks to hubby. Despite the fact that my two bookshelves and the many other bookshelves around the house are soon going to give away because of the weight of the books, my hubby still indulges my fancies by taking me to whichever book sale I ask him to. 

In last 2 months, I bought 6 books from Landmark in '3-for-2' offer. I also grabbed 3 from Crossword Sale. I ordered 8 books as a gift for myself on my birthday. I will perhaps update this post by a picture of all those books one of these days :-)

By the way, I am hosting a Book Giveaway on my book blog. If you are interested in winning a fiction based on women-centric issue called 'Sea of Innocence' by Kishwar Desai, follow this link.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 30: Tool

My favourite tool is the one I use for Surfing Internet: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Initially, when Samsung Galaxy Tab was launched, I was keenly following the news to buy it for my husband as an anniversary or birthday gift. He is a gadget-freak. He also favours Samsung over other brands. But I wanted to wait for a while to see how it was doing in the market. This, I think, was in 2009 or early 2010. 
But, then I decided to quit my job, and my whole perception and budget for the gifts changed :-)
Eventually, my very thoughtful husband bought this on Dhanteras (auspicious day, usually 2 days prior to Diwali) of 2011 so that I could conveniently surf internet, while attending to our baby son (he was around 3 months at that time). From that time till now, I would always be found around the house with my precious Tab. 

This birthday, he gifted me a laptop because it was difficult to write articles on Tab. So, now I mostly favour laptop but still Tab is extremely convenient if one has to only surf the net or read.

I am yet to read e-books on it but very soon I am planning to buy a few e-books. It will be far convenient to carry a Tab while travelling. Anybody has experience of using e-book readers or even Tab for that matter for e-books?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 29: Kiss

So, here's the Kiss.

The book is 'One Day' by David Nicholls. Have you heard about this book? Read about it here. It has been made into a movie and the edition featured in the picture is a movie tie-in. Here's the Wikipedia page of the movie.

I think I came across this book on Amazon, read the blurb and got hooked but it was very expensive on all Indian sites, somewhere around Rs 300-400. So, I actually waited (very unusual of me). I chanced upon this one while looking to buy in '3-for-2' offer at Landmark. The other 2 were: 'Room' by Emma Donoghue and 'The Lovely Bones' by Alice Sebold.

BOOK GIVEAWAY: Sea Of Innocence by Kishwar Desai
"Once you start reading it, you won't be able to put it down." - Khushwant Singh
And now rules of the Giveaway have been made super-simple. What are you waiting for? Hop over to this link and participate to win 'Sea Of Innocence' by Kishwar Desai

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 28: What You're Doing Now

With the limited time I have and a hundred things to do, I am always in a dilemma about what to do first. So, guess what I am doing now? I am in a fix whether to write more posts or blog hop and gorge on lovely pictures on all the other blogs or read my unfinished book which I need to review ASAP. 

By the way, I am giving away the much-awaited third book by the bestselling author Kishwar Desai 'Sea Of Innocence'. I am dying to start that book. I had absolutely loved her last 2 books. Both were on topical issues and absolute page turners. The first one 'Witness the Night' was on female infanticide while the second one 'Origins of Love' was on Surrogacy. So, what are you waiting for? Participate here. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 27: Can't Live Without

Them. Those two people in the picture. One, is not related to me by blood. The other, I haven't known even for 2 years. And yet, life is incomplete without them. Can't live without my husband and my son.

The picturesque place, in the photo, is the private beach of Blue Ocean Resort and Spa,Ganpatipule. If you have not been to Ganpatipule, highly recommended for the super clean beach.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 26: Fave Thing To Do On Sunday

I have already ranted several times here about my obsession with books and passion for reading. I have another hobby which I absolutely love. If I got on to doing one, I forget eating and sleeping...used to...sigh!

If not reading, my favourite thing to do on a Sunday is to make collage or update my scrapbook. I have made a scrapbook, which you can say is a physical form of Pinterest. I cut out my favourite things (mostly related to interiors and home accessories) and paste in this. I have cut out newspaper in same size to make pages for this scrapbook. The cover page is some special issue cover of Elle tied with an old rakhi thread. The colored cut-outs which I paste on this stand out remarkably against the black and white newsprint. My scrapbook is featured on right-handside in the picture.

