Archive | Guest Post RSS feed for this section

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.

Advertisements

Guest Post: Why You Should Schedule Pauses in Your Life

4 Sep

Ruth Wong from The Mommy Cafe is visiting us today and she think all mothers should take those much-needed pauses for respite. Yes, I definitely agree too. Read what Ruth writes…

Woman relaxing in hammock

Woman relaxing in hammock

Do words like stressed, overwhelmed and pressured describe how you are feeling today? Or perhaps you’re feeling lost in life and not sure what’s the next step. Then it’s time you press that pause button on your life and take a real break.A while ago, I was experiencing a huge sense of being overwhelmed, to the point of almost burning out. Thankfully, I managed to take a break before I potentially breakdown.

While it wasn’t a deliberate pause I made, it helped me realise just how important it is to regularly schedule pauses in our lives.

Why do you need a pause?

1. To take stock of your life.

When we are caught up in the humdrum of daily living, most of us don’t stop to reflect on the meaning of what we are doing, where we are headed, what are the issues hindering our progress.

A pause gives you the time and space to do all that. It helps you examine your priorities and see if the goals you are working on still align with your vision. It restores perspective and give you renewed sense of empowerment that comes from gaining greater clarity and focus in life.

2. To refresh and replenish your body, mind and soul.

We are humans, we can’t go on and on without a good rest. We need rest to prevent us from burning out or from developing health problems that arise from a stressful life.

However, you need a pause to not only rejuvenate your body but clear out your mind and soul, and restore you with a renewed sense of purpose and motivation. That happens when you have time to sit down and examine issues that are important to your life, discover and eliminate the time stealers, ask deep questions about your passions and what you are doing to achieve them.

It’s also a time to nourish your body, mind and soul – by eating healthy, attending to your needs, giving yourself more love, and filling your mind with positive thoughts and flushing out the negative.

3. To achieve more in life.

When you are clear about your goals and are in the right physical and mental state, you will naturally be empowered to achieve more in life.  It’s like being in a game of shooting. You can’t shoot not knowing what your target is. But once you know what to aim for, even if you don’t shoot as well initially, you can hone your skills and achieve the perfect score eventually.

How to get the most out of a pause?

So now that you’ve decided to schedule a pause in your life, how then, can you get the most out of it?

1. Plan how long you want your pause to be.

Do you want half a day, a day or maybe a weekend or longer? After you have decided on the time frame, think about what you want to achieve – do you want to reflect on certain issues, work on career goals, have a good rest, or spend quality time with someone? Knowing exactly what you want to achieve during the break helps you to be focused and not end up squandering your time away.

2. Disconnect from the external and plugin to yourself.

Disconnect from the internet, your smart phone and shut out the white noise. It’s a time to tune in to yourself.

I believe for many of us, we don’t listen to our inner self as we go about our busy lives, or either that, it gets drowned out by all the noises around us. However, when you think about it, much of our unhappiness arises from being disconnected with who we are and what we truly want. So let’s tune in and listen to what’s within.

3. Create a proper space for reflection.

Find a place that offers quietness and peace to facilitate the process of thinking and reflecting.

It can be a space somewhere in your home, or it could be at the garden or park, or even in a quiet café. You may like to also make this your regular reflection spot so that each time you go there, you get into the mood for quiet reflections quickly.

4. Eliminate the clutter.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, lack focus or simply not sure what to do with your life, chances are there’s clutter somewhere in the house. Often, the clutter can also be in the form of mental cobwebs. So make it a part of your pause ritual to get down to some decluttering and you’ll be amazed at the results.

The goal of the decluttering is to remove things and retain only that which is essential to you, nurtures you and supports you in your goals. This process not only helps you get clear on what’s important to you, it will allow you to make space for the new to enter your life, it could be a new job, a new project or a new relationship – but it will happen.

I experience that all the time when I do a major decluttering – new projects appear out of the blue, cheques for payments that have been delayed for a while comes in. Surprise gifts from people.

Photo credit to FreeDigitialPhotos.net

Are you ready for a pause now? You will soon discover the beauty and magic a pause brings to your life!

Ruth is from Singapore and she met Purnima at World Moms Blog. They were together in Social Media coordinating at WMB for sometime and that is when they grew close to each other. Ruth writes at The Mommy Cafe

 

Guest Post: Poem – The destiny of man

3 Sep

For a change, we have a refreshing poem from Purushotham. This is very contemplative.

.

.

The wandering mind goes hither and thither

Time may fly and seasons may whither

What keeps you going all along it asks

where paths are less trodden and hope may pass

The thought echoes in the caverns of the mind

Answer says the ego and its kind

A faint rumble may be felt

Akin the trickle of water along a cleft

What keeps you going again I ask

Where pain and pleasure hold its sway

Come and answer if you may

Lo behold, says the mind,

It is but silence that I find

The heart is cold and the soul is sore

And then a giant stands tall and proud

Pristine but lonely in the crowd

I am the human spirit it says

I rise and come when the hearts may sway

All along men have turned to me

When courage is lost and hope has left thee

All that glitters is not gold

The mind you know has to be told

Actions speak louder than mere words

But even thoughts can cut ere a sword

Set your heart and you shall achieve

For this world flatters to deceive

Not all that wander must be lost

This I realized at a cost

Life reflects a larger dream

Not just to wander, shout and scream

Look within and you realize

In the silence lies the ultimate prize

Lonely in a crowd must he stand

Such is the destiny of a man

.

Purushotham is studying to be a pediatrician in one of the ledaing med-schools in Bangalore, India. Though a physician by profession, this has only fuelled his artistic and creative flairs.

Do you write poems too? Share your glimpses about life with us.

If you have not already done, please Like the Facebook page of The Alchemist’s Blog and share your love.

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.

If you have not already done, please Like the Facebook page of The Alchemist’s Blog and share your love.

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.

If you have not already done, please Like the Facebook page of The Alchemist’s Blog and share your love.

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.

If you have not already done, please Like the Facebook page of The Alchemist’s Blog and share your love.

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.

If you have not already done, please Like the Facebook page of The Alchemist’s Blog and share your love.

%d bloggers like this: