Apr 12, 2010

The Lost Art Of Knitting

One of my acquaintances recently talked about her undying love for knitting. She is presently knitting a bright red colored sweater with lovely motifs on it. This conversation made me go into my reverie once again. A common sight of yester years (a lady sitting serenely and knitting) is a rare phenomenon these days. My own late grandmother was an expert on knitting and my mom followed in her footsteps. But unfortunately, I did not hold on to this love for knitting. I just know the nitty-gritty of it; not enough to teach or demonstrate this art to my daughter.
This is how things change from generation to generation. This is how history is made from time to time. These simple things show how life flows on like a river, meandering along its course through the passage of time, taking some sediment with it, and leaving some behind.

Apr 7, 2010

Wanna be Size Zero??

Many of us dream of having a perfect hour-glass figure and what all we try to do in order to fulfill that desire!! After all ‘Looks do matter’! We all want to look good and be appreciated and of course be desired!! But that perfection seems to be so much out of reach for many of us well-endowed mortals….what to do?

We diet and stay hungry and deprive ourselves of all the mouth-watering goodies that surround us just because we want to fit into that old pair of jeans or to hide those bulges which pop out the moment we try to squeeze ourselves into an itsy-bitsy number! We tend to ask-- Oh God….why me?

But the cravings one gets while dieting strictly is worrisome. It makes us unhappy and often irritable. Our mind tends to be pre-occupied with the thoughts of food, because food is what we have to avoid! As a result we think more about it while dieting!! After all, how long can you deviate from your normal lifestyle. Add to this the fact of binging on food and piling on fat once the diet is over --it all somehow comes back with a vengeance!!

So how does one comply with the fad of being Size Zero! I have personally reached a conclusion to this problem…one needs to look good, no matter what size, after all ‘Looks do matter, but size does not!’. The mantra for this is to stay fit, eat moderately (eat everything to avoid any cravings), but avoid overeating, exercise regularly, dress well and move around with dignity. One needs to understand what suits us best and choose clothes accordingly. How one carries the clothes makes a lot of difference and above that one needs to have SELF-ESTEEM. Others will perceive you as you portray yourself so move on with √Član and let others be pre-occupied with sizes!! Be happy, rest all will follow....

Apr 5, 2010

Teaching Geography

Is your kid having difficulty remembering places on map? Then try the following geography game- "My Kingdoms". Get a large sized map or you can also use the atlas. Start the game by naming a country. Give your kid 2 minutes to look for it on map. If he/she is able to find the given country in the stipulated time, then that country will 'belong' to him. Alternatively that country will come under your Kingdom. Take turns for finding the countries and winning them into your kingdoms. In the end, the winner will be person who has more number of countries in his/her Kingdom.
This is a very simple and non stressful way to make kids learn the political maps. Let them have the thrill of 'discovering' new countries on map! Encourage your child to play such interactive educational games. They are not only enjoyable but also stimulate kids' intellect.

"The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates, the great teacher inspires" - William Arthur

Mar 31, 2010

Earth Rentals

What do you pay to Mother Earth for staying and using its depleting resources? Have you ever wondered about it? We live in a world where we get what we give. So, its payback time now; the longstanding dues which we all Earthians have to pay with interest. Following are some of my ideas for earth rentals. You are most welcome to add to the list.
SAVE ELECTRIC POWER
 Fix a day (as per your convenience) to celebrate Earth Hour every month. I am planning to do it on the last day of every month. Be more energy (electrical) efficient at home. Use CFLs, minimize the use of ACs, keep your power points switched off when not in use.
SAVE PAPER
Do not throw away single sided printed pamphlets, brochures or any other such papers. Use their backsides for rough work or tear them into halves/quarters for small notes. Avoid using disposable plates and spoons. Avoid using paper napkins or paper tissues. Switch back to the old fashioned hand towels and cloth handkerchiefs. Do not discard used bags (cloth, jute or polythene). Re use them till they wear off. Take your own cloth or jute bags for shopping.
 
GO GREEN
Plant a tree in your lawn/neighbourhood every year.

