Monday, December 30, 2013

Try an exercise with me for 2014

Looking ahead to 2014…let's do it together!

And just like that, Christmas is over and we wait for New Year’s Eve and what we all hope to be an excellent year next year.(fingers and toes crossed)

I could try to re-cap 2013, the ups and downs and in between’s, but I’d rather just look ahead. 

One way that works for me is to re-think about my top 5 values. A few books I've read (Smart Couples Finish Rich/ The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) discuss this and I think it is the perfect way to start every year, because I find if we make our decisions that are in-sync with our values, we will never be unhappy or empty or have that terrible feeling in the pit of your stomach when something doesn't feel right.
Figuring out your top 5 values is not easy, but imperative. And you don’t have to have 5. Could be 3, could be 4. This task is not easy to do and sometimes they change year over year. I do and re-vamp my value circle every year. They don’t change too much but certain things start melding together, and other things become more or less of a priority as your family composition changes and different things take up more of your attention. So I gave this part a lot of thought and have come up with my five most important values:

Personal Growth

I force Raj to do the same as well because it’s important that one partner knows what the other deems important. It helps when you want support for something and also tells you where you can offer support to your partner when they need it.

I urge you to do this yourself. You will be surprised how much stronger your conviction will be in making certain decisions once you have hammered out your 4-5 values. Saying ‘no’ to the extra slice of cheesecake (health) to reading the same princess story for the fifth time to your toddler (family) won’t be difficult because your values is what makes you and if you want to be focused on you, doing certain things will become quite automatic....most of the times...well more often than if you didn't explicitly state to yourself what they are.

Now, if you’re struggling with what is a value…then I can suggest another exercise. This one comes directly from the 7 Habits book. Picture yourself at your own funeral. You can see and hear everything going on but clearly no one can see/hear you. Now picture your loved ones going to the front and saying a few words about you. What would you want them to say? Distill the stories/lessons into one or two words and this is what your values are. Odds are they aren't words like ‘money’ or ‘rich’ or ‘a hot body’ but more along the lines of, ‘self-made person’, ‘sent flowers every mother’s day’, ‘drove me to every 6 a.m. Saturday practice’, ‘could make anyone laugh’. These things can then be translated into values. Security. Family. Marriage. Freedom. Creativity. Personal Growth. Fun. Adventure.

The list is exhaustive and then picking 5 becomes even tougher. So let’s get to it. Then we can figure out how we get our action plan together to make sure we work towards our values each and every day.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

An afternoon at the Allergist’s office

An afternoon at the Allergist’s office



15 minutes with the Allergist changed our lives. 20 little drops on her forearms. 20 little cuts to let the drops into her skin. One flare up on her left forearm told us all we needed to know. She was allergic to something. Us patients waited patiently for the Doctor to come back to the room and tell us what was the culprit. Much to our surprise, not seafood or shellfish but peanuts!

So there you have it. A peanut allergy and ‘stay away from nuts’ life is what we have for the next year, until her next test to see if she grows out of it. Poor Girl. I feel terrible but I guess all parents do when they first find out. At least there are a lot more parents at my work who are in the same boat who gave me websites and stuff to check. And the re-assurance of my brother to tell me I’m not as doomed as I think I am.

So begins a new life for us. Label-reading, code words for ‘peanuts and nuts’, medic-alert members and epi-pens. Could be worse. I know. I’m not looking for sympathy.

I’ll take this over not knowing and risking seeing her blow up the way she did a couple of months ago.

Any suggestions on nut-friendly restaurants, grocery items or products, do let me know!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

My Biggest Fear

The plan was to spend Sunday afternoon enjoying dim-sum with some of my girlfriends with whom I haven’t met up with in ages. My daughter, Ellil, who is four years old now, loves to come out with me so she came along for a girls afternoon out. The one thing she liked on the table was the fried octopus, which I thought was squid. She asked for it. I gave her a piece. She really enjoyed it and asked for more. She ate 4 pieces. About half an hour into the lunch, Ellil starts to tug on my sleeve. I look over and she is trying to tell me that she doesn’t feel good. Her voice is scratchy and I can tell she’s gagging. "I don't feel good." She somehow managed to get out. I shuttled her to the washroom and we made it just in time before she threw up a whole lot of mucous, water and fried octopus. By the time I cleaned her up and walked back to the table her face had started to swell up including her lips and her tongue.

My heart fell into my stomach. The only reason I didn’t have a panic attack is because Ellil would’ve freaked out if she saw me freak out. So, we left the restaurant and we walked to the nearest pharmacy, about a block north. I spoke with the pharmacist and I gave her some Benadryl. My husband and son were hanging out with my younger brother so after I gave her the medicine we jumped in a cab and headed towards my brother’s place. In the cab, as I was talking to my older brother about what to do regarding her reaction, and whether or not I should take her to the hospital, she threw up again. A lot more mucous and watery liquid and the rest of the bloody tentacles!

