#MeetTheMomSeries #4 Self-Care-My antidote for Depression !!!

She is one of us, just an average, ordinary woman

a daughter, a wife & a mother

And yes, She is a braveheart too,

just like me & YOU!!”

It was one of the hottest afternoons of May that year and we were sitting in her air conditioned office eating our lunch, when I began to sweat after listening to what she just told me. She was Senior Manager in a Public Bank. Tall, skinny, slightly shrewd looks but gentle, cool & calm eyes. She held her pepper & salt hair head high gracefully & her face had an amused look. Something about her expressions told me that she was laughing at me.

I had requested for a half an hour meeting for a case study to collect some final details with her in person, on how she managed her work life balance & does she agree with the fact that emotional intelligence was important in her profession, as part of my research work. It was way past the lunch hour now. As a rule, I do my homework pretty well. I had done a research about her profile, how she started her career as a junior clerk & her first rural assignments, how she never succumbs to pressures at work (well most the times) & how motivates her team, wherever she has worked. She is amongst the most popular managers around and so, I couldn’t believe when she mentioned about her living in depression for over 3 years & more. She had a reason to look amused.

“You, depressed?? I can’t believe that you ever felt depressed in your life!!!”, I was expecting to see a twitch of pain in her eyes, when I said that. But the look on her face told me that she had already overcome this menace. And I began to wonder…

When an individual shows the signs of withdrawal and we as a family or a friend or the work groups, ignore, for choose not to notice it, we as a community fail !! But why the community? Because, we are social animals, we live in smaller closer groups called families, called friends, called cults. But when we become insensitive towards each other, an increase in such withdrawal incidences are reported as suicides. Psychiatrists say that some people have more prominent suicidal tendencies as compared to others. I am of the opinion that we all have fight or flight instincts, while most times we all fight with the situations in our best possible way and when the fight becomes too much we give up & flight. While each one of us face situations that leave us devastated, the most fortunate people seek & get comfort from family & friends, for others substance abuse comes to rescue.

“You see, the thing with depression is that it’s not like a physical illness or something that are apparent, these are only some symptoms. If you are fortunate your family, friends or close relatives will notice it, else it goes unacknowledged. While discussing with you, on how I manage my “chilled out temperament”, I must tell you that it wasn’t like this always”.

“So, what worked for you, how did you get out of depression?”, I decided to dig deeper.

“Self-Care & Self-Love!!”, she said. And I couldn’t believe what I heard, did she say SELF-LOVE?? Isn’t one supposed to love others? And when you are depressed, aren’t we supposed to think negative??

#Love- Your-Self !!

“Yes, you heard it correct. My anchor was, Self-Love !! When I was going through this ” by far the toughest” phase of my life, I had to choose either to sit & sulk or pull up myself & run. I decided to pull up myself & walk, because running was a bit difficult, I had just delivered a baby, then”, and she cracked into laughter. I was taken aback, wasn’t she supposed to feel low & negative? She had gone through a nightmarish experience in her life. But as they say, that doesn’t break you, makes you strong. And here she was sitting right in front of me, cracking jokes. She sensed my uneasiness & warned me about her sense of humor. “Life has taught me be able to laugh at myself. So here I am, laughing !! But trust me, my journey was typically like any other, not an easy one. I had my share of hardships, my insecurities & hence my learnings”.

Contrary to the common belief, when someone is feeling depressed, s/he thinks CONSTANTLY about themselves, all the time. It’s just that we become our own biggest critic!!! While misery loves company, we feed ourselves more negativity, much more than we can digest, and as a result, DIARRHOEA !!! (the intensity & frequency varies from individual to individual). I was waiting for her to explode but she went very poised, calm & at peace with herself. That confused me further.

“I hale from a small town Palakkad, in Kerala. Back then, in our community, girls were not encouraged to study beyond HSc, but I was reasonably bright & more persistent than all seven of my siblings so could pursue it further. My eldest sister died of tuberculosis, she survived by her husband & a 5 years old daughter. By then all my elders sister were married, and so my parents pushed me into marrying my Brother-In-Law who was working in Middle-East. I was only 17 years, I tried to make my parents understand that I wanted to study further after finishing my school & didn’t want to get married so soon but my parents were hellbend. For them, it made perfect sense and it was the only solution to both their problems, my niece & Me. The little girl was very attached with me & so was I.”

“The age difference between my new husband & me was over 14-15 years. Next couple of years, I had multiple miscarriages as I was not ready both physically & mentally. But just this once, I was able to retain my pregnancy for all 3 trimesters. I gave birth to a still born child !!”

“By then I had lost whatever confidence & positivity I was left with. When in hospital, many times the thought had crossed my mind to kill myself, to end this misery. There was a Malayali Nurse in the hospital who had sensed depression settling in me and made sure that I was never alone. She would ensure that I was eating well, taking my medicines & at nights would read me Bible. That love & care given was unconditional. It helped me restore my faith in myself & God.

