Men-Oh-Pause

Men-Oh-Pause, give your wives a break,

Don’t get up and leave them to wash up the plates.

They’re on their feet before every meal,

Cooking and washing and keeping the home clean.

They won’t cook once daily ‘cos you want your meals fresh,

And I think that you know that they really need some rest.

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Women-Oh-Pause, just stop and think.

Is your busy lifestyle driving you to the brink?

Long working hours, then a fancy vacation,

When you need to work less, and have a nice lazy stay-cation.

Men, do some housework. It will keep you fit,

And your blood sugar levels might even come down a bit.

Women slow down before you get older,

Set routines that help family have time together.

People make time, slow down the pace,

So you have memories that will put a smile on your face.


Being so busy that there’s no time for family is starting to be the norm in many homes today. It’s even starting to be a thing to be proud of – kind of an achievement with some.

We’ve lost or ‘village’ – the social support system of neighbours, relatives and friends who would help young mothers with babysitting. Or keep an eye on the elderly now and then, to give care-givers a break.

Traditional gender roles in some Indian communities can sometimes leave women (it’s mostly women who look after children and the elderly here  in India), without any support system for when they need a weekly off.

I hope this poem speaks to those that need it.

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Routines

It’s so important to have routines, familiar paths to tread.

Time together and time alone,

Time to visit our parents and keep in touch on the phone.

 

Time to work and time to relax,

Time to move forward and time to step back.

A way to help everyone be together,

Yet still have the space that helps love stay forever.

 

It’s so important to have routines, familiar paths to tread.

To keep us on track when things get harder,

And give us a goal on the days that we flounder.

Help us stay focused till we’re back on track,

And sail over the bumps that could have held us back.

 

It’s so important to have routines,

Familiar places to go.

For every age, for every family member,

‘Cos routines bring comfort and help us to deal with pressure.

They help us relax on that crazy ride,

On the roller coaster that we call life.

 

It’s so important to have routines, familiar paths to tread.

To helps us make hay when the sun shines bright,

And fall asleep quick, when we switch off the lights.


The busy of today often makes us forget the importance of family routines and making space in ones daily schedule so every activity can be done in a relaxed manner. I hope this poem is a reminder.

The taste of freedom with our Milagrow Floor Cleaning Robot

Making a decision to buy a new floor cleaning robot

The Milagrow AguaBot

Our old Eureka Forbes floor cleaning robot started to fall apart, and couldn’t be repaired. We invested in it years ago, but it took us a while to reorganise our home for it. So, we only started to really use it 6 months before  it died.

At that time, Eureka Forbes did not have another model on sale and we had to choose between the Roomba and Milagrow.

Both had models in a range of budgets, with wet and dry options. We chose to buy the Milagrow for two reasons.

One, it had a budget friendly model which seemed to be good enough for our needs.

And two, it had a service centre in Mumbai, unlike the Roomba, where the nearest service centre at that time, was in Bangalore.

We purchased our Milagrow Aguabot 7.0 Cashmere for about Rs25000/- under an Independence Day discount offer in August 2018 and it set us free from the routine of daily cleaning. Continue reading

Kitchen waste composting at home

My first lot of kitchen waste composting was a success. I ran into problems with my second lot during Step 3 and found a solution to this stage – a fully sealed Soil Factory. All my kitchen waste goes into a composting bin, and I’ve found one single Raddiwalla in Khargar , who takes almost all kinds of paper, plastic, plastic bags & metal waste. Most only take specific kinds of material and nobody here collects for recycling.

We now have one full bin of dry garbage which goes out once or twice a month without recycling. Read on to know how I chose my method of composting, my failure and finally my success. 

I composted using the  anaerobic method for a year, and later switched to aerobic composting. Am hoping to write another post about it shortly, and will add a link here. Continue reading

The colour of gold

The inspiration for this poem

To the average Indian woman, gold is beauty, security and an investment in her future. Sadly, it’s also for many women, a way to determine whether another woman is well off enough, that they can consider being friendly with her.

I learned this because I don’t wear gold jewellery and I often wear no jewellery at all. I’ve had full conversations with women, with their eyes glued to my ears and neck – showing me that they notice the lack of adornment. 

Worse still, we lived on rent when we first moved to our current location, moving a couple of times, before settling down in our permanent home. And every move meant making new friends from scratch.  Initial friendliness from women neighbours can sometimes turn to reserve once they’ve conducted their brief interview and realise they’re talking to someone who does not own her own home! 

