Monday, 31 December 2012

Closure to 2012

2012 is done and we are entering a brand new year - 2013. Even a year-ending, like everything else, needs a proper closure. We as a family are closing this year by taking the last week off from routine and spending some good family time together.

This post is a closure too, to year 2012.

In retrospective, 2012 has been a very good year for me, personally and professionally. Some major milestones reached this year.

I maintained my weight this year but I was not so great in exercising regularly. I could do better definitely. 

I completed a 10K run(technically, not a marathon) with a better timing compared to 2011 run. I developed a faint numbness in my ankle after this year's run. I am hoping that with regular exercise this could be tackled.

Blogging has been in my mind since a long time which I achieved in 2012. I started of with a private blog about my daughter. I then started writing for a parenting website called parentous. Inspired by parentous, I started this blog - Potpourri.
Find my articles on Parentous here.

Learn something new:
I learnt threading - an ancient method of hair removal. Indian women are blessed with luscious thick black hair, and unfortunately even facial hair for some. I am one such lucky person. I disliked those bimonthly visits to a beautician, it takes time and effort. After I learnt threading I can do this by myself and it is such a freedom. I don't have to wait till the end of 2 weeks to get rid of that unwanted hair! In the end, I save some time too.

Visit to Indonesia:
We visited Bali in August of 2012. Bali is very scenic city of Indonesia. Majority of people in Bali are Hindus, they worship hindu male gods - Ganehsa, Shiv, Vishnu and the like. With every street and shop named after a hindu god, people with hindu names I felt like we were travelling within India.
I was not very impressed with Bali - I have visited better beaches and cleaner cities in south east Asia. The beaches were dirty and not well maintained. The city doesn't live up to the expectation its name sets - Bali Paradise.

2013 is another year full of promises.
I have set my resolutions for the new year and looking forward to a new start.
Here is hoping that the new year will be a good mix of joy and sorrow - Happy New Year !!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Slow down!!

While growing up, I was mostly clumsy. I tried to do too many things at a time or tried to do things very fast! 
My hubby is at the other end! He is too slow (to me). He is the master of doing one thing at a time, slowly and carefully. He takes his time to complete a task and does it thoroughly.

Lately, I am learning to slow down. I have come a long way.

Few things where I slow down in my day-to-day routine:
1. After I am awake, I take time to get out of bed. I lie there, enjoying the sounds of early morning and the warmth of cozy bed.
2. Drink my morning cup of coffee without doing anything else, just gazing out of balcony.
3. Take time to exercise slowly.
4. Take a slow, long shower.

Anything after this becomes a bit rush. My office culture doesn't support doing one task at a time! 

After coming home in the evening, I slow down again.
5. Enjoy and sit-down to spend time with my 3-year old being completely with her - no cooking, no mobiles, no laptop, no TV.
6. Take time to slowly go to bed following all the night routine.

Image source:
Slowing down doesn't mean being lazy. It's just an effective way to get things done efficiently in the same time. By multitasking, you are not doing justice to any task at hand. There is a whole website dedicated to slowdown and to take it easy! Go ahead, get some tips to slowdown. Ah, right! That website gives exception to women stating that women have superior brain function and are capable of multitasking! Most women who multitask are frazzled and exhauseted. That's exactly why women should slowdown too.

I am seeing a reflection of my childhood in my daughter. She wants to do too many things, all at once! I am trying to teach her to be patient, to do one thing at a time. I am sure we both will learn together to slow down, to be patient and to only do one thing at a time. 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Sale Sale!

Today Starbucks was crowded with people queuing up, obviously, to buy something. I thought it must be their usual lunchtime rush and decided to return back later. I don’t have the time to wait in such a long line on a weekday! When I went back, after lunch hours, there was a bigger queue!! I wanted to know what it was all about. Turns out that it is Starbucks’ 'giving gifts' offer time. Today's offer, in Singapore, was ‘buy one get one free’.

Personally, I don’t get this! Wait in such long queues on a weekday at 3PM! The people, who had lined up for free drink, were all those who worked in neighboring offices dressed in their swankiest formal clothing. They had lined up to get a free cup of drink!!

Note that you have to buy Starbucks’ tallest cup venti whose capacity is 590ml. You are buying a size, which you generally don’t buy, and get another similar sized free! Claiming the free drink might save you a few dollars. But what about the 20-30 minutes you spent in the queue. Time is money after all!! And what is Starbucks’ strategy? Assuming people all around the world queues up to "buy" the free drink, Starbucks gets a big boost in sales on that day! This one day sale is more than what it sells probably in the whole month!

