Tuesday, 18 November 2014

For Babli!

It was dark and cold December night. It might be the night when everyone else was welcoming the new year. But this little girl had a problem. 

CURRENT SITUATION
In the daytime a beautiful girl, named Rani, had come to her small village. Rani's father was of this village but then he got a job in some big city. She stayed with them in a house in the city and she had come to visit her ancestral home with lots and lots of sweets. 

Babli opened her tiny little eyes and smiled as she remembered that beautiful Rani and her smile. Rani must be her age. But she was fare. She was wearing very beautiful dress and had the world best smile. 

It was dark, but there was some moon light. Babli got up slowly and tried to look into a small mirror kept on the trunk in a corner. She smiled. For herself. Her smile faded away. She held her tummy and sat there. 

PROBLEM
Babli had a bit too much sweets and she wanted to go to the bathroom.

Solution is quiet easy, isn't it? Go ahead, switch on the bathroom light and close the door and get done with your problem, go back to sleep.

It is not so for Babli. She tries to wake up her mother taking care that her father doesn't hear. She is ashamed that she needs to go to the bathroom at this hour. I wonder if it is a matter to be ashamed of? How many of us think twice before using the bathroom for n+1 number of times in day and night.

Anyways, here we are with Babli. So, she tries to tell her mother softly, "Maaa, Maaa, I want to go to the bathroom!"

Her mother opens her sleepy eyes, trying to understand what her daughter is trying to say in her hush-hush voice, she replies, "But you just went when we were going to sleep. Is it very urgent?"

Babli has tears in her eyes. She feels sorry that she had to wake up her mother. She knows how much hard work her mother has to do and waking her up at this hour is not fair. Her mother pats her and says, "It's okay! You go. But come back fast. Be careful. I am waiting!"

Babli smiles. Her mother can't accompany her cause of her kid sister and brother sleeping in the house. Plus, Babli doesn't has to go far. Her bathroom is just a mile away.

Babli opens the door as softly as she could. She shuts the door behind her. The air is colder than she expected. She could hardly breathe properly. She was shivering and trying to go to her bathroom in the moonlight. She passes her friend's house. The entire village seems to be sleeping. She was fast but careful not to make any noise. She think of Rani again and smiles. She thinks where Rani would have to go if she wanted to use a bathroom.

She reaches her destination. The pungent and intolerable smell is the key feature of this place. Open starry view above. Bushes as the wall. She tries to get a clean place to defecate. The sound of water flowing near-by, the cold breeze and thought of Rani, Babli didn't seem to be in any hurry.

When almost she was through, she heard footsteps. Someone was calling for her. Oh, it was her dad. She came running on the main road and almost collided with her father. Her father yelled at her, "Do you even know how cold it is and what time it is? You couldn't find a better way to trouble us in the night? Couldn't you wait till morning. Fool. Now hurry home. Silly girl!"

Babli just looked down. Tears rolling down her cheeks. Humiliated. Embarrassed. Just making a small promise to herself, "From tomorrow, just a sip water and half roti!"


This blog is a part of Indiblogger activity in association with Domex.

P.S.: Have been waiting for the SOLUTION, well I hope, we club with Domex and sooner before later, we have one. Your contribution to the solution::
You can bring about the change in the lives of millions of kids, thereby showing your support for the Domex Initiative. All you need to do is “click” on the “Contribute Tab” on www.domex.in and Domex will contribute Rs.5 on your behalf to eradicate open defecation, thereby helping kids like Babli live a dignified life.
Hope we do get the solution to Babli's and other kids' huge problem. Hope they all eat as much roti and drinks as much water, as much they wants to.     

HealthyMe! HappyMe!

Life doesn't turn out to be as you plan or think it would be.

Born to Indian working parents, I have always had 24 hours help at home. Life before marriage was as easy as falling in love with Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. Be it getting housework done to food to anything else other than sitting, hogging, relaxing, studying or the basic natures tasks, every little thing  was done by the helps. The regular ones or the replacements.

When I got married, well of course, I was still in some dream land. I was not prepared to get into shoes of the home-care-taker. I just knew how to sit and relax.

Before I could actually enjoy my newly-wed life, there was a house looking at me with the expectation that I will take care of it. Household work, food, organising, decorating and what not.

