Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Losing My Virginity And Other Dumb Ideas in Harper's Bazaar

Harper's Bazaar June 2012

A female scholar once said, "I already know what men think. I'm more interested in reading books by women." It is perhaps keeping this in mind that today's broad literary canvas is exploring a plethora of subjects that deal with the issues of the modern Indian woman. From interpersonal, romantic, and familial issues and personal life journeys, to themes concerning careers and marital and sexual woes, subjects that were earlier relegated to lower shelves are now steadily making it to the bestseller lists. All cosmopolitan stories set in the Indian context and written in a tone that's fun and breezy, these works of fiction point towards a rising audience interest in several issues that pervade society.

Even more striking is the fact that the authors are all mostly first-timers. Though these writers may not be charting new territory per se, they are certainly emphasising the difference in the way women today experience the world. Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas (Penguin India) by debutante Madhuri Banerjee delves into the debate of lust vs. love. A light read, the book taps into the fears of young women who find themselves without partners and are pressurised into matches for the sake of convention. "I relate to Kaveri, the protagonist, because she really sets out to find herself in the unknown, even as forces bigger than herself try to mould her," says Banerjee on what makes her protagonist appealing to today's women. Coupled with an empathetic tone, it becomes clear how the book has become a new bestseller.

Love Guru Advice: Not in the mood for love.

Dear Love Guru,
I’ve been married for a few years and have one child. My husband wants to get intimate with me but I’m just not in the mood anymore. What do I do?

Dear Vandana,
Intimacy is one of the most important things in a happy marriage. But if you don’t connect mentally, you can’t connect physically. Try a few things. First, bring the romance back into your relationship. Spend a few evenings going out for a romantic dinner where both of you talk about yourselves. Leave the child at home with a responsible adult. You need to start connecting with your husband again. Talk about yourself, your dreams, his plans and the special memories when you liked being intimate. It might stir a few feelings. Begin slowly. Touch each other’s hands and enjoy cuddling. Gradually increase the contact. Make sure you tell your husband that you are trying and need time. Don’t give up if he is impatient. Second, you should try to indulge yourself. Go shopping for some racy lingerie, a new dress, and get a relaxing massage. Do things that will make you feel sexy again. If you were adventurous before you had your child, do something that made you feel “alive” before pregnancy. Invest in yourself. You deserve some pampering. Lastly, don’t be afraid. Conquer the mental fear. Get lubricants and take it slowly. Your husband loves you and wants to bond only with you. Tell him how to help you. You’ll do great!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Love Guru Advice: Younger Man - Older Woman Relationship

Dear Love Guru
I'm in love with a man 10 years younger to me. All my friends mock me and say it won’t last. But I feel so happy with him. Should I give him up to save face with family and friends?

Dear Shibani,
Even though women are independent and self sufficient, we are all looking for a person who can understand us and share a part of our lives. When a person comes along and he “gets” us, we hardly care if he is younger, older, thinner, poorer, and famous or not. We bask in the glory of Love. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what people say as long as you are happy. Those people may have done what they think is right for society and may even be extremely miserable in their lives. Who’s to say a younger man can’t give you intellectual stimulation, spiritual growth or be plain fantastic in bed and make you terribly ecstatic? You don’t need to justify it but if you want, you can say, “I get 100% satisfaction in my relationship. How much do you get?” Be aware though that maybe there will come a time when he wants a family and you might not. Currently he is nurturing your soul and you don’t need anything else. When both of you start wanting more, age will play a role. Communicate your wants, desires, fears and grow with each other constantly. Nothing should stop both of you from being together forever. Don’t listen to people. Listen to your heart.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Indoor Activities that kept my 4 yr old busy!

I have a 4 year old child who has endless energy. It's not easy to keep her entertained. And buying toys is extremely expensive. So I thought of 30 different ways to keep her occupied for some time so she wouldn't sit in front of the Tv.
With certain games I reward her with some strawberry ice cream. And with others the crafts she makes is a reward in itself.
All these activites are indoor ideas. I firmly believe that free play outside for many hours is the best activity for a child. But with monsoons on the way parents shouldn't fret about what to do with their kids inside. Here are a few things I did with my child. Hope a few ideas work for you too.

My 30-Day Special Planner:
Activities with Ariaana:
1.       Collage – take old photos and put them together on a large black chart paper. Ariaana’s Family & Friends

2.       Take 2 white chart papers, stick them together and draw out her outline. Trace out her skirt and shirt and tell her to colour it in with paint.

3.       Stencil – colour in a stencil. You can get these from the Hobby Store.

4.       Food colours – chop up bhindi, aloo, pyaz, and a few more vegetables and dip them in pain and make a painting using imagination with different fruits and vegetables. You only need to use a slice of it and not the whole vegetable.

5.       Styrofoam cups – Give her Styrofoam cups, paint and a few brushes. She’ll colour them in the way she wants.

6.       Puzzles – make new puzzles with her taking a picture she likes of a cartoon or family. Stick it on a thermocol and cut them into pieces for her to put back together. Fun to make and fun to put together.

7.       Cutting photos from magazines and sticking them with scotch tape on a chart paper. Make a story out of it or general things she likes. Let her cut with a child friendly scissor and not adult scissor. They have blunt ends.

8.       Doll house – find things from the house to make a doll house. Make a small tent for her with pillows and tell her to find things from the house that she will need including kitchen utensils, cushions, sheets, towels etc. This way she figures out where things are kept in the house.

