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An Evolution – Blogging to Activism

18 Jul

Blogging was fun! I started writing about the funny things which happened when I was mothering and parenting my son. I wrote about how funny (sarcastic drum roll) my husband was. I wrote how blessed I am to have a hectic lifestyle which allows me no time to crib or vent. Sometimes I wrote philosophy. At times poetry during those doleful moment.

Well, I joined World Moms Blog. And then I wrote more mom things. You can read how heart-broken I was when my son wore his glasses. I thought it was my mistake. I went on a guilt trip to many places often. I went to fun trips too. Ha!

And then one day Jennifer asked me, “Would you like to be a movie star?” I dint reply to that mail. Because it was not directed to me, surely!

Surely?

And then after a week she asked me again. She coaxed me. I said, well, I don’t know.

And then I asked myself, “Why not?”

So, I asked her the details.

And I was surprised to know it was for a social cause. I read many things about Immunisation, Vaccination, the developing nations, the developed nations, children dying in Africa every 20 seconds to a disease which can be prevented by a vaccine.

I read about organisations like GAVI, Shot@Life, The Gates Foundation and more. I read how much the UN was doing and I said, “Yes” to Jen.

So, we shot our first movie. Read about it here.

And then there was no stopping back!

I was an activist and I was hooked. One thing led to another and I participated in twitter parties, I talked about maternal and child health. I wrote about the UN’s MDGs. I interviewed pediatricians. I researched India’s situation. I came across a remote rural village, Piplantri in Western India which was a perfect example of an agent of change. I blogged about it on the Gates Foundation.

I know people who do a lot more things. I did a few things.

Evolution

Evolution

I looked at myself in the mirror. I looked at my inner self.

I asked myself for the wisdom to do what is right.

I evolved, my blog evolved. We resist change initially, but it slowly envelops it. We have to move on and do what we think we ought to do. It is our moral responsibility to our sisters and brothers of the world.

Balancing my inner self and my outer actions and defining it to be in tandem with my heart’s wisdom and integrating it all to become the complete personality happened. My blog also helped me get there.

Have you been drawn to something greater than yourself? Greater than anything else you know in this world? For me, it is my own inner happiness and contentment in doing my part in this universe.

I know how, when and where this journey began.

This journey through my inner universe has no end.

Evolution is infinity, with no end.

Come, talk to me @BlogHER13.

Come, talk to me @BlogHER 13

Come, talk to me @BlogHER 13

I would like to know your views about blogging and activism. Join me at my panel.

Politics & Activism | Presentation: Ad Hoc Advocacy vs. Non-Profit Structure / Roundtable: International Activist BlogHer Scholarship Recipients on 27th July at 3:15 PM. Listen to me speak.

I am speaking @BlogHER13

I am speaking @BlogHER13

BlogHer – International Activist Scholarship Award 2013

16 Jul

Even in my wildest dreams I have not imagined that one day I would meet my virtual friends. On 25th July, I am going to meet the wonderful Jennifer Burden, Nicole Morgan, Nicole Melancon, Eva Walls, Lisa Webb and maybe Carrie Fochs and Jessica Angell. All these women are so close to my heart.

YaY! I am going to BlogHER 2013 in Chicago this year. And incidentally I also won the BlogHER International Activist Scholarship Award 2013, which is a great honour and pride to me.

Going to #BlogHER13

Going to #BlogHER13

Thank you so much BlogHER. Thank you for the IA and thank you for being so wonderful all the while.

I know I have taken my own sweet time to blog about this great news. But there were a few things which needed to be sorted out. And recently Jennifer messaged me saying –Purnima, you will regret not being true to yourself than giving in to other factors.

I need to be free and distance myself from negativity. Beautiful things happen in your life when you distance yourself from all the negative things. So I decided to fly free like the bird I claim to write about in my novel.