"Hello, I just can't do it!" I tried not to be too melodramatic with my husband, whom I barely knew. It was an arranged marriage and I had clearly mentioned that I don't know how to cook. But the work was much more than just cooking. But he was cool about my attitude and we decided to delegate all the household work to the maid.

Like I said, life doesn't turn out to be as you plan or think it would be.

The maid search started and to my surprise, this time was as difficult as walking on heated coal. The real comedy/tragedy started after I fixed my maid!!






I gave few patience test, failed miserably. I tried to replace the maid, just to understand that the maids can be replaced but my problems can't be replaced. It's either DIY(Do-it-yourself) or be calm and bare with them.

Crying, complaining and struggling with them, I was somehow trying to cope up with life, when God planned to play some more games.

Well, I had to travel with my kid and husband to UK for six long months. UK...isn't it exciting! Going to UK means:

NO MAID.

Everything from cleaning to dishes to food to organizing to the kid, everything comes on my shoulder.

Excited. Me. Really!!!

I was scared more than I was while giving my board exams. I knew I will clear those exams, but this one, I was scared.

First week proved me right. It was ­­­­miserable. Bad. Sad. Work. Cleaning. My handmade bad food.
It was the first time I was forced to cook - breakfast, lunch and dinner. All week through. In India, if ever the maid didn't come, we managed a decent outside food or khichadi(rice-pulses cooked together). But eating the same khichadi for all the three meals was, of course, not possible.

So, my struggle started. I worked hard. I cleaned, arranged and with a toddler around, I rearranged. I cooked food, which was burnt or overcooked or undercooked. 

Slowly and steadily, I started making better food, which sometimes tasted just like my home-cooked food, which I craved for all these years. Oh, of course, my phone bills were on a high, but I needed some help, right!

Then I found about a health club which came as an accompaniment with my stay. Health club, me! Oh well, there was a fully equipped gym, a swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, a sauna bath room and steam bath room!

But obvious, a lazy bum like me, doing all the house hold work already, running after a super active toddler, I joined it. Well, I have never been to a health club which provides all these facilities and it was for free for me. Not joining this health club was just not an option.

I am, please note, just on a healthier side. Not Fat. Just on a healthier side. I am not much of a gym person. But I just love the pool and the hot rooms after a good swim.

And again like I said, life doesn't turn out to be as you plan or think it would be.

I thought I would die working. Here I was, waking up early at 6:00 AM every working day. Completing my household work by 9 and then taking my little one to the library or toddler groups and by evening going for a swim. Every day. Day after day.

People whom I met, saw me and couldn't help noticing that younger me. Happy, happy and very happy me.

The work was not the problem, my attitude was. Well, it sorted many entangled strings. I don't know how things will fall once I go back to my land, but right now, there is enough time for me to enjoy. I do all the work. I eat much better. I sleep much happier. I rise and shine day after day!

Healthy me. Happy me.


This blog is a part of Indiblogger activity in association with  Sunfeast.

video

Image Source: Creative Me :)

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Miracle Food!

Youngest child remains a child forever. Well, it is true. Me, being the youngest was not considered fit for the role of being mommy and I was given instruction at every breath I took. Well, not that I didn't enjoy that attention from my family, but it did make me feel that I am just a kid, how am I ever going to handle another one. 

Someone or the other was always there to help me throughout a year and a half. So far so good. But for me, that mother-confidence that I can handle her all by myself never built up. Amidst of all these confusions, I had to travel with my baby, to my home all alone. Plus, I had to stay at my place for a week. All alone.

It was a very big deal for me.

Somehow, I gathered all my courage and started my journey. Through the journey I took great care of her but from a nice looking restaurant at the airport, I fed her idlis, which no one in my family would have approved. I thought, big deal. It is going to be good.

Well, I didn't know what I did, until the very next day.

That night was fine, but next day was just a nightmare. My little girl started throwing up just everywhere. Even if she was eating medicine, she was throwing it out.

I had to take her to a doctor immediately. Got her admitted. A whole day. ALL ALONE.

The day was one of the toughest days of my life. This bitter experience did teach me a lesson. A lesson of being mommy.

The whole craziness for home cooked food, the greens in food, the balanced food, the organic food, good food, bad food, healthy food, unhealthy food. Whatever and whichever way you say, I knew that it needs to be sorted in my mind. My little girl can't pay because of my ignorance.

