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why i oscillate between natural and chemical

9 May

Most of you know about my semi-minimalistic lifestyle. I try to avoid synthetic chemicals as much as I can. And here are some of my ideas on the topic:

Naturals are great for prevention. Chemicals are great for emergencies. My son and I don’t often fall sick. We don’t have too many allergies. We are both lazy and don’t go out much, and rarely get cuts, bruises and burns ūüėõ So, we don’t use many chemicals for healing.

How I got started with naturals was when my son “grated” his finger on a vegetable grater once. His nail was grated out. It was very bloody and gross. He was very brave and didn’t cry one bit. I rushed him to the hospital, and got him bandaged. I gave him turmeric milk for 2 days, and each day, I saw his finger heal visibly. Then he went away with his Dad for a weekend, and, obviously, no turmeric milk for him there. He came back on Monday with his injury looking exactly like it did on Friday. I started the turmeric milk again, and he was quickly healed. That, to me, was the best evidence I ever needed. No amount of testimonials from others can convince someone as much as personal experience.

Here is the interesting juxtaposition. When my son got that big cut, I rushed to Urgent Care. He needs help, Now! Nothing can can help “Now” better than modern day, chemical, allopathic medicines. But all the traditional medicine systems in the world help with building immunity from within. And that’s what we want to spend 99% of our time and energy on. And we hope that 1% emergencies will be few and far-between.

A similar example I have is for laundry. I switched to soap-nuts for laundry (And yes, I did a whole week of research to find the best brand and the best quality). It works “good enough”, it gets the clothes clean. There are no optical brighteners and color enhancers. There is no added bleach for whiter whites. Over time, whites will go pale yellowish in color. That is why previous generations used “Tinopal” and/or “neel” (indigo dye) to whiten whites. As luck would have it, I realized I hardly have any white outerwear. So, most of my clothes get washed in soapnuts. The “white” socks and inner wear get sorted out in a separate load with commercial, “green” detergent and get added bleach.

We live in the modern world and we need to find the right balance. Our bodies take hundreds of years of evolve, and we cannot adapt to modern chemicals within 50-80 years. I try to go natural as much as I can. And I use chemicals when I need help, “Now!”


why angie’s letter makes me uncomfortable

25 Aug

I recently read this post on Upworthy, titled “She Could Hear Every Word He Said Through The Open Window, So She Started Typing“. Somehow, this post made me uncomfortable and I started typing. Here is what I think is wrong with the post. It is written by “Angie” to “woman”, sympathizing with her,¬†an abuse¬†victim. It places the onus of stopping the violence on the victim and is letting the abuser get-away scot-free.

Every time you sympathize with the victim, you take away their sense of control and power. You tell them their situation is sad and worthy of sympathy, that they are helpless, and defense-less. And most unfortunately, you are telling them you have nothing more to offer to them other than sympathy. It makes the victim feel that they have no options and are fighting a lone battle.

When you tell the victim that your hear and see the abuse, yet you do nothing, you tell the victim that they are not worthy of standing-up for. You tell the victim that you are afraid to confront the abuser and they are on their own. Your words sound hollow and empty and meaningless.

Many years ago, there was an abuser who routinely told his wife he was going to work, and would climb back onto the patio of their second floor apartment through the first floor fence, and spy on her. Many neighbors saw him climbing back on to the patio through the fence. Yet, no one confronted him or called the cops, or even the apartment manager, to report a seeming intruder in the apartment-complex.

“Mandatory reporters” in the form of doctors, psychologists, school staff – all threaten the victim to leave the situation or they will report *her*. No one confronts the abuser, that they know about the abuse and will report *him*. Placing the onus on the victim to leave her abuser, adds greater responsibility on her without providing her support. It adds a greater fear on her to not let the signs of abuse show, and further isolates her.

