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Monday, September 22, 2014

Life changing...

If your Facebook feeds look anything like mine, you probably see a lot of family pictures from your loved ones, selfies, restaurant meal food, Huffington Post shares, silly videos, random stupid news you wished you never read (wait no actually they are fun), and countless memes. Memes of all kind: quirky, outrageous, silly, cryptic, plain old dumb and a few inspirational ones, like this one:
This one got me thinking. I am a firm believer in the power of positive thinking, and I am sure I did mention that fact a couple of time on this blog in the past decade (yes the blog is THAT old). But, despite this belief, I do complain, and crib and scream, and get angry, and annoyed, probably like just about any human being on the planet (some are more negative than others, but we all have our bad moments).
I saw this meme as a challenge, could I go 24 hours WITHOUT a single complain? I have been trying for a while now, and let me tell you, it's harder than you think it is.
No complaining is something I equal to not loose my nerves when something go wrong, not just the obvious voicing of disagreement. And it also applies to every single one of my thoughts in a day. At least that is how I interpret it.
That is why I failed the challenge very early on some days. Being woken up at an ungodly hour in the morning after a night that always remain too short and not even having a negative thought about it is hard. It doesn't matter that I kept myself from voicing it, I thought it, and that is therefore a complaint. On other days I did better, but then just tripping and stubbing my toe had me thinking "freaking effing stupid table" and BAM the possibility of 24 hours without a complaint was gone again.
Whether it is possible or not to really truly go 24 hours without complaining is left to debate. I think it is possible, if one is super self disciplined. That said, it doesn't mean that just because it seems so hard to attain, one should not aspire to reach that goal.
It is a great goal, and the less you give in to negativity, the better off your life will be anyway. And one bad moment doesn't negate a hundred good thoughts. I see it more like an empty scale, with one side tallying the positive, and the other the negative. At the end of the day, the amount of positive you have will be what prevent the amount the negative from tipping the scale. I have been practicing the art of counting my blessings for a long time, and whenever I suddenly find myself cribbing about something, I introspect as soon as I am back to my senses.
Yes, I hit my head on an open cupboard, I have a right to be irritated, and calling the door stupid felt warranted in the heat of the moment. But, will that ruin my entire day? No. Is the cabinet door really at fault? Of course not! Will my head hurt? Sure it will, but I am not going to die from it. The world will not end, and I might as well counteract this moment of crap with several awesome little things : a cup of tea, a cookie, a funny joke read somewhere, a moment to list my blessings and loose count of them, a hug and a kiss, a deep breath, a moment of quiet...
Has any of you tried this challenge? How well did you do?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Roasted Ragi Chips

I love Indian namkeens (salty munchies). I have a few favourites, and I am sure I will write about them at one point or another. Today, I'll share a picture of my latest find and big time favourite in our home: roasted ragi chips. I get them from a local namkeen and a dry fruit shop (yes there are such stores in India). They are made with whole grain ragi, no oil, are roasted, and seasoned with hing (asafoetida) and mild spice mix of one kind or another.
I am sharing it in my pictures of India series, because I really don't have much to say about them, the picture speak a thousand word. Beside, namkeens in general are very Indian and always muched on with chai. Chai time IS namkeen time. Whether it is banana chips, Khatha Metha, aloo bujia, sev, masala peanuts or chana, you are sure to find something salty served along with your cup in India.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Smart Festive Shopping

As you probably know from a previous entry, we are heading to Lucknow this Diwali. This is not something we do every year due to time and financial constraints. So, when we do, it is a big event that pretty much mean we are expected to go all out with gifts. Such trips requires a lot of planning from us too. We book our travel arrangements as early as possible, and then spend a lot of time figuring what to gift to who. This year was no different, the semi-final shopping list includes hand bags, board games, sarees, books...the usual. Once we sort the list out, DH usually turns the task over to me for the premilinary round of shopping research.

Out of the two of us, I am the savvy shopper. I hunt deals, look for discounts and bargains. I ponder every expenses to be made and am known to go look in several different shops over the course of a day to find something as simple as a black t-shirt and only come home with that, provided I found the right quality at the right price, nothing more. I grew up with a very concervative approach to money and spending, and having lived in Switzerland, I am used to not having any MRP (non existent in my homeland) and having to literally shop around to find a deal.
So, when it comes to something as big as us going Diwali gift shopping, I pretty much function the same way I would for any big expense, and start looking early enough.