That day taught me to read. Read behind the packet, read the ingredient, read in detail on the web, read in day and in night about the healthy food. Just because a advertisement was great, that food didn't reach my home. It was well researched, read about and I was to be satisfied that, that packet will make my child - stronger, fitter and healthier.

I found one product which my mother always fed me when I was a little kid - Dabur Chyawanprash. It was a everyday ritual to have a spoon full of Dabur chyawanprash at my home. But in the drama of life, I forgot something that healthy, which increase your immunity, exist.

Well, it is never too late for anything. Although, Dabur chyawanprash is a time-tested formulae for good health, for my satisfaction, I researched it thoroughly.

Increasing Immunity
The growing allergies and powerful germs can't be avoided, but increasing your child's immunity to fight back these germs is in your hand.

Dabur chyawanprash has Ashwagandha and Guduchi for increasing the immunity.

Increasing Strength
In this era, even the milk is adulterated with water and what not. Hardly anything is in its pure form. There should be something to increase the strength.

Dabur chyawanprash has Bala which boost strength.

Improving digestion and related problems
Some of the packaged food, like chips, chocolate, jelly, pizza, burgers and what not has hit the market. Sometimes it is unavoidable to give to the kids. Of course, taking in account from where are you buying it. But they do a lot digestion problems.

Dabur chyawanprash has Amla, a fruit which is considered to cure any disease and helps in digestion process.

Vitamins/Minerals/High Fibre food
I wanted to feed my baby with a miracle food which is rich in all kinds of vitamins and has minerals like - iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper and many other goodness.

Dabur chyawanprash has Asparagus, which is a high fibre food with all the above mentioned vitamins and minerals and many others which are not mentioned. It is my miracle food.

Improving skin health
With growing number of cosmetic, there has to be something which keeps are skin balanced and makes you look beautiful and young. Of course, I always want to look 18.

Dabur chyawanprash has Vidarikand and Sesame oil, which keeps your skin good, healthy and rejuvenated.

These are just a few things from my findings. There are many many more benefits of Dabur Chyawanprash. Of course, it is a miracle product. I trust this product.

Just a spoon-full of Dabur Chyawanprash, makes me feel that it is going to protect my daughter when and where, I can't.
Thanks Dabur.



This blog is part of Indiblogger contest in association with Dabur Chyawanprash.

Photo Curtsey: https://www.liveveda.com/daburchyawanprash/3x_immunity.aspx

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

UK Visa Facts!

I applied for UK Visa and there were so many things which I could find on net very easily and there were few other things which I didn't find any mention off even after rigorous searching. 
                                              
In this era of 'Right to Information' I think we need to know the lesser known facts too, of any process. So here I am, with some known and some lesser known facts.

UK Visa applying location :: Pune (India)
UK Visa Processing office:: Mumbai (India)

Known Facts::

Documents

As I applied for the tourist visa, here are the list of documents which were required: 

1)     Original passport (06 Months valid from the date of travel) + previous passport         if any.
2)     2 Colour photograph with white background, matt finish size 35 mm X 45 mm         80% face Size   
3)     Covering letter mentioning your travel details.
4)     Original Bank statement for last 6 months updated.
5)     Salary slips for last 6 months.
6)     Personal Income Tax copies for last 3 years
7)     Leave Letter from company.
8)     Other financial papers NSC, PPF, Bonds, FD, shares property papers, etc.
9)     Original Leave letter.
10)    Appointment letter from company.
11)     Pension passbook / slips.
12)    School / College ID card copy.
13)    Hotel Bookings

Documents from UK

     1.      Passport & Visa copies.
     2.     Invitation letter.
     3.     1 accommodation proof.

Documents if someone is sponsoring.

    4.      Passport copies or any ID card copy in which name and signature seen.
    5.      Sponsorship letter.
    6.      Company registration copy.
    7.      IT returns for last 03 years
    8.      Bank Statements for last 6 months.
    9.      Salary slips for last 03 months( if employed)
    10.     FD’s, Property papers, Shares, etc


E-Mails:

After you apply for UK Visa, you generally receive three mails from the UK Visa office.

   1. When your application is received in the head office. (In my case, when my                   application reached Mumbai office, I received my first mail.)  

   2. When your application is processed, you will be intimated that the Visa has been            processed and will be ready for dispatch. (There is no mention of whether it is              approved/rejected.)