It’s a value system that is so accepted in our society that families invest in gold jewellery, leaving nothing for the comforts that make daily living easy.

I often get told I’m lucky that my daily life is relatively comfortable. But it’s not about luck. It’s about personal choices and priorities and spending on what we value most. That’s where this post comes from.

Gold is the colour of :

  • All the machines that do my house work for me.
  • The comfort I get in shopping for convenience and not necessarily for discounts.
  • The education that my parents gave me.
  • The investment of both time and money, that I make in my ongoing education.
  • The family support I get, so that I can work at what I love.
  • The time I get to spend with family.
  • The silence of the morning every day, when I’m having a leisurely cup of chai

Concerned friends, have asked if I own a set of jewellery and my answer is NO. It’s a waste as I’m not going to wear it anyway. Maybe someday, I’ll consider buying some bling that’s actually gold. I don’t know – maybe…

But it won’t mean anything more to me than all the lovely stuff at Archie’s.

What 2013 has taught me

As 2013 comes to a close, I finally realise that I am not wonder woman, and it’s quite ok

This past year has been a year of change – new opportunities, new challenges and a year of goodbyes to some very special people, who were an important part of my life. Life can be so short and I need time to enjoy it – my family, friends and job – I want it all – I want it all – I want it all – and I want it now .. Freddie Mercury had the right idea.

Someday, when the years have gone by, I will look back at what I have done, and hope that it will be with a smile in my heart, knowing I did the things that made me happy and gave me joy. And with affection for the people who loved me and made it all possible.

 

On finding an imbalance between work and home

I am learning that there is no such thing as balancing home and work, but just different kinds of imbalance. You get more stuff done at home, and you have less resources to focus on your work – it’s as simple as that! These wonderful multi-tasting women who do it all, that I read about seem unreal! It’s just so free-ing, to realise, after years of trying to do everything, that there’s no way to succeed. So I am now striving to find an imbalance that works for me and my family

 

Maid in India

I have fond memories of the maid and cook we had before we moved house. I found it easier to deal with leaving my friends, but missed the house help terribly.  After moving, it took time to get help at home. The maid I got was really very honest, and nice – she would turn up either when I had just woken up, or when I was leaving for work, and the new cook took 3 hours daily to cook a dal and 2 veggies (that takes me 45 minutes on a bad day). So, when I finally ended up doing it all AND paying for it and figured that i could just do it all and not pay for it!  I do sometimes dream of having a maid or a cook, but right now am finding, that it’s less stressful without them. At least this way the house work gets shared, since everyone knows there’s no help at home.

 

Coping Techniques

  • If something can wait, just leave it be for another day – procrastinating is an art and it is well worth learning

  • Keep a couple of hours a week to deal with pending stuff

  • Spring Clean and give away unused stuff regularly, it reduces the time taken to clean up at home and getting rid of junk somehow let’s good energy into a home

  • Keep the vacuum cleaner and mop easily reachable, so small spills can be taken care of quickly

  • Look around – you will see a lot of other women in their 40s, like you, trying to do it all and not succeeding, and you will feel much better, when you know you’re not alone

  • Be an imperfectionist at home – it is better to be an average housekeeper who is relaxed, than an amazing one who is always upset that something at home has not been done

  • When things get too much, sit down with a cup of chai, put your feet up and think of something else – this takes practise, but works. You will feel much better after a little while and will be to handle it all when you’re done

 

Is it important to do everything for everyone else in the family, or let them learn to be self-reliant

Is the woman who does everything for everyone wonderful, or is it the woman who teaches her family to look after themselves and be less dependent on having help to do their work? I am sure every family has different thoughts about this. It is worth thinking about.

While it is nice to have help with the home chores, it is also quite a relief to know that the family can survive comfortably even without it, when necessary. I do think people who do work a little bit at home, keep much better health than those who don’t.

 

There’s a time for work and a time to rest

There’s a time and place for everything under the sun, and for me, this is the time to do my own house work. I know that when life thinks I really need a break, the most amazing maid and cook will come knocking at my door (like it happened when we were moving house earlier) and help will just come my way. Until then, it is important for me to accept that i have no house help, be flexible and do my best and simply leave the rest. At least that way, I’m still smiling and relaxed at the end of a busy, busy day.