I was only 21, with no friends to talk to, my niece was my only company. I could never get along with my husband. I was clueless & aimless of what was to happen to me, when the hell broke on us. My husband died in a road accident. There was no place for us to stay, so we came back to Palakkad, and some money with us. It was here that I picked up my life again. May be, because for the first time in my life I felt in-charge, felt capable to taking some decisions, didn’t matter how small, but I could decide for myself & my niece, who by now was almost as close as a daughter can be. We both picked up our studies in the government school near by and then never looked back.”

“I had always believed that God had planned a different life for me. But what kept me going was- The Desire to Learn !!” Then she showed me, a small handwritten note- which said- Don’t Give up , Seek Support & Love Yourself !! While the first two were self explanatory, I asked about Self-Love. “If I had not loved myself more than my miseries, I would have given up long back. So today, I make sure that I create sometime for myself- even if its 30 mins every day, its my-time for myself !”, she shared her anti-dote to depression!!

Today, she works for a bank & her daughter after completing her MBA runs an NGO that works closely with Girl-Child-Education.

Wishing both of the BRAVEHEARTS, a great deal of success !!

The Blogger Me !!


https://www.facebook.com/RealDepressionProject/videos/513502879074724/#selfcare, #mentalwellbeing, #yoga, #meditation, #selflove, #bravehearts, #girlchildeducation, #depression, #metime, #sayno

#MyFitnessMyJourneySeries#1. Millennials-LiveLifeAppWise !!!

Life was going pretty much smooth for him, working 5-days a week, jamming with friends over the weekends, partying till wee hours & eating junk food to his heart’s content 🤪🤪 “Junkie” as his friends would call him #Commmmuniti, #Truffles, #Glen’s and the kinds were his usual turfs!

Like a typical millennial, he grew up in an excessively electronics-filled, insanely socially-networked virtual world. He too had “Lived Life, App-Wise”, until that fateful day. “Why should you step out, when everything is available in just the click of a button. Snap-an-app & its at your doorstep!!!” Life was App-solutly sorted!!

Until the day, when he collapsed!!

Like, literally!!!

He was only 25 !!!

THAT fateful DAY – He woke up with the feeling of acute pain and cramps all over his body. He curled up in his bed but the pain became unbearable. He couldn’t believe it was happening to him, for all his life, he had never been sick before this time. He struggled to get up from the bed, but there was no energy in him. It was impossible to just keep lying down too. He tried to reach out to his close friend but couldn’t connect as he must have been in transit to reach office. Damn these mobile networks !!! The domestic help was still couple of hours away. There was a total black out !!! He was alone and in immense pain, all his happy-sad memories flashed in front of his eyes. He couldn’t recall for how long he suffered in bed, until he somehow managed to grab a painkiller & reached the hospital hours later.

Back home, the family environment was very strict as his father, who was serving the Armed Forces carried a very disciplined profile, but his mother always used to balance it out. He was right royally pampered by both his mother & sister, who till date happens to be his “partner in crime”!!

For someone who has lived most of his growing up years in a controlled environment, the 4-yrs of Engineering College were like the breeze of fresh air. It was time to stretch the wing’s & soar high. Although he was academically strong & got picked up in the campus placement, life took him places, but there was no schedule of sleeping & eating. His love for food was known in his gang. But as much as he enjoyed eating junk, not a single day has gone by, when he hadn’t missed his Mom-made-food !! She would love to cook for him & fondly watch him relish it.

Over a period of 7-8 years, he had gone free-willy. Long working hours, mostly sitting & eating all 3 meals outside, had majorly affected his life-style. Weight had always been an issue with him. He was always chubby & plump but now he weighed slightly less than a 20 stones. And that day, his body just gave up on him. It was giving him singles earlier also but he, kind of, ignored it.

That morning, he had somehow managed to pull up & deposited himself to the hospital. To investigate, what could have gone wrong with the body, multiple blood tests were conducted, which would eventually rule out the possibilities of what all might not have been wrong with him. All medical reports fell under normal criteria, except the vitamin D3 levels were immensely low. HE CRACKLED OUT, “Bloody, vitamin D3, could knock out this 6 ft body!!” But that was the truth. We don’t realise the importance of these essential nutrients & the critical role that they play in our body for its general well being. The Doctors advised him to change his lifestyle completely. That episode had left him shaken. This was a wake up call, kind of an alarm that his body gave him & thankfully he got the alert!!!

The years of conditioning done by his disciplinarian father, now came into play!! He too had his father’s commitment, unlike him, he was never thrown in a life-threatening situation until then. It was the most crucial time for him to decide what he wanted from his life & most importantly from himself!!