And so, here I am announcing this wonderful piece of information so late in my blog. This has been an amazing thing in my life. I am also going to the US of A for the first time. So, I am sure life has some interesting things in store for me for the next few weeks.

I am excited.

I am nervous.

I am happy.

#7 days to go until I board the flight to the US of A.

Speaking @ #BlogHER13

Speaking @ #BlogHER13

And I am speaking on a panel – Politics & Activism | Presentation: Ad Hoc Advocacy vs. Non-Profit Structure / Roundtable: International Activist BlogHer Scholarship Recipients. Check it out.

So who are all going to #BlogHER13? Drop me a note and we should catch up in Chicago!

My article @ Huffington Post!

6 Sep

My article got published on The Huffington post under Global Maternal health and Global Motherhood. Check it out here. It is called Global Motherhood: Awareness and Access to Information Can Help Prevent Disease. Go ahead, click it, read it!

Would love to know your feedback/comments/tips/suggestions either by mail or as comments there and here.

Guest Post: Confessions of an IT professional’s wife

2 Sep

Sreelatha is married to an IT professional. And she talks about the YAYs and NAYs that it accompanies. Oh, did I tell you I was an IT pro myself before I started this blog?

Sreelatha's family

Sreelatha’s family

Being the wife of an IT professional (which I am sure at least 40% of the women are) comes with its own pros and cons. When I got the marriage proposal, it seemed to me and my folks as the most lucrative one owing to the fact that the boy works for one of the big IT firms located in the silicon valley of India (we like to call it that way). The cherry on the cake was the travel that one gets to take around the different continents of the world. So as any smart girl in my position would have done I grabbed the opportunity and married my man. So that was all in the outset but what really goes in is like this – I am sure we women keep hearing this saying that When you marry a man you are actually marrying the whole family but here’s the new thing – When you’re marrying an IT professional you are marrying his job as well.

Let me explain. For one if you are an IT professional too then you are spared because when you’re husband talks to you about how his day went, he is going to be using those big IT words like Data center transformation, virtualization, private cloud (what??) so on and so forth. But for someone like me who has absolutely no connection to IT whatsoever, all these words sounds like ‘Blah, Blah and Blah Blah.’ Oh but you dare not show it on your face because you’re husband probably has had a really stressful day and as a good wife you are supposed to lend an ear to all that he says.

Did I mention to you that he has another wife too, no make that two, his laptop and blackberry? I would consider myself the third one because he literally spends the whole day with his blackberry and the laptop. When he comes back from work you will most probably hear these words –‘ I have two calls back to back today’, ‘got this really important client meet tomorrow so I need to leave very early.’

And one of those days you may also hear something like this ‘Looks like we may have to travel pretty soon, there is a big assignment coming up.’ Now, never ask him how soon you have to leave because you don’t want to hear it. It most probably would be something like this – ‘Visa and stamping will take about 4 weeks. So most probably we’ll leave next month.’ When you hear this you’ll have mixed feelings, one you are excited about the travel; two, you are sick worried that all of a sudden you are going to be in a foreign land and if you have kids then you probably would have had a mild heart attack by then and thirdly you are already stressed out that you have to shut down the current house and start packing. The biggest challenge would be to keep mum about the whole thing. That part is the most difficult one. Your mom and mom-in-law would tell you that you should not blurt it out as it is very inauspicious. Chances are that the whole trip may get cancelled. More than the part being inauspicious, in reality you actually will never know that you are moving out of the country till you board your flight.

And that’s just the challenges that the wives face. Now don’t even let me start on the how an IT professional’s career affects his and his in-laws life as well. A word of caution to all the parents of the soon to be bride of an IT groom. Make sure that you have your passports ready. Your daughter will soon move away to the states or to the kingdom or to some euro destination, the next thing will be that you may have visit her for 6 months because your daughter is pregnant and they will want the child to be born in that country as the medical facilities are better there (Don’t be surprised by this. Once your daughter starts to live there, no place compares to it not even India where she was born and brought up). The same applies to the boy’s parents because once the girl’s parents are back its time for them to get there and get on with their duties. So the other day I met this aunty in our apartment  building and asked her where she was all this while and guess what she says.