The wonderful cab driver gave me Kleenex and a bottle of water to clean up. After the second round of vomiting she started to look much better. The swelling came down and she was feeling better. So much so that once we got into my brother’s place and I changed her she wanted to eat a happy meal! It was nice to have her back.

Needless to say that was one of the most harrowing experiences of my life. To outlive a parent is painful, but natural. My husband lived through this less than a month ago when my father-in-law passed away, so I am unfortunately familiar with this experience, somewhat. But, staring your child in the face while she is swelling up and having trouble breathing, and having to possibly contemplate the fatality of the situation...well, that’s an entirely new and too scary a predicament to want to get familiar with.

Call it 'luck being a lady'. Call it 'amazing grace'. Call it God. I am blessed that she is ok and things didn’t spiral downwards.

I AM OFF dim-sum for the next little while. Maybe forever.




Monday, August 26, 2013

Birthdays - A time to think, smile and drive on.

I recently celebrated my birthday and of course, I tried to recap my life in the previous 365 days to see what I had accomplished and whether or not that met up with my expectations.

 What I have learned over the years is that your life now is a sum total of all your past decisions. If you don’t like your life, you have to make new decisions.

 Let’s be honest. We are humans. No one is perfect. Certain things I’m proud of and others are still a work-in-progress. But it helps to introspect…in fact, it’s imperative that we all introspect periodically about our past and use it to better ourselves now so that our future can be so bright that when it finally does becomes the past, we can look back and be proud. (Hope that wasn’t too confusing!)

 My list that I evaluate is composed of my 5 values in no particular order.

Family (my own/my parents/my siblings/my nephews/my in-laws)

Health (physical/emotional/spiritual/financial)


Personal Growth


Rather than give myself a grade or points I think about them all and how I’ve done in the past year. Keep in mind that many times one value is prioritized over another at different points in your life. So for example, this past year I get full points for Family (because I delivered my son!) but my career did have to go on ‘hold’ if you will as I was on maternity leave for most of the past year. That’s life. At different times in our lives, different values will trump each other depending on circumstances, environment, people…different stimuli really.

 You can’t do it all at once, so don’t.  Enjoy what you are doing, focus on it and do it willingly.  When the tides change (and they will) you get to focus on your other values as well.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A lesson in flexibility

A lesson in flexibility



I am noticing that young children are physically challenging and the older they get the more mentally challenging they and their situations become. I suppose that’s a good thing because challenges like no sleep and carrying one and sometimes two sleeping kids from the car to the house are things that are easier to manage when the onset of osteoarthritis is not quite imminent.

Waking up early is definitely the key to getting anything at all accomplished but Ro is giving me a run for my money! I set the alarm for 4:30am this morning and wouldn’t you know it, he was up at 4:25 a.m.! Raj got the milk ready while I calmed him down but by the time I gave Ro back to Raj, Ellil started to stir and so I went to make sure she wouldn’t get up. Of course, I fell asleep and didn’t get up till 5 a.m.  Enough time to get ready and leave but definitely too late to sneak in a workout. What’s a girl to do!

I want to figure out a schedule that I can stick to, but there isn’t any sort of pattern at all to any of my days! This is my lesson in flexibility and juggling the balls of time. So this is what I think I need to be able to do:
Workout when I can
Catnap when I can
Eat HEALTHY when I can
Don’t get upset when I can’t (do any of the above 3 I mean)

Moms! Anything else I’m missing??




Thursday, July 4, 2013

My first week back to work - The start of my new life.

The past month, or the last month before going back to work, I enrolled in a writing class. Lots of assignments so I neglected this for a while. Apologies. But I’m back to work now. Tuesday was my first day.

I must say it sure is nice dressing up, having somewhere to go and spending the day talking with adults about adult things. But boy was I tired when I got home. I hit the sack both nights no later than 9pm. But in my defense I’ve been up anywhere between 4 and 5am the past 3 days and 2 out of the days I went for a run.  As great as that may sound, it’s a purely defensive play. When I tried on my clothes over the weekend(I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear) not much fit very properly. I’m effectively wearing the biggest pieces I own and they are tight on me. Yes! My fat clothes are tight!! So I have no choice but to drop weight at an effort to be able to wear my clothes so I can in fact go to work in more than 3 outfits.

But other than that, it’s been a warm welcome. Some things have changed but most things haven’t. Whether or not the stuff that doesn’t change is good or bad varies depending on the topic of course. I don’t have the same stresses as I did while I was off (Ro and Ellil getting sick at the same time and throwing up on me at the same time) but I definitely am starting to feel the stresses that I didn’t think about the past seven months (am I progressing at the pace I should be, am I seizing the right opportunities, is my kindness being mistaken for weakness).

The bottom line is…I am a better mother to both my children if I am working. And the fact that I’m doing something I really love…how can that be a bad thing for me or my family?

With that being said, I do miss both my kids a lot. The best part of my day is when I come home to them and they are both smiling at me wanting me to take them in my arms.  Nothing beats that high!

