The Year that was (2013)

2013 has ended on a wonderful note for me. I learnt a few lessons and I am beginning to understand what is important in life and what is not.

The year started with lots of tears and emotions, if I remember correctly. It was yet another New Year’s eve where my husband and I were miles apart. I was really fed up of what my life was throwing at me. I was in the same state of mind almost till November. Time and again, I used to wonder why God is making me live this lonely life. But right towards the end of the year, I stumbled across an article that discussed memories.

It seems even though we had a happy childhood, years later, when we look back, we only remember the sad and unhappy moments vividly. As soon as I read that, I realized that most people around me, including me, only remember the unpleasant happenings from childhood. Our memories make us believe that we had an unhappy childhood, which is not true. 

It was like a revelation for me. By worrying and feeling sad all the time, we only etch that ‘one unpleasant’ happening in our memories, whereas, the all other happy moments are forgotten.

I then realized that I should try my best and make my children’s childhood happy and memorable. I wanted their memories to be mostly happy. Happiness starts from the phase of ‘being content’. From then, it has become my new motto. Be Content and Be Happy. If I am happy, then they would also learn to be a happy person, isn’t it?

Despite being alone and miles away from my husband on yet another New Year’s eve, I am happy and content of what I have at this moment ūüôā I am surprised that I am not feeling sad and depressed. Wow, what an improvement!

I am ready to welcome 2014. May this year be filled with happiness, good health for everyone! Happy New Year 2014…

Eco Femme cloth pads review

After knowing about the harmful chemicals present in the disposable diapers and constantly adding to the garbage pile, I switched over to cloth diapers for my babies. Only then, it had occurred to me that I have been adding to the pile every month during menstruation. I imagined that cloth would be very messy to use. But after reading some experiences of cloth pads and getting a recommendation from my friend, I was game for trying it out.

I had ordered 3 Eco Femme cloth pads through Shycart (I had blogged about that experience earlier over here). It was an order of 2 day and 1 night pads. I had purchased this to see if it was really possible to use cloth pads after years of using disposable sanitary pads.

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To be honest, it was a hassle when I tried this in the last cycle. It was not because of cloth pads itself but because of the small number of pads I had to begin with. From what I read, advice is to start with around 6. But I was not ready to invest in 6 pads without being sure if I would like it. After using it last month, I placed another order. Now I have a total of 5. Yes, these pads are here to stay with me, as far as I am concerned.

Things I liked:

  1. Soft: As we know, the disposable sanitary pads that are sold in India are nowhere near as soft as it would be in the US. This actually felt soft, softer than any pad I has used before.
  2. Stays in place always: Press buttons are sewn on to the pad to secure them to the underwear. Surprisingly, it stayed in place throughout. Did not bunch up as I had perceived. It was a little bulky than the Ultras I was used to, but not as bulky to feel uncomfortable.
  3. No smell: I was really skeptical about it. There is actually no odour emanating from this after use, unlike the disposable napkins. And, if the pads are soaked, rinsed and washed as per the washing instructions, they get clean and fresh as new.
  4. No overflow: For years, we were made to believe that only disposable pads absorb the liquids quickly and there was no way that a cloth could absorb even half as much. Well, this is absolutely wrong. There was no overflow of any sorts when I used them. I wonder why the advertisements by the major brands portray this in that way.
  5. Minimum carbon foot print: Finally felt good that I am not adding to the trash. Due to the rains and the small number of pads I owned, I had to use disposable for a couple of times.

I really liked using these pads and hence I took the pain to wash them whenever possible to ensure that I did not have to use disposable. There were a few things which I found it difficult to handle.

Things I did not feel comfortable with:

  1. Washing and drying: Though the steps were simple, it was a bit of a hassle. I think this feeling is mainly because I am not used to this and also because I tend to not tell anybody about my periods. That would no longer be possible as these have to be hung outside to dry. In fact, my mom in law spotted it last time and was having a look from all angles. Thankfully she did not ask me about it! Being a shy person does not help here J
  2. Long drying time: Due to layers of cloth sewn together, it took quite a while to dry. The cloudy skies and the occasional rains did not help. A machine wash would have definitely brought the drying time down.

Apart from these, I really liked everything else about the product. I would definitely recommend it to my friends and family.

If you are here wondering if this will work for you, I say why not try it first. You could try these on days where you would be home (on a weekend or something) or on light days. Once you gain confidence in the product, I think you would definitely use it regularly.

Detailed washing instructions and encouragement to try these cloth pads can be found here

Joy of giving and Mom’s iPad mini

Some people just love to give gifts and some people just love to receive. I never knew I am a giving person for a long time. But after picking up a job, this habit started. May be until then, I was worried about being questioned about how I spent my pocket money. After gaining the much needed independence, I indulged in the habit of giving. I am not talking about philanthropy. Rather, It is just about making my near and dear ones happy.

I started with small things like books, watches and mobile phones for my family. Sometimes it was for an occasion. Sometimes it was just another spontaneous decision. I once bought clothes for my grandparents for Deepavali, a Hindu festival. My grandparents were delighted, to say the least. They proudly told the world that their little grandchild bought this. Somehow, I began enjoying the smile on their faces after receiving a gift.

