Silver Line

She’s a single mom though they’re aren’t divorced
his work is his life – he feels he has no choice.
His 9 to 5 is not 7 to 7 *
most days it’s so busy he’s home after 11.

Loan EMI’s and a lifestyle but missing a life
it’s a recipe for a lot of family strife.

She has a full time job but still manages the home
children and heavy elder care – she can’t cope alone.
So it’s maids, classes, caregivers and no unscheduled relaxed time
with lonely stressed kids that often are way out of line.

But now it’s work from home, caregivers but no maids
He does some house work and takes the kids out to play
Their kids have both parents for the very first time
and life finally feels good – it’s going real fine.

2020 has been a difficult time
but like dark grey clouds with a silver line.

* A reference to long commutes.


This poem has been published at allpoetry.com 

You Can Wish Me Happy Birthday

You can wish me Happy Birthday any time of the year
you know me well so don’t worry my dear.
It really doesn’t matter how often or when we talk –
share our struggles, our happy, or laugh till it hurts.

Friends for so many reasons that the bond stays strong
it’s been some years, yet it doesn’t seem all that long.
Together in sunshine and when there’s just too much rain,
No time schedules, no expectations. I’ll say it again…

You can wish me Happy Birthday anytime my dear
in March, June or November, or even the next year.


This poem has been published at allpoetry.com 

Movie Review ‘Gully Boy’

I haven’t watched a Hindi movie years. Actually I found them depressing as a child. Romantic singing and running around trees accompanied by squeaky violins and high-pitched female vocals just wasn’t my thing. I personally prefer lower pitched or more full-bodied vocal technique – I find this more relaxing to listen to and it often means I am quite unable to appreciate the artistic and musical achievement of high-pitched voices on an emotional level, even though I do on a mental level. Plus the typical saas-bahu politics and family intrigue just seemed very negative to me then. As it still seems to me now.

Movie plots have changed, and Bollywood music now includes a much wider range of vocals that I find more interesting. I’ve been reading about a lot of movies that are stepping out of standard story lines and decided that it’s time I started watching them. It’s a challenge quite frankly, because watching any kind of movie has been a once a year thing for the past decade.

So, I’m applying my piano practise techniques to fitting this into my life. And have finally got through my first Hindi movie in years – Bit By Bit – like I fit in practising a piano piece when I have too much of other stuff or other practise to do and am still really keen to get done.

I chose ‘Gully Boy’ because I’ve heard about it and because it’s just conveniently there on my netflix screen every time I log on. I watched it in 3 sittings and this post is my first impression of the movie and the characters. So forgive me please, if I am vague on specifics – they’re available at wikipedia. This post is intended to convey my general impression of the movie.

Why Gully Boy made an impression

This movie is a surprisingly accurate fictional depiction of real life in the slums in India and the daily struggles that come with it. It’s pretty stark at first, but the plot pulls one in as it unfolds.

Safina

She’s a demure young girl when she isn’t being rude, getting into hand-to-hand fights and throwing objects in temper. She wants a career and is able to get her dad – a very quiet, hesitant-to-stand-up-to-his-hot-tempered-wife man – to support her. Murad is crazy about her, despite a brief encounter with Sky.

Safina is hot-tempered when she has reason, and but has serious anger management issues that I mentioned earlier. She’s the daughter of a woman who thinks it’s okay to hit her daughter when rules and restrictions fail.

She’s genuinely upset Murad doesn’t study enough and lets go when a fan compliments Murad during a BEST bus ride and asks about his career. Unlike Jess Bhamra’s parents berating her on a public TV channel in Bend It Like Beckham, this didn’t have me screaming with laughter. I just thought it was plain rude.

That said, Safina is crazy about Murad and her temperament well suited to him. I think they’d do very well in life together if she’d get some counseling for anger management and learn to manage conflict effectively.

Murad

He is the lead role in the movie, the under-priveledged boy and the son of a father who has been badly brought up and who remarries and then treats his first wife (Murad’s mother) like a servant, while Murad’s grandmother watches silently, without protest.

Murad, unlike Safina, has the ability to control his anger and let it out when it’s necessary and useful. Family issues and the need to support his mother make financial independence a priority for him and his studies take a back seat, as he realises that his dreams could bring a quick win.