9.       Print out a colouring page from and give her a new box of crayons to colour with.

10.   Make a mask – Cut out a round shape from a paper or take a paper plate. Cut out two holes for the eyes. Tell her to colour in a mask they way she wants. Attach a rubber band with staples at the back and make a mask she has made for herself.

11.   Maths games – Take a large piece of chart paper and write the numbers 1 -50 in rows and columns. Then play “Mama says/ nanu says” with a piece of object. So you give her things to put on numbers you say. Like – Put a glass on the number 9. Put a glass on the number 29.

12.   Vegetables and fruits – Shopping day. Take her shopping for fruits and vegetables and come home and cook that vegetable with her. So “lets make it a red day.” red fruit – red vegetable – red juice – pomegranate – bell pepper – tomato juice. Etc. Do the same with different colours.

13.   Fabric painting – get a plain shirt her size from a cheapie place. Get some fabric paints and stencils. Make an outline of a cartoon and let her paint inside and tehn she can wear the shirt

14.   Sidewalk chalk – many hours of this on the sidewalk colouring and painting in according to design

15.   Making granitas – In a bowl let her put some orange juice/ juice + sugar + one lemon ka juice and heat it up. Mix it and put it on an ice tray. Once frozen, crush them in a blender and scrape out in a small glass for her to have slowly. Not too much bcos she’ll catch a cold.

16.   Dance – Her fav playlist.

17.   Treasure hunt – hide small ├ęclairs in different parts of the house and do a treasure hunt with her giving her clues.

18.   Make movies – record movies of dancing or singing and them play them back for her. Also record things that she likes on a walk and play them back once you come home.

19.   Nature walk around a park or lake – Pick things from the park or lake and click photos of different things that she can identify once you come home. Repeat it the next day after showing her what you need to spot with her. Try it with a letter – everything that is “green” – spot it.

20.   Pasta maker – get 2-3 different bags of pasta – example – fussili, penne, macaroni. Put them in 3 different dishes and put some food colouring in each dish. So you have red, blue and green. Then give her some glue and paper and tell her to stick different coloured pasta on the paper making a new design. If you don’t have food colouring, you can do this with different types of chola, rajma, lobia, and other coloured things around the kitchen.

21.   Puppets - Print out a few characters from a few of her favourite films Madagascar, Toy Story etc. Cut out the character and paste it on a orange bar type stick with a little hanging out. Tell her to colour or play with her puppets making up a story.

22.   Face painting – Give her makeup and ask her to paint her face as if she’s going for a party, as a pirate, as her fav cartoon character.

23.   Building blocks and lego – She has a princess lego and some other blocks. She can combine things to make new designs.

24.   Kitchen Set – Give her a water bottle half full and let her make things with her bartan set and vegetable set.

25.   Gardening – Give her a scooper and a bucket (She has a beach bucket) Let her play in the grass/mud putting seeds into the soil and watering the plant. It’s a little messy but tell her different types of flowers  etc while gardening with her. Make sure she wears a hat if she’s doing this in the sun with lots of sun block.

26.   Hand painting – chart paper, different colours and she can use her fingers to make a painting.

27.   Ribbons – give her a ribbon with some scotch tape and tell her to tape it onto thins that are easy to find around the house. “Tape it on a red cushion.” “Tape it on the fridge” “tape it on the tv.” “Tape the ribbon to the washing machine.” Shoes, mirror, computer, toaster, main door, toilet seat,etc. Do it with objects, colours – something green, etc.

28.   Window painting – washable paints and let her paint a window.

29.   Cardboard box – Multiple uses of a cardboard box – painting, making it into a vehicle where she sits and with some rope is dragged by another friend, becomes a tent, etc.

30.   Reading a book. – Simple. Always.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

How Not to Get Senti in Summer Flings

It’s summertime! Vacations mean meeting new people and falling in love. But summer romances are named so for a reason. It’s because they’re supposed to last only a season. Vacation flings must end and here are a few ways you can make sure you’re not overly sentimental about who you think is “The One”.

1.       Don’t Plan a Future – Saying things like “I love you, let’s get married” are complete no-nos for a summer fling. But if you’re nowhere close to that, even slight hints of staying in touch, getting together later, trying to make it long lasting will make you look needy.

2.        Don’t Have Romantic Dates – You’re bound to say something stupid when you’re watching “French Kiss” with your date. Rom – com movies are off the table. If you have to watch films, make it a new superhero thriller. In fact, go on an adventure sport date. But don’t make it a life or death experience. If the adrenaline is too much it could lead to making a commitment you can’t get out of!

3.       Don’t Play the Games – Wooing, refraining, sulking, calling, stalking. The game that’s played to get the girl or guy permanently cannot be played. You like someone, say “I have two weeks in this place. Wanna have some fun?” Keep it straight, safe, and simple if they agree.

4.       Be Yourself – If you have gas, don’t hold back. If you hate alcohol don’t pretend to be cool. We are always on our best behavior in the beginning because we want that person to see our best side. Who cares? If that person walks away, there are other people in the hotel to impress.

5.       Split the costs – Ask her out, take him water skiing but make sure both of you split the costs for all these activities. That way you’re having fun for yourself. And pretty soon you’ll be broke and start thinking about returning to work and earning it again. Voila, no mushy thoughts!

Reserved for One: A poem

We don't trust enough We don't pour out our hearts  Telling all our secrets, our fears and surrendering to each other. Comple...