“I have been staying alone in Bangalore, so changing routine was not that easy. From planning, shopping, cook, packing meals, tracking them, not missing workout was all on me. It definitely sounds simple for someone who has been doing it for years, but I have forever been used to app culture, food, shopping, clothes iron, in-house jobs everything on an app.”

“It would have been easy to just give-in to the temptations, years of unhealthy habits were controlling my psyche, subconsciously. I was fortunate to have my friends & my mentors who stood by me like solid rocks. Initially I followed a diet which didn’t take away the pizzas, pastas or paranthas from my meal but kept it as occasional. That made me have a control on my food & my mind too”.

Food, especially junk food has the same effect on our minds such as any drug like morphine, as the feeling of satiation releases the happiness hormone, endorphins, which reduces the feeling of pain & sadness. So a person who is on this journey of not weight loss or diet but of life style change, needs equal amount of support from the significant others as any other compulsive behavior driven person or a substance abusers does.

In his words, “I was fortunate to have Mohit, Nikita & Sam (who is a doctor now) who never gave up on me, almost carried me through during the initial & the most difficult time of my journey. After that day, I never to looked back. It was a conscious decision to network with serious health & fitness freaks. While I mostly understood the game of losing weight, (YouTube Google are loaded with instant formulas to lose weight overnight🤪🤪), I knew, something that took me 25 years to collect those extra kilos, will take at-least 25 months before it starts showing any significant results. You see, for a 6ft tall person, I was 40-45 kgs overweight, I knew it would be an uphill climb, and boy, I was committed !! It was not easy to run with those extra kilos so had to take a holistic approach. While diet gave me jitters & junk food was my calling. I really had to work on my psyche. Meditation & Yoga came along in a big way, and so did the initial years of conditioning, done by my dad😊😊”.

Contrary to the common belief about social networking, his network was his support system in true sense of the word. His friends stood by him during his struggle & supported him in his journey of transformation, which is an on-going thing!!!

#Champions- the crazy fitness freaks !!!

“After around 3 months, I was clear in my mind that how I had to continue my journey to achieve this transformation, I had begun to get into the zone. Networking with genuine and fitness freaks – like the Champions, Neera & Nmami worked wonders for my habit correction & brought out the lifestyle changes that my body & mind needed. (My Instagram is full of only crazy fitness celebs and not Bollywood celebrities.) It was here that I first spoke with Nmami- one of the mentors who helped me in my success story!!  Workouts with the running group, Champions, really changed my routine more than food habits. For those crazy – happy workouts routines with that bunch fitness freaks, I didn’t mind getting up as early as 4.30 am on a weekend.

Neither did the distance of 10-12 km mattered to reach to Cubbon Park for the mid of the week work out schedules. I had begun to love, to sweat every morning and then stick to my planned diet, more of fruits and veggies in my meal and slowly that became my addiction, which I was enjoying more than the sugar addiction”.  

“A special mention to Neera for coaching me on Yoga, Strengthening & Stretching for Short & Long Distance Runs. Its magical how your endurance improves with time, your temper, your enthusiasm and outlook towards things change with these small changes in the routine. Needless to say, I was getting results that were visible to people around me too. I had started with shorter long distance runs, group cycling events & endurance building strength work out plans. When I did my first TCS Bangalore 10k, it took me 90 mins but with regular work outs & diet my latest personal best was 10k in 60 mins& 40 seconds !!! All my hard work was paying, this was the fittest me EVER !!!”

Kungfuu Pandey’s Work Out Schedule

Somewhere on this transformational journey, he met someone very special- Shivani. “Life felt different when she was around, much more nicer & happier”. They shared a lot in common passion for good food, love of music & long drives. Together, they explored some of the fitness & life goals too. “Someone who inspires & motivates you to be more fitter for a happier future together.” They both are equally committed to each-other as they are committed to their own fitness.

Prateek & Shivani- a couple who not only share their life goals but fitness goals also !! Cheers mate 💞

Today, he has the courage to experiment with his diet & workout schedules & is also using this information with due diligence. He is focused on gifting himself the gift of 6 pack abs & an improved timing for long distance runs in Half Marathon, before his birthday in 2020 !!

“It’s been more about the lifestyle changes & training my mind, than weight loss or diet or anything else”…and that my dear readers, is Prateek Pandey aka Kungfuu Pandey for you !!! A true cancerian, who has a small but very close circle of buddys. His journey towards fitness has just begun & going strong by every single day passing.

“Life still runs on Apps but now I run along with it 😃😃”.


PC: Prateek Pandey

#fitbod, #positivethinking, #couplegoals, #longdistanceruns, #lifestyle, #vitamind, #endurance, #determination, # commitment, #millennials

#Meet The Mom Series #3 It’s not a “happily-ever-after” always or is it??

It was a beautiful Sunday morning and they decided to go for a long ride. It had been raining since dawn; the outfields were looking lush green & fresh like they had been bathed. The roads were wet & you could actually feel the tyres slipping at the turns.

