Saturday, May 30, 2015

On a planet named Earth

"A dustbin is appreciated more than a girl. A furniture is more useful than a daughter-in-law. Wife is just an object for sex. She gives birth to a life, putting her own life at risk. Division of property gets more attention than division of girl's emotions&time after marriage. Yet women get accustomed to compromise on self respect. No wait, there was no room for self respect of women."

"Are you kidding me? Where do such thing happen?" the little guy asked.
"On a planet named Earth" the angel replied to the little guy.

"Holy shit! I dont wanna go there. I m happy here in Jupiter. And if women are so illtreated, they can join our planet na. Its so cool & gender neutral. We reproduce asexually n dont have to depend on men u see" The lil guy shrugged & spread its wings to fly in the sky.

The angel sighed. "How I wish to make the gender dynamics of Earth even!" And started hovering over Adam's garden, the origin of life on Earth.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Naturals Hand & Body Lotion Review

Avon's brand Naturals has a huge variety of skin care and personal care products to choose from. I love Naturals for the blend of natural ingredients and gentle care it provides.
Milk & Honey HBL

Naturals always offers products that you instantly fall in love with. Naturals Milk & Honey Hand & Body Lotion(HBL) in 200 ml pack,  is one of them. The rich creamy lotion makes your skin soft and smooth. The HBL promises a 30 hour moisture, which actually stays on your skin till you wash it away. You can feel the velvety touch for the whole day. I apply the lotion on my legs and feet before leaving from home. In evening when I wash my feet, I actually feel the lotion washing out then. My feet stays moisturized the entire day!

The HBL moisturizes skin with the goodness of milk & honey. Known for deep nourishment of skin, milkmoisturizes and smoothens skin. Honey acts a natural cleanser, moisturizer and antibacterial agent. Together these two ingredients give instant moisturization and deep nourishment to skin. The aroma is delectable that you cannot stop relishing.

The lotion comes in a pale yellow hue, that resembles the look of yummy custard. You start feeling hungry when the richness nourishes your skin. This is a perfect daily use body lotion.
What I loved- 
• 30 hour moisture
• Velvety smooth skin
• Non sticky, absorbs immediately
• Good quantity in the bottle, value for money
• Yummy aroma
• Ideal for both summers and winters

What I missed- 
• SPF would have been an added advantage
• No formula for anti- pigmentation/anti-aging
• The plastic lid does not shut with ease. Need efforts to push it close
The MRP is Rs 249. Avail exciting discounts on buying from Avon representative. I would recommend this product to all consumers of body lotions who want silky, velvety moisturized feel for the whole day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Product Review- Solutions Youth Minerals

Avon's brand Solutions, has a bouquet of variants catering to various skin types & needs. Soutions Youth Minerals has been designed to address the issue of pigmentation, fine lines & wrinkles for age group 25+.

Your skin starts aging faster than you. Stress, poor lifestyle, hormonal changes, environmental stressors expose your skin to wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, sagging skin and dullness. Infused with exclusiveAmethyst Mineral Complex, Youth Minerals helps in skin’s production of collagen that energizes, renews and restores youthful-looking skin from the inside. Another featured ingredient- Bio Mineral Complex which is a blend of 8 minerals with anti-oxidant properties, helps exfoliate dull surface skin cells and protect against environmental damage.

Day cream- With SPF20 and broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection, Solutions Youth Minerals day cream has been formulated to prevent and further protects from sun damage.  Post initial application, your skin feels more energized, soft and smooth. Within 7 days you would see a visible transformation with reduced fine lines, firmer and even skin.

Once you apply Solutions Youth Minerals day cream, you can use make up over it. The cream moisturizes skin, absorbs easily and is non greasy. Switch to an anti-ageing regimen after 25. Nourish and protect your skin at an early stage to delay ageing.

I had used Youth Minerals for 3 months and noticed a positive difference! During Diwali 2014, my friend observed the look of my skin and sought my advise for her skin too. I happily suggested Avon Solutions Youth Minerals. It is a pale purple cream, available in 50 g pack.

What I loved- SPF protection, no fragrance, non sticky/greasy, can apply makeup over it, skin looks younger and smoother after continuous use.Packaging is beautiful but not fancy. The price is much lower than competition brands. Avon's Solutions Youth Minerals is worth the money you spend!

Night Cream- Now I have coupled the day cream with night cream as well. Its working really well. Night creams are equally important as day creams. This is because the derma cells which were damaged during the day, your skin repairs them at night, for which it needs a boost of moisturizing and repair treatment. Youth Minerals night cream helps restore the skin's youth, reduces spots/lines and skin feels softer & firmer. Within 2 weeks skin feels dramatically healthy, clear and refreshed.

