Saturday, April 1, 2023

Mutton roast and love, the Pramadh way


I love all the designated random celebration days every year! The days dedicated to chocolate, coffee, books and idli; the days dedicated to fathers, mothers, daughters and sons. I also like Friendship Day and Women's Day with equal gusto :) 

This Women's Day threw our way some learnings for Ira and me, thanks to an eventful metro ride. 

It also turned out to be  a beautiful day of being loved, made to feel special and building sweet memories. 

While Ira and I came from Babas home, Prashant picked us up from the metro station. We enter home and were welcomed with mint & tender coconut cooler! For the record, it is one of my favourite mocktails. This was followed by gifts! I love surprises but am myself terrible at keeping surprises. Ira and Papa had planned and got me new books! They had planned this for a while and i had no clue at all! Ira sure can keep secrets, like her Papa :) They just know what makes my heart melt <3 Papa also got Ira a card game. 

While we chatted away about the metro ride and the experience that morning, a sumptuous lunch awaited us. Mutton roast speaks love and comfort in every way. 

A beautiful day, spent basking in all the love and care. 

To the years of little celebrations ahead, to being the women we want to be and to be loved the way we are. 

#WomensDay # IraAndMamma #IraAndPapa #Iraisms #IraAtEight #EffablesAtEight #LoveSurprises #MuttonCurry #LoveSpeaks #Gratitude #Happiness #LoveBooks #Us 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The day, as a Mother I taught Ira...


      Always, with my girl, every step of the way. A Picture taken on one of our walks in Goa recently. 

This month, to commemorate Women's Day, many organizations plan sessions and activities for their women employees. I had the opportunity to facilitate one such session on Seat at the Table. While the session encompassed embracing our creativity, taking risks  being audacious, bringing in zeal and gravitas to push for a seat at the table, it also got me thinking about an incident that happened with Ira and me few days back. 

We had visited my parents and were returning home in the metro. We got into the metro at the designated stop and also found a seat, much to our joy. A stop later, the metro seats began to fill up and then a woman came in. She looked at Ira and gestured her to move to my lap. I told Ira to keep her seat. Ira was also carrying her back pack and holding onto another small bag that i had given her. The woman still pushed her and sat, in the process ensuring another girl next to her also had to adjust. 

She then began a tirade of mumbles about how mothers like me don't teach our daughters to adjust and so girls today grow up to be the way they are. I honestly have no idea what she meant. 

We had so far not engaged with her and i did not want to do so. She sat pushing Ira and intruding her personal space. When I asked her not to do so, I received a glare and more mumbles in the vernacular. She may have thought I do not understand Kannada too well. I spoke to her in Kannada, by the way. After a while the girl on her left alighted at a stop. But this woman did not move and continued to push Ira and me. When I told her there is space and could she please move as Ira was uncomfortable, she began loudly grumbling to her copassenger. No one gave heed to her. However, she made the journey quite unpleasant. While alighting she gave us a glare and mocked us too. 

What I want to share here is that she was a person with able health. If it was someone elderly, a person expecting or unwell, we would have on our own given up our seat. But this incident became one where a child was bullied to give up her seat. Children purchase the same ticket as an adult. They have a right to their seat. 

One of the easy things to do would have been to just succumb to the bullying and give her the seat. But that day, as a Mother, I chose to teach Ira a few things

Be considerate to people, but before that to yourself. Do not succumb to bullying. 

Break the norm, rather make the norm. You are not being disrespectful by saying No to someone who feels they have the right to intrude your space. 

And always, Stand up for yourself. Also, sit down for yourself too, when needed. 

I want to be the mother that does not teach her girl to adjust. 

I want to be the mother that does not teach her girl to say yes always. 

I want to be the mother that does not teach her girl to give up her space. 

I want to be the mother that does not belittle the worth of her little human being. 

I want to be the mother that does not shy away from embracing equity. 

That is the mother I want to be. 

A picture taken that morning before we boarded the metro :) Ira has a metro card like me, but we didn't have it on us and so the token excitement.


And yeah, this happened on 8th March 2023, when the world was celebrating International Women's Day. 

This is Part 1 of the post. Part 2 , I will share a few wonderful moments from the same day. So, keep reading. 