Both of them were avid cyclists. And that’s how they had first met, 5 years ago at a cycling event. As they had already paced for over 6-8 km side by side, they decided to continue to pedal alongside each other for the rest of the distance, like most cyclists would do while pedaling for long-distance cyclothons. An unsaid, unwritten rule, kind of a BroCode for cyclists😄😄.

They both loved speed. The crisp, cool air on the face, would give them the adrenalin rush and would release the so-called happiness hormones. Though they didn’t know each other, neither names nor professions, they still felt a connect for each other. So when one would feel tired, the other would also slow down & encourage to not give up. They communicated without uttering a single word but through a simple exchange of smiles or an eye contact to understand each others body language. No major chit-chat, they would just stop for hydration & start pedaling again. A lot was common here between these two cyclists, other than their love for cycling & being fit obviously. It was their first 100k cycling event, they both were new to the city & were unaware to the fact that they were the youngest in their age category.

The event had started very early and it was almost an hour of pedaling together, and by now their body rhythms had begun to match. It was about time for sunrise. They slowed down to gaze at the phenomenon, only today it looked more magical than ever. They could feel this strange, somewhat weird yet sweet, tingling feeling. They both have been going to cycling events before but niether has felt this kind of connect with anyone ever before. And as they say, the joy of pedaling is much more significant than the joy of winning. They finished the event and neither could secure a podium finish 🙃🙃 but they felt as if they had “won the event in record time”😁😁. They had found each other 💞.

But today, it was a different day!! The soft drizzle had transformed into big fat drops and then into a torrential downpour. So they decided to take shelter in a roadside tea stall. These are the moments that come as a bonus in the life of a cyclist🙂, kind of a premium, a payback for all your good karmas. While sipping the masala chai, they went down the memory lane to “watch” the time they have spent together. From their first meeting to moving together as a couple, to the simple wedding and the Caribbean honeymoon and their first child. They re-wound & relived the last 5 years of their life in those short moments.

When it stopped raining, they decided to go back. It was yet another great ride together. Engrossed in the happy thoughts, they didn’t see or hear the overspeeding truck coming straight at them. The intoxicated driver lost control of the truck and crushed both of them.

While they both survived the fatal accident, she braved some broken bones & several stitches. Unfortunately both his legs had to undergo multiple surgeries and were amputated to save his life.

Six months after that dreadful accident, she joined a private bank to support her family. On the other hand he had a tough time coming to terms with reality.

“Those were the toughest times in our fairytale”, she smiled as she reckoned. “We took help from counselors as my husband was suffering from major depression. He took solace in spending time with Rohan, our 2 year old son. I remember vividly one evening when we both were trying to put our son to sleep and my husband was telling him a bedtime story. Rohan’s favorite part in the bedtime story was when his Daddy gets the superpower & two extra wheels because the existing were not enough to match with his SuperDaddy’s speed 🙂 …And along came the Wheelchair!!! “

“I couldn’t stop my tears and my smile. Felt so proud of both my boys”.

It’s been 5 years since that dreadful day, now she goes to office and he stays back home along with a caretaker & his parents to receive their school-going son, Rohan. Last year, he has started work as a freelancer & designs video games. Sometimes, during the weekends they drive down to watch the Sunrise☀️!!

Life will never be the same again for them, but they still have each other. Is it a happily-ever-after? Well, let’s pray & hope that it is 🙏💞🙏.

#endorphins,  #dopamine, #serotonin# cyclingevents, #cyclingevents, #100km, #fairytales, #happyendings, #hitandrun, #roadsafety, #familysupport, #roadaccidents

#And-when-you-want-something-all-the-universe-conspires-in-helping-you-to-achieve-it- The Alchemist- Paulo Coelho

EditCredit- Anu Mathew

MyTwoCentsSeries #13. Abuse, is like a game of passing the parcel !!

“She called me an Idiot, can you believe this? Me, an idiot??”, she was really upset while sharing this episode with her elder sister. The elder one was trying to pacify her & calm her down. The discussion continued for over 10 mins & just when I thought I should intervene, came the logic that bowled me over.

“You see, it’s like a game of passing the parcel. So possibly someone called her a mean word & she felt bad about it. So she passed it on to you. Simple!”, said her elder sister. And how correctly put!!

Abusive behaviour, be it verbal, physical and emotional usually has this domino effect. It’s at least, easy to understand when you address the issue of being abusive, logically.

Imagine a situation, when you are grossly upset about something, and are almost at the point of breaking your nerves, in a ‘full on aggro mode”. To make the matter worse that very moment, your phone rings. On the other end, is a persistent sales person offering you a loan or selling a term insurance policy or an investment plan.What would be your reaction?

Please note the choice of word here, reaction & not response. (Now, I am neither justifying nor defending an abusive person or behaviour but trying to draw a comparison.) For most of us, it will be the last straw in the hat!