Sky

She is the girl who has a ‘thing’ for Murad. A really nice and different portrayal of the ‘other woman’ or ‘other girl’ in this case – she appears unaware at first, that Murad has a significant other. Sky has a resilience that Safina doesn’t have, and is willing accept rejection and to let go graciously.

It’s evident that she still has feelings for Murad, but keeps her distance while maintaining a cordial professional relationship with him, after she realises Murad cares for Safina. I think Safina could learn some maturity from Sky. And I think Sky has a niceness that would make her help Safina despite all that’s happened in the movie.

My last impression

Gully Boy is a subtle portrayal of a myriad of social issues that India faces today, and yet, despite the social messages, quite enjoyable to watch.

  • It makes an important point, that a badly brought up boy grows up to be a badly behaved man.
  • That education, and holding on to dreams, can be a way out of the anger and frustration of working at a poorly paid job, for a man who doesn’t value the dignity of labour.
  • It fails somehow with the brown is beautiful message for me, because my overall first impression was that Safina and Sky both had lighter complexions than other women in the movie, except one – D J Sher’s foreign girlfriend. A subtle reinforcement of the idea that is a part of many Indian mindsets, that fair is lovelier than brown.
  • The plot comments on how strict social rules result in friendships and relationships being conducted without the knowledge of parents. This is a very real social problem than puts a lot of girls at risk of assault – if they’ve unwittingly chosen the wrong friends, or have made the mistake of meeting their friends in isolated places where they can be attacked.

‘Gully Boy’ is so very different from the Bollywood movies I’ve had brief glimpses of over the years. A must-watch for any movie-goer and food for thought for an India that is working towards equality and progress. An India that wishes to break the cycle of deep-rooted anger that often targets women and vulnerable sections of society. An India that still doesn’t quite see the signs even though they’re shouting out loud.

Really looking forward to my next Bollywood movie!

The Keeper

Do you live with a keeper – a keeper of things
who won’t let go of old stuff, miss the joy that this brings.
Or have you raised a child who keeps toys on the floor
that you pick up and tidy – then go out and buy more.

So much to clean and so much to dust
more that you need but it’s still not enough.
Until lockdown twenty-twenty – with no maid at home
And you just can’t cope and you want things gone.

A keeper and collector who’s learning to let go
Less stuff, less to clean and space for more.

Covid19 sometimes seems like a message from above
less stuff to look after and time to live with patience. And love.


This poem has been published at allpoetry.com 

Questions

So what happens when your stars fail
when the hate that you’ve sown takes the wind from your sails
will you swim or will you sink
learn and move beyond your mistakes or let it push you to the brink?

Will you give up or take it all in your stride,
buckle down and hold on, or go out with the tide
will we see you as ineffective, petty, biased, and weak
or will we see inner change and the strength to let go of that mean streak?


Because social change needs inner change, and each and every one of us has a role to play in working towards a better world.


This poem has been published at allpoetry.com 

Sometimes

Sometimes,

we have to go through the motions when there’s no time

just fit in a minute to play one line.

Humans who have to schedule time to BE

to look out of the window – enjoy the sun – feel the breeze.

One minute of joy that stretches longer each day

time for work and time for play.


This poem is meant to be read 3 times with ‘play’ replaced with write, and then draw.


This poem will be published shortly at allpoetry.com 

Wanna

I don’t wanna be the woman behind the man,
let my dreams flow down the sink as I wash the pots and pans.
I don’t wanna be the woman who’s burning up inside,
and sees dirt in the smile of her sisters eyes.

Don’t wanna be the price that you pay
when we’re old, and I’m bitter because I had no say.

And you don’t wanna be the man who sat by,
watched the dreams and hope fly out of my eyes.
Don’t wanna be the cause and the reason why,
my wings were stuck and I couldn’t fly.

You wanna be the man behind the woman
who pursues her dreams and has a life of freedom.

So we’re partners searching for equal, working side by side,
sharing our dreams and our daily lives.


This poem has been published at allpoetry.com 

Friends with ourselves

It’s really lovely to be offline
and get away from the daily grind.

No Whatsapp friends who won’t answer the phone
just the joyful silence that grows loud when we’re alone.