Angie, your letter to “woman” ¬†is well-meaning, but you wrote to the wrong person. I am a great believer in the saying “If you see something, say something”. Confront the abuser. Tell him you can hear him through the open windows and doors and the paper thin walls. Tell him you don’t care whether or not the victim complains about him or tries to protect him. Tell him that you are watching him, his every move, and will not let him set a bad example for your children or spoil the environment for the upcoming generation. Tell him that you will report *him* if he doesn’t straighten-out his act. It will be *his* Visa/Immigration that will be revoked, and it will be *him* who will lose custody of the kids.¬†

Step in front of her and don’t let him hit her or abuse her or demean her. Show the “woman” in your story how to stand-up to her abuser and be a role-model for her. Show her that you are not afraid of the abuser, that he is not worthy of being afraid.¬†Do not allow the abuser to hide in plain sight. There are no doors that cannot be broken down. Show the victims that they are worth standing-up for, and pledge to step in and place the onus to stop¬†where it belongs – with the abuser. ¬†

There is a lot more you can do than type, don’t let the opportunity slip away. Knock on his door and tell him to cut it out or take her with you into your own home. Call the cops that he is disturbing the peace. Build a trail of reports so that when she feels ready¬†to leave him, your reports and your witnessing are there to support her. Not with your words and sympathy, but with your actions.


indra nooyi: who’s talking about her mom?

4 Jul

Indra Nooyi’s comments about women not being able to have it all have gone viral in recent days. Here is the link to the original video if you are interested. The first 25 minutes or so are her talk.¬†

I wrote yesterday about men having the same problem as women about not being able to have it all. You can read the blog post here.

Another aspect to this discussion is the perceived lack of support from Ms Nooyi’s mom, and I want to comment about that here. There are a lot of comments on the internet about how mothers and mothers-in-law are the most unsupportive. I beg to differ.

Ms Nooyi talked about her mom sending her back out to get milk, before hearing any of her news. What is implicit to me here is that her mom was living with her, and presumably running the household. She was living there for the sake of her daughter, not her son-in-law. And when Grandma¬†is running the household, she is the CEO of the home. If they are out of milk, she is worried her grand daughters will not have milk for the night or the next morning, and it is her responsibility to find the best delivery person. If it happened to be Indra, then so be it. (Maybe she asked the son-in-law earlier, but he was unwilling. Ms Nooyi could just as well have called on her husband to run the errand.) Grandma is not comprising on her granddaughters’ care for any news or any reason. Who knows, the store might be closing in a few minutes or it might be close to the granddaughters’ bedtime! Any good CEO of a company would do exactly the same.

As Ms Nooyi said, we need to build or enlist “co-opts” to help us get better balance between parenting and Career progression. Even Sheryl Sandberg has mentioned having a lot of support from her sister and mother in raising their kids. But we cannot take that support for granted, or feel entitled to it.¬†

Grandma has already done her round of raising kids. But she is doing a second round for the sake of her daughter. And she needs all the support she can get to do an awesome job as the CEO of home!


women can’t have it all… but, can men?

3 Jul

PepsiCo’s CEO Indira Nooyi explains women can’t have it all. As a career mom myself, I am very much in agreement with her. Here is a link to her talk, the first 25 minutes or so in this¬†video.

I will not add my views here about how much I agree with her. There are many blogs and articles everywhere doing that. What I do want to talk about is the men. Can they have it all? Don’t they face the same challenges as do women? Don’t men have to make the same choices between attending to work and attending school events? The difference is, perhaps, that they are expected to trade-off work for family time. For the few men who want to have successful careers and also be there for their families, there is very little sympathy and understanding. Men develop coping mechanisms by delegating the family tasks to the children’s mothers. That may reduce guilt, but it does not salvage the aching loss of missed opportunities, less bonding with the kids and a sense of having missed-out on the kids’ childhoods.

My comment here is simple РNo one  can have it all, be it men or women. Any person who chooses to be a career parent, needs the support and backing of a network of willing caregivers. And corporations would do well to encourage their employees to have better work/life balances. Employees with less guilt and more emotionally fulfilled lives are likely to be more stable and collaborative in the work-place as well.

dating advice if you have reached a ‚Äúcertain‚ÄĚ age

21 Jan

If you have a reached a ‚Äúcertain‚ÄĚ age, and are still not in a long term or committed relationship, here are some things you can try. Oh, and if you are wondering what a ‚Äúcertain‚ÄĚ age is, then let me tell you, only you know the number. If you feel you have been single (or single-again) long enough, then it is your ‚Äúcertain‚ÄĚ age. If you are still happy being single, then you have not reached the ‚Äúcertain‚ÄĚ age. No one else can determine that for you.