   3. When your Visa reaches the office where you applied and is ready for dispatch from        there too, you receive the third mail.

Days taken in processing:

If you are applying for first time/ normal time frame, it generally takes 10-15 working days. Or, once you get the second mail, you can expect it any time.

But in every case, the time frame is respected and you receive the passport for sure within these 10-15 working days.

Courier:

You receive your UK Visa from the Blue Dart courier.


Lesser Known Facts::

Document:

Talking about the marriage certificate: If you don't have a marriage certificate, an affidavit will work as good. (My visa was done on an affidavit.)

E-Mail:
In general cases, you get all the three mails which I mentioned above. 

But in some cases, like mine,
Ø  I got the first mail of acknowledgment that my visa has been received at the UK Visa processing centre.
Ø  I got the second mail that it has been processed and is ready for dispatch.
Ø  I didn't receive the third mail. In some cases this mail is not received. (My husband got this mail, I didn't receive it.)

Days:

Like I said before, the time frame is strictly adhered too. You can check the list of holidays from the UK Visa office site. Exclude those holidays and count the number of working days from the day you received your first mail.

Within these 15 working days, you can expect your passport to arrive. (My husband passport reached in 6 working days and mine took 12 working days.)

Courier:

After you receive your second mail, you can actually track your passport location. We looked for this information and finally we sorted out this process. 

1.      Got to this site - http://www.bluedart.com/

2.     Click on the reference number button:


3. You get a acknowledgement sheet from the UK Visa office when you apply. In that   sheet, there is a reference number mentioned. 

     You need to enter that reference number here in this location:

Then enter go.

If your passport is in transit, the entire location details and the expected timing will be mentioned in detail. 

This tracking is very helpful as you know exactly what time you can expect the passport to arrive. In some cases, like mine, I got my second mail on Thursday, no mails further and the passport reached me on Tuesday. (http://swarnpriya.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/visa-fever_1.html - The detail description of my dramatic event of receiving my passport.)

Well, we had a nail-biting time and figured all these tracking process on the day we received my passport. But information is out there, we just need to know how to get it on time. Here you are!

Do leave your valuable comments. Makes me happy :)

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Visa Fever!

Well, just a few days back my husband and I got this - visa fever. 

My husband was to go to United Kingdom for six months. So, our plan was that my daughter and I will tag along with him. All said and fixed, we started the process. 

Collecting all the documents, searching/reading/surfing net vigorously to find out if we missed anything or anything else is required, visiting the visa agent and getting the documents list verified. It was some days.

Usually the visa application process for UK is such that you don't get to know if your visa is approved or rejected till the time your passport is in your hand and you actually check it. But before you get your passport, GENERALLY you get two mails.

What happened with me::

I got a mail on Thursday before noon that my passport has been couriered from Bombay(That's how I like to call Bombay). So, both of us were eagerly waiting for the visa to arrive on Friday(you know, blue dart is fast and Bombay-Pune is not much of distance and in normal cases it takes that much time or less.) I religiously sat at home for the whole day, not stepping my foot out even for a short while. Friday just passed.
We were not expecting the visa to arrive on Saturday and Sunday. So somehow we killed time, kept on checking the increasing fare rates.
So, the Monday arrived. We geared up to receive our passport that day. For sure. Again, I stayed at home, not stepping a foot out, paying full attention to the bell. My craziness had increased so much that even a small knocks, even if it was at the neighbour's door, I checked. Just to be sure.

Nothing. No mails. No courier. And it was 6 'o' clock in the evening. The Monday passed by.

It was time for us to be worried/anxious/sad/disheartened. We assumed that our visa has been rejected and hence it is taking so much time to reach us. Well, we didn't say these things to each other. We tossed and turned on bed. Not talking. May be, slowly preparing ourselves for the worst. To stay away from each other for six months.

Although, I am a overly optimistic person but somehow the new dawn didn't bring the hope. I was just preparing myself to face people and tell them that I am NOT going to UK. Well, my husband went and came back from office in an hour, to wait with me for the courier or may be to just be with us for some time. You know, we might just be away for a long time.

Noon passed. We checked my mail like every second to receive the second mail, which I didn't receive till now. Then we checked the Blue dart site. We found out that it has started from Bombay on Monday evening. So, we analysed that we will receive the passport by Tuesday, that was this day.

