What started out as an interim arrangement has now extended in to the ‘new normal’. I thought the time saved doing the daily commute could be used up for so many different things. But in a few weeks the drive faded and then i got stuck in an easy routine of just working, ordering food or fixing a ready to eat meal and completely fell off the fitness wagon. I feel like its been months since i squeezed in a proper workout. But it turns out the downtime has helped improve some of my health markers as recent medical tests would reveal, so all is not lost!
Staying home is the safest thing to do (even though most things are unlocked now) as numbers don’t seem to follow a set pattern. But then you end up missing all the usual things you would do during a day off – such as going outdoors, indulging in retail therapy or catching up with friends. So what can you do, all by yourself at home?
Sort and edit your closet – I put this off for the longest time, but there is something calming about a sorted closet one your done with it. It’s also a good activity to help edit heavily – take out the clothes you haven’t worn in 6 months and keep them ready for recycling. In case charities in your area are collecting donations for clothes, you can also give these away for a cause. Watching an episode of Get Organised on Netflix really got me going on this one!
Make time for some self-learning – There’s an entire universe of courses you can take for anything you would like to learn. I’ve been trying to take up courses for topics that are completely outside of my daily work areas. I find it helps me broaden my perspective and sometimes it’s surprising how things you learn in completed unrelated field can have similarities. One course i’m going through at the moment is The Science of Well-Being offered by Yale via Coursera. I watched a few videos by Laurie Santos that got me interested in this one.
Grab a cozy corner and read – A little downtime can be good to catch-up on your reading list. It’s funny how i start the year every time with a reading goal for the year but then slip away as priorities set in. But holidays or off days are best to keep tabs on this and recalibrate. I keep saving reading lists on my notes app to go back and refer to when i can’t decide on what to read. I mostly read non-fiction so here’s a list i had saved on earlier this year.
Play your favourite songs – There’s nothing better than listening and singing out along with your favourite songs when nothing else seems to help. Spotify and Apple Music both have a huge number of playlists if you are looking to explore different genres too. I have been listening to songs in different languages, so much texture and similarities too!
Cook something nice for yourself – While everyone may not be whipping up extravagant meals (me for sure as i default on take-out), this can be something creative to take up in your free time. Early on i used to find cooking therapeutic but when it became a chore i began to hate cooking! I realised giving myself a break and then experimenting with new foods helped me break the monotony. Some of the channels that i go to for inspiration are Forksoverknives and Pickuplimes.
Those were some of my top ideas for self care while staying at home. I know there’s plenty of ideas outside of this list, so please share whatever works for you!
It’s Lohri, the punjabi harvest festival that signifies the start of a new year. While i had been meaning to plug back in to the blog at the start of this calendar year, its simply been harder to do than just think off. Procrastination has got the better half of me, unfortunately.
So when i stumbled on this post mentioning image search, it seemed like a good time to begin again. I googled for inspiration – something that i have been looking for lately. This one seemed to fit the bill. May be all that’s required is a fresh perspective with a focused approach to get back in action. Here’s to the new year!
CSA (Child Sex Abuse) has been a sensitive topic since a long time. Albeit, i have been an active supporter of the CSA Awareness program that has been running for a while. In our society where its taboo to talk about sex in front of our children, educating them about CSA is next to impossible given the state of our cultural upbringing. Times are changing. So when i received an opportunity to attend a blogger meet organised by Indiblogger centered on this topic, i was more than ready to go. The event was the launch of a new book on the subject, “The Bad Touch” by Payal Shah Karwa. Payal has compiled a set of true stories about individuals who underwent the abuse and emerged as survivors in the true sense of the word.
Quite a few guests were present for this event along with Payal. We had Kiral Manral who is a part of the CSAawareness team that runs the #CSAAM initiative. I had participated in their twitter chat last year where the famous director Onir also responded to some of my tweets amongst others. If you want to know more of the great work they’re doing, you can check it out here: http://csaawarenessmonth.com . Harish Iyer, the LGBT rights activist who himself suffered CSA when he was young was there to shed more light on the issue. Pooja Taparia, founder of Arpan that’s fighting for freedom from CSA also patiently clarified and explained the brilliant work she has been doing at schools to create awareness about the evil that is crippling several children.