I’m hoping that on days that are no good, when I am feeling like crap and want to either drop kick everyone in my way or cry on their shoulder, I can turn to this entry and try to feel a little bit better. Because I know those days will come and more than just a few times.

Feel free to do the same.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Kids love these Fish Cakes

Fish Cakes!!



I’m trying to get Ellil into the habit of eating healthy. I don’t want her to think of it as eating healthy per se.  I just want her and Ro to be around healthy food as though that’s the norm and the other stuff is really abnormal.

Like most moms, getting a balanced meal into our toddlers is not always easy. So, I created this rendition of fish cakes which I tried on Ellil a couple of times now and she really really enjoys it with a side of Caesar Salad. We eat it with a garden salad. Either way, it works great as a snack on its own or accompanied with a salad at meal time.

I did this with canned tuna (as that is what I had in my pantry) but you could also try it with salmon. If I were doing salmon however, I’d add a little bit of dill.

They are super easy to make and another bonus – NO added salt or tartar sauce required!

1 can of tuna (in water of course)

2 medium potatoes

2 scallions chopped

1 small red onion chopped

1 tbsp of ketchup

1.5 tbsp of mayonnaise (olive oil based)

2 tbsp of whole-grain mustard

Fresh ground pepper

1 tbsp butter

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 egg

¼ cup dried breadcrumbs

1 – 2 tbsp of olive oil or avocado oil


Peel potatoes and cut into 8’s. Boil them in a saucepan.

Once boiled, mash the potatoes with butter.

Then add scallions, onion, ketchup, mayonnaise and pepper.

Flake the tuna in a separate bowl. Once tuna is flaked add the tuna to the mixture above.

Form into round and flat cakes/patties.

In 3 separate bowls pour flour in one, 1 egg beaten well in one and breadcrumbs in one

Dip both sides of fish cakes into all 3 bowls in order above (flour first, egg second, breadcrumbs third)

Heat frying pan with 1 – 2 tbsp of olive oil or avocado oil.

When hot, place fish cakes gently in pan, cooking each side once (3 – 5 minutes max on each side). If you want it really well done, you can flip them a couple more times.

Should make 6 fish cakes.

Try them and let me know what you think!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Healthy Alternative to Mattar Paneer (Peas and Cheese)


This is NOT the creamy version, but is still very tasty and goes very well with naan or roti.

¼ tsp mustard seeds

¼ tsp cumin seeds

1 red onion diced

½ each of red pepper, orange pepper, yellow pepper diced

¼ cup green peas

1 block of paneer cut into cubes

1 -  2 tsp olive oil

Salt to taste

1/8 tsp sugar

½ tsp dried crushed red chillies (optional)

Ensure frying pan is large enough to contain all ingredients.

Turn stove on and ensure pan is very hot. Pour oilive oil into pan.

When oil is hot enough, throw in mustard seeds and cumin seeds. You should hear it pop.

Then put in onions and saute.

Sprinkle sugar over the onions.

Toss in all peppers and paneer. Stir.

Add salt to taste

Add dried crushed red chillies

Monday, May 13, 2013

Kid Friendly, Heart Healthy - Banana Nut Bread or Blueberry Banana Bread

Kid Friendly, Heart Healthy – Banana Nut Bread or Blueberry Banana Bread




My next few entries will be healthier foods moms and dads can make with their children and for their children. I’m no chef so if I can do it, anybody can.

Recipes that are easy and fast and taste yummy for kids and adults.

Ellil and I baked this together. It’s easy to make and “Delicious!” as quoted by Ellil.

1 ¼  cup all purpose flour*

¼ cup whole wheat flour*

3 ripened bananas

¼ cup walnuts or ½ cup blueberries

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

¾ cup flaxseed oil

¼ tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp salt

Makes 16 slices. Entire load consumed in a 48 hour period!

Mash bananas in a bowl. Add vanilla extract, oil and eggs. Mix all dry ingredients in another bowl (both flours, brown sugar, cinnamon powder, baking soda, salt)

Pour all ingredients into one bowl and mix

Add nuts/blueberries.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray oil inside a loaf pan.

Pour batter into the pan

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre of bread comes out clean

*Each subsequent time you make this, increase ratio of whole wheat flour to all purpose flour and see if your kids notice the difference. Ellil noticed when I did ¾ all purpose and ¾ whole wheat flour. She didn’t like it as much. So my ratio is 1 cup all purpose flour to ½ cup whole wheat flour.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rest of book - Great Read.

Chapters 9 – 11 Great Book



Having finished this book and re-skimming it again, I have to say it was a terrific read. There were lessons to learn, much to think about and tons of research and statistics to back up a lot of what I was already feeling.

There’s something for everyone in this book. The parts that stood out to me were the parts that affected me most given my life and choices. So different parts of the book will impact different people but the take away will be the same.

It’s a book I hope to draw from again and again. Now that I’ll be going back to work with 2 kids at home, the timing of this read has been perfect.