Meeting: Go out and meet people. Do things you love, and do things that most folks of the opposite gender love. There are plenty of online groups like meetup etc., where you can find such events being organized. Join online dating web-sites. Let your friends and family know you are looking to meet people. Accept invitations, dates, setups etc. You have to put yourself out there and meet people. There is no substitute for that. Set-up/introduce your other single friends if you meet someone not right for you, but may be right for them. You never know, someone may be so happy that they might actually return the favor ūüôā

Weeding: Let people know upfront that you are looking for a steady, long term, committed relationship. That will weed out most of the folks who are looking for a casual fling, are still ‚Äúwindow shopping‚ÄĚ, or simply not ready to give-up their singledom. Don‚Äôt worry, you are not losing potential mates, you are only losing the time-wasting distractors. You would be surprised how many there are!

Staying put: Once you have met someone interesting, who catches your fancy, and is also looking for a long term steady relationship, then commit to them. That does not mean you start making declarations of ever-lasting love, but it means, commit to them in your mind that you will see this relationship through with a sincere and honest effort. Spend time with them, and genuinely get to know them. Stop playing games. Return messages and calls as soon as you are able. Ensure you spend time talking to them over the phone, if not in person, on a regular basis. Do not ‚Äúkeep your options open‚ÄĚ or date multiple people at the same time. You are old enough to know what‚Äôs out there, and what you can get. If you are unsure, and still want to keep your options open, either you have not reached the ‚Äúcertain‚ÄĚ age, or you are seeing red flags and this person is not right for you. Next!

Taking it slow: Go slow if you must, but understand what that means. It does not mean you create artificial communication gaps ‚Äď returning calls with text, waiting 2 days after a great date to message back, and so on. It means, do not get engaged or married in a hurry because you can‚Äôt wait to have kids (or whatever your reason is). It means, do not jump into bed even before you know if you can spend an entire day or a weekend with them without wishing at least one of you were dead ūüėõ Take your time on physical intimacy and life-changing commitments, but do move at a natural pace to really get to know the person and see if you enjoy their company. If you feel like calling, call. If you feel like asking them out, then do so. Make sure you get an enthusiastic response from them every time you reach out, or you give them an enthusiastic response when they reach out to you. Make them feel special, and also see if they make you feel special as well. That way, you won’t be chasing someone who is not interested in you.

Dealing with issues: And certainly take it slow when you run into issues, do not run for the door. You can break-up any time, but really put in your best effort before you call it quits. Think about the issues, and try to resolve them with mature dialogue and discussion. (Unless you both are addicted to feelings of anger and drama, and enjoy the fights. In that case, all bets are off ūüôā ). Ask for advice from folks who are in long term committed relationships, talk to therapists if that might help. If your partner refuses to go, you can go alone. They are most likely to tell you examples of how to make things work, rather than the standard advice of ‚Äúplenty of fish‚ÄĚ. And most important, bring-up all issues and concerns with your partner directly. Do NOT use middlemen (or middle women) to convey messages. If you can‚Äôt have a direct dialogue with your partner, that is cause for concern. Either you need to get more assertive and speak-up, or tone yourself down so your partner feels safe in speaking-up.

Keeping yourself inspired: Read stories about long term relationships, how they met, and talk to your own family and friends of how they faced challenges in life. Such stories are inspiring and help develop a problem-solving attitude, rather than encouraging to take the easy exit. And if you believe in the Laws of Attraction, then it will bring in more positive energy in your life.

I hope some of these ideas help. If you have any more to share, I would love to hear from you!


a different kind of experience

4 Jan

I received the following email in my inbox, one of those endlessly forwarded emails. But, it was such an amazing tale, that I wanted to share it on my blog too. If anyone knows the original author, please let me know, and I will be happy to credit it to them. I am simply copy/pasting the email I received, with some changes in formatting, to fit this blog’s line width.