Why am I suddenly talking about giving? Well, yesterday I ordered an iPad mini for my mom. It was yet another spontaneous decision. After the purchase, I had an uncontrollable urge to post about this feeling. I have bought watches and iPod for my mom. One time, I even bought her sarees. But never something very expensive. May be, her requirements weren’t such, or so I thought.
It was only after I bought an iPad last year, my mom got a first hand experience in the world of technology . Of course, I have given her a few lessons on using a PC many years back. But she did not pursue it much. May be, it scared her or confused her. Or, it could have been because of the nature of windows operating system. As we all know, the OS vista asks too many questions.

A tablet is a child’s play nowadays. So, just like how my toddler learnt to operate the iPad, my mom did too. Her areas of interests were limited to watching a few episodes of her favourite serials on Youtube, playing a few games like angry birds, temple run etc. As days went by, my toddler was almost addicted to this iPad. Out of fear, I hid it and thus successfully restricted the iPad time. But if he sees any of us with one, he simply grabs it and does his own business! Needless to say, I get to use mine only when he sleeps. Now, my younger daughter, who is just 14 months old, also started demanding that I let her watch her favourite rhymes on it. Oh my! I get to use it only for an hour or so after both of them call it a night.

Due to these developments, my mom does not get much of a chance to do her things. My dad recently was issued an iPad by his office. But he takes it to his office everyday. Despite having 2 iPads hanging around in the household, my mom does not get much of an iPad time. This has been a case for the past couple of months. Recently, my dad subscribed to various Tamil magazines. Seeing the low subscription cost, my dad and I convinced mom decided to forgo the physical copy of a few magazines that she purchased regularly. But sadly, the truth is, she never gets to read it after the online subscription. Dad suggested her to read the magazine on his laptop. As she is not well versed with the laptop, the tasks seemed very daunting. I felt bad seeing her struggle like that. I opened the website and taught her how to navigate and read. But after a while, she gave up and left the room to do something else.

I was left wondering what could be done. Just because she stays at home and her usage is limited, we are forced to believe that she does not require any expensive gadget. But now, I changed my mind. I had a feeling that her excitement is similar to what we had when we were first introduced into the world of computers and internet. It really opens a whole new world for her. Unlike a PC or a laptop, the tablet is easier to operate. Though she might not use it productively (to be frank, who does? Isn’t it like a toy for the grown ups?), she can independently use it for reading, watching videos, playing games, video calling etc. She might even learn how to use google and get to experience the internet like we do.

I love the experience of an apple product. Though I have not used their laptops and PCs, their phones, iPods and tablets impressed me a lot. My dad always wanted an iPhone, but he felt that they were too pricey. My DH also felt the same. They were delighted when they received them as a gift from me on different occasions. Of course, it was a surprise. For my brother though, I gifted a Samsung tablet for his wedding. It was his choice and not mine ūüôā

On similar lines, I ordered iPad mini. I wanted her to experience the best. Flipkart was selling Nexus 7 for less than 10,000 rupees. But somehow I couldn’t get myself buy that. Just after I placed the order, iPad mini with retina display’s release date was announced. It was not going to make me cancel the order. The newer version is going to cost 29,000 rupees. The older version is 7,000 lesser. I thought it was good enough for mom. Hope she likes it! It is going to take another 3-4 days to arrive. I am going to have a tough time keeping mum as it is a surprise gift!

A Musical beginning

My husband is in Russia on duty now. He will¬†be returning next month. Yesterday, when I was about to sleep, he messaged me saying that he had a surprise in store. I could sense his excitement. But knowing my husband and the fact that surprises and DH don’t go hand in hand, I did not expect anything big.¬†So, I asked him if he did something that would surprise me or he bought a surprise gift. He said he has bought me something and he was not going to tell me what it was. He wanted me to guess it. I listed the usual things viz. clothes, jewelry, watches. He replied in the negative for all these.

My sleepy brain had enough of these blind guesses and asked for¬†some clues. He said that the thing was a masterpiece and required some skill which he hoped I will acquire eventually. Sewing machine was in my wishlist for a long time now, but couldn’t figure out why he would buy it from Russia . Suddenly I was scared that it could be roller skates. He purchased them for him last year and was learning to skate with the help of youtube videos. I was not game for that and hence heaved a sigh of relief when I heard it was not roller skates.

I had a feeling that I am blurting out a lot of things in my “desirable list” in the name of guesses. I did not feel comfortable about letting out so much information. I said that I was done with the guessing business. Finally he said it is an Indoor thing and it was not electronics. Suddenly I remembered that some of his seniors wanted him to buy Pianos for them. So, when I asked if it was related to music, I got a positive reply. I hoped it was a guitar, but it was Piano at the end.

I was not thrilled. In fact, I was damn scared. Would we have a place for a Piano in our small quarters? Did he spend a fortune for this? After I knew the price and seeing a few pictures, I was relieved. But my dear husband was upset that I was not excited. He thought I would like it and I flooded him with questions. I felt bad that I behaved in this way. DH wanted to make me happy. Since I asked so many questions, he decided that I was not happy with his choice.

Today I emailed him saying that I was all happy and excited. I just required some time to digest the information. When someone decides to gift you a thing that you neither had in mind or knew how to use, I guess it warrants for such behavior from the recipient.

Now coming back to the Piano, when in school, I wanted to learn to play the electronic keyboard. But somehow that did not materialize. I did not have enough opportunity to learn music at any point in my life so far. I guess now I can not say that. I am happy that my husband got me this thoughtful gift. It would definitely let me into a whole new world. I have lot to explore, learn about music. Though it would take another 3 months to lay my hands on it, I have already started my research. Wish me luck!