Chapter 8’s title, ‘The myth of doing it all’. The best thing I took from this chapter is that studies show that “exclusive maternal care was not related to better or worse outcomes for children”. So one days that I am feeling especially guilty about going to work and leaving my 2 babies behind, I will know in the back of my head that I’m not ruining their future!

Oh, and the factors that did influence children positively…emotional intimacy between the parents, father’s involvement in the kids, and mothers who favour ‘self-directed child behaviour’.
Factors that every couple can work on. Hurray!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Chapter 8: My favourite

My favourite chapter so far: Chapter 8



I must admit I have not read the entire book yet but so far this has to be my favourite chapter. it is one topic that doesn’t get talked about enough but has a pertinent effect on how well a gal can do in this world, professionally speaking. It’s a critical read for guys and gals alike and is titled, “Make your partner a real partner”.
Bottom line, if you’re an ambitious girl with skills to pay the bills, but also wants to come home to a healthy, happy family you need to find a man who understands this and is willing to work harder than previous generations in order to make this happen. I say ‘man’ specifically because same sex couples tend to have a more balanced division of labour in their relationships than heterosexual couples. So boys must roll up their sleeves in the house and lean into the home just as their girls are leaning into their work.

I am lucky. I found a man who is in many ways the type of man that is desired according to this chapter. Needless to say I felt very proud and even a little smug that I figured this little tidbit out totally subconsciously. It wasn’t that I went looking specifically for these ‘skill sets’ or asked questions about his childhood to ensure he would be of a certain type but it  had to have been those very traits that drew me to him.

The fact that he knew his way around a kitchen better than me, for example. He owned a restaurant when we first met and it was always a packed house when he did the cooking. Hands down, fantastic chef. I’ve always been well fed thanks to the culinary skills of Mama Ghosh and after marriage I continue to be well fed thanks to Raj.

I could give you example after example to illustrate how he’s a great husband and a terrific father, but you probably don’t want to read all that. Instead I’ll leave you with one thought.  If your children can be raised in a home where they don’t associate tasks as ‘blue’ or ‘pink’ but rather a choice that either parent completes for the sake of the family unit, aren’t we all better off?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Chapter 7

Chapter 7



Sorry I missed the last couple of days but Rohit has been sick and I needed to give him all my attention. He is getting better now, slowly but surely. He’s on two puffers twice a day to help with his terrible cough and cold. Not easy for him, poor kid. But he still manages to smile and show me his beautiful dimples.

In this Chapter, titled ‘Don’t leave before you leave’ the discussion is about women who plan for their exit without even properly entering the workforce. The assumption being that since 'one day I will get married and have kids, maybe I should not go for the tough jobs but take something more peripheral so it’s not so demanding for when I do have other priorities'. I can’t say that I consciously have made this decision. Have you or do you know anybody who has?

Actually, now that I think about it…I did do something similar. After I finished my MBA one of my choices was to go into consulting and after discussing with a bunch of different people, particularly my father, I decided not to go into the field because of the constant travelling involved and I was asked if I’d be ok doing all this travelling and living out of a suitcase after I got married and had little kids? I decided ‘no’ and so didn’t take the offer. However, the field I ultimately ended up deciding on has serendipitously been the best choice for me.

See, the world is conspiring in our favour?! Even when I made an incorrect decision according to chapter 7, it ended up pushing me into the right field!

Ha! Thanks world!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Still Leaning In

Still Leaning In – Chapter 6



The highlight of Chapter 6 for me, seek and speak the truth, is when the topic of crying at work is brought up. I work on the trade floor and as a trader fully understand that you must have a thick skin. We all work in extreme proximity to each other where I can reach my arm out and touch my co-workers shoulder.  Every move, conversation, sigh is shared and the culture is the most unique type of culture I’ve ever experienced. I love it and wouldn't want it any other way.
But I get it that it’s not for everyone. Needless to say when working on a big deal or trade that involves a group of people and we are standing at our desks and on the phone figuring things out in the heat of the moment, you have to keep your wits about yourself. There is something to be said about grace under fire. Nothing is more counter-productive than having some guy in who is involved in the deal, blowing a gasket and freaking out externally in the midst of one of these intense moments. But sometimes it happens. Miscommunication or somebody changing their mind at the last minute is usually the fuse that gets them started. They get all heated up and emotional and revert back to their primal behaviour. Raising their voice, pounding their chest like a Jane Goodall movie. Sometimes from their desk and sometimes over the speaker phone. It’s human nature. Everyone on the trade floor is type A and driven and wants to be number 1 so a display of human emotion is natural. 