#IraAndMamma #Ira #Iraisms #IraAtEight #EffablesAtEight #HappyWomensDay #EmbracingEquity #MetroTravel #ExistentialThoughts 

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Work-Travel and Parenting, the Pramadh Way

Our Morning routine while I travel <3 

I love my work and I look forward to my work travels. It is the time where I also get some me-time, I meet new people and am constantly learning in diverse social milieu. My work week is divided between days I teach at my alma mater, Mount Carmel College and days when I facilitate learning sessions for Corporate clients across the country. 

The last 5 weeks, I have travelled a lot and my next few weeks also look similar on my calendar. 

Over the years, there are things that I have discovered and learnt, support systems that am grateful for, a partner who is an equal parent and more and an adaptable little one who has learnt that when Mamma works, we still catch up about the day, at least twice through video calls. 

What has worked for Prashant, Ira and me while I travel has been some meticulous planning which translates to seamlessly functioning life , home and work environments. Are there adventures? Are there mishaps at times? Of course there are and what would life be if not for them. 

So, while I blog to share what we have done, I am sure many many women, many families have all found their own way to find this balance and integration. The fact is, we do what we can do. 

1. Plan and see how the month looks for each of us and also review how each week looks every weekend. If one of us is travelling, we usually know it in advance to plan. I make  a note mentally and in my notes and Prashant meticulously calendars it on an app on his phone. 

2. If we both are in Bengaluru, we also plan who will pick up Ira post school which day of the week. Prashant given his more flexible work schedule does this almost 95% of the time.

3. When one of us is travelling, we always prep Ira about the travel. Check if there are important school interaction days etc where parents are meant to be there. The last time I travelled, the school had a workshop on Sexuality Education for Parents and Prashant made it on behalf of us.

4. In moments like the above, in the last year we have slowly eased Ira into the idea of being home by herself, for a few hours. This is preceded by some safety dos and don'ts and also a set of activities that she does in that time. This could include some reading, some art & craft, drawing or writing and some tv time. Her snacks and meals are prepped and kept accessible for her. 

5. Sometimes, that may not happen as the duration could be a full day. At that moment, we have reached out to her next favourite adult (we like to believe we are her top two). Read Joy. He has come over and been with her. They play games, go on bike rides, watch movies , fight and play, while eating all their fave food, all with equal gusto! 

6. While we travel, we also cross check our groceries, veggies, fruits essentials. This may seem like common sense, but it always helps us. The reason being when I travel, Ira and Prashant eat some of their favourites, some food that we may not make too often because am allergic to and also all things cheesy! When Prashant travels, the menu involves all the veggies that are on his dislike list and also some comfort food like alu bhaate (Mashed potato with rice) for example. I am always curious to know what's cooking when am travelling. The two of them experiment, Netflix and have a chill time. 

7. We are also grateful to have a house help, who mostly heeds to the request of not taking leaves when one of us travels. 

8. Prashant and I have been equal parents and in many instances, he is Ira's primary care giver. The fact that he loves cooking and makes excellent food definitely makes life a colourful palate. 

9.  Set a routine where Ira knows that she will get to speak to us and share about her day. This is to also make sure that she doesn't miss out. This is apart from the innumerable messages, gifs, voice notes and even video messages that happen. Of course, once the travelling parent is back, there is mega chipku movement. 

10. The final thing is to normalise that working parents travel and not to gender the action as belonging to one parent. This helps us make the most of our work travels, set context to the fact that work is part of who we are, along with our role as parents. 

This morning, as I got onto the video call with Ira, she first told how Papa has made some crispy buttery toast and yummy omelettes and so she is having an omelette sandwich. She also showed me a neckpiece that she was wearing. I had bought this in 2008, on a trip to Pondicherry with Prashant. My little girl was thrilled with the stone pendant. I looked at her, smiled ear to ear and my heart skipped a beat. The joy of these calls while travelling is precious. 

So, to parenting and to new learnings, every step of the way. 

