Diwali 

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With Diwali comes gifts. Choosing a Diwali gift is not easy, and specially if it’s meant for family. Our closed circle or often referred to as our safe circle. Inspired by jargons like “think outside the box”. I literally applied this into practice. No boxes ! Not that I was saving but I genuinely wanted to gift each one something unique .

One of a kind , customised and suited to each member in the family. A gift that was eco friendly hence would not cause pollution. A gift that would not only save the environment(air,water and noise) but also save relations and would be cherished forever. I wanted it to be thoughtful , not randomly selected at a store. Something beyond the purchasing power of money.

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A gift more sweeter than the sugar laden sweets and saltier than the fried savouries. A gift that not only tantalize the taste buds but tantalize the minds.A gift that would not grow out of fashion or be unproductive with the change in size.

 
A gift which would have a part of me in it . A gift meant for life. A gift capable of lighting up hearts and shunning the darkness of human monsters called ego, jealousy and hatred. A gift with no sound, but more noisy  than fire crackers. More importantly a gift that would  fill up the hearts of the receiver and make them grin from ear to ear . A gift as warm as a cup of tea , as soft as a marshmallow and as priceless as a smile .

 

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I am sure this has got you wearing your thinking caps. Well no prizes for guessing it right I found solace in personal letters. Yes I wrote letters to all my family members one for each and left them by their bed side in the night two days back .

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Now the question is what did I write ? Good habits , inspiring incidents, special qualities found place in my letters. Including positive gestures, conversations and  special moments made it interesting. I served them a plate of  love , spiced with emotions. In short I wanted each to feel special, loved and wanted (no criminal offence though).This was my way of showering them with gratitude and affection.Thanking them for what they are, who they are and why they are. Appreciating and respecting relations.

We all crave to hear good about ourselves don’t we? ( check on Facebook likes and comments). By writing letters , I have attempted to satiate this craving  by recognising each soul  for their selfless contributions in our family. Count on me when I say that this has bought insane happiness to me.The following morning was blessed with joy.Each one was wearing a badge of pride and a smile which refused to die.

Happy Diwali.

Happiness and sunshine 🙂

Nidhi

P.S: Please share your out of the box gift ideas ( like gifting a plant) in the comments below and celebrate a safe and prosperous Diwali. Time to unbox happiness . 

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Storytelling

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Nervous, yes nervous. I enter a class of fourth graders on a Monday morning at 10 am to read them a story and have an open discussion with them. The thought was torturing me from the previous day. Now I understood why I was getting butterflies in my stomach all day. Well yes I was fasting (karwa chauth a festival where women fast for their husbands), but I guess the real reason was in anticipating those 24 pairs of eyes who would be staring at me for nearly 40 minutes. How will I read? Will I be able to read at all? Will I be judged, what kind of questions will I be asked? Will the children like it? What should I wear? How should I conduct the entire 40 minutes given to me?

Anyways, I enter the class with just these thoughts in mind. Grab the opportunity and make the most of it. Anticipate nothing and treat each one with utmost respect and humility. well these were passed on to me by a very special teacher to me on Friday last when I told her about the story telling session. I took some deep breaths and began the session. Sparsh was taken by surprise; he was finding it difficult to introduce me to his class, as he was extremely excited.

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I read the story titled “A Helping Hand “by Payal Dhar. It is written in form of letters which the author writes to herself talking about friendship and touching on the sensitive issue of disability. When I selected this story my husband commented “It might be too heavy for the kids”. But to my amazement they all displayed complete understanding and actively participated in the discussion we had after the story was over. They enjoyed the  little quiz we had on the topic before closing the session and requested me to visit again with another interesting thought to share.

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As kids we have all heard stories popularly called “Dadima ki kahaniya” (stories from grandmothers) and I am sure you have loved them as much as I did. Storytelling has been and will continue to be a predominant aspect of childhood and we have all grown up with them, never failing to share them with our young ones as and when time permits. Today when I think about stories these thoughts come rushing to me:

  • Stories connect us with our family, culture, traditions and values. It helps in developing families. When I hear stories about my parents from my respective grand moms, it helps me understand them better. Why they have certain reservations and why they react to them even today. Does this not help in building bonds. From a legacy perspective, we tell our stories for ourselves and as a gift to future generations. They connect the past and present to the future.