What I loved- Non greasy, absorbs quickly, no fragrance, beautiful packaging, effectively works on skin for quick result.  The pale purple cream is available in 50gm pack.

The only thing that I think could be improved is the container size. Though it is compact, yet a 50gm jar made of sturdy glass tends to be heavy while carrying in your bag everyday. The fact that unlike other brands, this comes in glass packaging and not plastic pack,reducing the chances of any chemical reaction to the minimum.
Avail discounts on the MRP if you buy from an AVON representative.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The first expert

Participating in Indiblogger Godrej expert

“God cannot be present everywhere, so he made mothers” is a very popular proverb which stands true.  For all mothers, their world revolves around their kids. In our growing stage, kids not only depend on mothers physically, but emotionally too. Every child’s best friend is a mother, because she is only person on this plant who can sacrifice herself for her child. My mother too sacrificed a lot to bring up her kids. She let go of her prospective job and never turned back to regret. An expert in fine arts, she wanted to be a handicrafts entrepreneur but situations did not allow her for the same. As her eldest daughter, I learnt the most valuable lessons of life. Mom was an expert in fine arts. She quit her field and chose to be a housewife looking after her family and house. I call her an expert homemaker. I imbibed that quality from her and learnt to be a perfectionist. Be it cooking daily meals for family or painting on canvas, mom left no room for mistakes. If she wasn’t satisfied with her work, she would say it aloud. Unknowingly she taught me “how to be a perfectionist”.

I still remember how I painted my first drawing of a landscape scenery on paper. I still remember how she praised my efforts. I still recall that day when my own painting made me feel so excited that I went running around in the house showing my painting to every family member. And it was the beginning of my bend towards Art & Craft where I never scored less than an “A”. Thanks to my expert Maa.

In my teens, I was never fond of working in the kitchen. My mom never forced me to learn cooking. She rather wanted me to focus on my studies and extracurricular activities. One fine day, she got me into the kitchen to teach me how to cook. Before I even asked why, she explained that I should learn cooking not for any body else, but my own self. Her idea of a teen girl cooking was to make her independent if she stays away from parents, unlike neighbors or relative aunties who wanted girls to cook so that they impress her in-laws! “Oh, cut the crap” my mom negated all negative thoughts and concentrated on teaching me basic cooking. That first lesson of kitchen came handy when I moved to Delhi to pursue masters and stayed in a rented flat. My classmates loved the daal & subzi I used to get for lunch. Thanks to my expert mom once again. The Memories of making daal for the first time still remains fresh in mind. Though technically Maa did all preparations and I just stirred the content in the pan in the end, she gave me all credit for making daal the first time. The process got registered in my mind and became daal cooked by me became the favorite of my classmates. That’s how an expert guides and polishes you!
Maa played Santa on one Christmas eve. We are not Christians but do believe in celebrating all festivals with equal enthusiasm and love. As my brother and I woke up on the morning of Christmas, we had a gift box besides our pillows! Too young to understand that it was Maa, we kept believing Santa exists, till we grew up. The pleasant memory makes me nostalgic now.

She scolded us, was strict with us and even went mad at us for being careless students. But all the scolding was compensated on birthdays when she used to take all pains of baking cake, cooking and decorating the house for 20 people invited for birthday party. Managing so much single handed is an unimaginable task. Hats off to Maa for being a superwoman. She made us feel special..she made us strong. Whatever I am today, I owe to her. Love you Maa!

Mothers- My experts

Participating in Godrej My first expert on Indiblogger, Linked to
Mothers are our first experts and we rely on them even before we are born, because she is the one who brings us to the world. I never saw my mother as I lost her the same day I opened my eyes. The doctors had given her a choice to save herself or me. She chose to save me. My father played the role of mom and dad both and never made me feel alone, till I started going to school and saw moms dropping their kids to school. My grannies (both daadi and naani) stepped into my mom’s shoes to nurture me. At times my aunts (bua or mausi) would drop in during my school vacations to look after me. I have seen so many women playing the role of mothers in my life. I learnt lessons from each one of their contribution.

Most of our holiday trips to nearby hill stations during my summer vacations were fun for everybody because of my Mausi. “Why did you pack warm clothes? Its summers!” I often heard my dad pulling her leg. “Weather of hill stations is funny. We may need woolens any time you see,” my Mausi used to reply with utmost confidence, as if God had told her in person about the weather changes. Her expertise in predicting the weather proved to be right always. I still follow the golden hill-station rule of Mausi and get saved!