While handling the role of the HR Business Partner for Customer Care Services, have handled grievances of “Customer being Abusive”. Like I had mentioned in my previous blog, #LoveThySelf…..Happiness Inside, Happy Outside!! So if we apply the same logic, can we say Angry inside, Abusive Outside?🤔🤔

But if every behaviour has a cause & effect relationship, then how do we put a stop to this cycle? How do we break this chain reaction? The answer lies in “Mindfulness”!!

When you practise, mindfulness, you create a space between negative engeries, negative feelings & your self. Keeping things at a distance, will help you with a better view of the situation. It’s like a cushion, a shock absorber that doesn’t allow things, events & people to disturb your equilibrium, that helps you maintain your inner peace & helps you take a conscious decision.

So can this be a tool to control the increasing crime rate in our society? Well, if I were to answer this question, I would say, “Most Certainly”. We need to do both corrective & preventive actions. Corrective is usually taken care by the Law & Order of the land. Yoga & meditation will control the general mental, physical & emotional wellbeing of an individual & hence prevent the crime or negative behaviour.

The same applies for our kids, their world is a miniature of our lives. To put it correctly, the grown-up’s world is a clear manifestation of what they have learnt in their early years in life. So kids who experience verbal, physical or emotional abuse in their formative years of life, have a high likelihood to get involved with criminal or anti-social conduct.


While, at home I could explain why it was important to break this chain of passing the parcel, but the entire episode left me thinking, what can be/should be done for our communities?

Edit Credit- Meenakshi Dixit




#abuse, #verbalabuse, #emotionalabuse, #physicalabuse, #mindfulness, #passingtheparcel,#angermanagement, #yoga, #meditation,#life, #mentalwellbeing, #selfperception, #abusivelanguage, #parenting, #positivemindset, #community, #collectiveefforts

MyTwoCentsSeries #12. “Being Adopted is Good!!”

Based on a True Event:

A group of students who were teasing a new girl in school, calling her names & shouting erratically. The girl was standing quiet, with almost no expressions on her face, as if she couldn’t hear a thing. When the noise became too loud, someone from the school staff hushed the kids & they ran into their respective classrooms. But this kid remained standing, didn’t move or gave any reaction as if she was rooted to the spot. The teacher entered the class and saw this student still standing outside, in a devastated condition. She called out her name a couple of times but didn’t get a response. Something about her was not looking alright. The teacher went to her and as she touched her shoulder, the girl started to tremble with fear. No words were coming out of her mouth & not even a drop of tears. She was crying within. It didn’t take very long for the teacher to understand that the poor girl was disturbed, traumatized. She convinced her, somehow, to sit in a cubicle & gave her a glass of water to drink. After sometime, when the girl had calmed down, she told the teacher about the incidence.

The Teacher went back to the class. “So I-A, last week we all celebrated Krishnajanamashtami (birth of Lord Sri Krishna) who will tell me about Sri Krishna? Where was he from & about his family?” The class was stunned!!! What does Sri Krishna had to do with Mathematics? What has happened to the Maths teacher today, instead of asking them tables she is quizing about Sri Krishna!!!

“Who could tell me, the name of Sri Krishna’s parents?”, she tried again. As the teacher was expecting, almost everyone raised their hands. Why they have just celebrated Lord Krishna’s birthday, “dahi-handi” (pot of buttermilk & curd as prasadam), played garba & enjoyed eating loads of sweets!! They knew all the details absolutely correct, like they were the Wikipedia on Krishna. The teacher had a smile on her face & she quietly waited for the students to take the cue. There was a pin-drop silence in the class, some were confused, some inquisitive. The teacher brought the girl back in the class & asked them what is the moral of the story?

One of them reached to the girl, whose eyes were still puffy after crying, she held her hand gently & said “Being Adopted is good, even Krishna was almost an adopted child!”

It doesn’t require a tremendous amount of intelligence to understand this, if a 6yrs-old can figure it out, so we grown-ups can do too.

PS: This blog was in response to what I had recently read about a real-life incidence, where one of these toxic people, these energy suckers, was trying to take a dig at a 5-6 yr old girl. Hope it gives you more strength as this has given me a different viewpoint altogether.

#adoption, #srikrishna, #dahihandi, #wikipedia, #teacher, #toxicpeople, #buttermilk,#family, #happiness, #humanity

Meet The Mom Series #2 Becoming A Mother of Twins@46!!