#Pramadhs  #Ira #Iraisms #IraAtEight #EffablesAtEight #WorkTravel #TravelTales #Us #Love #Gratitude #Parenting #NormaliseWorkingParentsTravel #IraAndPapa #IraAndMamma #IraAndJoy #SoloParenting

Friday, February 17, 2023

What's in a Name-board?

We shifted to a new place near Kanakpura beginning of the academic year. While setting up home, began the quest for a name plate. We wanted Pramadh's either drawn or inscribed or embossed. We were open to the medium be it metal, tiles or canvas. 

We wanted something that would define us. During that process one day, I realised that we had a blank canvas at home. And well, ideas erupted. 

Ira and I decided what's our common favourite colour. Purple, magenta, burgundy made it to the list. Then we thought that we wanted to connect it to earth in some manner. Ira means earth and so the green with tinges of yellow to show grass. We used acrylic paints and sketch pens and also did a comb texture.  I wrote the name while Ira coloured it patiently. 

And voila, we had our name board. Papa was entrusted with the job of getting it framed. This is us, simple and experimental :) 

A lot of times all it takes is small ideas,  being open to possibilities and little actions to make us happy. This name board makes us truly happy. Pramadh means rejoicing and that moment when we decided to make that Ira's second name will always remain the most special. 

Did you ask, "What's in a Name-board?"

#Ira #Iraisms #IraAtEight #EffablesAtEight #IraAndMamma #ArtProject #ArtByIraAndMamma #Pramadhs #NamePlate #Us #Love #Happiness #Gratitude 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Normalising Talking about the Not so good days


We talk about the good days, the perfect days, the days filled with achievements.

Let us also normalise talking about days when we feel exhausted, take time to wrap our head around everything that seems too fast for us to comprehend, days when we want to just stay home and rest but adulting calls. These days may seem imperfect, non-productive, not the best at the first go.

But time to stop, take a step back and acknowledge that you took that first step, did not snooze the alarm, got ready for work while 'He' made breakfast and drove you to the metro station. You read on the metro travel and then chatted with the auto person who spoke about political rallies and traffic jams. Began taking classes and are slowly inching towards the long day ahead.

The day you embrace, knowing it feels like a struggle. The day you took care of self and of the world around you, one step at a time.

It is 7am and you still pose with your little girl, holding her close, because you are wearing the dokra art earring you picked at Dastkar and it makes your heart warm and gives a leap to your step. You smile, because 'He' is behind the camera.

#ExistentialThoughts #Adulting #Exhaustion #Acknowledgment #SelfLove #ReadingOnMetro 

Posted on Facebook on 16th January, 2023 at 10,50am.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

First School Excursion, the Ira way


Ira and we had another First moment in our lives recently. She went on her first school excursion. What an exciting few weeks it has been from the prep to it actually happening. This blog post is my way to capture and archive this 'First'. Remember, I live in hope that Ira will some day read all my blogposts. Ok. At least some of them. At least those that are about 'Her'. 

18th December 2022 marked an important milestone for a group of eight to nine year olds and their parents. The little human beings were going on a school excursion, a first for almost everyone. Some of them had stayed away from parents but with grandparents for a while, like Ira did for 17 days when we had Covid. But this was a whole new ball game. 

While the children were mostly excited and making a lot of noise, the parents through humor, conversations and smiles were expressing the tumultous journey of the butterflies in their tummy. A parent even said how there was last minute separation anxiety. 

The concerns ranged from it being the first train travel for some, to whether they can live in the rural set up to can they adjust to an Indian toilet. Will they be able to board and alight the train safely, manage the food and for me specifically, hope Ira doesn't have any reactions to insect bites! Some of you may brush these concerns aside calling them silly, but trust me, they are real, they are big concerns and they do seem like huge mountains to cross. Some, like Ira ke Papa were of course pretty cool and chilled out.  I am extremely emotional as a person and was quite worried that I would end up bawling as the train left. But much to Prashant's amusement, that didn't happen :) 

The underlying thought across was will they be all fine, without us- the parents. From the train coming to the two meticulous lines disbanding in chaos because the coach moved further than where it had to halt, the kids all climbed on to the train in 2-3 mins of the halt along with their teachers. We said our byes, walked home with our partners and braced ourselves for the next few days. We were to call only in case of an emergency and a whatsapp group was created where pics would be shared every day. The ask seemed very rational given the teachers had to manage fifteen children. 