Last but not the least; take a day off from all machines and gadgets using power. Do not use phones, television, DVD player, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine, fans, air conditioners, computers and laptops, internet and even your car. You’ll get a feel of what kind of life your kids/grandkids would experience after we have devoured the earth of its resources!

Mar 29, 2010

Message From The Blogger

This is a humble request to all our readers. Please let us know your views on our blog including content, layout and presentation. This will be quite helpful to us. You can also email us at vaporizingthoughts@gmail.com. If you like our blog, then we would love to be followed by you. Alternatively you can  subscribe to our blog posts and comments. Thanks for your enthusiastic support.

Mar 27, 2010

Slaves Of The Past

Will we ever be free in the true sense? Sometimes I really wonder. India has been a country ruled by invaders for about 5 centuries, first by Muslims and then by Britishers. I wonder, if so many years of slavery has ingrained its roots in our minds. Have we subconsciously transferred the slavish attitude from generation to generation? Can you see a crystal clear reflection of our rich culture in the India of today? I don’t think so. What we see today is the refraction of our past civilization; broken by western influence and then some more by our slavish attitude.
India might be independent but we Indians are not. Our rulers are not staying in India but they are still ruling our economy and our minds. Can you deny this? When, I wonder shall we become independent in the true sense; not only masters of our own country but also masters of our minds and souls.

Mar 17, 2010

DD Splash

Today, I was just going down memory lane, remembering the old time television programs. Do you remember that expectant waiting on Wednesday and Friday nights for Chitrahaar?
  • Thrillers like Karamchand (Pankaj Kapoor with a carrot in hand and the unforgettable Kitty!), Byomkesh Bakshi
  • Popular ones like Malgudi Days, Nukkad, Mungerilal ke haseen sapne, Yeh jo hai Zindagi
  • Serious ones like Katha Sagar (profound stories by great writers), Nirmala (faultless Hindi accent by Preeti Khare), Lifeline, and Khandan(who can forget the good actors like Neena Gupta and others.)
  • Epic Serials like Hum Log (remember Chutki, Nanhe) and Buniyad
  • Informational ones like The World this Week on Fridays, Surbhi (with the dazzling smile of Renuka Shahne), Quiz Time by Sidhartha Basu,
  • Others like Fauji and Circus (Shahrukh Khan’s stepping stone to Bollywood), Kachi Dhoop (desi version of Pride and Prejudice), Udaan, Wah Janab, Mrignayani, Street Hawk, Star Trek, Lucy
  • Sundays were fabulous, starting with Rangoli, Ramayana, Mahabharat, Bharat ek Khoj, Rajni, Idhar Udhar, Vikram Betal, Chanakya, and much more. 
At times I really miss the entertaining programmes of DD!

Mar 9, 2010

What are YOU reading?

I just finished reading 'The Book Thief' by Marcus Zusak. A lot of thanks to www.friendsofbooks.com which has helped me reconnect with my first love- BOOKS! This book compelled me to thank GOD profusely, for all that he has given me in life. It is written in a metaphorical style with pictorial depictions. Death is the sole narrator here. The story is about the life of a young girl in the times of holocaust; about how this girl gets her motivation from “Words” written in a book she happens to steal. The book also encompasses a wider perspective about human feelings and thoughts in times of adversity. The writing style is very different; writer has used very short sentences which sometimes dip down the reader’s interest. But overall, it is a must read book at least once.
"If there's a book you want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then write it yourself" - Toni Morrison

Mar 2, 2010

Sweet (No)things!

We all keep running from morning till night doing mundane things and all the time trying to squeeze more hours in a day. Somehow the time and the energy don’t seem enough for whatever we want to do. But at the end of it all, we still find ourselves thirsty for more… and unhappy too! But have you ever wondered what do you actually want from life? What is that one thing which shall make you truly happy and contended?

You need to sit back and relax, close your eyes, look inward and ask yourself, ‘what is it that you truly want’. You’ll be surprised at the answer!!

It is the small things in life which make all the difference – A phone call from a school friend, a peck on the cheek by your spouse, the look of pride on your child’s face when you fix his toy, a tap on the head by your father, the warmth of a mother’s hug, gorging on your favourite dish, fitting into an old pair of jeans, reading a novel lying on the sofa with your legs on the sofa back, singing to yourself in the bathroom, cooking for family and friends, having a hot cup of coffee by the window-sill… the list is endless and shall vary from person to person. But what is certain is the fact happiness comes from these small things which we often overlook in order to achieve bigger things in life!