I remember reading this article sent by one of my dear friend some time back. It details the marketing strategies malls use to lure customers. It explains Starbucks strategy:
  “Marketers observed…that discount offers such as ‘buy one, get one free’ or ‘three for the price of the two’ – a concept I am very keen on because this is how bookstores often package up their offers—tend to be more effective in boosting sales than the exact equivalent price reduction on a single purchase. The amount of money which is paid for the bundle of products is identical in each case, but more will usually be bought if they are packaged under an offer than if there is a simple equivalent reduction in the individual prices.”

I have fallen victim to few such marketing strategies. Once I had been to a nearby mall to get a haircut. There was a sale in the neighboring shop selling T-Shirts. I didn't intend to buy a T-shirt in the first place. But I went in to just browse. A really nice looking T-shirt was on sale with ‘1 for 20$, 2 for $30’ offer. I bought two similar T-shirts for 30$. In my defense, they were in two different colours. I went to the billing counter and the lady there told me about another offer. With purchase over 25$ I could buy a pair of flip-flops for just $5. Hey come on, that was a good deal! I bought a pair of flip-flop too!! It was not exactly loss to me. I used all of those. But, if they didn’t have that offer, I wouldn’t have bought any of those at all!

Another marketing strategy that I have fallen for a few times is collecting stamps at grocery stores. The scheme usually is that for every X$ you spend you get a stamp. If you spend 3 times X, you get 3 stamps. And this scheme runs for a specific period of time. I used to go to that store every time for my grocery shopping to earn more stamps. Also I would buy extra things to meet that multiple of X$, so as to not fall behind, by couple of dollars, to get a stamp!! By the end of it I would get a ceramic plate, bowl or something stupid like this!! I collected stamps twice and realized I was getting obsessed with collecting stamps and spending only at that store.

I, now, leave home with a list of things to buy, stick to the list and not look at any offers no matter how tempting it is. Because, simply, I don’t need it! The only time I look for offers is after I have had that item on my list of things to buy. It took some time to reach this stage. What I haven’t learnt, yet, is to get better deals for things that I have to buy. I am better at this while shopping online. Otherwise, I still have a long way to go!!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Just one failure ..

Few things happening over past few days that makes me really think, really doubt myself as a mom ... makes me wonder if I am doing a good job .. those days when I read too much into what I am doing .. those days when I am all consumed by guilt ...

What is right? what is wrong? who decides that?
May be I should relax a bit, after-all, who do I care more for?
Why do I judge myself? Why am I harsh on myself?
Why do I try to be perfect? Its OK to fail ... once in a while!

All my stress shows on kiddo too ...
The more stressed I am, the more upset she gets..
My irritation becomes her anxiety ...
My self doubts becomes hindrance to her self esteem ...

Its as if she is still attached to my umbilical cord ..

I hold my breathe, she gets suffocated ...
I go hungry, she cries ...
I am sleepy, she gets cranky ..
I am tired, she feels the pain ...
I am unhappy, she is gloomy ...

I am  happy, she is a bundle of joy ...
That all I want for her ...

Its just one of those days ..
just ...
one ..
failure ..

I promise you baby ... I will give you little more than my best!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Ban of mobile phone usage by women!!

A village council in the eastern Indian state of Bihar has banned the use of mobile phones by women. 

Women, I tell you !! They are using the deadly weapon, the ultimate technology - mobile phones to disturb the social harmony that men has worked so hard to achieve.  Yes, it's women who lure the innocent, hardworking men to elope. Such helpless clan of men, what can they do when women tempt them!! 

The reason for ban - "Its always gives us a lot of embarrassment when someone asks who has eloped this time". This is the brilliance of one Mr Manuwar Alam, a troubled man, who heads the newly formed committee tasked with enforcing the ban. After-all, how long can the men-folk take the atrocities of women?? Its so "shameful". Finally, someone to save the man-kind!!

Even married women were eloping with lovers. How dare you ask if those lovers were married too? It doesn't matter. The culprit is decided - women of the village. 

Why are these women eloping? No, not because those married women were unhappy in the relationship. Not because those unmarried girls were just idle at home waiting for some  groom to come by. Not because the father of those girls didn't have the money for dowry. Do not look any further. Its quite obvious isn't it? It has to be because of the mobile phone!! "They are debasing the social atmosphere".

How can you ban the men from using mobile phones? Its so unsafe for men these days! They need it so that they can call for help if they have a problem. They can use it reach their family members when they are in trouble. They need it because it is so dangerous for them to freely roam out and about alone. 

If the women are banned from using mobile phones, men do not have to deal with being  blackmailed, at gun point, to elope with women. 

Idea of a genius !! Deserves accolades of highest order!!