This is another reason why I never throw away my magazines. There are gorgeous pictures in them. I made a huge wall collage for my husband on our First Anniversary. Apart from pictures, there are several knick-knacks cut-out from the magazines. Another time, I made a collage of book-covers. I did not cut the cover pages of my books, rather hunted across these magazines for book cover images (which feature in book review pages). I have made the collage and framed it in canary yellow frame. It will look good in my future home library ;-)

Yet another time, when we were getting our kitchen done; I started another hunt in these magazines for inspirations. 

I especially hoard the interior magazines. The space and accessories featured are so beautiful that I never have the heart to throw them. I have also discovered a lot of quirky stores through those magazines.

So, my favourite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon would be to sit with all the things featured in the picture above and work on it. It is a huge stress-buster for me. But I have not done this for quite sometime now because remember, I have a toddler at home, who asks for exactly the things I pick up. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 25: Us

From friends to best friends, from batchmates to soulmates, from life-partners to co-parents...we have come a long way. This is Us. Though we have a bundle of joy in our lives now but 'us' still means him and me.

I still remember the day, I really met him for the first time: 14th August 2003. First year of our MBA, within first few days of joining. A bunch of us became close friends, exploring the city in our new found freedom. Somewhere two of us became best friends. Our friendship was that space where I was free to be myself, without being judged for any emotion. I used to pass notes to him on tissue papers while eating out with friends. People around us assumed what we learnt later, that we were in love - he realized first, I discovered later.

He promised me the day we committed to each other that he would take care of me. That day and this day, he hasn't forgotten his promise. He has held me in every failure, in every success, in every disappointment, in every joy. 

I have thanked God, at every single opportunity for blessing me with such a life partner because believe me, it is destiny. 

To Us!

Note: This picture is from our trip to Kashid beach near Pune in October 2012

Friday, May 24, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 24: Go

I have to admit. This has been the toughest prompt for me so far. I have been clueless the entire day. But a chance chatting with Smita, and one thing led to another, and this idea popped into my mind.

Yesterday, I was cleaning (as always) some nook of my house and I found some old issues of 'Go Pune'. And it fit the bill :-)

'Go Pune' is a city guide for Pune city. It has listings of err...let me have a look...astrologers to bookshops, beauty salons to car rentals, hospitals to restaurants, and so on. I buy these sometimes from bookstores and after that forget all about it. They are kept under some pile of books or magazines, discovered time and again during one of the cleaning sprees. All the information it has, is already on the internet, and it is much easier to search on the internet by the click of a finger.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 23: PJs

I found today's prompt PJs (Pajamas), the toughest one. PJ was not even left to be interpreted in your own way. So, no creative liberty was going to save my day. I was certainly not going to show myself in PJs because I would have to shoot myself aesthetically. Therefore, I decided, I will post a picture of the little one.

I had to hunt through the huge bank of photos to finally zero in on this one. This picture was taken in January this year. There is something very fascinating about broom, for kids. They are instinctively attracted to one. The thing is he sees the maid do jhadu-pocha everyday and mimics her whenever possible.

Many times during the day, when just the two of us are at home; I let him take the jhadu and do what he wants to do.

So, here is my picture for today's prompt: the (little) man on a mission in his PJs :-)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 22: Change

After giving so much gyaan on our group on how I had an idea to capture "change" in a photo, I decided to take a short-cut on this one.

My husband is obsessed with Rooh-afza these days. So, I thought may be I will make use of some, and show it mixing with water and the transition in the colour of the water. In theory, it sounded good but then I flipped when I actually had to do it.

Incidentally, I had quite a lot of change on me, so I thought 'why not!' Technically, my picture is still about "change". There is something called 'Creative Liberty', isn't there?

I am finicky about having enough cash and change with me, before I step out of home (even for just an evening stroll inside the society). I hate going out with just cards, and I always tell my husband to always follow that too. The reason being you never know when you would need cash immediately. In India, as you know, in a lot of places people refuse to take card and ask for cash. 