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  • Not every story has a happy ending, right? They are very important in developing Emotional Intelligence. As I have said earlier also EQ rates higher than IQ. It is extremely important to have a sound EQ in order to live happy and successful. Stories help in making children into nice adults.

 

  • Stories trigger thought process. It builds curiosity, anticipation and excitement. When I tell a story to my kids, I make it a point to stop before the climax. This gets them into thinking mode and they start guessing what the climax and end would be. And to my amazement some endings suggested by them were worth listening to and often better than the original itself. Stories fuel imaginations and thinking happens.

 

  • Have you ever found it difficult to talk with a child? Begin with a story and see how easily they befriend you. It is a sure shot ice breaker and always leaves behind pleasant memories.

 

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  • Stories act as value adding service providers to our mechanized life styles. A concept explained in the form of stories whether fiction or nonfiction helps in enforcement of its value. I do this with my kids and believe me the made up stories works wonders here.

 

  • Stories encourages quest for knowledge and thus begins the journey into books and reading happens. The more we read the more we know .It improves vocabulary and is instrumental in the mental development of a child. It improves IQ, builds confidence and adds to the phonetic development from an early age.

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  • Stories solve complex problems in simple innovative methods. Making it fun for the reader and the read. Develops problem solving and strategy thinking Stories help to explore possibilities. Remember tales from Akbar-Birbal, Tenali Rama and Chanakya?

 

  • Reading a story book also relieves stress which is the deadliest disease of recent times. Reading reduces stress and relaxes the mind. It makes the mind wonder to untraveled lands, experience the inexperienced and lets you play your dream role. Thus making you happy.

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  • Stories inspire. Don’t we read success stories of accomplished people and get inspired by them? It helps to motivate the mind, triggers action and results follow. Non fictions and documentaries fall into this category and are often referred by you and me.

 

  • We often hear of thinking outside the box, well stories trigger this. Thinking outside a story and relating it into practical life experiences make better humans. Stories have helped me spend quality time with my children. It inculcates the habit of listening. Thinking before talking is also a result of active story telling.

 

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Me with a bunch of excited students from Sparsh’s class.
  • Apart from this storytelling and story writing are bread and butter professions for many. Cinema, advertisements, TV, theatre and plays are all products of effective storytelling, Right! What else can one ask for?

 

Before closing I would highly recommend all to watch a story titled “The girl who hated books” on you tube and open yourself to a new world of learning. My kids loved it and so did I. Also please add storytelling and story writing like vitamins to your life. Very rightly said in Indian cinema “The show must go on

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Please feel free to share your favourite story/stories with me. I will be looking forward to them.

Happiness and sunshine 🙂

Nidhi

 

 

 

 

Connect

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Connect the dots is a form of a puzzle containing a sequence of numbered dots. You , me we have all played this sometime in our lives. I revisited this last week with a 4 year old. Drawing lines had never been so difficult. It took me an hour to connect each dot. Each time the child held the pencil,he began with a new set of questions. Unsure of what we were doing ,he kept asking questions, staring at me for answers. Half way through he requested for a story followed by nature calls and meal times. After much coaxing we managed to complete the picture and he exclaimed in excitement ” It’s a flower” . “Can I colour it”,he asked in crooked english. “Ofcourse I said”, and this time he coloured it all by himself.

He was smiling . He was content and was enjoying his accomplishment.His big eyes grew bigger with excitement, his cheeks red with happiness.He kept looking at me in between checking whether I was looking at him or not. My eyes met with his and I saw something in his eyes which no mirror could show me.

It was time to revisit my dots and connect them adding value to my picture of life . I am happiest when I wear my creative hat on . Play with my pliers , twist and turn wires , add a mix of delightful beads and garnish my creations with hand forged findings .


I am happy when I can relieve  an aching heart , a paining body and a suffering mind. Healing has bought me closer to myself , I am learning to hear my own voice and connect dots randomly floating in my mind making sense out of life .