Sudha was in her mid 40’s when both her boys left home. Her husband had expired at a very young age, leaving behind a 2-month pregnant wife & a 4 yrs old son. When she got married, she was still an undergrad student. But her husband encouraged her to finish her studies & pursue higher education. Being the wife of an Army Officer, she had enough support at home, which helped her complete MBA in Finance. During her last semester, she got pregnant with her first child. The young couple’s joy knew no bound !! Fortunately, Major Ramchandran was on peace posting around that time, and like any other regular first-time parent, they also had their share of sleepless nights. Sudden bouts of cries would wake them up, and then he would put the baby on his shoulders, trying to calm him, and he would move around in the room gently till the baby falls asleep. For Sudha, Major was a great support. Unlike most fathers, he would remain awake at nights if the child is sick and would insist that Sudha should sleep so she can attend the University the next day. “I would laugh at him, for the kind of bedtime stories he would tell my 3-month-old son, of war & bravery, courage & brotherhood, even his lullabies would of marching tune or some army songs”, she fondly remembered.

After finishing her Business School, Sudha started to work with a private bank, and their little boy had joined a playschool nearby her office.

It was the summers of 1999. Major Ramchandran was called to report on the northern borders, at Kargil. That was the first war experience for the young Major, Sudha also was totally unprepared for this. Her married life was going pretty smooth for the last 5 years. But like all the army soldiers’ wife, she too bid him goodbyes and prayed for his safe return & her country’s victory.

Three weeks had gone by since Major had left. Usually, there would be messages of his general well being every 3rd day, but this time it took over a week, and no news had come from the base-camp. Sudha had not been feeling too good about it. “That fateful day, I had just reached to my Branch after dropping my son to the playschool when a Sahayak (Orderly) came running to my office. I still remember the expressions on his face. Years of training for controlling his emotions & living with us for over 2 years, his body language was not supporting his voice. His body was stiff with stress, face as cold as hard ice, voice trembling & his eyes, filled with tears. And I knew, it is not a happy news that has come from Kargil. My heart sunk, my throat felt dry  & I couldn’t find my tongue to ask him what happened”, she recalled as her voice trembled while narrating the event. “Major Sahab, shaheed hogaye, Madam(Major is no more, Madam)!”, dropped like a bombshell in her hear ears. Her world came crashing in front of her eyes !! “When I last spoke to him, I told him that I had a news for him, once he comes back from the war. He insisted that I should tell him then & there itself, as there may not be another chance. And all my life, I have regretted not telling him about our second child !”, her throat choked and tears came rolling down her eyes. She was 7 weeks pregnant !!

For weeks, she could not accept the fact that her husband is no more, as she didn’t get to see his dead body. Though she was handed over his belongings, the jackets & shoes and a picture of her’s that he would always carry in his trunks. But she couldn’t shed her tears over his dead body, could not bid her last goodbye hugging on to him. That wooden box, how could it hold that 6 ft 3″ tall body, how could it retain the air he carried around him, his heartwarming smile & his husky voice. It only had some broken bones & chunks of human flesh covered with blood & mud. It never felt like him. Yet, it was him, reduced to a wooden coffin, wrapped in the National Flag. How wars bring such drastic situations to the lives of the families. Over a thousand soldiers were killed in that war, over a thousand such families lost a son, a brother, a father, a husband in her case!

Little Ayaan was too small to understand why, suddenly his father is not around. But the child sensed that his mother would start crying every time he would ask about him. So gradually, he stopped mentioning him. Sudha had a nervous breakdown. Her health began to get affected severely, so the doctors had to advise her to consider continuing with the pregnancy. That shook her & brought her back to face the reality. First, her husband and now her unborn child!! At no cost, she would let her child go. “My baby was with me all these times. When I first heard that dreadful news, he heard it with me. All those times when I was crying, hiding away from everyone, he was there with me. He was with me when I could not sleep because of the pain life had given me. How could I let him go? This child is my late husband’s last memory. So had to pull up myself,”, she said. That moment, it was not a young widow who took the decision, but it was the wife of the Late Major who selflessly gave up his life to ensure his Motherland was in safe hands, she decided to continue with the pregnancy. And 7 months later, Aarav was born.

Today, after 20 years of that unfortunate war, like his father, Ayaan is a commissioned officer in IAF & Aarav has just qualified for NDA. Sudha, as I mentioned earlier, is working at a senior position with an MNC Bank. Needless to say that she went through the days of been lonely, felt the need of having a companion. But as she says, “the boys kept me on my toes, kept my hands & mind totally busy. It was insane, at times 😄😄”.

The story doesn’t end here. Last year, Sudha adopted Meera & Meeta, 2-yrs-old twin sisters from an orphanage. And now she is braving the challenges of parenting all over again, right from scratch. Only this time, it was for her two new daughters.

In her words, “Reliving the joy of motherhood, yet again!!”.

#woman, #armyofficer, #bank, #motherhood, #motheroftwins, #war, #kargilwar, #emptynest, #positiveattitude, #strength, #singleparent, #Dedicated to Indian Army, #20yearsafterkargilwar 💐💐

PS: All the names have been changed to keep the identity of My Hero confidential.
Edit Credit: Zaafran Desai

MyTwoCentsSeries #11 Guru – My Guide, from the Darkness to Light!!