The event started by rolling out chits which had certain words written on them. Each blogger had to stand up introduce themselves and read the word aloud. The words were such that nearly everyone had a reaction to what they had picked. My word was ‘Penis’ adn i must admit, i did feel uncomfortable saying it aloud. Later Payal, Harish and Kiran took turns in reading certain parts of the book and sensitized us to what the victims go through. This was followed by a discussion where a lot of us asked several questions on the topic. Questions ranged from legal actions being taken to parents being perpetrators to people relaying experiences where they saw abuse happening but were too afraid to interfere. Some observations stood out clearly. The children who have absolutely no understanding / awareness of CSA become easy targets. Many a time, the child maybe trying to talk about the abuse to a parent & this calls for additional attention from the parent. When you see abuse happening, stop and make an effort to rescue the child rather than walking away. There is a fine line between abuse and exploration. Make sure your adolescent children understand the difference. Guilt is a common feeling that several victims carry. If you know a victim then help them understand it wasn’t their fault. I bought a copy of the book which Payal signed with a nice note. It felt good to talk to her after the show and kudos to the effort she has put in writing about such a difficult topic.
This definitely was one of the most intense sessions i’ve attended. I felt that as custodians of the future we have so many more responsibilities than what we assume to have. Creating awareness about CSA and ensuring that our children are protected is definitely on the top of my list. I #pledgetoprotect !
To aspire is to simply have a greater ambition or an ultimate goal as per the dictionary definition. Once you have reached a specific level of expertise or stage in your life, you’re quickly looking out for what could be the next best thing. Marketeers too have tapped in to this particular set of our psyche from time to time.
Some of the most popular brands such as Apple, Mercedes, Louis Vuitton and others have successfully created that aspirational brand value for themselves. Brands have typically created an aspirational brand strategy in the following ways:
1. Targetted Advertising: Associating the brand with the nice to have features and showcasing a lifestyle that most people can only aspire to have is one of the key ways. High fashion brands have used super models, while in other cases certain brands have stayed off any celebrities and made the product the hero of their advertisements.
2. Build brand loyalty: One of the key initiatives has to be centered on making the customer aware of how the product can be put in to use everyday. Be it a high-end handbag or an SUV, the advertisement or brand collateral needs to highlight features for using the product for a wider number of applications. That ways they can build brand loyalty and further ensure that their customers recommend the product to others as well.
3. Keep it Simple: Brands need to be careful while positioning the product in the aspirational set since it needs to have a strong customer value proposition to deliver. Customers can clearly see past any over the top promises that are being made during promotions. Hence the message must be simple and yet powerful to drive the messaging across.
Creating a high end lifestyle is just one of the end results of an aspirational brand strategy. However marketeers need to steer clear and get the basics right, lest it turn in to a disaster.
Glancing at my debit card, i began to take notice of my photo on the card. The photo was taken nearly 6 years back. A volley of thoughts began to run through my head. One of the most prominent one being that if i were to go back in time, what would i tell myself. What would be the advise i have in store? Would i look back and change anything? There would be a lot, i could try to do better. Maybe prudence would have helped me at some stages.
But then, i reckoned that no matter what i had in mind, life would have taken its own course anyways. We go about planning, scheduling and over-thinking simple things in life. Only to make them more complicated. Maybe the key is to focus on the journey. We get so clouded by our own set of aspirations that we focus on the destination instead.
Change is always in store. Just when you think that you’re in a comfortable zone, there you’re going to get a jolt. Overtime, we are mended and bent over by consistent bickering like stones that turn to pebbles along the course of a river. But, the important part is that its always going to be for the good. As Andy Warhol said:
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
Papa sure loves mambo. Here is a list of tracks that used to play more than often at home. I’m picking up the international tracks as a lot of indian music was played too. Here are the ones i recall vividly:
Who can not love the Gypsy Kings?
Throw in a little bit of Harry Belafonte!
And who could have got by the 80’s without listening to Foreigner?
Of course not to forget one of the coolest tracks by Pet Shop Boys that came out the year i was born!
By the time we hit the 90’s yes there was more of Bon Jovi but this 80’s song was played more often 🙂
Towards the mid 90’s my musical taste was evolving and gradually i had a few favorites of my own. Here are just a couple of tracks i listened to a lot at the time:
Of course my preferences have evolved a lot more from then. These were just some of the songs i heard lot play back in time.