But the way a man expresses emotion is very different from the way a woman expresses emotion. If I get really upset with someone’s behaviour or feel betrayed by someone my eyes well up and my voice starts to quiver. It’s happened a couple of times with me. But I know better than to cry on the trade floor. I put a lid on it. I wait till the deal is done, get off the floor and go for a walk and let myself go privately. Just like there’s no crying in baseball. There’s no crying on the trade floor. I didn’t need anybody to tell me that. I, like all the other women up there who thrive in that environment know better than to show that side of us so publicly.
With that being said, off the floor one-on-one conversations with people I trust does allow me to let my guard down and I have on some occasions allowed myself to cry. I believe these moments are necessary. We spend more waking hours with our colleagues than we do with our families in any given week, so it doesn’t make sense to not be yourself. It’s too much pressure and you can’t stay happy that way. So if you’re hurt or you’re going through something personal you need to share that. Otherwise, it will burden you and make you a less productive, disenfranchised and unhappy. And no one wants to live like that. Not even type A  girls.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Lean In - Chapter 5

Lean In – Chapter 5



This chapter discusses mentorship and sponsorship. These are two of the buzzwords floating around the corporate women’s world. Mentorship is great but it isn’t enough as you definitely need sponsors to help push you into more senior positions. The problem with most is how do you go about finding a mentor or a sponsor? Her suggestion is to work super hard and produce results so others will want to groom you and encourage you and push you along the way.

I think if we all look around we will find that we are surrounded with mentors. Different people who have helped us and advised us on different things. I think people for the most part like to help and if you ask for help or are discussing something in common and an obstacle is brought to light it’s very natural for the person who has been there and done that to step in and at least offer some advice or at least ask you the right questions to help you in resolving the issue on your own. Then you have to have the sense to recognize this person’s willingness to help and continue to maintain an honest relationship with them.

See, the thing with me is, I like being social, going for a drink or two but I hate ‘networking’ or ‘networking events’ as firms like to call them. As a result, I suck at these events and am even anti-social because I find it way too unnatural for me to build a solid friendship at a networking event. My problem I know. Do I have to fake it to make it here as well?

But if I think about it, I definitely have mentors and I’m sure even a sponsor or two but not in the formal sense. Is that ok? Or do we need both formal and informal relationships to maximize our potential?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Lean In: Chapter 4

Lean In: Chapter 4


Chapter 4 is titled: It’s a jungle gym, not a ladder.  A lot of what is in here I have seen and experienced with the one caveat that women think about a lot more things (some realistic and some not) before making a big career decision. This chapter discusses that the work place is not a corporate ladder where there is a linear progression in the same line of work but that the view can be great from a bunch of different places all of varying heights, so if you love the monkey bars you’re on now but there are too many kids on with you but the slide is empty, practically begging to be used, jump off the monkey bars and go enjoy the slide! It’s a great analogy.

I think by the time a woman feels she’s ready for a new job she is already over-qualified for it.  I’ve read in other articles as well as in this book that studies have shown that while men are hired based on potential, women are hired based on historical performance so I suppose a woman wants to ensure that each performance is stellar so as not to muck up future inroads. Also, men apply for jobs when they feel they can fulfill 60% of the role whereas a woman won’t apply until she feels she can fulfill 100% of the role. Another example pointing to the same insecurity or lack of confidence in women relative to men.

But that insecurity in women and confidence in men stems from childhood. When a guy goes for gold and fails, he is pretty good about getting back up on his feet, dusting the dirt off his knees and driving on. That’s because growing up it was natural for him to get a scraped knee or cut or bruise from playing and even rough housing with other boys. The terminology ‘boys will be boys’ is an acceptance of this somewhat reckless male behaviour that has limited consequences because it’s innate in them to be this way. But girls are more delicate so if she falls we promptly pick her up, nurse her wound and remind her to be more careful so as not to do it again.

I can attest to the fact that parents nowadays are more aware of this and proactively try to level the playing field by letting girls pick themselves off the floor and even running to the attention of their son and kissing his boo-boo.  But it’s a bit of a catch-22 because women are different from men and require to be raised a little differently.
No matter how you slice it if your 15 year old daughter goes to a party that an older student is throwing on a Friday night and the party starts at 10pm versus your son going to the same party, most parents will have higher stress levels with the former scenario than the latter. The basis of this worry is real. The stress is natural and playing fair takes a backseat when you’re talking about the wellbeing of your kid.

So do women have a reason to be more cautious and careful their entire lives? They sure do. So instead of trying to deny this feeling, let’s accept it for what it is, embrace it (because I think it’s this natural ability to experience a stimulus and respond swiftly knowing we’ve thought of so many more scenarios in a millisecond, aka women’s intuition) and leverage it to create our own path and drive on. Our journey will be different because we are different but the destination could be the same.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spring Reading - Lean In Ch 1,2 & 3

Spring Reading - Lean In



Everyone is talking about this new book, “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. It’s supposed to be a modern day manifesto for women.  I’ve only started reading it and was hesitant at first because anything that sounds like ‘manifesto’ I try to steer clear of especially when I want some light reading, but as is the case with most of my reads, I never pick my books. They pick me. This was no different.

I have found that when the world really wants you to learn something it will find a way to teach it to you. Using a book as a medium is one of the easy ways to do this. Sometimes it’s a self-help book (for obvious reasons), sometimes it’s a motivational read and other times it’s just for fun, because even the powers that be want us all to have a little fun now and then.