गुरुः ब्रह्मा गुरुः विष्णुः, गुरुः देवो महेश्वरा ।
गुरुः साक्षात परब्रह्मा, तस्मै श्री गुरुवे नमः ॥ He, who creates, sustains knowledge and destroys the weeds of ignorance. I bow down to such a Guru!!

Guru, the word comes from Sanskrit, which is the most ancient & yet most scientific language decipherable by computer . The word “Guru” means the one who takes away the darkness of ignorance and brings enlightenment. To offer tribute to the teachers, in India we celebrate “GuruPurnima” on the full moon night in the month of Ashaadh (in July, as per the western calender). Needless to say, that the role of a guru is of great importance in our lives.

I come from a family, whose two generations have been in teaching and I know for sure that my father’s Job Satisfaction levels as a teacher were way higher than my siblings and that of some of my friends from teaching fraternity. A career option which is considered to be the most respectable profession. Also a safe & a suitable option for those who want to re-launch their careers post maternity. A career that promises work life balance, hero worshiped by kids, but something tells me the picture isn’t that rosy, the grass actually isn’t that green the other-side.

But what do the people in the teaching profession feel about their work-life balance, quality of life & job satisfaction? My recent interactions with some teachers have made me revisit my belief system, so I decided to take an opinion poll on social media, from a group of teachers & parents. Not that it can be considered as a universal opinion, but it is a smaller subset of the population from a city, kind of a dipstick test.

Respect : Remuneration.

The responses were quite in contrast to my belief, and it left me thinking, that a country which gave the world it’s first, finest, and the oldest known university in the world- Takshashila. The nation that has BHUs, AMUs, IITs & IIMs of the world, who has worshipped Gurus like Dronacharya, Chankya, Dr Radhakrishanan & APJ Kalam, why it is going through this crisis? Don’t get me wrong here, there are great enthusiasts & passionate education reformers, both Government bodies & NGOs who are tirelessly working towards restoring our glorious past. It is the experience of all those who are in the profession that acts as a start point or agenda to make corrections. The teachers today, feel that neither they are respected by the students as they deserve nor the management is assessing their worth correctly.

It is a known fact that respect or importance to the profession is directly proportional to the salary brackets and the findings from this opinionnaire also support the hypothesis. If you look around, while Teachers in China enjoy the highest respect from people in their country, teacher’s salaries are at their highest in Singapore, with an average of $45,755. South Korea, USA, Germany and Japan are all above $40,000. Back home, the picture doesn’t look so pretty, upon discussion & debate, we discovered the probable reasons for it.

1. Being ruled for over 700 years, first by the Muslim rulers who brought the slave dynasty & later under the British rule. The original thoughts & psyche got crushed & influenced. It has taken over 70 years & in some cases is still taking time to regain our confidence as a society back, such that we don’t feel inferior because of the colour of our skin or our lingo.

2. The upsurge in Population & the infrastructure development didn’t happen at the same pace. It only worsened the situation. The demand & supply ratio got tweaked & the gap created is like a bottomless pot. As a result, it created pressure on the teachers, who ideally should handle 25-30 students end up managing 45-50 in each class. So therefore suffers the quality of education.

3. Privatisation of Education acted like a dual-edged sword, while the quality of education improved, it also became out of reach for the masses. Education is the fundamental right of all, but it has become commercialised to the extent that it has become a mafia whose prime focus is to milk money than imparting knowledge.

4. Post-independence, while the policymakers had the challenge of building the infrastructure, not enough focus was given on Teacher Training & Empowerment. Some specialised colleges & universities offer bachelors & masters programme in education but do they have an updated version of the syllabus which enables the students to cope with the”new-gen” kids, hmmm, I not very confident.

5. Distance Learning Education Programs have actually been instrumental in distancing the education even farther away, as far as quality is concerned. An online course or a distance learning program can never be as effective as a classroom training & face to face learning can be. And imagine those half-trained teachers are fully ready to form/ deform your child’s personality & future.

6. Subject Teacher & Assistant Teacher- There are situations when the school management is not so-much concerned about the general well being & health of the teaching staff, but considers them as overheads, teachers end up doing everything else, over & above the subject teaching. There are teachers & there are assistant teachers, who support the subject teachers to prepare for the class, helps in imparting the information & shares the workload. The school management should support the subject teachers with assist teachers to share the work load, especially for the primary classes.

To find a solution to this problem, “HOME, -SCHOOLING” & “UNSCHOOLING” are the newer concepts, where the parents decide what & where the child is going to pick-up concepts from. The obvious disadvantage of these newer ideas is the learning of social skills that we need to grow into a well rounded & balanced personality. In my opinion, there can never be any substitute of a school for education just as there can be no substitute of a family for the development of a child!!

