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.

Microwave Madam

She’s new to the building and here’s what they say
she has a career, and is out at work all day.
Comes home late from the office, is NEVER around
to chat with the women, when they all gather down.

She dresses different from the stay-at-home wives
they think it would be exciting to have her life.
Washing machine, dish-washer, and a MICROWAVE
plus a vacuum cleaner – no need for a maid.

For her 9 to 5 is usually 7 to 7
On days that are busy she’s home after 11.
They called her Microwave Madam because she was different,
but now their daughters have lives that make hers seem simple.

9 to 5 which really is 7 to 7
On days they’re busy they’re home after 11.
It’s the life that they wanted for their daughters
to have a career, and still be head cook and bottle washer.


The term ‘head cook and bottle washer’ is an idiom used to describe someone who is in charge and also handles minor details.

This is my story, and the story of every Indian woman who is the first in her community to have a career. Those were the days that the microwave was new to the Indian market, and families with women at home full-time often didn’t need the convenience. And thought that women who did were too hi-tech or too different.

Yes, Microwave Madam was me 🙂

A Full Circle

It has to be a full circle to show you your face,

A mirror that reveals that hidden, dark place.

The good that rings true, plus the faults that you hide,

Life will take you on it’s roller coaster ride.

It has to be a full circle because you have to pay,

The piper you called out in your hour of disgrace.

The hate and the envy because you couldn’t see,

That we all pay our dues – that nothing in life comes free.

A full circle, until the tide turns,

It will clean out your closet – there’ll be lessons to learn.

A circle of light that will burn from inside,

And reach the root of the rot and demolish all that false pride.

And we all will suffer, both victims and sinners,

For we are all one, in this complex, infinite universe.

A full complete circle, we just have to wait,

On the tide that WILL turn, and reveal our true face.

A complete full circle to right all wrongs,

A flame that will burn, eternal and strong.


There’s always hope, even at our darkest hour. Even when it seems like society is getting more fractured all the world over, and people less able to accept difference. There’s always hope, and we just have to buckle down. Try our best to learn the lessons we are taught. Live our lives the way we want others to live theirs.

And wait. And believe. And wait.

A Guide To Help You Shop

She wants a notebook when she asks for a COPY

The lady at the counter gives her a packet of COFFEE!

PAN PEN and PIN, they’re all pronounced like PAIN,

No nothing hurts, everything is as right as rain.

A ONE-PIECE is a dress – you can’t wear it to swim,

A BLOUSE means a choli – be clear before you go in.

A TOP is a blouse, but a shirt’s just a shirt,

Both work with jeans, trousers, or any length of skirt.

A SUIT is a kameez, with a salwaar, a churidar, or leggings,

OR a one-piece, with tights or a pair of jeggings.

The jockey night suits are clothes for play,

OR what we women wear to the market, if it’s not too far away.

You have to know the right words when you go out to shop,
Else it’s a wild goose chase, and you’ll come home with nought.

saree-727352_1920

For those of you who don’t live in  India, a ‘COPY’ is a notebook, usually an exercise book used for school homework. Now coffee, is just coffee, but is also pronounced ‘COPHEE’ like copy, but with an ‘h’ sound added to it, because in many Indian languages an f vowel is pronounced ph. This can cause much confusion!

This post will help you get familiar with commonly used terms when you go shopping for clothes here in Navi Mumbai (and in many other parts of India), so that you are able to find what you want without too much difficulty.

Yes, I’m one of the women who wear Jockey night shirts with trousers or a skirt to go to the market. When in Rome . . . .

A choli is a short and usually fitted blouse that’s worn with a saree, but today, some women wear ‘tops’ with sarees. A kameez is a long shirt which is worn with different types of trousers (salwars, churidars) and a chunni (a long stole).

If I was God – a ‘Found’ essay

If I was God,

I would want to make sure women outlived the men in their family.

Not all, but some at least.

Genetics, and hormones do this for us, most of the time.