But all said and done, today IT professionals are the most sort after grooms for Tambram girls and every tambram boy works for IT behemoths. We embraced this life because we know that this is how it is going to be. On a serious note I want to finish this whole list of confessions by saying that we know how hard our husbands work and as a wife it becomes imperative that we support and stand by whatever they do. And promise that we will continue to board the flight to wherever they want us to go, learn any foreign languages, get used to the fact that laptops and blackberries are not only part of their lives but ours too.

Sreelatha is Purnima’s (The Alchemist’s) childhood friend. They went to the same school for twelve years together. They both resided in the same locality. They spent some holidays together. Sreelatha pursued commerce and management and married an IT professional, whereas Purnima pursued Engineering and married a physician. Life took them different paths and they met again through Facebook. They are glad the friendship is again taking off like never before. Check out more about her Cheelu (as she is affectionately called) here.

Tell us about any of your childhood friends and their spouse. Any confessions? Post it as a comment to this post or share it in your own blog and post the link here.

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Guest Post: 5 ways to lure kids away from malls

1 Sep

In today’s guest post, Praveen gives us tips and ideas to lure kids away from malls. Oh, a must read for all parents 😉

Unfortunately, more and more parents are opting for the easy way out and taking kids to the shopping centers where they can combine entertainment, shopping and eating at one place. While this may sound lucrative, the ugly truth is in the long run this unhealthy practice will have an adverse effect on our pocket – and our health.Here are five suggestions to wean the kids away from malls.

Arrange a picnic:

Remember how, long before malls arrived on the scene, we frequented the city zoo or botanical gardens armed with our picnic basket, a good book to read and some outdoor games? In the sylvan surroundings the family used to bond strongly. Relive those moments and introduce your kids to the simple pleasures of life. Spend a Sunday in the zoo over games of ludo, chess and badminton. If it is too cumbersome to prepare an elaborate meal just pack some sandwiches, fruits and fresh juice. The children will be so busy enjoying themselves they will eat anything you make as long as it is tasty.

Enjoy a stay-in:

If the heat is too sapping to go out, have picnics at home. Hire your favourite family movies, order some good Chinese food and take your place on the bean bag in front of the home theatre. Become a couch potato in style.

Have an Informal soiree:

When was the last time you and your friends got together at each other’s homes? More often than not we take the convenient route and celebrate birthdays and anniversaries at – where else – the mall. Ditch the practice and get together at one another’s houses at least once a month. Each can host the party on a rotational basis. Each family chips in by making a dish so that the host is not stuck in the kitchen for hours trying to whip up the perfect meal. Guaranteed enjoyment!

Fix play dates:

Call a few of your kids’ classmates for a play date at your house. Each of them can bring some of their toys and share it with others. While the kids have a gala time you can bond with the mothers. If all goes well, play dates will become a regular feature. They can be held on a rotational basis too once a month. It will give a superb opportunity to pick up some friends for life.

To market, to market:

Stocking up on provisions need not be an onerous chore. You can make it fun by taking your kids and visiting the Sunday bazaar rather than run to the supermarket in the vicinity. Let the children pick up a few lessons in negotiations by observing you bargaining with the greengrocer. Show them that a penny saved is a penny earned. Buy your grocery items from the local general store so they understand the importance of weights and measures which they would never learn if they pick up items off the shelf and load them in shopping carts. Have super fun shopping.

Just tweak your imagination and you will soon be flooded with ideas on how to spend your weekends without a visit to the mall.

Photo credit to Herr_Bert at http://www.flickr.com/photos/81223571@N00/2688637165

Praveen is the founder and CEO of Wild Creek Studio which operates many sites like AwesomeCuisine, TamilBrahmins, PoetryofLife, ChennaiForums, PremiumWoman. He was also interviewed by YourStory.in/NDTV, Chennai and is one of the most dynamic entrepreneur in India. It is a complete honour to have him over. Thank you.