Lessons that we all need to learn from life,
to be friends with ourselves. It feels really nice!


This poem has been published at allpoetry.com 

Happiness is

Happiness is a walk on a rainy day

with the sky all coloured a silvery grey.

Happiness is a yellow umbrella

and clothes drying quick in this damp rainy weather.

Happiness is the joy that we feel,

when the roads are flooded – even though the drains haven’t been cleaned.

Happiness is a state of mind,

the spirit of Mumbai that always stays high.

Happy, but unfortunately often complacent,

but we have expectations and they’re getting urgent.

So much plastic in packaging and no at-source segregation,

And not enough space for sufficient home composting.

Still we’re happy and grateful that we’re all ok,

The immediate need is to stay Covid-safe.

Gonna Fly

I’m a free bird and I’m gonna fly,

To the balcony – watch the clouds roll by.

Do a One-Mile-Walk till my heart feels light,

Enjoy this wonderful aloneness, grateful that my family is alright.

I’m a free bird and I’m gonna fly,

To the balcony, with my hot cup of chai.


This poem has been published at allpoetry.com 

There’s Always A Way

There’s always a way when the going gets tough,

Unless it’s not working out and you’ve tried enough.

Always a way to make time for quiet,

So you have resources to use when you can’t see the light.

Many ways to push through, or hang on when there’s trouble,

If you’re willing to bend when there’s need. Not fight it or struggle.

Sometimes it’s bend or break, but there are times when there’s need,

To dig in and stand firm, like a sturdy old tree.

There’s always a way if we only let go,

Of fixed ideas about how we should handle our role.

If we work to make some time to think,

Stop digging those ditches into which we will sink.

There’s always a way to hold on, to have faith,

Do our best, then accept what’s put on our plate.

There’s usually a way.

OCD Or Covid Safe?

She’s got OCD – it keeps her safe.

The world will end if the tendli is cut round, not straight.

OCD – it gives her control,

There’s so many rules – no one could take over her role.

She’s struggling these days because there’s no maid,

It’s hard for her to find comfort on this bed she has made.

And all that excessive hand-washing – it’s now our new way,

No longer OCD – we call it COVID SAFE!


PS : Tendli is an Indian vegetable – I think it’s Ivy Gourd in English.

My Greatest Friend In Times Of Need

 

My greatest friend in times of need,

I talk to you, say what I please.

You help me out when times get tough,

You listen – never say you’ve had enough.

You’re the one I lean on every day,

So I can turn the busy to relaxed, do things my own way.

You take the weight so it’s off my chest,

Of all my friends, YOU are the BEST!


My diary is just scraps of paper because I write until I’m done and then tear up what I’ve written and throw it in the bin. I find this act of tearing up notes helps me let go of my thoughts.

It’s also advisable if they’re thoughts you wish to keep private, and those that might hurt someone else if they were aired.

Lockdown Living

It’s so lovely downstairs with no one there,

The blissful silence and the hot summer air.

A once a week visit to the grocery shop,

It’s going to feel real strange when all of this stops.

It’s nice at home – I can sit out in the sun,

Do a one-mile-walk. It’s really fun!

We’re lucky and privileged that social isolation is an option.

Lets be sensible, do our best, and be grateful.

All I need now is a trim for this long lockdown hair,

And visit my family. May they continue to stay safe and well.

Social isolation is a privilege and we need to remember,

The ones forgotten – those who nobody cares for.

A lockdown with no safety net for the poor.

Let the light shine on our nation – open a new door.

To Be A Better Wife, Indian Lockdown Song Lyrics

To be a better wife,

I need a husband who’s here.

Here, helping at home with the chores,

Sharing the work so that I can have more,

Giving me time to relax just by being there.

There, chopping the veggies at night,

Washing the dishes that lie in the sink,

Giving me time to sit with my cup of chai.

He’s needed everywhere,

Shopping lists and laundry duty, tidying up.

Learning that his wife can’t cope, she’s doing enough.

Love makes him care that I rest,

He’s sharing the housework, I feel really blessed,

There’s hope in my eyes as I finally realise,

He will be there, and everywhere,

Here, there and everywhere.