It is also not enough to just have cash, you need to have the lower denominations too. So,  I have this habit of taking change from wherever possible in my transactions. I will first offer a bigger note, if there is no way I am getting away with that, then only I hand over the change. I hoard change. And therefore, what you see in the picture is what I am carrying in my wallet at the moment, all of it.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 21: I Care About This

My Books!

There is a rule in the house which I try to make everyone (read hubby) follow: everything has a place and there is a place for everything, except books (which my husband reminded me when I kept nagging him about few of his things lying around for a few hours). He pointed out the many books and magazines I have all over the place. 

Ah, I digress!

I deeply care about my books. In the picture you can see one of my bookshelves. My favourite timepass is to organize / reorganize books, and stand in front of my bookshelf and look at the wonderful collection I have. Until some time back, when my shelves were not overflowing like this (double parking, as you can see), they were divided as per genres. Even now, to some extent, I maintain that.

The top most shelf has biographies, autobiographies and memoirs. The bottom-most has mythology inspired literature; and so on.

Earlier I would also take them all out in the balcony for airing. Even now, cleaning my bookshelves (or cleaning in general) is therapeutic for me.

You would also not find my books lying around. They are handled and kept properly.

Even this bookshelf was a gift from my husband. We had been discussing about getting a new bookshelf identical in dimensions and look as our wardrobe so that we could keep it in our bedroom; but I could never imagine that he would do all the planning, get it perfectly made and also get it delivered at 12 am on my birthday. When somebody came at 12 o'clock and my husband ushered me into another room, I thought it would be the usual birthday cake but this was out of the world. It has been the best gift of my life yet. It still gives me the thrills :-)

Monday, May 20, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 20: Light

When I saw today's prompt 'Light', I could just think of this picture, or the one I had already posted in 'Need'.

You know what these are, right? These are the Diwali lights. I have no idea what they are called but they are the simple string lights which we usually put up during Diwali outside our homes. 

It will alternately light up in red, green, yellow and blue colours in a loop. They are simple and yet look very flattering. 

This picture was taken the day after Diwali in 2011. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 19: My Favourite View

I know it is getting boring for everyone here since I keep posting the permutations and combinations of either Books or Tea. But, what to do, I am kind of predictable :)

Here's a picture from today. I received this bunch in last 2 days, some are on the way. Nothing perks me up more than a bunch of freshly-delivered books of my choice. Whenever I am feeling depressed or bored, I order a couple of books and I instantly start feeling good. My husband's lucky no? I don't have expensive hobbies!

So, how does it look? Drool-worthy?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 18: Want

I thought long and hard, what do I really, really Want! I am focusing on materialistic things so that I can easily get pictures :)

A bigger house, a bigger car, more money, more vacations, designer clothes, shoes, jewellery? But I really don't care much about any of those things because there is really no end to 'bigger' things.

What I Want is a wonderful Home Library. It has been communicated well and enough number of times to the hubby. Since he sometimes cribs about books and magazines all over our place, so it was easier to get him around the idea. With my own home library, most of the books and magazines will be here. 

I have put together a mood board for my dream home library. The photographs have been sourced from Pinterest and Google. The image is a Screen Capture. 

I love the cozy feel of the room, with enough outside light and focused lights for reading. I have added some accessories which I love - paper print cushion covers, colourful framed Maps, framed famous quotes from books and interesting bookends.

Needless to say, I am passionate about books. I have much more than I can ever read, and I keep buying more and more despite the fact that I receive a lot of books for reviews too. But is there a thing called enough books for a book lover? It is a legacy or a retirement plan, call whatever you may :)

Friday, May 17, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 17: Season

My favourite season is Winter.

It took me quite sometime to find pictures which would in some way depict Winters.The pictures are from our anniversary in 2010. The place is Mahabaleshwar.

And since it is a Winter picture, it would be incomplete without tea, so added one from the same trip. 

To come to think of it, that was our last vacation as a couple :-)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 16: Mailbox

I am a letter-person. I love getting and writing letters (now sadly emails). 

