#BreakingBarriers by Women’s Web

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I attended the #BreakingBarriers event organized by Women’s Web today at Bangalore. #BreakingBarriers is an event which brings together a lot of like-minded ambitious women, inspires them through each other’s stories, and provides a great networking platform. This is the 5th edition of the event and is being held in Bangalore, Mumbai, and Gurugram (Gurugram, is that really the name?).

Today’s event at Bangalore saw panel discussions with eminent marketeers and inspiring women on topics like content marketing, personal branding, breaking the real barriers of life to move ahead, along with a good sprinkling of information on personal wellness, growth hacking, and creating brand ambassadors.

The panel discussions involved extremely strong and successful women like Monica Samuel (Content Knockout), Srividya Sen (Tech Mahindra), Jonali Saikia Khasnabish (Heeya Crafts), Anju Maudgal Kadam (WebTV), Shalini Singh (Galvanise PR), Lakshmi Dasaka (Dropkaffe).  Mangal Karnad (Fablesquare) talked about creating a personal brand. Kavita Jhunjhunwala (Click Asia & Avocado Tree Digital) perked up the post-lunch session with inspiring stories of breaking barriers from the audience. Ravi Sangtani (Director, Target Accelerator) also enlightened the audience about growth hacking in the entrepreneurial industry.  Aparna Singh (Founder & CEO, Women’s Web), and Anju Jayaram (CMO, Women’s Web) spearheaded the entire event with aplomb.

What came across as striking was that every woman I met, every woman I interacted with showed passion. Passion for what she wants to achieve, passion for what she believes in, and passion in breaking the barriers that comes across her way. We were left speechless when we found a cancer survivor among us who has relentlessly fought on with her life and resumed her passion of writing and dancing even after suffering from a broken leg too!

The stories from the event made me realize that we, as women, often face a lot more challenges and rejections in life than we expect to. However, it is the never-say-die attitude and a fiercely positive outlook that helps us dash through the doors, fall face down but get up and run again. It’s the spirit that matters.

The spirit of #BreakingBarriers.

(Do register for the subsequent Mumbai and the Gurgaon events here).

(Sorry, I don’t have a photo from the event, so I put up my photo of an ambitious eagle competing with a jet plane).

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The Art bin

damageLR

She grabbed an apple on her way out. Slamming the door behind her, she ran to the elevator trying to escape the small windy opening in the corridor that invited the cold. It was already late. The cold dreary morning outside was splattered with sporadic rain. She grabbed her jacket closer to her while waiting for the elevator.

‘Aah! Why does it have to be so windy? It is so cold!’ she spoke to herself. Her eyebrows got closer to each other and a distasteful frown appeared on her face, much like the weather outside.

With shaky legs, she moved closer to the door of the elevator. Finally, the elevator was here. As soon as it opened, she darted right in almost scaring the tall passenger inside.

The apple was crunchy. She munched and munched, and the morning rush showed in her bites. The other occupant watched her chomp away from the corner of his eyes. She suddenly felt the bright chartreuse scarf she was wearing. It sure could brighten up the insipid morning outside.

The elevator stopped.

On her way out of the emergency exit, she tossed the seeded core of the apple into a bin near an apartment door.
‘Whoever kept a bin here is a thoughtful fellow,’ she said to herself and walked out.

The day ahead was so full of debris for her that she could have filled that entire bin with it. Needless to say, she came back and slept off.

The next morning was a late morning again. She hurried to leave and grabbed an orange on her way out. She peeled it in the elevator and dropped the peel in the same bin on her way out of the emergency exit.

10 am.
He yawned and opened the door to check for milk bottles. A strong whiff of ripe oranges struck him. He looked around and saw the peel of an orange in his precious wide-mouthed vase near the door.
‘What! Again?!’ his eyes were big and the last traces of sleep had dramatically vanished. He remembered that just a day before he had taken out the core of an eaten apple from inside the vase.