I’ve written ‘To Be A Better Wife’ to the tune of ‘Here There and Everywhere’, a song composed and written by the Beatles. I’m publishing the lyrics here, as they aren’t very clear in the video I recorded on my cellphone.

I do not claim any copyright or ownership of Here, There and Everywhere – this rests with the owners of this music. Permissions in my blog copyright notice cover my writing in this post only, to the extent that is permitted by laws on copyright relating to writing parody.

The video was a fun family lockdown activity and I recorded it in hope that it promotes social change and for no other purpose.


2020 has been a HUGE change and also a rude shock for many Indian families used to having maids. Some have adapted and many are still struggling as cultural values, rigid gender roles and habits formed by always having maids to help, create barriers to every family member doing their share of chores.

Some families are adapting. Children, learning to tidy their own stuff. Men, taking on chores as they see their wives struggle without any help. Women balancing their careers with home management, looking after children and supervising online education. With caring for elderly family members and supervising 24/7 care at home for those that are really ill. Old-age homes are not the norm here. And anyway, families often prefer to care for their elderly themselves.

Yes, some are adapting.

And some aren’t.

Keep Her Away From Autoimmune Disease

Lookin’ heavy but feeling light,

A spring in her step because she feels alright.

More on her middle and less junk on her face,

It drives many women crazy, this acceptance of age.

That pursuit of youth, it’s a really huge business,

Keeps the doctors working – fills hospitals and clinics.

But chemical free is HER way, and she feels

It will keep her away from autoimmune disease.


2016 was a good year.

It’s the year I decided to go chemical free with home and personal care products, after I was diagnosed with an inflamed thyroid and treated with steroids for a few months, until my tests went back to normal.

My decision to make these lifestyle changes came about after I read The Thyroid Cure by Michelle Corey.

  • I replaced body lotions and face creams with water and extra-virgin coconut oil.
  • Chemical home cleaners with diluted vinegar mixed with regular dish detergent.
  • My regular shampoo with home made reetha shampoo.
  • Hair dye wasn’t an issue, because I don’t dye my hair.
  • I later replaced deodorants with sodabicarb powder after a very bad experience when had difficulty breathing after using a deodorant spray.

The diet recommended in ‘The Thyroid Cure’ was very similar to the diet I’d grown up on, and preferred, so this was easy. I already knew I had a problem with gluten, and anyway, I prefer eating rice to wheat. We had already started to eat simple and easy to cook, so the diet recommended in the book wasn’t all that hard to stick with.

About a year after this change, I needed to visit the doctor a lot less for coughs and colds, as they were so mild that they went away on their own, except for once in a way. I can’t prove with certainty that the above lifestyle changes were the reason for this, but it is my belief that they are.

I believe that we can help our immune system function better, and if not prevent, then certainly reduce the severity of health issues, or delay their onset.

How To Have Things Done YOUR Way At Home

When you’re stuck in the home, and it’s not your turf,

And all you need is a quiet place so you can log on to work.

When things are done someone else’s way,

And you feel that you don’t have any say.

Just remember that this was how she felt,

When she had a maid, a cook and a care-giver to help.

She had a home arranged for THEIR convenience,

So they felt working for her was a pleasant experience.

Now there’s no help and it’s all changed,

And things in the home have been re-arranged.

There’s a solution if you feel you don’t have any say,

Just do the work yourself, and have it YOUR way.


The lockdown has put an end to part-time maids, cooks and carers and many Indian women are really busy. Some are struggling because they’ve organised their home, the way they cook, and their role as the one who does things for others (that others should do themselves) based on the idea that they will ALWAYS have help at home.

It’s important, at this time, for families to realise that some areas of the home and the workflow of house work get arranged according to the convenience to the one who does the bulk of the cooking and cleaning. And this is the way it should be for long-term peace and harmony.

5 Tips To Help You Enjoy The Stay-At-Home Blues

Staying at home during the lockdown is a struggle for many.

I work from home and have had a few years packed with many activities at home – work, hobbies as well as running my home. Often these past years, just getting out of the house has been an effort for me.

So, while this lockdown meant I had to restructure my daily routine because my husband and I are both at home, the stay-at-home part has not been all that bad for me. We took sometime to figure out how to organize our work space, so that both of us can work without disturbance, and it’s been quite nice.