But I would want this because I have seen the Indian man.

You know, the Indian man who can’t find his socks on his own.

Who can’t drink water unless someone puts a glass in his hand.

Or can’t eat unless he is served, because he can’t transfer food from the serving dish onto his plate.

Sorry, not can’t. Won’t, because it’s not a part of his role as an Indian man.

His wife does these things for him when he’s well, and looks after him he’s unwell.

She doesn’t expect much when she’s unwell, because she’s like –

The bottom of the barrel that bears the pressure,

When it’s filled to the brim and there’s no ease or leisure.

The support for the busy of everyone else,

And when she’s not well, the support for herself.

– from “She’s the bottom of the barrel”.

She knows this, and she accepts it.

Until she doesn’t.

And then, she realises that she has a job to do.

A job that her mother-in-law should have done, but didn’t.

Because, you know, her mother-in-law –

Was an obedient daughter-in-law, who accepted without a fight.

‘Cos she learned from her own mother,

That it was the only way.

To a stable successful family life in the years when it was her day.

– from “The sins of their fathers mother”.

The young Indian woman often lets customs and tradition pull her one way,

Even when she thinks another has more value.

She takes time to realise that there are many different paths.

And that there are many different ways to take a stand.

She learns. Slowly.

She learns that there are many shades of grey between black and white.

And that there is plenty of space for negotiation in-between.

She has learned. And she is learning still.

She wishes the politicians would learn too.

But they are busy with other things.

So she sits at home, pushing the boundaries of patriarchy, the customs and traditions.

Until she makes a space for herself within these boundaries.

A space that brings  happiness and freedom to her. AND to her husband.

Because change that is good has a positive impact on all. Not just on one.

She has learned. And is now learning the skills she needs for her family to learn.

She knows that she could be A Victim like some women who constantly complain about their families,

But she has chosen a different path.

If her family can’t learn, or won’t, she will Teach Them.


I decided to use ‘found’ lines from my own poems, using techniques for writing found poetry. More on this in my post Learning to write ‘Found’ Poetry

Reading a little bit of ‘Why Mummy Drinks’ by Gill Sims made me want to try my hand at a different style of writing. Light hearted, but with a message.

I know. I’ve not quite ‘got’ it, and the excerpts I’ve ‘found’ from my poems don’t fit quite in the light hearted category.

I also need to apologise to the Indian Man.

I understand that patriarchy, the high rate of inflation, long commutes to work, and expectations from society make the Indian Man live within boundaries too. And that you do push to make space within these boundaries and support your women when they push their own boundaries.

I know that many of you CAN find your socks. And eat and drink water without assistance. And that many of you help out with chores, parenting and looking after the elderly, despite the pressures. I know that the Indian Woman in your family is grateful for your efforts and your caring.

I hope you will take this post in the spirit it is meant, and not take it personally, because there are some Indian men who CAN’T find their socks.

Composting for the relaxed housekeeper

Aerobic composting in 5 easy steps

My advice to those new to composting is to compost small, so it’s easy, convenient, and quick. Compost just one days waste each month if that’s what works for you. Because every little bit counts.


Step 1 Order matka biryani home delivered for dinner.

Wash and rinse the container well . The dough stuck to the matka gets mould if it’s not taken off completely. Your matka and waste should be soap free, as soap stops the composting process. I like these matkas as they don’t have a hole at the base, so there’s no drainage and no mess.

IMG20200118203346

Step 2 Put some damp mud at the base of the matka, and add your kitchen waste to it.

The image below has some eggshell powder, garlic peel and egg yolk. My compost takes about 2 weeks to be ready. Here’s what I put in my composting pot :

  1. IMG20200119101349Vegetable waste – in small pieces.
  2. Cooked leftovers.
  3. Boiled egg yolk, broken up. Raw egg yolk is smelly and I recommend pouring this down the drain.
  4. Egg shells take longer to compost, so I powder them. Method below.
  5. All raw waste should be free of soap, vinegar or salt as this slows composting.
  6. I usually don’t compost non-veg these days, as it needs a deeper pot with more mud covering it. Takes longer, and there’s more risk of attracting insects and pests. Plus, we have very little non-veg waste as we eat non-veg just once a week – mostly boneless kebabs if we eat home.