He looked around hoping to see someone to rant to and exclaim his surprise at the ignorance of the moronic person who used his decor as a trash bin.

The dull blue colored vase was part of a curator’s collection that he had fancied and bought from an art exhibition. It was wide mouthed with a lesser bottom, and this shape was precisely what he had liked about it. He loved ornaments for his home, and he had hoped that this vase just outside the door would set the ambience for his guests when they entered his crafted museum of decor that he called his home.

Only that his hopes and dreams were dashed by a moronic individual who was atrociously using his decor as a trashbin!

He decided to wait for the miscreant the next morning.

Keeping in mind his own eccentric timings of going in and coming out of his house, he calculated that this art-crime was being committed in the morning hours. He would wait.

He would definitely wait.

All night he was up fearing that he would not be able to wake up early morning and grab the culprit by the collar. He worked, ate a packet of noodles, worked again, and planned to keep the door open from 5 am. Tired of working, he switched on the television.

7:30 am.
Morning rush. Morning rush, she talked to herself. Scuttling around in the house, she got ready to leave for work. She opened her refrigerator one last time to pick up a crunchy fruit but didn’t find any. She grabbed a banana and slammed the door.

10 am.
He woke up with a startle. The television was on and he had slept on the sofa. It was bright outside.

‘My vase! My vase,’ he screamed and ran to the door. He pulled it open and was horrified to see a banana peel inside it.

Somewhere a lion clenched its teeth and growled. It was inside him. Seething with anger he picked up the peel and threw it away aiming the trash bin in his kitchen. It fell on the floor. He thudded to the kitchen, lifted up the peel, and tossed it again into the bin.

That night he slept and woke up sharp at 5 am. He rushed to the door and kept it open. He sat on a chair next to the door with his laptop on.

An hour passed. No sign of the criminal.

Another hour passed.
He was slowly getting impatient. The elevator next to his apartment had started to get busy. He could hear kids, elders, babies coming out of the elevator but no body walked out of the emergency exit just adjacent to his apartment.

Suddenly, he heard footsteps arriving towards the emergency exit. He straightened himself and braced for a fight.

She walked towards the exit and by way of a three-day habit was just about to toss the core of a pear into the bin when she saw him sitting at the door. Her right hand was still in the tossing position when he screamed.

‘So, it’s you! You drop garbage into my vase every morning?,’ he thundered.

As if the morning rush is never enough for her, she was startled at the holler.

‘What are you talking of? Vase? What vase?’ she replied.

‘This, this vase,’ he said, pointing to his piece of decor.
‘This is art, and not a trash bin.’

‘I’m sorry I don’t understand. This is art? I thought it was a bin. If it is art why is it not inside your house?’ she was quizzical.

‘I can keep my decor anywhere. What made you think this was a trash can?’ he fumed at her.

‘Well, it is standing in a corner with a huge open mouth. What else is it supposed to be?’ she answered with a nonchalance that could defy the monotony of the life of the vase.

‘You’re atrocious!’ Thundering more than ever before, he pulled his piece of arty decor inside his house.

Wham. The door slammed on her face.

It opened even before it had closed completely.

‘You mean you can dump garbage into anyone who stands with an open mouth?’ he asked.

She seemed terribly upset with the question.

‘Anyone? You mean people? Yes I will, if someone stands in a corner with his mouth open, I will toss garbage into him’ she replied in anger.

The door slammed, and did not open a second time.

The emergency exit door opened. She breathed in fresh air, thought about the episode, chuckled and walked off.

Ryan Tales -6. ‘My mom hates her life.’

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Scene 1- It was a long morning, and a long afternoon. Finally, thinking of getting a few non-walking moments, I had hardly sat down on the chair when my phone rang. It was away in the other room.


‘Aargh! why couldn’t it ring when I was there?’ I asked myself fretfully.


I muttered ‘I hate my life’ and got up from the half sitting position to see who was calling.