I was invited to one Friday evening event by one of MNC Vendor organization who had organized the event to raise funds for the visually handicapped people in a center for blind people.
As usual, since it was a Friday evening, I first thought to skip the event considering it could be a bit boring and rather spend the evening relaxing by some other means.
But being alone and sometimes finding it difficult to kill time, I¬†thought to accept the invitation and registered online for booking.¬†Moreover it was free ūüôā which was another motivation to go to the¬†event. I was looking at the event to pass some time, meet few people¬†and nothing else.
When I went there, there were approx 40 people from various industries invited for that event. I found some Indians and naturally talked to them about how life is in Singapore etc etc. Initially we were shown a video about the visually handicapped center. What are their activities, how are they helping blind people in Singapore to leave more fulfilling life, etc .. It was a short 15 minute video and quite inspiring that how people from different walks of life spend time in helping these blind people without expecting anything in return. They shared the satisfaction and fulfillment they get by helping them.
After the video, we all were gathered in a hall and were briefed¬†about next event. The theme of the next event was “Dining in the¬†Dark”. And this is the event which turned out to be inspiring and¬†worth sharing.
What is meant was that we all 40+ people were going to have Dinner in a pitch Dark room !!!! The next 2 hours were completely planned, organized, directed and executed by three blind youths. One was a girl (Leader) and other two boys were assistant to her forming a team of three blind volunteers.
The blind leader first gave us tips for dining (These were ACTUAL STANDARDS THE BLIND PEOPLE FOLLOW IN ORDER TO MAKE THERE LIFE EASIER)
1, When you sit at your table the things will be placed as follows :
at 3 o clock of your dish : You will find a spoon.
at 9 o clock : Fork;
12 o clock : spoon.
2 o clock : Empty Glass
Dish at the center with Paper napkin tucked at 6 o clock.
2. There will be two large Jugs circulated to you. The Jug with plain walls will have water and the Jug with curved wall will have orange juice.
3. When you get your Jug based on your choice you have to pour it in your glass. You have to dip your forefinger in the glass so that when you fill it and the liquid touches your finger, you have to stop pouring. She asked whether everyone has understood . All said yes but everyone was confused and trying to remember what she said and confirming with each other. Next 1 1/2 hours we spent were full of fun and learning. In completely pitch dark room where we could not see ANYTHING we were enjoying various delicious food without seeing it.
We all 40 people were taken in groups in the dark hall . Each one was directed by blind person till he/she sits on a chair (We were finding it awkward because actually we are supposed to guide blind people to their destination and help them)
We were Served full five course dinner by this team of three blind people- Welcome drinks, appetizers, starters , main course and desserts. The amazing thing was that the team of three blind people were serving exactly vegetarian dishes to vegetarian people who were sitting randomly in the room !!!
While registering online we were asked question to choose from¬†“Vegetarian” or “Non vegetarian”. I obviously chose Vegetarian,¬†being one. We were so nicely hosted that we did not had to wait in¬†between serves. As we were ending finishing one dish, we were¬†served with next without any delays.
After approx 1 and half hours of Dining in the dark, the leader asked whether everyone has finished eating. After confirmation she switched on the lights of the dining room. We left the Dining room with tears in our eyes.
We realized how lucky we are and how we have been gifted with¬†beautiful eyes to see the beautiful world. We realized how difficult¬†lives of blind people are¬†(and other handicapped) without being able¬†to see. We realized how uncomfortable we were for just two hours¬†without being able to see anything and how they must be living their¬†lives. We realized how unfortunate we are, that we do not value such¬†simple things in life we have and cry (sometime louder, sometime¬†within ourselves) and run after what we don’t have¬†……………..for whole of our lives without having time to adore¬†for the things we have.
Be cheerful. Adore whatever you have in life. You may try for whatever you dont have but never feel sad about it.
You need to experience it, something like I had experienced, to believe this philosophy of life.
If you like this article : Pass on to those you think you should share.
What an incredible experience! In trying to find the original author, I found a restaurant chain which offers similar experience. I haven’t been to it yet, but maybe, it’s worth adding to my bucket list?

gmo food = junk food

13 Oct

It’s simple. Multi-million dollar research goes into genetically modifying food – for making it commercially viable. The focus is on increasing shelf life, increasing yield, making it prettier or sweeter. All are worthy commercial goals. Who says ever “Oh! Let’s put more iron in the spinach and make it healthier!”

Take GMO salmon (AquAdvantage¬ģ Salmon)¬†for example. It grows to three times the size in half the time! Cha-ching!! But, what about the consumers? Wild salmon is rich in omega-3 complex fatty acids and wide-diameter muscle fiber, which are good for you. They also take longer to produce and store in Salmon bodies. GMO Salmon grows big quickly, primarily by producing and storing omega-6 fatty acids and lean-diameter muscle fiber. These are faster to produce in the salmon body, but way unhealthy for human consumption.

Now, consumers need to eat three times as much GMO salmon and still get much less quantity of omega-3 fatty acids. And they will load-up on lot more of omega-6 fatty acid in the process, leading to obesity, clogged arteries, cholesterol, heart disease… Higher medical bills.

As long as salmon is sold by weight or size, and not by its nutrition content, I cannot trust GMO salmon to be the right choice for consumers. Or any other GMO product for that matter.