Circa, 23rd December 2022

The little human beings completed their wonderful trip and were back home. Each of them full of stories, arising from new experiences and wonderful experimental moments. 

Ira came home along with a dear friend and then through the course of the day shared little stories about her trip. She spoke about liking her train journey and meeting a Dr. Satya on the way to Talguppa in the train and how the Dr. was very familiar with the route.  Ira has earlier done a train journey only twice, once to Trivandrum and once to Mysore. She liked the middle berth and even slept quite well, in her words :) 

The kids shared some chores at the home stay where they were divided into groups and they had to serve food on plaintain leaves, ensure no food was spilt, wrap their bedsheets in the morning, get the firewood going for hot water. The home stay was in Talguppa and had a single bathroom that a large group shared. So, bath time was divided and the groups took the ownership of getting things ready. The trip involved nature walks, where they encountered different insects and ants; visit to a dam, a power generation plant, a fort, some temples and even Jog falls. For posterity, a printed photograph of the group made it's way to our home and our hearts. Eating a meal of rice, rasam, brown chana and payasam at a temple was a whole new experience for Ira. She liked the streams too but didn't want to wet her head below them, just her hands. They also went on paddle boats and some children danced in the bus with disco lights. 

Ira said that Parvathamma and Thatha at the home stay were very nice people and took care of them. Srilakshmi and the teachers helped make the meal that the children had and they had different types of food everyday. Just before boarding the train back, they had dose for dinner, which is quite a favourite with many kids. 

We asked Ira how she felt and she said that on the first night she was home sick and in tears. Some of her friends also went through that the next few days. We asked her what happened at that time and she said that Madhu (her class teacher) told them that this is her 7th excursion and she also misses her family very much. A common chord was struck and that helped them cope, I guess. 

Our little girl is quite a foodie and loves non veg food. The morning at home began with some hot bournvita milk and biscuits and dose and alu sabji for breakfast. Lunch was Chicken pulao and dinner was egg fried rice. In spurts, we got little stories and am sure for the next few days, they will keep coming. The exhaustion had set in and long naps happened. The joy of being home, enjoying her holiday and also being told how she was missed by her Mamma and Papa. 

She quite  a few times called me Madhu and then we had to tell her, you are home and it is Mamma and Papa now. Till the next time and the next excursion. 

These last few days are  a reminder of many things, we take for granted and things we must be grateful for. 

1. Children can always adapt to new experiences, the apprehensions and fears are with us adults. 

2. Children have a strong sense of Independence and given that space, can manage themselves, take some small responsibilities and ownership of tasks. The forgotten items, mismatched clothes and shoes, scrambling for things doesn't really matter in the long run. 

3. It is alright to feel homesick and to miss home. The acknowledgement of that moment is important but also to know that the other children and the adult with you sails in the same boat makes it easier. To know that you are not the only one with that overwhelming feeling. Children learn to cope. 

4. To know that not everything, everytime will be perfect but to work around what is possible and make the most of it. 

5. As parents, we have to remember that we can only facilitate certain experiences for them and then let go of that moment as the experience unravels (ok.Prashant and I were having a conversation on Parenting one of the days while Ira was travelling and this is a thought he shared and is being given due credit for). What we can do best is to teach the little human being to be open to all experiences. We are so glad that Ohana had these excursions and see it as a wonderful way to help the little ones get an understanding of the world beyond their comfort space. 

6. To know and remember that people are kind and helpful. The world is filled with generosity that makes its way to us if we keep an open mind. 

7.  We love our little ones and the best way to love them more is to give them the independence and the autonomy that their heart desires and their mind seeks. 

8. Make the most of these times as parents. We made the most of these four days meeting friends, binge watching Netflix, attending my favourite exhibition- Dastkar and even doing nothing! 

9. A big shoutout to Madhumati, Sneha, Arun and Sreelakshmi for making this happen and our little human beings for giving us Parents so many moments and memories through their little travel stories. 

10. Finally, Kudos to us parents. A small step for our little ones, but a mega leap for us for sure :) 

Ira also wrote a bit about her trip in her journal. And for years, these pages will always remain super special, the Ira way. 