This book is just as much for men as it is for women. I have already read stuff in there that I have felt and do feel time and time again. There are 11 chapters plus an introduction. I am on chapter 4. So if anyone wants to pick up the book and read with me, it would be great to discuss this book with any of you!

The book is chalk full of research to back up everything that is said so it isn’t just one person’s opinion but one person’s deduction of things (backed up by many more people) from solid research material. And it has tons of personal stories by numerous different people especially the author (obviously) which puts a lot of the general ideas into context.

Her first lesson, Sit at the Table is just that. Participate and get involved in spite of the self-doubt running through your veins.  It’s common. It’s felt by some very successful women including the CEO of IBM and Sheryl Sandberg herself. Over time your confidence will build but until then you have to fake it to make it, effectively.

The second lesson, Success and Likeability. This chapter starts with the telling of the Heidi/Howard case study conducted by a couple of professors who basically proved that Success and Likeability are positively correlated for men but negatively correlated for women. It’s one of those studies where you’re not surprised by the result because you always had a hunch that was true but didn’t have any evidence to back it up. Well for better or for worse, now you do. The thing I like about this chapter however is not just that it tells us that but that it discusses how to deal with this type of perception. Thing globally, act locally. Stay insistent and smile. Simple suggestions actually.   

The third lesson I’m still reading so will chat about tomorrow.  I’d love to discuss lesson one and two however if anybody is up for it.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Blast from the Past: an old post. New segment starting tonight!

An old post I found...more than a year now but still the same struggle..hrmph...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Third entry: Trying to keep up with my resolutions….

The toughest of all resolutions for me to keep is the going to the gym and eating healthy bit. It’s been a long long week. I’ve significantly pared down what I take in. Some days are better than others. Today I’m hungry. But I’m not hungry in my stomach. I’m hungry in my head. Does that make any sense? What I’m trying to say is my stomach is not going to eat itself because I have deprived myself of food, but I am truly missing the happy taste of food. The way a piece of chocolate melts between your tongue and the roof of you mouth. The crispy crunch of a potato chip when your teeth bite into it and the broken savoury pieces linger in your mouth while the flavours of the chips dance around awakening your taste buds. As I write this, someone behind me yells “hey, where’s the food?” Ha. You can’t escape it. The mere anticipation of food makes everyone happy.

My husband is making chicken cordon bleu for dinner. He says it’s a healthier version of the real thing. I have no clue what that means but am eager to go home and eat it all up! Because I know this, I’ve been starving myself all day. Half my oatmeal for breakfast, blueberries for a snack. Soup for lunch and a ryvita with peanut butter just now. How do skinny girls stay skinny? Sigh. I suppose they don’t have love affairs with their refrigerator or pantries….

Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 18 - Last Day

My post is 24 hours late. Sorry. My tablet, she is broken. Ellil dropped it last week and it decided to go on the fritz 2 nights ago. So I'm on another computer because I had to post this last entry.

I'm a different person now than I was 3 weeks ago.

I have more confidence in my ability as a parent. I didn't have a breakdown. I didn't freak out at the kids. I didn't even tear my hair out. I did lament. I did complain. I did get angry and frustrated and even a little exasperated. And that is human.

I have newfound respect for my children. When things were getting out of control, at least one of them calmed themselves down to make it easier for me. Ellil understood and responded to things in a far more mature way than I expected a 3 year old too. I am very proud of them.

I am even more grateful for my mother, father, brothers and sisters-in-law because they all helped me get through this.

I am grateful to my friends for their constant support and encouragement.

I have consistently written in this blog, something I hadn't done in a long time and it's been extremely therapeutic and eye opening as I learned things through my writing and others' comments that helped me understand and work through my challenges.

I appreciate my husband more because I was reminded of how much he does contribute and help in running our home. The kids' attachment to him was evidence enough of how active a role he plays in their lives.

I may not have lost any weight during this challenge, but at least I didn't gain any!

I am really happy that Raj is back.

I am going to enjoy my Easter. I hope you and your families do as well.

After Easter, I will come back with my April Weight Loss Challenge. Or more appropriately, fat loss, muscle tone and eat proper challenge.

Thanks for sharing this experience with me.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day 17 - MC

My tablet has started acting up, so I'm sending this from another computer which is why this entry is so late. Apologies for that.

Tuesday flew by. Now that we have settled into a routine it hasn't been that bad. The only thing to note is I think Ellil misses her Dad more than she lets on. I catch her saying things in her sleep or when she's super tired or when she thinks no one is listening. I've tried my best to explain but I'm not sure how much of it she is absorbing. Raj will be back Thursday so hopefully things will go back to normal for her by Easter.

There are some things I just cannot do. I can't be her Dad. I can try to be there as often as possible, teach her things, play with her, sing her to sleep but at the end of the day she still misses her 'Appa'. I get it. Each relationship offers something different and I'm actually elated that she has cultivated such a good relationship with him.