In our heart, we became sure that after receiving first mail on Thursday before noon, courier was done on Monday evening. It can't be normal process of visa being approved. Still, we waited.

Ironically, there were two big blue dart trucks entered in our society. We were sure that it will carry out small passport in those big trucks. Well, they just delivered small packets to people and went back. Aaaagraahh!

It was almost 4 pm. We finally decided to have our lunch. We ate quietly. We were midway our lunch, engrossed in Tom & Jerry, the bell finally rang. Before we could answer the door, our eyes met. We knew this was it. My husband hurriedly opened the door.

Finally! The passport was there in our hands! While he signed, I just tore apart the packet and flipped through the page to find out.

OH MY GOD! Oh my god! It was done. I got my visa. I got my daughter's visa. Oh my God. Oh my God. We hugged each other like we won some strange battle with the stars. Well, it was some time.


Posting from Leicestershire !

Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Night!



"Yeah! Finally, the long weekend! So, as per our plan, we are going to Goaaaaa!" Ritu yelled!
She along with her friends packed and went to bed to sleep early and leave early for Goa on 15th August. 

Post mid-night, there was a knock at the door. Ritu woke up with sleepy eyes and answered. She tried to look who it was. She couldn't see anyone. She thought it must be one of her friends doing the usual prank. She opened the door. 

Standing there was a lady in torn and dirty clothes, sad face but the confidence, beauty and elegance on her face couldn't be ignored. Ritu anxiously asked, "Who are you?"

"I am Mother India. Can I come in, Ritu?" the lady spoke.

"Yeah!" Ritu replied. The lady walked in. Ritu held the door and stood there. Facing her back. 
Mother India spoke, "68 years have passed since I became free, but I still can't breathe. I feel so strained, deserted and alone."

Ritu stood in silence and was listening to the traumatic and deep voice.

She continued, "When I was not free, I was still clean. There was some laws which people feared. There was respect and love. There was humanity alive. People cared for me too. But now, law has become a joke. Look around. The roads are so dirty, the air is polluted, there is so much noise all around, trees are being cut! Safety of girls, children, child labour. Corruption at every level and there are so many other problems. Each and every problem, let me repeat, each and every problem is as big as being a captive."

There was silence. After a few minutes, she spoke again, "The only hope for me is you. The youth. Who has plans to enjoy the long weekend. Who is deserting me but has a lot of complains. In every other line, they say..arre India mein yehi hota hai....bahar settle hote hai yaar! 





She turned and faced Ritu. She looked into her eyes and continued, "I need you. Now!"
She walked out of the door and closed it behind. Ritu stood there. For long. 

Someone was shaking her. She opened her eyes. Her friend was telling her to get up and get ready for the Goa trip. She got up. She spoke, "We are not going to Goa."

Her friends were shocked. All of them together asked, "Are you all right? We are soooo going."

She said, "It's Independence day. Let's give this day to India. Let's do something for her. Let's reach out to the needy. Let's clean the city. Or something. For our India!"

One of her friends spoke, "Have you gone mad? We are really getting late. If you want to come then please, else we will start the trip."

She said, "You may. I won't. I want to live in this country forever. I want to stand up for her, today. Sorry, starting from today, till always."

She left the room. Her friends went out of the house thinking that she has become crazy. They sat in the car. 

After an hour Ritu was all set to start her day. Unsure what to do, feeling alone but determined. To her surprise, her friends were there. In the car, waiting for her. One of them spoke, "Mata ji, from where do we need to start? Can you direct us?"

She smiled. With tears in her eyes. She sat in the car happily. 



This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative by BlogAdda.
Image Courtsey: All images are from Google.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Poky Nose!

Bad habits...let's see! Among the long list which runs in my mind, one thing that is bad particularly about Indians and I just hate it, is - poking their nose in other's matter. Let me be a bit more specific - 

"अरे, बड़ी हो गई आपकी बेटी, कोई लड़का देखा ?" 
"अभी भी घर में बैठी है?"
"इसकी शादी के लिए रिश्ता लेकर आऊ क्या?"

Those nose-poking aunties and the extra-bothered uncles are a pain. Their own life might be in a complete mess, but they do come over to trouble the girl's parents and her life. 

I don't hear such things in other countries but India, OMG. It should be stopped. Please live your life and let others live in peace! 

What say!