A teacher, who is self-confident & understands his/ her responsibility towards not just the students but also towards building a nation, a not easy to find. So it’s become the responsibly of the society to support the teaching fraternity, give them the respect that they deserve. And if we want to make the new generation the leaders of tomorrow, we first need to bring the changes at the grass-root level for our teachers.

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#Super30, #teachersday, #gurupurnima, #worklifebalance, #nalanda, #takshashila, #iit, #iim, #aiims, #privatizationofeducation, #homeschooling, #unschooling, #bhu, #amu, #teachers, #educationists, #respect, #guru


Takshashila – the first, finest, and oldest known university in the world


MyTwoCentsSeries #10 Pre-Teens-my struggle story!!

Very frequently, most of us complain about our kid who is not even 10 & is already throwing tantrums of a teenager. In my opinion is a positive sign that we are aware of our child’s emotional condition.

During our journey, we all realise that the infanthood tantrums were easy to address, but how to handle these preteen mood swings, is bit of a task!!

Pre-teens are those early years before the child hits puberty, and his/her body is getting prepared for entering into teens (13-19). As a parent, we need to endure that they mind & emotions are also getting ready to achieve this milestone. In a way, it is same as when your preschools going kid graduates to formal schooling. While we as a parent of the toddler are very excited & encouraging, but by the time that child reaches 9-10-11 year’s, our patience starts to wear off. We unconsciously start seeking “grown-up-like responses” from them but don’t treat them like one. For instance, if you still call your 10yr-old as “Baby”, you are creating confusion not only to them but also for yourself.

A “BABY” according to the denotative meaning of the word, is a human infant, who is incapable of looking after himself/ herself and is dependent for all his/ her physical, biological and emotional needs.

A 10yr-old in this regards is far more capable of doing most of it on its own, and your requirement is now restricted only to the emotional needs that too if you share a great bond with him/ her.

It’s not easy for us, parents & especially for Mom’s, to let go. Ironic as it may sound, we sweat ourselves day in and day out that they start taking care of their stuff on their own. Like finish their food, keep dishes, shoes, toys, clothes & books at their respective place & in order, but the very first moment she/ he decides to make independent choices, it leaves us jittery, insecure, in some cases paranoid.

At this moment, we experience contradictory feelings simultaneously that my dears are the by-product of being a parent!! So thought if sharing my struggle story, hoping that it ends up as a success story some day.

Here are my two cents, as a parent…

  1. It’s essential to have rules in the house, involve them in sharing responsibilities & make them accountable.
  2. Don’t try to become a friend, just be available 😇, and she needs to learn to make friend with kids of her age & learn to deal with them.
  3. What looks good on her, may not be “COOL” as per her! Let her decide.🤩
  4. Crying is an expression that says, “I am not able to express through words like adults” & as a matter of fact, it comes naturally. Let her settle down.
  5. We are under time pressure or constraint to finish tasks, not them. Teach them time & not pressure!!
  6. Angst is the same as the inability to express & control their emotions, let them be close to nature & not screens. Nature has a magical effect on our souls.
  7. Help them with their vocabulary, let them choose a new word to explain & express their moods or temperament every time. They would learn to appreciate their emotions too.
  8. Personal Space is vital to enhance self-concept.
  9. If your child is meeting age-specific growth milestones, you have made a great achievement!! No other accomplishments are more important, so Celebrate!! 🤩
  10. Whether you like it or not, you are the role model for your child, be prepared, look good, smell good, look happy.Int the end, the child is your reflection only.
  11. Let there be same rules for all in the family. Nobody has a special status, so someday if you break the rules, you too face the consequences.😇
  12. Talk about the changes their bodies will go through inthe next 5-10 years. It’s the prep time, go full swing!!
  13. Soon, the peer is going to be the most influential group, be ready to take the back seat. It’s going to be okay.
  14. Keep creating opportunities for the friends to give a visit to your home, so you are connected & informed.
  15. Most importantly, let them know that you will be around to share this journey, laugh & cry together.

The beauty of being a parent is that there is no universal formula, a prescription for Parenting that will apply to all. What works for one, won’t for the others. So we have to make our way out of this maze. Putting things together like that if a picture puzzle & see if it makes sense. Sometimes, we need to change our view or angel of looking at things, and suddenly a pattern appears & things start making sense.

Let’s start by the understanding your child’s personality and temperament. Also, take into account his/ her self-concept. What is the self-image that the child carries & what they would like to maintain in front of others as their perceived -self. Take help from your child to know him/ her better, trust me; everyone likes to talk about themselves.

So enjoy your ride, Happy Parenting!!

#Picturepuzzle, #maze, #show&tell, #cause&effect, #hormonalchanges, #hero-worship, #rolemodels, #meditation, #uniqueness, #music, #art, #expression, #personalspace,#childdevelopmentpsychology, #age-specific #milestones, #quality-quantity-time, #conceptofself, thing, #friends, #peer, #schoolenvironment,