Scene 2 – A few days later.
The 5 year old was playing with his friend at home. As usual, I finished all my work and thought of getting a few non-walking moments, I entered the kid’s room and  had hardly sat down when my phone rang. It was away in the other room. I felt my eyebrows unite.
While I got up from the almost-sitting position, Ryan whispered to his friend ‘My mom hates her life.’


That made my day and had me in splits.

The Knotty Wardrobe

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I have almost stopped organizing my wardrobe. Each time I organize, I keep the wardrobe door open to celebrate the day as an admiration day.
Soon enough (exactly, 5 days), the admiration season gets over.  The clothes in there get back to hugging each other. The entire compartment becomes one mound of sleeves, and hooks, and legs, and pockets. I pull out one visible sleeve and the entire mound falls out. I pull and I pull until I can pull no more to extract that one sleeved tee from its communal hugging friends, hold the entire pile up and put it back into the shelf. The fight repeats itself every day.
Sometimes, I think of calling the fire-fighters, but I realize they would make it more messy. The wardrobe would become one heap of knotty wet pulp.

Then comes that one day when I get so tired of having to pull legs and sleeves that I give up and organize the section. I award myself with four doughnuts and an ice-cream for the effort and admire my closet with loving eyes.  Often, on such days, I also rest my head on the neatly folded clothes making them feel loved. My favorite tee looks at me with fluttering eyelids, and I pick it up. I smell it, the fresh smell of Surf Excel (the liquid one, to be precise) tantalizes me. I fold the tee back to its place. (No, Surf Excel is not paying me a penny to write this.)

Lifting my head, I go back to the chair right in front of the wardrobe. I sit there and watch it. My neat, colorful, organized wardrobe. What would I not pay to get this view everyday? Everyday, for 5 days?
It’s evening, and I’m rushing to get dinner done. I need to change into my pajamas. Clothes which don’t let in air from everywhere restrict my cooking abilities. I run to my room and pull out a pj from under four or five pieces of clothes which tumble down. I pile them up and put them back.
The saga restarts.
The day for the next four doughnuts and one ice-cream is far away.
Do you also have knotty wardrobe days?

Kindness in Kids

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I have a tiny one at home. A five-year old.
He talks incessantly, laughs monstrously, imagines creatively, and uses good adjectives like a pro.

A few days back, we were re-reading ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar,’ and he creatively thought of how funny it would be if the hungry caterpillar from the book wormed out and fell on the ground. In fact, he built up an entire story on this which you can read here, however, this post is intended to point out how important it is to inculcate kindness in a kid, especially towards our tiny harmless co-creatures.

If I were to keep in mind that a kid thought of a caterpillar making its way out of a book and falling on the ground, the next thought I would have is that he or she would squish the poor larva.

However, he didn’t do that. He didn’t end the story right there by squishing the larva. He built an entire story by taking care of the tiny creature and budding it into a butterfly right in his home.

 

I’ve seen more instances of his kindness towards pets and people alike. Sometimes it makes me feel that he could be a 10 year old boy, but one look at him is enough to know that he has learned to be kind irrespective of his age.

Speaking of kindness, we all teach our children to be kind. We instruct, and we preach the importance of kindness. We read out stories of kindness from books. However, it is our own actions which speak more than our teaching. If we as parents show kindness to animals, both tiny and big, they remember our actions and try to imitate them. If we teach them to appreciate the smallest bugs and not squish them, they learn to appreciate the beauties of nature.

Instead of hurting a caterpillar, if we point out how beautiful it looks, how pronounced are the dots on its body, how its legs carry it from the head to the end of the body, our kids will also look at it with kindness and beauty and not really stamp it.

While I’m not saying that kids imitate everything parents do, or that all their actions are a reflection of parents, or that kids don’t have any individuality, I’m only pointing out how important it is for us as parents to show kindness towards smaller creatures and set an example before the tiny tots.

*Note that we are also definitely teaching him how to remain safe from harmful creatures.*

*Also, this is not THE only way to inculcate kindness in our children, but it is definitely one good way to do it*

Irony of a mom’s life

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I saw your eyes droop. You mumbled ‘Mama’ and slept.

