Monthly Archives: April 2017

Super Short Story – Theme “Sports”

This micro fiction was written for a contest which was conducted when the Rio Olympic games were on. The theme given was “sports”.

Super Short Story 11

Yes, I Am Still Breastfeeding My Toddler. No, It’s Not A Bad Habit.

// This article was written as a part of “Stop Judging” campaign carried out by www.mycity4kids.com and is also available at below link:

https://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/my-voice/article/yes-i-am-still-breastfeeding-my-toddler-no-its-not-a-bad-habit-stopjudging

If you are a breastfeeding mother, then you must have heard the following questions or advices umpteen times.

“Are you still breastfeeding your toddler? Stop doing it and wean him/her quickly. It’s a bad habit which they need to get rid of soon”. 

“Your milk is not sufficient and the child needs top milk for nutrition and strength. “

“Breast milk is just water after a year.” 

“You still nurse to sleep? Don’t be lazy to put your child to sleep by other means.”

“Isn’t is embarrassing when your child tugs at you for a feed at a public place?”

And so on and so forth. Phew!

Well, my daughter is almost 26 months old and we are still having a strong breastfeeding relationship. I nurse her to sleep most of the time and though the frequency of the feeds has reduced, I have no intention to wean her off my milk anytime soon.  While there is so much noise and judgement surrounding formula milk and formula feeding mothers, the ones like me aren’t spared either. I met someone a couple of days back who casually inquired about my daughter’s diet. The conversation steered towards the brand of milk I use and I informed the lady that I still primarily rely on breast milk for my daughter along with the usual solid foods, of course. To say that the lady was aghast would be an understatement. She chided me on being a careless mother by depriving my daughter of good nutrition. She also didn’t hesitate to cross the line and stated that I am responsible for developing the bad habit of breastfeeding and nursing to sleep in my daughter even at this age, by giving in to her demands. Honestly, I was in no mood to debate so I just cut short the conversation and moved on.

Personally, I don’t get affected by people judging me for my choices as I take complete responsibility for what I do and I do it because I feel it is right. I also do my own research when it comes to parenting, hence I take such comments with a pinch of salt. But, I know there are many mothers out there who are constantly judged for everything they do as a parent and this takes a toll on them. There are many who don’t have the luxury of a sea of information at their disposal on one click. Such mothers, who are unfortunately not so well-informed, start losing confidence in their parenting skills after being the target of unnecessary and harsh judgements. Why do we need to do this?

Dotty, You do not need to fulfil my dreams

//This article was first published on the popular parenting platform ZenParent and is available at below link:

https://zenparent.in/zencorner/i-dont-expect-my-child-to-fulfill-my-dreams/

This article has been published by Women’s Web and is available on the below link:

http://www.womensweb.in/2017/05/let-our-children-live-their-dream-not-ours/

A fun part of parenting is sharing your little one’s antics with your close friends and family members. It is a great way to make the people who adore your child a part of the child’s growth journey. Recently, I shared an entertaining dance video of my daughter wherein she is grooving to the tunes of one of the latest hits of Bollywood. I cherish the moments when my daughter and I dance together and it is lovely to bond with her over something that I am passionate about. It also helps keep her occupied for a good amount of time because once she puts on her dancing shoes, there is no stopping her.

Now let me come back to my point before I start digressing.  When I shared this video, everybody enjoyed watching it and I received the customary heartfelt reactions. While everyone had some nice things to say for her, it was the comment of one of my friends which got me thinking.”

Wow, she is good Anu. Looks like she will fulfill your dream of becoming a famous choreographer.”

Well, why do I need my daughter to fulfill my unfulfilled dreams? I can do it myself and am already doing it as best as I can. Yes, I will be ecstatic if she becomes a renowned choreographer, but I will be equally elated with whatever else she chooses to do, as long as she is blissfully traversing her chosen path and is taking responsibility of her actions.