Throughout my growing up years till the time I was at home, my dad used to be my letterbox. I used to give him all my letters to post / courier as the Post Office was next to his Office. So, the first time I really posted the letter myself in the red letterbox, I was not sure whether I had done it correctly or whether that box was ever opened in the first place :-)

When I went to college, which was the first time I ventured out of home, I would wait for letters from friends. We would write really long letters, sometimes 7-8 pages of long notebook, even fight over who wrote a longer letter and who replied with a short one. Our letters would be conversational. We would write about everything that was going on, send greeting cards on birthdays and friendship days. Even after college, when I was in different cities and e-mails had not become such a regular part of life; I would write and wait for letters. The sight of the post man would be full of anxiety, if he had anything for me!

Now, at home, I check my letterbox below my building when it is time to get my magazines. I am as big a freak of magazines as I am of books. I have a whole bunch of them subscribed. And much to my husband's dismay, I hoard magazines too.

In this picture are the two Mailboxes in my life at the moment. The left-hand one is really a piggy bank of my husband, from his growing up years. I don't know how it got here but it is really cute, so adorns my bookshelf. The other one is of course, the society letterbox and I love it when it is full of the latest issues of my magazines. 

So, how did you find my Mailbox(es)?

Note: I really want to get back to writing letters now. They are irreplaceable and not as cold as e-mails/messages/whatsapps.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 15: 7o'clock

At 7o'clock in the Mornings, I am usually asleep, barring a few days when I get healthy lifestyle attack. I go to sleep really late - sometimes 1,2, even 3 am. I know it is an extremely unhealthy practice and I am soon going to get back to my original habit of getting up early. But with a toddler for company all the time, this is the only time I get for myself. He wakes up at whatever time I wake up in the morning and all plans go for a toss. 

At 7o'clock in the Evenings, many times my hubby comes back from office. And the first thing we do is have my special chai. He loves it and I anyways love it all the time. 
He says every single time "bohot achchi bani hai". To which I answer every single time "only for you".
Presenting our steaming hot cups of tea at 7 in the evening.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 14: Need

I need Faith, that eventually everything will fall into place and everything will be alright.

This picture is from Diwali 2011. I think with the lamp in focus and the clay idols of Laxmi and Ganesh in the background, this picture depicted faith on the higher power. 

I am not a religious person but when I am stuck in a really difficult situation, I always believe in a higher power above who will take care of me. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 13: Sunrise / Sunset

After looking at absolutely gorgeous pictures on all the blogs, I am not even trying to compete in this.  

So, I picked up a picture which had some added character to it, beyond Sunset.

This picture dates back to 2009. This Sunset has been clicked through the Summer Palace, Udaipur. 

When I was working, I would watch sunset every day from my seat, but I could never click it. However, it is the Sunrise which perks me up the most. Beginning the day by watching a Sunrise has so much positivity to it. But with each day, my waking up time is being pushed further and further because it is only at night time I am able to sit at leisure to do all the pending work. 
Here you can read my memories related to the Sunrise.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 12: Mother

As a policy, I never share any personal photographs on my blog because it is too public a space for my liking. I cannot tell you how many times, these past days, I have drafted posts with personal photographs and deleted them. 

This one time, I give in. This picture was taken exactly a year back. In the picture is my son, with his Mother :-)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 11: A Smile

You see that doll? It always brings a smile on my face whenever I see her (apart from the fact that she is also smiling).

Well, the story goes like this. My  brother was visiting my place, when he saw this doll. He laughed so hard, and said who would ever gift anyone this ugly doll? Who would buy this in the first place?

I said sheepishly, "Well, the hubby did, on my birthday, because he found her cute."
On second thoughts, I am thankful my hubby did not say "she reminds me of you".
But now I have quite warmed upto her, and ain't she looking cute here?

Friday, May 10, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 10: Star

After raking my brains and hunting around the house for 3 days, hubby dear came to rescue. I loved the concept and the end result.  

Concept and photograph are by my husband. What I would do without him :-)

This is star-shaped ice in a glass by the way (just to clarify).
And this has been achieved by using kiddo's 'shape sorter' toy.
You like?