Note: Permission was sought from all the parents before the group picture was posted in the blog. 

#TravelTales #Stories #Ira #Iraisms #IraAtEight #EffablesAtEight #Love #Gratitude #Happiness #FirstSchoolExcursion #Pramadhs #Us #Parenting #Ohana 

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Moments of hope arise


Ira had her School Mela today. We had been really looking forward to it. The children, adults had put in immense effort for the big day.  And then inclement weather thanks to the Cyclone and plans had to change. A limerick to mark today. 

The morning began with constant pitter patter and gloomy skies

Will it happen or not, suspense stays and the sun still shies

We will have to wait, date with school another day

Post rains, rainbow and sunshine on the way

Change is constant, we learn and adapt, moments of hope arise

#ExistentialThoughts #Limerics #Ira #Iraisms #IraAtEight #EffablesAtEight #Pramadhs #Chai #HotChocolate #LoveReading #Hope #Adapt 

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Get, Set, Go to BLF, the Ira way

4th Dec, 2022 just became a Sunday to remember! Ira is just recovering from a week long viral, with some remnant cold there. We had registered for the Bangalore Literature Festival but thought would miss it. 

Woke up this morning and decided to go for a short while. Ira was super excited that she would get to listen to and meet some authors, and may also get some books signed by them. 

We did the metro ride and landed at The Lalit Ashok. The place where the CLF tents were, was buzzing with excitement and kids :) Ira went to the whale tales segment, did a drawing and was happy to show that her whale flew :) 

While she was at that tent, I managed to catch a few minutes of the panel with Honey Irani, Farhan Akhtar, Shantanu Ray where Honey Irani's new children's book was being released. 

We also attended the session where Shobha Tharoor Srinivasan was talking about poetry, rhyming and the role of memorization. While I went to pick her book with another friend, Ira waited in queue and they had a little chat. Spoke about acrostic poetry and Ira shared a poem she wrote with the word Prize. Ira also got the book by Honey Irani autographed. My friend Chandra and her son Gugul also had come and we all had book loots to carry back. I sure had a thrilled Eight year old with me. We also picked a few more books from a larger lot she initially chose. However, Ira wished there were more graphic novels for children. 

By then, Dadu had arrived and we walked around, and soaked in the happy excitement all around. As a child, Baba took me to the Calcutta book Fair and I remember being in awe of it's vastness. A lot of experiences of book fairs, book store visits as a child and then a teen are with Baba. So, he joining us today was a happy occurence in many many ways, as Ira held his hand and took to show the bubble station in the CLF zone. 

We then went to Go Native and had a fabulous almost vegan lunch! Happy few hours and we braced ourselves for the journey home. Ira finished one of the books already at lunch and is now looking forward to the next edition of the BLF, just like me :). I hope we have a separate Children's Literature Festival, because while getting them to do their things, we parents definitely miss out some good panel discussions. I hope someone is listening. <3 

Ira ke Papa was missed and we cannot wait to tell him all about our first BLF experience together. 

#BangaloreLiteratureFestival #CLF #Happiness #Love #Gratitude #LoveBooks #AuthorSignedCopies #Pramadhs #Ira #Iraisms #IraAtEight #EffablesAtEight #IraAndMamma #IraAndDadu 

Monday, November 14, 2022

Thrilled to bits for little things, the Ira way


Dearest Ira, 

You are almost 8.5 years now. The last year has seen a surge of very interesting observations and questions that you have asked us. Some easy ones, some fun ones, some not so comfortable ones and some for which we had to find answers. Somedays, we wondered if you ae really just Eight and the next moment, you did something with child filled wonder and chaos that assured us you are still eight. 

You asked us about the need for caste. Why if we are born equal, do people then follow caste. You read the story on the Dalit boy and wondered about how mean people can be. You felt sad when you read about the atrocities the families went through. 

In our little travel, you have begun noticing the diversity around and also asked us what does it mean to be locals and who is an outsider. 

You have begun showing curiosity on practices and questioned them, food habits to expressions of faith. 

You have also wondered why adults are allowed to do some things and children can't. 