Step 3 Layer about an inch of compost and cover with 2 inches of mud.

The mud in the image below is dry as I haven’t watered it for 2 days. I wait for it to get dry, before adding more water.

Flies are a problem only if there’s too much water. So I recommend that covering the pot with a metal sieve (jaali) so air needed for composting comes through, and flies, if any stay in, if you’re trying this for the first time.

Watering less slows the composting, however, it will ensure there are no flies.

Step 4 Water when the mud dries and wait.

IMG20200123102651

No mixing required as the matkas are small enough to compost without that.

This process takes anything between one to three weeks. Mine usually take one week, but I give it another week to be safe and then use the mud.

The ready compost is mud, except it will be a little darker than what you started out with.


Making Powdered eggshells

IMG20200123104334

  1. Collect egg shells in an open container in the fridge.
  2. Raw egg shells need to be washed, so there’s no egg smell, while boiled can be added directly.
  3. When you have enough (I do this once a week), microwave them for a minute to get rid of any moisture. Then powder them in your mixie, using the dry grinder.
  4. Add them to a flower pot or a composting pot, and cover them with mud.
Happy Composting!

5 Years A Victim

The sins of the mother, come down to her son,

But how long should we blame her for what he’s become?

One year of marriage – a journey together,

That year during which we learn more about each other.

Two years to bend, and to meet in the middle,

Three to feel the need to forge new ideas and new traditions.

Four years – Mom is no longer the judge in this court,

And there’s space to find acceptance and respect. And reveal what you are worth.

Five years of marriage – no longer a victim.

It’s enough time to take responsibility, and accept the consequences of your own actions and decisions.

So, we’ll allow five years to crib, to say she’s to blame,

But going on six, you should know it’s not okay.

But you’re still the victim for God’s sake stop!

Take responsibility. Teach your children different.

It’s time to grow up.

The married Indian woman expects a lot of herself.

Customs, traditions, and her role as a wife. Her need to make use of her education and work at a job that she loves. Or, the need to earn a living. Run her home. Look after elderly, or keep to customs and traditions about what she should do for them, and how she should act with them. And later, look after her children.

The expectations from her in-laws,  her own parents, and society on the way in which she manages her role. Rigid gender roles often push her into a corner and affect perceptions of love and caring if she rests when she’s tired. And often, they leave her with no support system when she is tired or unwell.

For many women, there’s little space to manoeuvre without pushing barriers.

Women can fall into being the victim all their lives, or learn to be different. And teach their sons and daughters that there’s a way to find individual freedom, and still  hold on to values and traditions the keep family, and community together.

Learning to write ‘Found’ Poetry

I had a really lovely time at a workshop on ‘Found’ Poetry this December. The workshop was conducted by Ankita Shah, co-founder of The Poetry Club, at G5A, Mumbai.

We worked on two different kinds of found poetry – Blackout Poetry and Cento Poetry.

It was a lot of fun! Interesting to see how different the poems of each participant were.

The workshop started with an explanation on found poetry, and how we were to work on our poems. And then, we got started with our assignments.

Here’s the poems I wrote at the workshop, with a brief note on each exercise.


Poem no 1 is a blackout poem called “Feeling nice!”

145 OMG Found Poem Feeling nice!

Silence, I don’t believe it!

How come?

She continued awestruck.

Wow!

Feeling NICE!

Thank you!

Each of us were given text we could use, or were given books we could leaf through to select a page, or pages.

For me, this poem is about about the joy of silence.

I’m not too sure whether it’s me enjoying the silence, or my friends and relatives who feel nice when I keep my mouth shut once in a way – ha ha!