Life is a journey and not a destination. We need to live each day fully and make an effort to be happy...Believe me, it’s not that DIFFICULT!!

Feb 27, 2010

Proud To Be a Home-maker

It’s very seldom that you’d hear a house-wife saying that she’s proud to be one. These days almost all ladies are well educated and usually have experience of working in the industry or being associated with something creative in some form or the other. But they need to stay at home due to some family commitment or the other. We ladies often feel frustrated and left-out but I feel that this should not be so.

Just as the back-end is essential for any business enterprise or organization, an efficient, effective and reliable support system is needed for all families. With the break-up of the joint-family system, the task of looking after the children lies entirely with the parents and usually the females have to sacrifice their careers for this. But if both the partners are going out for work, the families need to rely on hired-help to keep their lives on track and this might not be a very good option. As a strong back-bone cannot be replaced by anything else the unconditional support which the lady of the house can offer to its family members cannot be matched by anything else.

The achievements of the husband and the children should be credited to the lady first and foremost because if it hadn’t been for her they probably would not have achieved anything. After all, if one is emotionally disturbed or mentally out-of-place or physically tired doing humdrum chores how much can one achieve? So we ladies should feel proud to be home-makers because we choose to be so and are the ones who make a house a home worth coming to!!

Feb 22, 2010

The Real Heroes

We are a nation obsessed with youth icons like film actors and superstars. Children want to imitate the style of the people in the showbiz and do not realize that all what they see is an eye-wash… It is not the real thing but an image which is cleverly crafted and presented before us.
The real heroes are the ones who work behind the scenes and many of whom die unknown and unsung. A few days back I came across a small news item which stated that 17 soldiers died in an avalanche due to heavy snow-fall in Srinagar. This was mentioned on the 6th page of the news paper and appeared almost insignificant. But the headline on the first page of the leading daily boldly shouted how demonstrations were being held in Mumbai against as well as in support of actor Shahrukh Khan’s comments prior to the release of his movie My Name is Khan.
Is this the kind of importance deserved by our soldiers who leave their cozy homes and families behind to guard and protect us? Some people may argue that these soldiers are just doing their work and are paid for their services. It is true to a certain extent but what is Shahrukh Khan doing? Isn’t he doing his work? Why is there such a hue and cry about a movie or an actor and not about those SEVENTEEN FAMILIES who lost their dear ones and maybe the only earning member in their family? The whole of Mumbai police came into action so that the movie could be released safely but what about the safety of those policemen whose lives were at stake for this movie?
This is not fair. This disparity should be bridged. We need to teach our children who the real heroes are and who they should look up to. This is not about just doing a job but doing it with zeal and passion. People choose this as a career despite knowing that the returns shall be insignificant. It is not easy staying away from home at minus 40 degree temperature with almost no means of communication leave alone entertainment… life’s tough and we need to respect those heroes who brave it all for US!!

Feb 19, 2010

Dilemma Of Having A Single Child

There was a time when families were large, joint and inter-dependent. But today we have small, single unit independent families with both parents often working and with this the days of having multiple children are gone.
In our fast-changing society and urban-lifestyle bringing-up children has become a challenge. These days so much attention is paid to details that it has become virtually impossible to consider child-rearing as one of the chores. In earlier times though parents often didn’t know how their kids were growing up and moving on. Today the whole family revolves around the child, in fact the schedule of the house is determined by the needs of the child-- school hours, hobby classes, study time, play time, sleeping time… so on…
Here comes the question of how many children can we manage given the constraints all couples face – time, money, emotions, stamina, etc. Definitely the answer would be ‘Less is More’ for most of us. Having a child in the family not only fulfills the parental needs of all couples but also makes a family what it is supposed to be –FAMILY! But isn’t one enough??
Many people profess that the first child is for the parents but the second child is for the first one. They emphasize that having a sibling changes the attitude of the child and also teaches various qualities like sharing, support, etc. A single child becomes self-centered and attention seeking. But how far is this true. How often do we actually go to our siblings for support when we grow up… don’t they become part of separate families later on. Infact friends form a better support group in today’s times. As far as qualities like sharing are concerned, children these days spend more time in schools with their classmates and there they learn a number of qualities. All children these days need to be treated as individuals and parents need to pay special attention to their specific needs so it doesn’t matter whether you have one or two or more children.
But the dilemma still persists—I don’t want to be wrong in taking a decision for my child today –I just want the Best for him.. I hope I’m thinking right….