I watched you sleep. I don’t know for how long.
The home is quiet. Absolutely quiet. Slowly, I disentangled my fingers from yours, careful not to wake you up.


You have already started sleeping in your room alone, and, to be honest, I don’t like it one bit.


Not one bit.

A lot of these nights, I just go and tuck myself in beside you. I love to hold your hands and sleep next to you. I pull your comforter on me and we sleep like the best buddies ever. I hold you, and you put your hand around my neck.


Let me tell you, as a parent, there is nothing more comforting than the hands of your sleeping little one around your neck. Nothing!

I love it when you hold me and sleep. I love it when you pat me in your sleep asking me to turn towards you.
I love it when we share the same blanket.
I love your smell.


I love it when, suddenly, some mornings, you come over and sleep on my bed curled under my quilt. When I sleepily ask you what happened, you say that you were cold. I hug you tight and we sleep facing each other, your little nostrils breathing warm air down and your tiny chin facing up. I want to hold those moments forever.
It is funny that if you are cold, you can just pull your comforter over yourself, but it is warming to know that you choose to slip in under ours. My eyes open the moment I can hear the silent patter of your feet walking up to our bed.

I can hear you.
In my sleep.


Yes, I can.

And now, now that you are growing up so fast, I feel insecure that these days will never come back. I feel that time is slipping away from my hands, and I’m trying to fist it up.
Harder and tighter. And faster before it slips away.


I notice how big you’ve grown. 5 years already, and I’m scared.
I’m scared that soon, you will not run after me because you will, consciously, be a bigger boy.
I’m scared that soon, you will not talk endlessly to me.
I’m scared that soon, you will not start everything with a screaming ‘Mamaa…’
I’m scared that soon, you will not hug me every time I stretch out my hands to you.
I’m scared that soon, you will not jump on my lap anymore.
I’m scared that soon, you will not curl your hands around my neck and sleep.

Soon.
Very soon.


Am I already feeling what they call the ‘empty nest syndrome,’ just a little early?

I have already realized that life can often be terribly ironical for a parent. Just until a year ago, I was trying to have you do a lot of your own work. That way, you could be independent, and I could also focus on the more mundane things we always strive to finish. Wearing clothes, taking a shower, eating, combing your hair, helping me with my work were few of the things on my to-do list for you. One step at a time, you helped me strike off these items on my list. Each time I struck out a bullet point, my heart both sank and danced. I felt weird.
My heart breaks when I see that you are getting so independent, but at the same time, it is very fulfilling to see your little nimble hands work out things for yourself. It is immensely satisfying to see your little fingers, soft palms, and tiny nails tugging at drawstrings, patiently buttoning a shirt, rubbing soap all over yourself.


While on one hand, I want you to grow up fast, on the other, I want to hold on to your childhood and not let it go! Grow up kid, just not so fast!
While on one hand my selfish mommy heart wants to hold you more and more, on the other hand, I understand how you are bracing yourself up for the times ahead, and how important it is to make you ready for your own life.

That consoles me.
That puts me at ease.
That makes me love you more.
And more.


When the caterpillar fell out of the book ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’

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The very hungry caterpillar from Eric Carle’s ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ came out of the book and fell with a ‘plop’ on the ground.

Ryan, a curious five-year old, heard the ‘plop’ and looked down to find a scared green caterpillar on the floor. Wasn’t this the same caterpillar he was reading about a few minutes back?

Yes, it was! It was the same caterpillar which was very hungry. Ryan looked closer and picked it up very gently. It was a scared, scared ringlet.

‘Sshh, sshh, it’s ok, it’s ok. It’s just me. I won’t hurt you,’ Ryan said.

Looking up with big round eyes, the caterpillar lifted one of its legs and squeaked ‘Friends?’