I know the comment was well-intended or probably said in jest, but it is quite common in our culture to expect children to accomplish the dreams of their parents. Whether it is fulfilling our own unfilled dreams or the new ones we start weaving for our children once we become parents, it ultimately boils down to making us proud or gratifying us. But, it is not about US, it is about THEM!

Super Short Story – Theme “Hatred”

The names and situations in this micro-fiction are imaginary. Truth is we are not safe anywhere. If love is everywhere, hatred is everywhere. If there is hope due to some amazing people in the world, then there are some who make me wonder if at all we are heading towards anything good. One of those days when am feeling a void and a sense of loss of faith. Praying for peace in the world!

The Blues of the Flu!

//This article has been sponsored by Dettol and was first published on mycity4kids. Below is the link:

https://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/my-voice/article/the-blues-of-the-flu

As I caressed and cuddled her in my arms before placing her on the bed, I hoped that this time she would sleep peacefully for a longer duration. I had been awake for almost 40 hours at a stretch, barring short power naps in between, and I just didn’t have the energy and vigour left in me to be up even for a minute. I wanted to shut my eyes and stretch my legs. I wanted to give my back the rest it craved for. I wanted to get over the exhaustion that had seeped into every inch of my body. And more than anything, I wanted my daughter’s discomfort to end soon.

Aah, the blues of the flu! This is the scenario every time my toddler is down with it. The last time this happened was during the monsoons and needless to say, it was a gruelling time for both of us. Apart from the physical uneasiness and sickness associated with the seasonal flu, there is a lot more that comes along with it in a package deal. Kids become clingy and cranky, their appetite goes for a toss and they find it difficult to sleep due to the congestion. Also, there is a high chance of the infection getting passed on to the other family members. In our case, all 3 of us invariably fall sick when one catches the flu. And then begins the series of strenuous days and sleepless nights till everyone recovers from it.

It has been a relief that we survived the winters without getting affected majorly by infections, but it is not yet over. The spring season is here with beautiful weather and pleasant vibes in the surroundings. However, the weather change is also a seedbed for all kinds of infection due to the pollen in the air. This is the classic flu season and I am doing all that I can to keep my child protected.

Balanced and wholesome diet – You are what you eat! Undoubtedly, the most important contributor to overall health and well-being is a balanced and nutritious diet. It’s essential to offer variety of foods from all the food groups to not only the kids but also to adults. I include different fruits and vegetables in our diet to ensure adequate intake of vitamins and minerals. Since deficiency of vitamin C is known to affect body’s immune system, I try to include food items rich in vitamin C and iron in our menu. Vitamin C aids in the absorption of Iron in our body, hence it makes sense to group them together in a meal as much as possible.

The “wonder” herb Tulsi – While there are numerous home remedies to improve immunity and fight infections, I personally can vouch on the goodness of Tulsi. It is a powerful herb with medicinal properties and I have found it to be effective in battling against viral infections. Tulsi is known to contain hundreds of valuable compounds which possess strong antiseptic, antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral and immunity enhancing properties. Tulsi can also help in purifying the atmosphere. For centuries, it has been used in Ayurveda due to its diverse therapeutic properties. We either directly chew washed Tulsi leaves or drink Tulsi decoction obtained by boiling Tulsi leaves and then draining the water. Inhaling the vapours of tulsi leaves works well for clearing congestion.

Welcome to Toddlerhood

//This article has been published by Women’s Web and is available at the below link:

http://www.womensweb.in/2017/05/terrible-twos-8-tips-manage-toddler-tantrums/

Do you often oscillate between “Aww my child is such an angel” and “Did I really have to procreate”? Do you have a heart-melting moment with your child at one instant and a meltdown due to an irrational tantrum the very next minute? Is wrong color of cutlery for food one of the biggest catastrophes you take care of avoiding at your home? Is your child upset because he/she does not want to go out, but the fact of the matter is that you are actually not going out? Is your child annoyed because his/her pair of socks will not fit you and you cannot wear them? Welcome to toddler-hood! That phase when your child throws tantrums for the most bizarre reasons and at times you feel you are on the verge of losing your sanity; that phase when your little one surprises you and expresses love in the most endearing ways everyday and you cannot stop feeling blessed for this beautiful experience of life.