Weekend,found myself at a bistro trying my hand at painting clay Buddha too. Accompanied with kids painting their own mugs , munching on fries and a cold frappe with some music and constant chatter of the kids. Admits all noise , I could find my calm. Happiness relived .

Happiness is a choice , and I am glad to make the right choices. Each of these activities are my dots which I try to reach admist busy schedules. I am glad that atleast I reached out for the pencil and drew some connects. Shall keep connecting and some day will complete my picture too.

Until then , happiness and sunshine to you and your family 🙂 

Nidhi 

P.S: Pray that I connect my dots super quick 

Pencil

pencils

Every time I sit with the home assignments with my kids, it starts with sharpening the pencil, or hunting for a pencil better still fighting over a pencil. I don’t understand why they cannot keep their pencils sharped before-hand in their pen stands. The moment Anaya begins to write, each time I have to remind her to hold her pencil right. Sparsh keeps fidgeting with his pencil and many times it drops and requires re sharpening before the beginning of work. I myself use the pencil to tap them when I see them wandering in dreams amidst their work.

Just like eco Ganesha, herb or seed pencils have gained popularity this year. Here the pencil is made of recycled material and has a seed in it. Once it has served its purpose as a pencil, it needs to be planted in mud. In due course of time the seed sprouts giving way to fresh young leaves and a new plant comes live.

Obviously this sounds interesting and worth trying. This also called for an open discussion on pencils with kids. And here is what we gather:

A pencil sacrifices its own life to make us worth living. Teaches us the value of sacrifice and being self-less.” A pencil shortens to help us grow”, adds Sparsh

short yellow pencil shot over white. shallow dof with focus on tip.

Just like sharpening makes a better pencil, life sharpens us to teach valuable lessons. Situations sharpen our minds and prepare us for life. “We can use pencil shavings in our craft activities too”, says Anaya. (Fundamentals of recycling)

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A pencil always leaves its mark. Our actions and our words leave marks too by affecting us and others by our doings. It helps in building EQ. (Somethings are better taught at home).

Pencils have various sizes, colour and grades. Some are happy (colour pencils) and some sad (boring looking ones) but what matters is what they are made of. The strong mineral graphite inside a wooden cylindrical case. Some people are soft some harsh, but what counts is their attitude, values and traditions. A pencil educates us on diversity. We are all different yet together.

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“Pencil marks are the product of the mind”, adds Sparsh in all excitement. It helps us put our thoughts on paper. Written or in form of art or even scribbles, pencils express our minds. Its speech for the speech impaired. For people who cannot speak, can speak their minds using a pencil.

Pencils are made of wood which is a natural resource, so we should use it prudently. “We should not waste pencils mom, “says Anaya. “We should not break them for fun and throw them here and there”, She adds

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Pencil marks can be erased. It teaches us to rectify our mistakes. “Yes mom, we can press edit/cut on the computer too when we make mistakes, here we use erasers to erase the wrong and re write the correct”, shouts Sparsh. We have the ability to correct any mistake we might have made.


Mamma, we can use pencils to measure the length of objects too like a ruler, says Anaya. “See I just measured my book it’s two times my pencil. “She adds.

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Pencils need to be held properly and in able hands to carve the future, similarly we need mentors who guide us through life.

“Mom see a pencil skirt”, screams Anaya as she points at a picture in her book. Yes, this term signifies body/clothing type too.

A Humble pencil can give us so many thoughts to ponder on. Apart from these, pencil help in building motor skills, improves hand eye coordination and plays a predominant role in our lives. The lines, curves,waves zig –zags we drew as kids have made us what we are capable of today. All thanks to the humble pencil. So next time you hold a pencil , hold it with immense pride.

Happiness and sunshine 🙂

Nidhi

Navratri

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Sharing some do’s we hear during  Navratri (an annual Hindu festival celebrated over  nine days commemorates the slaying of demons by Rama and the goddess Durga.)