So, here’s  5 tips that will help you enjoy the Stay-At-Home Blues

Tip No 1 : Set a routine for the home

    • The same waking and sleep times, as well as meal times, as a regular working week, with some ease on weekends.
    • Activity time for kids. Young children will need parents to do this with them, until they’re independent.
      • An hour of reading after breakfast – either parent assisted reading, or independent reading with the parent around reading too.
      • An exercise activity that your children think is fun and will get your kids moving. Dancercise or play if your kids are small enough to run around, and if there’s place in your home for this. FUN is the keyword. Check out dance and exercise videos on youtube and find something age appropriate, that your child enjoys.
      • Solo play time. It’s very important for children to be able to play on their own with their toys, or occupy themselves drawing, writing or listening to music without constantly wanting attention from adults.
      • Family time when everyone, or some members of the family are free.

Having a routine helps everyone spend time together, and gives those who need to be alone or work at home some space that is structured.

Tip No 2 : Make listening to music a daily habit

Make listening to music a habit for the full family. Music is relaxing and listening to music helps people destress. It certainly helps me when I’m cooking.

It’s nice to have a combination of different kinds of music, and you could do this with one session or divide it into different sessions at different times of the day.

    • Fast or happy music is a wonderful way to wake everyone up and lift moods. It’s a great way to help fidgety children and teens get rid of the fidgets, as well as adults with no activity get some exercise. Music teachers have a repertoire of Move-To-Music activities for the family and can help you with this.
    • Songs to keep the singers in the family busy. Singing encourages good breathing and music combined with lyrics about different situations and emotions are an outlet for feelings and emotions.
    • Music to teach quiet and stillness.  It’s a wonderful idea to have a habit of playing slow music and have the full family sit around and listen. The habit of stillness is worth cultivating, and is important for every member of the family to learn.

Tip No 3 : Dress for week days

We are living our lives at home during this lockdown, and dressing up like we would on a normal week day does have an impact on the way we view our day.

It helps I think, to dress up for week days. Casual day wear is good enough.

Tip No 4  : Chores for everyone

This time is going to push the traditional Indian woman who manages the home like never before. She’s getting no break from her children, or if she’s very traditional, from the role of serving her husband water and meals. Maids from outside are not being allowed in housing societies, and she’s got no help dealing with the elderly she’s looking after.

There’s no escape, because no one is leaving the home!

    • A time of the day for chores is a good idea. When EVERYONE is busy with different chores and this becomes a family activity, it’s easier to motivate those who don’t want to do their chores.
    • Allocate chores so that everyone is clear about their responsibility. Keep rotating chores and you will eventually find something that each member really likes to do, or can tolerate doing.
    • Chores in pairs. It’s good idea to for those hesitant to take on chores, to be allocated chores jointly with another family member.

Many Indian women could themselves be stuck in traditional roles and unable to move out of them even when it makes their lives difficult. Even when it’s no longer the need of the time. Plus their efforts are likely to meet resistance from family members who want to cling to tradition.

This is a time for the Indian man to step in. Ask his wife what help she needs. And take the responsibility of initiating change, so that his wife isn’t the ‘bad guy’ chasing everybody.

Tip No 5  : Sit in the sun

We all need sunlight. For Vitamin D certainly. But also because natural light has the power to lift our moods.

We’re fortunate to live in a home where the rooms get less heat, but the balconies are bright and airy. So my trips to the coffeeshop have now changed to trips to our balcony. I am actually most comfortable in the room with a flower-bed area (a thin strip of balcony in Indian housing societies) and now sit there to write, call up family and have chai.

The challenge of this time is flexibility. Whether we can change to suit the need of the hour, and use this lockdown to grow in a different direction.

“We must take a turn when the path is blocked, 

And explore the lanes we usually do not.”

from Make Hay When The Sun Shines Bright.


I hope this post helps you enjoy the Stay-At-Home Blues, and make this lockdown work for you personally.

It’s a difficult time for many in India and for whom social distancing isn’t a choice. The poor who aren’t as fortunate as us and live in cramped homes with poor sanitation and without access to clean water. The jobless daily workers, mostly migrants, who are now stranded between state borders with nowhere to stay. And many others.