Over the years, I signed up with every major e-shopping sites in the country, not because I was planning to buy anything but just to get subscribed to their Newsletters. You never know when a good deal will pop, these newsletters do come regularly with assorted discounts and special promotions. I rarely have any use for them, but still too often enough, I find myself being glad I did sign up. I also love loyalty programs of all kind and use them.
But, just because there is no such thing as getting to many deals in your mailbox, I also look around for special sales, deals and coupon sites and recently found  very useful one: CupoNation. They partner with all my favourite e-shopping sites, list all their special deals and offer additional promotions you can only get through them for these sites. With our Diwali shopping having entered the research phase, this is pretty much heaven sent to assist me in my quest figuring out what to get from where. Beside, they also have coupons for restaurants. This is always a good thing considering that when we end up at the mall, we often end up treating Ishita to something like KFC or McD (we don't get to the mall that often by the way).

I am, and always will be a frugal shopper. As much as I enjoy roaming in markets and shopping districts, or going e-window shopping, I only really buy stuff when I really need them (and take a long time deciding if I really really need it too). Going to Lucknow always mean we are going to spend a lot of money between the travelling and the shopping. Which is why we do plan right AND ahead. Thanks to Flipkart coupons, Amazon coupons and more such coupons only at CupoNation, that task gets easier every time and really help us stay on top of it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Slow down... move to fast. You got to make the morning last...
The opening line from Simon and Garfunkel's "The 59th Street Bridge" song, is stuck in my head at the moment.
Those who follow me on Facebook, already know I was feeling a bit under the weather yesterday. Nothing major, my tummy didn't fully agree with the rest of my body in the morning, and by mid-day I was feeling tired, had the sniffles and a sore throat. All symptoms that could be everything an nothing at such point and only required me to just take a day off...from everything.
I haven't really stopped running since Ganesh Chaturthi on August 29th. Thanks to the last minute extended school holiday, I spent a lot of time figuring out how to keep a super active, mega social 5 years old entertained while the monsoon made a come back with a downpour from hell. Downpour which had us trapped inside on most days. We also ended up heading to the doctor for a pinworm infestation, followed by a ringworm eczema on the face, and a return to get a written note saying she could attend school as her teacher wanted to keep her out because of it. Jam in a few gymnastics classes, and play dates, a kitty party I was hosting and the usual everyday chores and errands and you have a recipe for exhaustion.
I am convinced that my feeling a bit funky yesterday was due to all that. And in such cases, I listen to my body and lift my foot off the gas pedal. Moms can't really be sick, we all know it, or at least can't be sick and do nothing but rest. So I limited my burden, and the instant Ishita was in the school bus, just grabbed a cup of tea, a plate of cream healthy crackers ( you know the ones from Britannia), put my legs up and watched the Big Bang Theory (not sleepy enough to nap).
A day living off crackers, bananas, tulsi tea and chicken soup, doing just the minimum houshold wise and an early bedtime was pretty much what I needed to feel fresher this morning. At my best? Nope? But functional enough.
Sometimes it is better not to fight anything and go with the flow, especially during the festive season. I wouldn't want to be burned out by the time Diwali comes, since we are heading to Lucknow this year.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Beaches of Goa

I went digging in all my photo albums to bring you this picture. It was taken in 2006, when DH and I headed to Goa with my mom and sister after our own wedding. July 2006 to be exact. This is the low season in Goa at that time of the year, the monsoon usually lashes, the beaches are pretty deserted, the water rough, the sky heavy, the air humid but cool enough.
I rally can't tell you which beach this one was at this point, we visited all the beaches in the Northern part of the State. If you want to experience Goa without all the race party goers, the monsoon is the ideal time to visit. There will be less crowd everywhere, a lot of hotels have special discounts and monsoon packages, the countryside will be lush and green and people far more relaxed, you should all give it a try at least once if you are in India. What's more, if you are a better photographer than I am and have some good equipment you have the potential for absolutely stunning pictures with the light and contrasts the season has to offer.