Do you have more ideas. We love hearing about them.  Post it as a comment to this post or share it in your own blog and post the link here.

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Guest Post: What is family?

31 Aug

In today’s guest post, Mama Simona from South Africa is posting about her father, her family and how she feels that sometimes death is the ultimate freedom.

Mama Simona with her family.

Mama Simona with her family.

My father died last week. Don’t be sad. His death is the best gift he ever gave his dysfunctional family! Let me explain.

I really, truly and deeply love my dad, despite (or maybe even because) of what he put all of us through when he was alive. Please don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad, in fact my best childhood memories are of times spent alone with him. He was the kind of dad who whispered stories made up of bunny rabbits, green meadows and rainbows in my ear (while I was tucked up in bed) in order to keep nightmares away. On the nights when the nightmares came anyway, he was the one who’d comfort me and then lead me into the kitchen for a “secret” midnight snack. Being his “co-conspirator” made me feel so special! He would protect me when mom got really angry. He was my hero and then I got older.

By the time I was around 9 years of age a blind mouse would have been able to detect the ever-widening cracks in my parent’s marriage. In fact my last, really good, childhood memory with my dad happened that year. It was obvious to me that Dad was away a lot and, even when he was home, he wasn’t really “present”. I still clearly remember that cloudy, wintry afternoon in Cape Town. Dad was sitting in his favourite armchair, but he was very far away. I went up to him and told him that I missed him. I’ll never forget the look on his face! It was as if I’d thrown a bucket of cold water on him! He looked at me without saying anything for a long minute. Then he said that I was right and that I should grab a jacket – the 2 of us were going out. I remember Mom shouting from the kitchen; “Where are you going?” to which Dad just answered; “Out with Simona” and we left before she could ask anything more. Remember no cell phones back then! I was so happy! I didn’t care where we were going, I had my dad all to myself, for the first time in a really long time. Dad drove to our favourite ice-cream parlour and bought us each a cone. Then we took a walk along the deserted beach nearby. The wind was really cold and here we were, side by side, eating ice-cream cones, just talking and walking along the beach with the backdrop of a grey and stormy sea. I didn’t know it at the time but that would be the last time I’d feel so close to, and so loved, by my dad.

My parents finally divorced when I was 17 years old. It was not amicable at all and I got to know things about both my parents which (whether real or not) no child should ever hear about the people responsible in equal measure for her DNA!! As the oldest child I felt responsible for the fact that I was unable to “save” their marriage. When I was around 19 years old I suffered from my first severe bout of Clinical Depression.

Eventually my father came back into my life, together with the woman who would become wife number two. I always got on really well with her and actually tried to warn her about my father’s “dark side”. Unfortunately, blinded by love, she not only married him but gave birth to a daughter who is only one year older than my own oldest child!

Unfortunately, when I was 6 months pregnant with my daughter, my father left South Africa because he could no longer “borrow from Peter to pay Paul”. He told all his creditors that I had signing power on the Company Account and that I’d take care of payments while he was overseas. What he neglected to tell them was that all his accounts were already overdrawn, so any cheques I wrote would bounce. I refused to sign “bad cheques” and instead returned the cheque books to the Bank Manager telling him that I was in no way to be associated with my father’s business affairs any more. When my father heard that I had done that, he told all our family and friends both in Italy and in South Africa that I had stolen his money! The stress of this awful betrayal caused me to go into premature labour. (Luckily, with medication and strict bed rest, I managed to bring my pregnancy much closer to term and thereby give life to my only daughter.) Since (in his mind at least) I had stolen his money, my father refused to speak to me – or have any other kind of contact at all for over 10 years.