The men and women whose professions are essential services and who take risks daily as they do their jobs. We are truly grateful to you.

8 Tips To Help You Live Comfortably Without A Maid

 

My husband and I have lived without a maid often, mostly because I would rather that, than have a maid who works badly. And because when I have a good maid, I happily give her long leave whenever she needs it. I’d rather have one person work for me permanently, than keep switching maids each year.

The times without a maid have always been a struggle for me, until recently. We made a lot of changes at home, and I re-organised my workflow, trying different ways, until I found something that works.

So, here’s 8 tips to help you live comfortably without a maid

Tip 1 : Clean As You Use

This means that each member of the family cleans as they work, rather than leaving it for later. Indian families used to having a maid around constantly often neglect to do this.

  • Bathrooms. The last to use is the last to clean. Clean the commode, wipe down  wash basins, doors or partitions and the outside of the commode. And keep the bathroom floor dry with a squidgy. Less moisture in the bathroom means less grime and less scrubbing.
  • Pick up what you drop instantly. Don’t leave it to be done later, as this creates a pile to to-dos that will never get done.
  • Wipe up spills instantly.  This leaves the home cleaner and is especially important in the kitchen. It certainly makes for happier cooking.
  • Put things away as they arrive. Shopping, bills, papers and anything else that enters the home.
  • Deal with hair fall instantly. Hair on the floor clogs up robot vacuum cleaners, and makes mopping time consuming. The solution is brush, don’t comb as a brush holds on to falling hair and can be cleaned immediately after use, so that hair stays in the dust-bin and not on the floor.

Tip 2 : Tidy Together After Dinner

After dinner is a nice time to put things away. Have every member of the family take care of different tasks, so that all are busy with tidying and organising for the next day, at the same time.

  • Clear the dining table.
  • Wash the dishes and clean up the kitchen. 
  • Put away things that are left lying around. 
  • Get kids organising their books, clothes and hobby stuff left lying around.

Doing this all together helps create a routine. With those who are happy to tidy helping those who aren’t by doing tasks jointly, until it becomes a comfortable routine that everyone falls into with habit.

Tip 3 : Clean Outside Means Less Dust In

Dusty balconies, grills and netting bring more dust into the home. Cleaning them daily makes cleaning easy and is less time in total, than a once a week cleaning. It means less dust within the home. And a clean open space to sit in on days you can’t go out.

  • Daily Cleaning : Mop the balcony floor and any places that get pigeon dirt on them, as this is really bad for allergies and health in general.
  • Cleaning in rotation : Divide all the other balcony cleaning including mosquito/pigoen netting cleaning you need to do so that every area gets done once over the course of one week.
  • Clean on weekdays only : Give yourself a weekend break from cleaning.

Tip 4 : Set Aside A Time-Slot To Minimise & Organise – Daily

Our lives change over time, and things we once needed often lie around unused. It’s amazing how much we have that we don’t need. Living minimal creates space and light in a home, and helps us find the things we actually need for our daily living.

Do this daily. I promise you, it will reduce your cleaning, and change your life.

Tip 5 : Shop For Clothing Wisely And Iron Less

  • Natural fibre is surprisingly easy to iron and quick to dry even during the monsoon.  Go for mul, linen and loosely woven khadi. If you’re not sure, ask a friend who is good at judging fabrics.
  • Buy less, and go for better quality fabrics that are easier to maintain.
  • Avoid sequins and things that will rip in a machine wash.
  • Read washing instructions carefully before you buy.
  • Anything that needs dry cleaning adds one more thing to do. 

Ironing : Keep your ironing board ready for use always if you have the space. Or, set a routine for ironing – either daly or weekly, when everyone does their own ironing. Let the last one to iron put it away.

Tip 6 : Form Good Habits When You Have A Maid

Use the time when you have a maid well.

This is the time for the one who cooks and cleans to get a little rest, and time to plan and organise. This is the time to plan for times when the maid on leave.

  • Spend time on minimising stuff at home.
  • And on learning what you need to do to make sure ALL members of your family do their bit. 