It's important that she cultivate good relationships with family members including her grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. Each dynamic is unique and the more of these strong relationships that she develops the richer her life will be. And she will in turn pass on that skill set to Ro (hopefully) who will also see the benefits of having these relationships and he will want to forge his own as well.

Being from a family that has moved around a lot we never had the benefits of extended family much. Here in Canada it's been the 5 of us forever. We've only recently started to create our own families and that is how our family has grown. And I want my kids to have stories to share about growing up with not just siblings and parents but cousins and grandparents and uncles and aunts and family friends.

Sorry, have to cut this off. Ellil just got up.

One more dawn. One more day. One Day More!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 16 - MC

Day 16 - MC



Monday Monday. So good to me…Monday Monday. It was all I hoped it would be.

I get that happiness is a choice but I still find it so much easier to be happy on warm sunny days than cold dark days. Many self-help books will tell you that weather shouldn’t really matter because it’s all mind over matter blah blah. Well, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter ;) But I still can’t help myself. Today was warmer than most and sunny. 7 degrees Celsius at one point and I didn’t need a winter coat. First time in 4 months.  It seemed that everyone who I bumped into was in better spirits, including children.

Be it the sun or some other stroke of dumb luck, the day went by without a hitch. The icing on the cake; Ellil crossed a milestone in the evening. She got out of all her clothes, took out her pajamas from her dresser and completed her entire nighttime routine by herself! This includes brushing her teeth and applying lotion to herself. And she did it smiling, yapping about her day at school while I got Ro changed. I sat and watched in quiet jubilation, celebrating every win with pursed lips. I know if I get too excited too fast she gets all embarrassed and stops midway through the activity so I had to contain myself until the very end.  It was so fulfilling to witness but slightly melancholic as well. My little girl is growing up so fast. Sometimes, too fast.

Another wonderful thing that happened to me today, totally unrelated but had to be mentioned is the fact that I got two letters from a dear friend of mine. Actual letters in the mail written on paper with a pen! At first I got scared. I assumed it was bad news for some reason. I mean, why else would someone go through the trouble of writing their thoughts down on what appears to be such a slow medium and then mail it in the regular mail? And then I opened it and I was so relieved that it was not bad news at all! It was a letter than informed me how she was doing, the way letters are supposed to! And I felt so special that someone went through the trouble of sending me this with words of encouragement about my blog. She too has a blog, This and That by Din. Check it out. She is a do-it-yourself maven and has essential tips and suggestions about how to make home projects easier and simpler.

Thanks so much Denisse! I miss you and wish we lived closer to each other. But I will visit during this mat leave. I promise.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 15 - MC

Day 15 - MC



Today was my youngest nephew’s Anna-Prashan. This is a rice eating ceremony that all Bengali kids go through at 6 months of age. It is the time when the child is introduced to solid foods and of course rice is the first thing all Bengali kids should eat.

The weather was beautiful. All the children were in Indian clothes, as were most of the adults. Even Ro was in a traditional dhoti and kurta, Rajasthani style. It was the same outfit that Sathyam, my oldest nephew, wore to one of our friend’s engagement parties back in the summer of 2009. Crazy how fast time flies. I feel like Ro himself has grown so much in the past few weeks.

I’ve realised that when the odds of children to adult ratio is stacked against you, as in this case with this challenge, there are certain things you must be okay with in order to survive. I say realised because it did take me a week or so before I could come to terms with it. In a nutshell, pick your battles. I’m no longer on top of the laundry. And my kitchen is messier than I would like it to be. There you have it. At first I was doing laundry and dishes and tidying up every night after the kids went to bed, but I was super exhausted and not being able to keep up with them, especially Ellil.

The last few days I changed priorities. Now, I go to sleep when the kids go to sleep and I wake up when my body tells me to. The kids always sleep longer so I try to do laundry or dishes or tidying up or whatever needs to be done in that gap. If I don’t get to do all of it, I have to wait until the next available opportunity.  This means not all the chores get done. So be it.

The trick is really dissecting the urgent work and the important work. If something is urgent and important, you must do it first. After this we tend to automatically do the work that is urgent but maybe not that important in the big scheme of things. And other work, like the important but not urgent stuff gets left behind.
For example, dishes in the sink; urgent but not important. Urgent because the dirty dishes are staring you in the face and it’s hard to get dinner prepared with a messy sink, but not terribly important because you do have other dishes in the cabinet that you can use for the next meal. However, the task of taking your kids to the park.  Important but not really urgent. The kids will occupy themselves be it with dolls, cars or TV so taking them out isn’t urgent but in most cases playing outdoors in the park is a much healthier way to spend an afternoon than staying indoors, especially if you have an unexpectedly warm day during a cold, harsh winter.