Maybe, it’s a little of both?


Poem no 2 is a cento poem I titled “Risks”

You treat me good and I’ll treat you better,

She’ll be there on the days you feel down, if you let her.

We’ll be with you as you walk into another day,

And sure as the curtain falls after an act, you’ll find a path that gives you a way.

My eyes seek the light that lies beyond,

Join me. Find the light. And sing your own song.

For it’s the set of sails, not the direction of the wind,

That will keep your boat safe, so you don’t need to swim.

But swim if you must. At least try.

We all have to jump out of the nest before we can fly.

All the participants were asked to select a couple of quotes or text from social media and we all copied them down. Then, we all were asked to use at least 4 of them as is – using either the full quote or a part of it, unchanged. And create a poem with this, either with or without additional text.

Facebook gave me trouble that day, so my contribution to the quotes was text from some blogs I follow.

‘It’s the set of sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.’ By Jim Rohn, from  Sunday Sayings – Holding on by Forestwood.

and

‘My eyes seek the light that lies beyond this darkness.’ From In Quest, a poem by Narendra Nayak.

Plus some quotes from our pool :

you treat me good and I’ll treat you better,’

‘as the curtain falls,

‘into another day’

I don’t know where these came from.


PS : All of the ‘found’ text is  written by someone else and I do not claim any ownership of this text or the source material. I have posted links where I know the source of the material.

Teach them

Forgive and forget, that’s what they say,

So you can be a fool for them on yet another day.

Forgive, but don’t forget. That’s my advice,

They’ve shown you what they are with those small, hurtful slights.

Remember. Be wise. Love them, but with care.

Because they WILL try again, and you’ll set them right if you’re aware.

Forgive, but be careful when they step out of line,

Teach them to get off that bus at the right place, and time.


Inspired by the people who live with love and forgiveness. With kindness and wisdom. And with a commitment to finding meaningful relationships amid human failings.

May we all learn their skills.

How to be a relaxed housekeeper

If there’s too much to clean, just throw it all out.

When you have cabin fever, just get out of the house!

Cook simple and easy everyday,

You can go out for something different once in a way.

Do the chores badly if your kids won’t help,

They’ll learn it’s better if they do it themselves.

Learn from those who don’t pull their own weight,

Go slow, and do the household chores at their pace.

Rest when you’re sick and take a day off each week,

They’ll all learn independence – it will bring good health and ease.

Don’t be perfect – be happy and let them know,

That you’re Not Wonderwoman.

Make sure they all know.

From a Blogger

Alone but not lonely, ‘cos I’m with myself,

Just as happy as when I meet up with someone else.

With paper and pen, and some words – not the best,

Words sometimes unclear or imperfect – the way I talk to my friends.

But blogging is different – I need to take care,

Take another look at what I’ve written, so I convey what was meant.

Blogging takes time – it’s write, then re-word.

And I need to be disciplined, and schedule my writing, so I get time for the rest of my world.

A blog post is words unaccompanied by voice and tone,

And bloggers need to be careful, as their words stand alone.

Alone, but not lonely as I have a pen and some paper.

I’ll write, then reword it. And post a little later.

A Ph.D. without going to college

She’s got a Ph.D. without going to college,

You’d be amazed if you understood her skills and her knowledge!

She’s got her kids independent and a husband who helps,

It wasn’t just good luck, don’t believe what she says.

She works at it daily, organising her home,

So all can contribute, and each are comfortable with their role.

Often, it would be easier to just do it herself,

But she thinks personal independence keeps all in good health.

She’s living her dream, has a career, hobbies and goals,

Time for her family, and time for activities that feed her soul.

She works to stay on the middle path, on life’s busy road,

Swim against the tide, while she goes with the flow.

She’s getting a Ph.D. in a subject of great importance,

With quiet efficiency, skilled work flow routines, and an attitude that makes her family take pride in their personal independence.

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