Let everyone learn habits that will help YOU when your maid is on leave. Remember that your family is YOUR support system for when you need rest. Look at this like a routine  fire drill, so that everyone know what to do and what their role is, when you are in need.

Tip 7 : Cook Simple And Cook Big Quantities For A Break

Remember that simple cooking is good for everyone’s health.

  • Cook the same for everyone, and giving a different family member a day in rotation, when you cook their favourite dish. It’s good for family to learn to eat everything, and not be too fussy.
  • If you have to cook separate for food allergies or health, consider a basic menu that suits all, with one extra dish for those who can eat everything.
  • Cook with less salt, spice and oil for those who need it, with salt, ghee and a spicy pickle on the side, for those who need more.
  • Cook bigger quantities once a week, so that it lasts for a couple of days, and you get a break from daily cooking.

Remember, the world will not end if food is not freshly cooked. Food from the fridge is certainly healthier than food ordered from a restaurant.

Tip 8 : Create Routines

Running a home for happiness means setting discipline and routines so that there’s togetherness, and at the same time everyone gets space to just BE, on their own.

For example, set a routine for meals and chai.

  • Have a place to eat – whether it’s at a dining table or at an area on the floor which is the designated dining area. Eating in one place makes cleaning a lot easier.
  • Set fixed meal and chai times when you all sit down together. This gives the family a time for togetherness – eating together, and tidying up together.

Fixed routines don’t always work for all, and that’s ok as long as they fulfil their purpose, which is, to create a structure that works for most and minimises work. Expect some resistance if you try creating a routine where there’s none, and don’t give up.

Here’s a post to encourage the kind of attitude that is needed for relaxed housekeeping.

A wonderful post on the subject by Home Cyn Home: How we manage without a maid.


Happy housekeeping, blessings and happiness while you live Covid19 safe without help at home. Let’s support our maids by paying them their full salary during this time, so they too can afford to stay home safe.

A Students Guide To Online Piano Lessons

The best set-up for online lessons is a computer or laptop with a digital camera and tripod. This isn’t workable for many piano students and students often prefer to set-up for once a week online piano lessons without much investment, using a device they already have – either cellphones or tablets.

So here’s some ideas to help you with setting up for online lessons, with no additional expense.

Position 1:  A Side View without a tripod

Makeshift Side View Set-up

Students can invest in a tripod or a tablet stand (available on amazon) or set up a makeshift stand like in this image, using a chair with props, or a dining/study table.

The device at the right or left of your keyboard at an angle, will give your device camera a view of you seated at the piano bench, as well as your hands at the piano keyboard.

 

Position 2: A Front View

152 Tablet on Piano Book Stand
Device on Piano Book Stand

Place your device on the piano/keyboard book stand for a close up of your head & shoulders/face for conversations and explanations.

You will also need your device to catch you standing a little away from the piano, behind the bench, for exercises to help with posture.

Clear Audio

Connect a portable wireless bluetooth speaker or headset to your device if you need better audio. I usually recommend the JBL GO bluetooth speaker with a built-in mic as it’s low budget, but any other brand works fine.

Eye-strain prevention

Please switch off your camera/video if you need to adjust it. Your teacher will still be able to hear you speak, and you can switch the video back on as soon as your device/camera is in place.

Setting up before each lesson

Setting up in advance before your piano lesson will help your lesson progress smoothly without disturbances due to poor set-up. Here’a a check-list to help you.

  1. Are your devices (cellphone/tablet/laptop/bluetooth speaker charged?
  2. Is your device connected to data or wifi?
  3. Put your device camera on and view all set-up positions.
  4. Lighting:
    • Adjust your room lighting so it’s bright enough.
    • Switch off any lights that flash directly into the camera lens.
    • Lighting behind the camera will help me see you clearly.
    • Draw your curtains if it’s too bright outside and obstructing your camera lighting.
  5. Set-up your instrument and switch it on (for digital piano’s or keyboard’s) and arrange your book stand and bench.
  6. Organise your piano music books, homework/note book and keep a pen, pencil and eraser on hand.
  7. Do you have a glass or bottle of water nearby?
  8. Let your family know you’re starting your lesson and that your room should be quiet and free of distractions as much as is possible.

I hope this help you set-up for your online piano lessons.

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