Feb 16, 2010

Nursery Admissions

Mr. Kapil Sibal and many other educationists in a recent meeting proposed to increase the age bar for nursery admissions in New Delhi, from current 3 yrs to 4 yrs of age. This will be quite a welcome respite for parents of toddlers. Ms. A.Wattal, principal of Springdales, Pusa Road was also of the same opinion. According to her, kids of age 3 to 4 yrs, feel a sense of alienation in a formal school.
I too, strongly feel the same. In fact a standardized curriculum can be planned for playschool teaching which should include the pre-nursery, nursery and kindergarten. Then onwards the kid from then age of 6 yrs can be put into a formal school, which should have having classes from 1st standard onwards. In short, why not shift the Nursery and K.G education to playschools and begin formal education from 1st standard onwards.

"The aim of education should be to teach us how to think, rather than what to think; to improve our minds so as to enable us to think for ourselves than to load the memory with the thoughts of other men" - Bill Beattie

Feb 13, 2010

Science Made Simple

• "How does an air plane fly?"
• "How does a ship float?"
• "How do birds migrate without maps?"
• "How do birds sit on high tension wires and do not get electrocuted?"

Can your kid answer these simple science questions? If yes, then great! If no, then it’s not your kid who is at fault but our entire education system. We need to bring a radical change in our education system; and for that we need to first create awareness amongst ourselves. What is 'science education', if not breaking complex stuff into simpler ones? Simple questions require simple answers. Science is all around us, in us, with us. It is not in books. Every person, be it a rickshaw puller, laborer, etc on earth is applying science in his daily routine. It’s just that he doesn’t understand its basics? That’s where our education comes into play.

We need to have lesson plans for teaching science not prospectively, but retrospectively; not by books, rote learning but by field work primarily and then supporting that by class room teaching. Science is a dynamic subject and so is our mind. Science cannot be contained in books; it needs to be pushed out of the text books and into our daily lives.

Feb 11, 2010

Little Readers

Today, I will elaborate on the concept of teaching English language through phonics. You can teach your kid using “Flash Cards” or by simple “Write and Tell” method. Here I will demonstrate how to make and use flash cards for teaching English to a kid of 4 to 5 years of age. You can make flash cards using your old set of playing cards. Try using different color papers for different sets. Following are the 4 sets:

25 Flash Cards: Alphabets (one on each) including the sound written in Hindi

Approx. 25 Flash Cards: Vowels combination
i. A - ab, ad, ag, am, an, at
ii. E – ed, eg, en, et
iii. I – ib, id, ig, in, ip, it
iv. O – ob, od, og, op, ot
v. U – ub, ug, un, ut
vi. Long E – ee (tree, peel, bee, etc)
vii. Long O – oo (book, took, cook, etc)

Approx. 15 Flash Cards: Prefix and Suffix
i. Br, dr, fr, gr, tr, pr
ii. Sh, sl, sm, st
iii. Ch, Th,
iv. Bl, fl
v. Ing

Approx. 20 Flash Cards: Sight Words
i. As, he, my, by, is, to, on, in
ii. She, has, and, the, you, her, his, why, how
iii. There, this, what

Your pack of 85 phonic flash cards is now ready. You can play ‘mini scrabble’ with her anywhere and anytime. This way you kid will learn to read quickly and easily and that too without any stress.

"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark" - Victor Hugo

Feb 9, 2010

Words!

Ever heard of playing ‘Word Game’ on Rubik’s Cube? No? Well, try it out. Paste cut outs of alphabets, one on each square of the cube. Do not repeat letters which are used occasionally, like J,Q, V, X, Z. Paste more of vowels. Be careful not to disrupt the color scheme of Rubik’s cube, so that it can be used both ways.