People say that my Mausi resembled my Mother. I saw my mom's picture from her youth. I was excited to see so much resemblance in the sister's faces. Apparently I relied on her for my homework, my dressing up, holiday projects and every little thing. She took me in her warm embrace when I went to her crying about the first blood stains on my clothes. She taught me how a teen grows up with these natural changes in body and how I should carry myself. My first lessons of personal hygiene came from Mausi. The memories are still fresh in my mind.
Its true mothers are worriers by nature. They tend to over think  because they care. Their concern for others converts into stress. While bua’s stress and concern for me brought us closer, it did upset me many a times. A call in the middle of an interview or at any odd hour, did irritate at times but it was more than welcome because I would do the same whenever I missed her. Bua has been the kindest soul who guided me each time and taught me to be fearless. She advised me to raise a hue & cry or even slap a guy if eve-teased. On one instance she thrashed our neighborhood’s boy for passing lewd comments on teen girls. I felt sorry for the guy. Perhaps he was only humming a Bollywood item number. Since that incident, he was never heard singing again and I learnt to confront such situations bravely, guarding my dignity. Thanks to my motherly Bua who is an expert, just like my mother would be.
I moved to Chandigarh for graduation. Each time I made a trip to my home town, the only person who showed concern, besides making a fuss for my health, was my granny. For some reasons unknown, she always found me mal-nutritioned and thinner than before, as if I was on a weight loss spree (which I was not). I had a hard time convincing her against all the notions that she had convinced herself with. Undoubtedly I lost the debate every time. Yet I loved the attention that I got on those home trips.

Now that I am married and stay far away from all of them, the cycle of care and stress has not stopped. Besides my granny, bua & mausi, now it’s my mother-in-law who keeps worrying about anything and everything. Not only my busy schedule at work gives her stress, my not-eating-right and travelling to work also give her enough reasons to worry. Ouch, wasn’t one mother was enough to do the stress-job?  But I feel blessed to have the company of so many motherly figures around me who have taken care of me like their own kid. God took away my biological mother but blessed me with 3 more ladies, (4th one now is my mom-in-law) so that I don’t feel alone.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Breaking the stereotype

I am writing for the #ShareTheLoad activity at in association with Ariel
“I got a surprise for you!” Atul exclaimed as he entered the house, smiling to his wife Sonal. He flaunted a movie DVD. Sonal’s face lit up.
“Let’s watch it tonight after dinner. We had been waiting for this Hollywood blockbuster since long. What say?” Atul asked as he entered his room.

overburdened & tired

Sonal nodded as she gathered Atul’s office bag, lunch box, wallet, car keys and socks in the right place. She moved into the kitchen to cook. Atul watched news in the meanwhile, waiting for dinner to arrive. She prepared Atuls’ favorite dishes and dessert. Post dinner Atul connected the DVD player and called Sonal to join in for the movie.

“I will be back in a while”, a tired Sonal replied from the kitchen while washing utensils.

When she emerged from the kitchen, Atul was fast asleep with half of the movie watched. Sonal switched off the DVD player, refilled the water bottles & kept them in the fridge, collected the dirty linen in basket for washing next day, checked the locks, turned off the lights of the house, managed to wash her face and crashed on the bed. After a tiring day at work, making full course dinner and household chores, all the excitement of Friday was gone. Sonal was overburdened with the household load without any empathy or help from Atul.

Consider, if Atul shared the household load with Sonal, they would not have only watched the movie together, but it would have relieved Sonal of the stress. Not only they would have finished the household chores on time, but also enjoyed the whole weekend. What if Atul’s salary from his MNC was thrice than Sonal’s income as a teacher, the former is equally responsible for the house. Even if Sonal was a housewife, should Atul not see if she needs a helping hand at all?

Well, that’s a story of most of the houses in India, Middle East and Southern Asian countries. When it comes to the everyday house jobs, the females suddenly become the in-charge. Everything from cooking and washing clothes/utensils to dusting and cleaning is considered a low profile demeaning job for which a woman is accountable. Little do they realize, these jobs make a home of a house, in absence of which life would be scattered! How else would you wear your clean formals to office? Or would you be able to sleep on dirty bedsheets or pillow covers, if not washed by the women of the house? To add to the disparity is the fact that these household loads are unpaid! A thankless job indeed.