Meanwhile, his second marriage also ended and my step-mom and half-sister moved back to Italy permanently. My father “reinvented” himself as a “Great White Hunter” and ran tours into the Kruger National Park with the support of the latest woman to fall in love with him. I’m very grateful to M for being with him right up until the end. I’m also grateful to M’s daughter and son-in-law, who took our father in when he was ill and none of his biological children were in a position to help him.

So why do I say that his death was a gift? By removing himself from the equation, he has made past hurts and rivalries irrelevant. All the women and children who love him are free to love him together! He has also “woken up” those of us left behind to what is really important in life. We need to tell the ones we love that we love them unconditionally – just because they’re a part of our lives. I believe he has given us the gift of “rebirth” instead of 4 families we can be one, and we should be one because we all loved him, albeit in our own way and in our own time.

I believe that a FAMILY is tied by bonds of love and respect and not “bloodline”.

I hope this post has inspired you to spread the love and respect, this world sure needs to have a lot more of both floating around!!

Photo credit to Mama Simona of South Africa.

This original post was written by Mamma Simona of Cape Town. She shares her home with a loving and supportive husband, two teens, two cats and two dogs. Her posts are usually to be found on World Moms Blog but she was happy to be able to share these thoughts with all who follow The Alchemist.

Tell us about your family.  Post it as a comment to this post or share it in your own blog and post the link here.

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Guest Post – Cultural bonding between India and Indonesia

30 Aug

Next, we have Maureen (TatterScoops) from Indonesia guest blogging about the cultural similarities between India and Indonesia and the bonding it has created between the two nations. The Alchemist (Purnima) met her on World Moms Blog and the friendship took on in an instant.

When Purnima asked me to guest post on her blog a few months ago, I was humbled and quickly said yes. Unfortunately, with a new career path change it had taken me awhile to actually come up with a post for her. First of all, thank you Purnima for having me on your blog.

My mind was reeling trying to come up with some smart witty interesting post to give her then it hits me. Purnima is from India and I am from Indonesia. Our two countries alone have so many things in commons that it would be fun to explore these similarities.

Did you know that India and Indonesia has been friends for ages? The connections between our countries actually dated centuries back as it was obvious the traces of Indian cultures can be found in our famous Borobudur temple, which by the way is one of the 7 world wonders. Mr. Google actually informed me that the India-Indonesia relationships stretch back to almost two millennia ago.

To this modern-day, the influences of India cultures can still be felt in Indonesia and to make it fun let me list them for you:

  1. Dangdut. Dangdut is a genre of very popular Indonesian music. It is strongly influenced by India’s Bollywood type of music. It have several other influences such as the Malay and Arabic.
  2. Bollywood movies. Oh the movies, Indonesian people loves the Indian love story movies. The story lines, the singing and the dancing captivates us to this very day.
  3. Bajaj. These three-wheeled loud little things can also be found in India where it originally came from.
  4. Family Oriented. Both cultures are very big on families. We stick together and take care of our families as best as we can.
  5. Traffic. Although I’ve never been to India before but from what I’ve seen on the news or online, it is very similar to Jakarta’s traffic.
  6. Poverty. There seems to be a similarities between our countries too. Yes, there are those who are financially very well off in both countries but poverty is also still an issues.

I feel so lucky to get to know Purnima and her brilliant writings through World Moms Blog, she is one smart cookie for sure! Of course our cultures also have differences just like any other countries but that’s what makes it so interesting as we got to rejoice in the similarities and appreciate and learn more from the differences.

Again, thank you for having me here Purnima. Hopefully our friendships will keep blooming with times.

Maureen is Indonesian by birth, Westernized by choice, single mom by grace who is currently  still trying to manage the art of co-parenting, blogger and amateur photographer  by passions, I work full-time and trying to balance it all out in the big sin  city of Jakarta, Indonesia. You can read more about her here. Do not forget to subscribe to her blog too.

We would love to hear about you country’s culture too. Post it as a comment to this post or share it in your own blog and post the link here.

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