Your vocabulary building Rubik’s cube is now ready. Just juggle with it to make out different 3 lettered words. See how many words you are able to make at a time. Make learning fun. Try this out with your kid, friends and don't forget to share the inputs. I will look forward to your critical analysis.

Feb 8, 2010

Work v/s Home

Just the other day, one of my friends called me up. She was literally in tears. The first thing she said was,


Neha, I’m frustrated sitting at home, just looking after my baby and doing nothing!
I asked, “I don’t see any problem in that. Try making some arrangements for your kid and start hunting for a job.”
She answered, “I want to work but at the same time I want to be there for him in flesh and blood. I want to give him all the love and security he is so deserving of. I want to bond with him. But at the same time I cannot stop thinking about myself. I want to enhance my career too.”
I said, “So what is stopping you? Look out for a job with convenient timings. That way you can work and also have ample time for your kid. It will be a win-win situation.”
My friend answered, “Easier said than done. There seems to be a dearth of jobs with flexi timings. It is either that you work full time or don’t work at all.”


This small conversation with my friend made me think that there are thousands of women here who are facing the same dilemma. Well, there are some fortunate ones who are working flexi hours (one of my acquaintances is working in ADOBE which believes in this concept)) and have the joy of fulfilling both; the responsibility to home as well their career. But my friend said rightfully that more flexi timings jobs should be created. The upcoming entrepreneurs can consider employing people part time; this way they don’t even have to pay EPF and other monetary benefits to their employees. The employees on the other hand will happily provide quality work since they have the liberty of choosing their work timings. So it is a win-win situation for all. What do say? Any suggestions?

Feb 5, 2010

Life is Beautiful

Life is forever changing, and so are the priorities and the circumstances surrounding us. Change is something which is inevitable. So we have to either flow with time or just remain frozen in a particular time frame. The choice is always ours!
My choice is to embrace the changes around me and flow with the time. What about you; what will your choice be?
Change is the law of nature

Feb 4, 2010

Amazing Statues!


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Help Your Help

It was just a few days back when I found my maid mulling over her dreadful financial condition. It seems that her husband is a chronic alchoholic, who not only spends all his earnings on procuring liquor but also takes way her hard earned money for the same. They have a 3 year old daughter, and naturally my maid was worried about her future. She wants her kid to study in a good school and follow a career path, unlike hers. But it seems a dream far fetched for her.
All this made me ponder a while. My husband has been donating a relevant sum of money to CRY foundation. I thought that instead of sponsoring for an unknown kid's education, why not first spend that money for the education of my maid's daughter. After all, her mother works for us; isn't it our duty to help them in times of need. So I have decided to financially adopt her daughter and see to it that that she studies in a good school and take up a respectable and fulfilling career.
Please do not misunderstand; I am not discouraging anyone from funding organizations like CRY. On the contrary, I wish to encourage people to try donating to people around you and if that is not possible, then you have many NGOs' and other organizations for the same.
"Charity begins at home"

Feb 3, 2010

Teach your kid to read

Times have changed drastically; teaching methodology of yesteryear is fossilized. Schools of today believe in newer and far more interesting approach towards teaching subjects. Gone are times when we used to mug up spellings of cat, rat, dog, etc without the understanding of phonics. Not anymore. Kids of today are being taught to spell out words using phonics and visual stimulation. This is a far cry from rote learning which was widely used earlier. Many schools like Amity, Apeejay and others in tier I cities use this technique to teach nursery kids the art of learning English language. What about tier II cities? What about your kid? How is he being taught in nursery and kindergarten? Let us interact and share our views on this. There is a good website about phonics: http://www.atozphonics.com/. You can have a fair idea from that. If you find it complicated, let me know; I'll post a simpler version of reading with phonics on my blog.


"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education" - Albert Einstein

Feb 2, 2010

A New Beginning

I have been thinking since a long time to note down my thoughts. Thoughts are precious.....and sometimes they just vaporise into thin air. I guess that happens with So I thought of writing down my views on this platform where I can share them with you. This is just a humble beginning with a 'hello' note and there's more to come. So watch out!

"Brevity is the soul of wit" - William Shakespeare