My daughter has recently turned 2 and I now realize why the term “Terrible Twos” has been coined. Toddler tantrums can make your hackles rise and can be really exasperating. There are times when I want to scream my lungs out or even spank my kid when a tantrum becomes unmanageable. There are also times when I feel like leaving everything and running away to the Himalayas. But, the only thing that helps me be a gentle parent is the constant reminder to myself that however much the tantrum seems irrelevant to me, it means a big deal for her. This is the age when kids go through myriad of changes developmentally and they start exercising their independence. If it is hard for us, it is also hard for them.  In my experience, being firm yet gentle is much more effective in handling tantrums than yelling though the natural temptation is to react with the latter approach. I am not an expert but I would love to share few tips with fellow parents based on my experience which may be helpful during this roller coaster called toddler-hood.

That one question was a life altering one

My article titled “That one question was a life altering one” was written for SheThePeople.TV on the occasion of International Women’s Day. The theme was “The power of One”.

Below is the link to the article:

http://shethepeople.tv/to-a-woman-who-taught-me-lifes-biggest-lesson/

 

 

 

Happy Anniversary

Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse does not have obvious signs. There are many who experience emotional abuse in their marriage and are not even aware that they are being abused. If it does not feel right, chances are it isn’t right. Please read my short story titled “Happy Anniversary” published on Readomania which is a tale of empowerment. Empowerment does not come by only being financially independent but by tapping into one’s inner strength and taking charge of one’s life. Please rate the story and comment if you like it.

This story received an overwhelming response and is now among the most read publications on Readomania.

Below is the link to the story:

http://www.readomania.com/story/happy-anniversary

This story was later also published by Women’s Web and is also available at the below link:

http://www.womensweb.in/2017/06/but-at-least-he-is-a-good-father-short-story/

 

 

Book Review – Onaatah of the earth

Onaatah

Book Details:

Author: Paulami DuttaGupta

Publisher: Readomania

Available for purchase at the below link:

http://www.amazon.in/Onaatah-Earth-Adapted-National-winning/dp/9385854224

//This review has been published by Women’s Web in their “Book Reviews” section and is available at the below link:

http://www.womensweb.in/2017/05/book-review-onaatah-of-the-earth-paulami-duttagupta/

Review

“But then in life we all have a permanent blindfold on and yet we pretend to be safe.”

It is lines like these that make “Onaatah of the earth” an engrossing, sublime and enlightening read, which lingers in your mind for a long, long time.

When you pick up a book that narrates the tale of a rape survivor, you expect to be drowned in a pool of tears by the end of it and imagine yourself to be in a melancholic mood for hours after you have closed the book. For this very reason, there is a section of people who avoid reading books on this subject because they feel they do not have the guts to stomach such stories. But, what if I tell you that I had a broad grin on my face after I completed reading the story of Onaatah and felt a deep sense of contentment? Well, that is where “Onaatah of the earth” stands out from all the other books dealing with the issue of rape and succeeds in making a vital point without being preachy or gory or overtly dramatic.

Based on a National Award winning Khasi Film written by Paulami DuttaGupta, who has also authored this book, “Onaatah of the earth” is an uplifting and relatable account of a rape survivor who stands up for herself in the face of adversity and emerges out of it, stronger and wiser. Exactly 4 years back, I had begun my journey as a social activist and I interacted with quite a few survivors of sexual assault while working on their rehabilitation. Some of them are my good friends today and hence, this book hit close to home. As I read through Onaatah’s journey, I discovered a bit of each of those survivors in Onaatah.