Thursday, May 09, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 9: Snack

Made by a dear friend, devoured by all of us on New Year's Eve 2012

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 8: Shape

I am a no makeup person and a no perfume person but I had this bottle of Azzaro Now for Women (perfume) gifted by my brother few years back. It has the most interesting shape of anything I have.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 7: Something Beginning With F

F for Fast Food and F for Fork!

The whole day I kept planning to do something else, but in the last minute brainstorming hubby dear gave me this idea. I liked it a lot because hopefully it hasn't been done yet :-)

I added kiddo's forks as accessories, and luckily it also starts with 'F'.

Note:As suggested, putting up bigger pictures from now on.

Monday, May 06, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 6: Broken

This is the good-old drum beating toy which we all used to have in our childhood. So, we thought our kiddo must also have one. We bought this from a stall while visiting a beach town. And it immediately clicked with the little one. He loved it.

One fine day, curiosity got the better of him, and he thought pulling the hands and drum out would be a great idea. Since my husband is good at putting things together again and so that we don’t get into the habit of throwing everything that is broken or torn, I saved it.

Now once in a while the little one pulls out this toy and insists we make him do "dug-dug" again. And I keep telling him that he is the one who did “ye haath mujhe de de thakur” to the poor thing.  

Sunday, May 05, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 5: Paper

Every year on our Anniversary I make a Photo Gift for my husband. Although there are several options of photo gifts available now, I like to make it with my hands because it looks and feels more thoughtful and personalized. Moreover, I love doing photo collages in various forms.
On the Second Anniversary, I made this little desktop calendar for him. I got a set of thick paper sheets and stuck yellow and maroon colored paper with golden flower motifs on it. Then I cut the paper into size, arranged in alternate colors. I got a printer friend to do the spiral binding of these little cards. Then, I got the printouts of the dates and our photographs. Every page has a month's dates and our black and white picture from that month, the previous year. 

It turned out extremely beautiful. He kept it on his office desk the whole year :-)

Saturday, May 04, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 4 : In My Cup

I am a hardcore tea drinker. And like all other tea drinkers, I have a fetish for fancy mugs too. 

Presenting, my kind of perfect tea (notice the colour) in an interesting mug (a souvenir from my first job at FCB Ulka, Mumbai). The mug says "Advertising is the most fun you can have with your clothes on".

This post is also nostalgic for me because my first job was in Mumbai, exactly 8 years back. And I am visiting Mumbai right now, from where I am posting.

Note: Somebody please teach me to watermark my pictures in Paint / Picture Manager

Friday, May 03, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 3 : This is Really Good!

My picture for today is of Home Made Pizza.

I don't fancy cooking but once in a while I let the reluctant cook rein over me. (It also makes sense to give the little one home-made stuff as much as possible.) On one such occasion, we (my husband and I) decided to make Pizza at home.

We bought the Pizza base from a bakery near our place. With the help of Googleji, I made tomato-based spread, and sauteed onion, capsicum, mushroom and corn in olive oil.

All I will say is I am not planning to order Pizza from outside now. 
So, dear readers (viewers), is it "good" enough?

Thursday, May 02, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 2 : Morning Ritual

I am a big one on celebrity gossip. I read it first, the main news later. I know, not a very diplomatic answer. But that's me :-)

Since I am in Mumbai at the moment and since I am a big one on Celebrity gossip. This is part of my Morning Ritual.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

May Photo A Day : Day 1 : I Bought This

Inspired by two women - Shilpa and Smita - who I look upto as bloggers, here I am, taking the May Photo A Day: A challenge that will change your life. So, basically, I, who hardly manages 3-4 posts a month, is gearing up for posting everyday this month.

It is my birthday today :-)
What better day to take up such an exciting challenge! After all, it is supposed to change my life!
Here’s my picture from my birthday. 

I am wearing this pink jacket by Quirkbox, bought from InOnIt just 2 days back. I love its quirky design and the fact that it is a beautiful accessory to wear on kurtas and T-shirts.