You are curious about growing up and we have had some interesting and deep conversation on the physical and mental changes that you have to embrace yourself for. 

You have navigated difficult interpersonal moments, sometimes chosen not to share with us and sometimes seeked our help. 

We have tried our best to have the conversations in simple ways, seeked the help of books and in some cases, even friends to quench that curiosity. You were sometimes happy with the answers, sometimes asked more questions and may be sometimes even wondered why simple questions had long drawn answers. 

You continue to assert yourself, find yourself and celebrate yourself in your little ways. 

You have shown us how small things thrill you to bits and your expressions have been loud and clear. Be it the lady bug pattern nailpolish , eating your favourite dessert, doing the fevicol craft, playing virtual games or making your own stories. Making rangoli art or trying some Science experiments. Choosing your new spectacles and then flaunting them with panache! 

On Sept 27th, you completed 100 months of being 'You'. We were at Kali adventure camp and you closed the evening eating Gulab Jamun. The thrill in your eyes and the smile said it all. 

You also learnt about budgeting a few weeks back when you shopped for books from two bookstores, keeping a budget in mind and managed to save a few tens! Thrilling indeed. 

Yesterday, you went for your first ever Karate Championship and won some medals. While the thought was to have fun, we also saw how you were thrilled holding onto those medals. 

So, to those questions, to that bowl of Gulab Jamun, to magical and mystical moments, to celebrating every small and big milestone with childlike innocence and wonder! 

We do have a surprise for you this evening and I can already hear that squeal and see that shine <3 

Happy Children's Day! 

Love, Hugs and Kisses, 

Mamma and Papa

#Ira #Iraisms #BeingIra #IraAtEight #EffablesAtEight #Pramadhs #Us #Love #Learning #ChildrensDay #LetterToIra #Questions #LittleHumanBeings #Parenting 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Off to find our Happy Way, the Ira way

This Daughter's Day we incidentally happened to spend the day doing something our little girl absolutely loves. We visited some beaches in Gokarna and she played in the water, collected sea shells, sang as she soaked her feet and they sank in the sand with the waves and watched the sun set. She also agreed to post when Mamma wrote I love you on the sand and asked her to step into the 'love'. 

This little human being, the 'giant' in her Papa's insta stories surprised us as she wrote a little poem on our long drive from Bangalore. 

That poem sums up a lot of our experiences, the Pramadh way. 

To loving, dreaming and traveling together, discovering happiness. 

#Ira #Iraisms #Pramadhs #IraAtEight #EffablesAtEight #TravelTales #GokarnaDiaries #Happiness #Love #Gratitude #HappyDaughtersDay #Us #PoemsByIra 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Independence and you, the Ira way

A little crafty endeavor to mark Independence Day (Idea courtesy: Deccan Herald) 

 Dearest Ira

Happy 75th Independence Day! 

As we celebrate this special day, read about the freedom struggles and be thankful for what we have, here are little thoughts on this big word, Independence

You assert your independence when you.... 

Share your thoughts with us, unfiltered

Eat what you want, with glee

Dream the path of your choice, unhindered

Choose the love of your life, with fierceness

Sing and dance in front of the mirror, uninhibited

Draw a rainbow hairstyle on the figurine, with pride

Speak what's on your mind, unabashedly

Walk away from the norm, with little heed

When you stand up for self and say 'No', unhesitatingly 

Read books, write stories, make random crafts, sleep, eat and repeat the same, with happiness

Fail, fall and learn to rise, unscathed

Be yourself and dance to your own tune, with courage

Be kind to self before others, unthinkably

Travel the world and be a part of it, with empathy

Wear your adventures on your lips, unlocked 

Be that little speck that will shine through, with gratitude

Question every injustice, unshackled

Stand up for what you deem is right, with fearlessness

Go, our little girl, assert your Independence every step of the way! 


Mamma and Papa 

#Ira #Iraisms #IraAtEight #EffablesAtEight #LittleHumanBeings #Parenting #Pramadhs #HappyIndependenceDay #Love #Kindness #Gratitude 

Mutton roast and love, the Pramadh way

  I love all the designated random celebration days every year! The days dedicated to chocolate, coffee, books and idli; the days dedicated ...