I feel blessed to be married in a house where my family understand the pressures on me. My husband not only helps me in washing the weekly cargo of clothes, but also warms food and cleans the kitchen post dinner. Resulting this we get enough time to spend with each other. We connect over our common interests of movies, video games and travelling. And this is possible only because he shares the house chores with me.

One fine Sunday, our house was in a mess, clothes lied unwashed, our maid was absent, we had to attend a party in the afternoon and go to work on Monday. I could not imagine to look good or fresh and enjoy a social gathering with so much stress at home. However, my supportive husband agreed to do the laundry while I took care of the cleaning part. The mess sorted in no time and we made it to the gathering, with full energy & freshness. That was the day when I realized the support of sharing.

So if a man and woman are considered equal for the house, shouldn't both of them share and contribute equally? Sharing means caring. Where does it vanish when it comes to sharing the household job? Ask a married working lady her routine after work, she would go on with her never ending list of cooking, cleaning, looking after kids, teaching them, washing clothes, looking after in-laws and so on. A woman works in double shifts. Morning shift in office and evening shift for her family, and that's by default. Even if  the woman chooses to be a housewife, she is on duty round the clock. Talk about paying her, one would say "Its her responsibility!". One can at least not expect her to work like a machine and share some work to releive her of stress, mentally and physically, both.
An equal involvement in home jobs, bonds a family psychologically besides imparting a feeling of togetherness & security. Thankfully the stereotypes are changing. Ariel's initiative of sharing the load and making men understand that laundry is not a woman's job alone is worth appreciating.
Image source- Shutterstock

Friday, May 1, 2015

When the ground shakes

My mother, father, my infant five months old brother and I, lied in one room under the only fan which was working amid frequent power failure. Fans of other rooms were almost motionless due to low voltage. As we tossed restlessly in our beds on that warm night of October, my baby brother started to cry. My mom sat up with him in her lap trying to lull him to sleep. I was barely eight then. The little green bulb which my mom use to switch on at night, flickered. My father wiped his sweat and turned towards the other side.

Mom had opened the windows. Yet the room was suffocating. All we needed was cold breeze. My bed was right next to the window. Unable to sleep, I opened my eyes. Outside the window, the giant Neem tree stood still, without a single leaf moving. For the first time the tree looked scary to me. Dark and ghostly, the tree made me feel more uneasy.

On the roads, strays too barked in frenzy. There was a discomfort in the chirping of birds as well. May be they were crying for water. The shrill howling of distant dogs started nearing. Clearly the dogs were not fighting, but crying.
My brother did not stop crying. My mother was wide awake by that time. The room felt like a hot oven. The birds residing in the giant Neem Tree flew away suddenly, squeaking loudly. I reached for the water bottle on the table near my bed. I stretched my hand when the bed shivered. I turned my head towards the window to see if it was the wind coming from the rustling of the Neem tree. I could not see anything in pitch darkness. Gradually the shivers converted into wild tremors. My bed shook violently.

“Bhumikompo!” (Earthquake) my mother panicked and shouted in Bengali, as she held on to my little brother. The green light was still on and I could see my father with his eyes wide open staring at the ceiling fan. He lied on the bed motionless with a horrified face. He had his palms open, facing the ceiling.

“Ki dekhcho” (what are you staring at) my mother shook my father. He did not reply.
The tremors shook the house. I saw the ceiling move  horizontally. I heard the utensils of the kitchen banging the floor. Show pieces of glass in the living room smashed to pieces. I heard the noises, loud and clear. There was chaos and fear outside. My neighbors had gathered on their terrace or balcony, looking for safe open places.
“Shilpi stay where you are,” I heard my mom shout again, amidst her wailing and attempt to protect my little brother. My eyes were fixed on my dad. I was petrified to see his unusually scared open eyes and palms facing the fan.

The tremors slowed down. My bed stopped shaking. Only then my mom ran out of the room with my bro in her arms and dad followed her holding my hand. We ran in our garden. I remember I was barefooted.
“What were you staring at?” my mother asked dad again.

“I was scared of the ceiling fan. If that fell on us, I was preparing to catch it” dad replied, stroking my head as he panted.

The devastating Uttarkashi Earthquake of 1991 had killed over a thousand people and caused extensive damage to property in the Garhwal Himalaya region. At a magnitude of 6.6, major cities including Dehra Dun and Almora were affected. Thankfully we were safe. Our house in Dehradun had developed fissures in many places and needed repairing thereafter. It was a collateral damage worth crores. For me it was an emotional damage. Even today when the ground shakes or I hear the painful news, my father’s horrified face relives in my eyes.