Bottom line. Prioritize.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Day 14 - MC

Day 14 – MC



Things came together today. It really did. I have to admit I was at my wits end sometime between Day 10 and 13, but today, Day 14, Priya got her groove back. Both kids cooperated and the 3 of us managed to work it out together. I wonder if that’s the learning curve.  14 days of treading water, some days better than others, and then finally all the stuff that you experienced and stored in your database comes into use.  I could chalk it up to a fluke day and better to be lucky than good, but it really felt different.

I felt that when I spoke to Ellil this evening, she understood that mommy needed her help so to listen and do as mommy says. And that Ro also got that I needed him to be ok sitting in the swing because I had to get some important stuff done within a certain time frame.

What do you think? Am I totally out to lunch in thinking that kids this young can connect well enough to understand you when you really need them to cooperate? I must’ve been sending them some sort of ‘mother in distress’ signal subconsciously that they picked up on.  Whatever it is, I’ll take it with open arms because I could use a few more days like this.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 13 - MC

Day 13 – MC



I went downtown to visit some of my co-workers today and Rohit accompanied me. It was his introduction to my colleagues and to the magic that is a trading floor. Do I sound like a nerd? Perhaps it is because I am a nerd. Again, no shame in that. I felt so alive on the floor. So in my element.

I got to parade little Ro to everyone and of course they had nothing but great things to say about him. I ate it all up. Nothing is so sweet to a mother’s ear than hearing others say incredibly wonderful things about her children. And I am no different. After I showed him off we went to lunch with my boss (a great guy by the way, and no he doesn’t know about this blog so I’m not writing that in for him. I actually mean it.) Again, I’m probably in the minority but I’ve been blessed with having really good bosses for most of my career.

In any case, it was so invigorating to be chatting about the markets and the economy and what customers are doing and what trends we are noticing.  I haven’t had a solid conversation about this stuff in such a long time. Once the weather clears up I’m sure I’ll pay them another visit, before my mat leave is over.

I love being a mother. I really do. But being a full time mother, a stay at home mom, is ridiculously tough. Toughest job in the world, hands down.  I am enjoying my time with my kids but I am also looking forward to going back to work.  In order for me to be the best mother I can be to my kids, I have to be working out there. It’s a type of gratification that nothing else can fill, for the moment. Maybe things will change down the road as things evolve, but for now, this is what I want.

Different strokes for different folks, right?! J


Day 12 - MC

Day 12 – MC



Today I had a dear friend from my undergrad pay me a visit. I hadn’t seen Lisa in over 10 years. What a great reunion! She’s married now with 2 beautiful children of her own. She brought her youngest with her today.

You often don’t realise how much time has passed until you suddenly come face to face with a blast from the past, and a girlfriend with whom you went dancing, drinking and giggling over cute boys with is standing in your vestibule with her 1 year old son talking about her 4 year old daughter and supportive husband. Where did the time go?

I’m 35 years old. There’s no shame in that. I’ve lived a pretty decent 35 years. Yes I’ve made mistakes. I’ve trusted and hurt the wrong people and I have the scars and regret to prove it. I find this society, our society is so hell bent on fighting age. ‘Don’t grow old gracefully, fight it every step of the way’ is a slogan as are numerous others that follow along the same vein.

I find myself at odds with these notions because growing up in India (where I spent the first 7 years of my life) old people are revered. My grandparents lived with us. They were always seen as wise by every other member of the family. They knew things nobody else did and had lived through experiences that made for incredibly interesting lessons. They had answers to just about every question and great anecdotes about everything imaginable. You always spoke to them with utmost respect, no matter what your age or ‘position’ in life was. They were the elders of the house and they were always treated with that kind of respect. Their skin was wrinkled, their hair thinning, their movements slower but all of those things made them even more lovable. They always had magical stories to tell and they told them with such intensity and passion that they could feed even the pickiest of children.

Children held a certain place in the family. Parents held another place in the family. And grandparents held another place in the family. Each place was important and you knew to enjoy that place that you were in and you also knew that over time you would graduate to the next level and then to the next level.  It was natural and expected.

As a grandchild, I loved my grandparents. I had 3 of them. 2 grandfathers and a grandmother. All from my paternal side as my maternal grandparents had already passed away. My grandmother, my grandfather and his brother, my grand uncle with whom I was probably closest with. They gave me no reason to be afraid of getting old or any reason to want to fight getting to where they were. They had a full life with rich stories and always made kids laugh. Why would I want to fight that? Living a full life should age you shouldn’t it? Every laugh line has a fond memory attached to it. Every gray hair a lesson learned. A softer body made them more huggable and the speed of their gait was slow like Sunday morning. And that’s why they looked different. Not bad. Just experienced and lived.

So imagine my surprise when I came to Canada and started seeing ads about how growing old is negative. Or at least looking old is negative. I didn’t get it then. I don’t get it now. I definitely have every intention of living a healthy lifestyle so as to avoid or prolong health issues, but aging is evidence that we’ve lived. Evidence that we’ve fought our share of battles and enjoyed our piece of life’s pie. Our age should be celebrated not mitigated. I think if we change our perspective it always makes the future bright and isn’t that a much better way to spend the rest of your life?