  1. Eat only saatvik food once a day. This helps in maintaining balance between the mind and the body. It keeps the body cool and enables to think positively.
  2. Light lamps in front of God. To greet and welcome the God.
  3. Do not cut your hair or nails during these nine days. So that one does not waste time and stays connected with the lord

Well this is what the internet says. This is often the explanations given by the older generation to the younger ones.But come to think of it , what is more important ,what you put inside your mouth or what comes out of your mouth? If staying hungry makes you angry,then fasting is not for you. Instead of slaying the demon in you, if you slay others with your bitter and pungent words,then fasting is not for you. If you loose temper and act funny ,then fasting is not for you. Instead please eat well and stay calm and happy.

We welcome the God , light lamps ,offer prasad (a devotional offering made to God) sing songs in her honour but still live in a world of darkness. Newspapers today are filled with abuse ,assault and violence. We treat guests in the most sophisticated manner ,but never fail to insult our helpers. We need to ignite lamps of knowledge shunning away the darkness of ignorance, mis-trust, jealousy and hatred.

Give time to the lord by not wasting time on yourself ,but what about the endless gossips we cultivate? What about our materialistic attractions and selfishness? Where we are concerned  only about gains loosing on values and morals.Where we have forgotten to laugh.

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To me Durga is something else.I abide to what I have said by giving time to live, love and laugh. Why we cannot live like this kettle , so full of love that it overflows spreading and sharing happiness, joy,good health,peace and spirituality with every one.

happiness and sunshine

Nidhi

Disclaimer: I do not  have any grudge against any Do’s or Dont’s neither do I intend to hurt feelings of anybody . This is just my point of view. Agree or disagree is entirely your choice.

 

Reflective

Sparsh (9yr) recently had a class activity on leadership. They had to work in groups and make a presentation /poster etc. and talk about effective leadership. He came home happy as their group stood 2nd in the activity. While putting him to sleep that night, I asked about his contribution in the said activity. “I did all the art work by making posters” he exclaimed proudly. “And “, I asked. After thinking for a while he said that he had given some inputs for the speech as well. I kept quiet and asked him to sleep as it was getting late.

After 10 mins of thinking with his eyes closed he said, “Mom my contribution to the speech was very little, I should have taken active participation in its formation, writing and delivery”.

Now I had a broad smile on my face, I wished him luck and kissed him good night.

However little his contribution might be, it bought a big change in his reflective. He began to think about how to improve himself. He could identify his shortfalls and this is great for a 9 year old. Can you do this?


Reflective teaches you to analyse yourself and often provide unknown facts about ourselves. It changes perspective/ attitude and instead of thinking now what we start to think so what and give a new direction to problem solving. They begin to think and rethink in all possible angles and this helps them in becoming better leaders, motivators and speakers.

This incident changed my reflective too. I learnt that children will only learn and behave when they feel better. You cannot expect them to behave better by making them feel worse. If I had shown despair and accused him of not being pro- active, he would never have thought the way he did. You need to have faith in your child and give him enough space to re-evaluate himself/herself. Only then they will think on what’s lacking, and work towards improvement. Self-realisation is a must. It cannot be enforced. You and me can only guide them, rest is up to them .They need to help themselves and shy out their fears. This helps them in many ways:

1. Recognize their strengths and weakness

2. Helps in identifying what needs to be done

3. Recognise errors and make edits/changes

4. Understand and talk about feelings

5. Understand the concept of putting yourself in others shoes

6. Analyse how their behaviour affect others ,and

7. Build EQ


So next time before you raise your voice or doubt your child allow some time for reflective thinking for both yourself and your child. I am sure it will make a lot of difference as it did to Sparsh and me.

Do share your stories with me.

Happiness and sunshine 🙂

Nidhi

P.S: Attitude  and EQ should be read along with this post for greater significance .

Homecoming 

When a sudden downpour,gives goosebumps,

And the whiff in the air,fills the heart.

The clicking time says , 8 days gone,

Hold your breath,for he’s home bound.

The lilies bloom and the eyes twinkle,

For its time to live,love and laugh.

The soft music, fuels the room,

As the bride, awaits her groom.

Happiness and sunshine 🙂 

P.S : This  is not about my bunnies but my rabbit who is majorly missed !