‘Friends!’ the five year old replied, and gave a high five to the little larva which toppled off with the impact.  Picking it up again and patting its back, Ryan invited it to play with him.

The caterpillar was Ryan’s pet now. It had a sleep-over in his room that night. Both of them slept together, Ryan sharing his pillow with the caterpillar. The wriggling larva slept on its back with all its legs up in the air. Ryan slept on his back, his hands and legs shooting up in the air in his sleep.

The next morning, Ryan and the caterpillar were heard playing car games in his room. The caterpillar would sit on his Hot Wheels cars, and he would swoosh them through the room. The larva would go ‘Weeeeeeeeee’ during the ride down the room. The day looked promising for both of them.

Both of them were hungry soon after their morning games. Ryan fed his new pet a pancake, a chicken sausage, and fresh watermelon juice. Soon, the pet was so full of food that it slept off. The kid took it to his bedroom where it slept for three full days.

The fourth day, Ryan screamed:

‘Mamaa, come to my room!’

‘Coming!’ was the reply.

When his mom entered his room, she saw a beautiful butterfly fluttering all over in the room! Ryan was ecstatic! It was the same caterpillar that had turned into this beautiful butterfly!

However, it was not an ordinary butterfly. It was one that performed a lot of antics. It sat on Ryan’s car on just one leg, on one wing, on its head and twisted itself in funny ways.

While the mom and the kid were watching the butterfly, it fell down with a light thud. It was trying to somersault and hurt its head. Ryan ran to get some ice and rubbed it on the insect’s head. It was fine in no time!

The butterfly wanted to stay with Ryan in his house. The boy, being a very nice host, decided to go out to the garden and get some fresh flowers. He planned that the flowers would be put face up in a bowl full of water so the butterfly could sit on them and drink nectar.

Ryan and the butterfly stayed together since then.

**The story was entirely conceived by the five-year old boy named Ryan. His mom is just the social media channel for the story.**

#sravsquotes

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If you talk to me, you will know that I can be satirical. However, remain informed that satire is one of the most superior forms of humor that can be handled only by geniuses. I’m one of them.

Ok, having beaten all the drums possible about myself (wait, all of them? no, there’s more), I would like to introduce you to Sravsquotes. It is my Facebook page which is a reflection of my satirical and humorous side, and what’s more, it can be biting too! On this page, I put up humorous puns, caustic remarks, and nuggets of satire. Here are some of them:

  1. Don’t you think resolutions mostly gather dust, (rather e-dust) instead of momentum? This one is dedicated to all our resolutions which die a dishonorable death every February.

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2.  Cleaning the house! Aah, this one. Don’t we really clean this way-take things from one corner and keep them in another while feeling gratified that the first corner looks so clean?

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3. This one is so true! Each time I send out an email informing my neighbors that I’m decluttering, essentially, I’m inviting them to come and take my clutter. Only in very polite words.

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Do like and follow my page on Facebook, and share my quotes if they tug at you!  #sravsquotes.

2017 – Resolutions Anyone?

 

lrshoe

Instead of socks for christmas, I hung my sports shoes this year at my door.

I kept the kid informed that Santa will not come in his traditional red. He will come dressed in an Amazon tee with an Amazon box in his hand. He believed me because the delivery guy actually came in an Amazon tee. I’m happy that the 5-yr old understands satire.

Now:

I smell a new year.

I smell a fresh year.

I smell resolutions.  

Isn’t it that time of the year when we all are checking ourselves, finding out where our sports shoes are? Some of us are almost scavenging the house for the shoes worn exactly a year back. A few better of us are cleaning them and showcasing them and feeling smug about ourselves. A few of us are already telling others how they should start jogging and working out to feel fit. From the new year of course! What were you thinking?

Another set of people are talking and trying to team up with others so that they can start working out from Jan 1.

The whole year is like a doughnut. It is a doughnut of our hopes. All our hopes, especially of working out start on Jan 1, come a full circle and reach the same point when we realize it is the next Jan 1.

The only problem is the hole in the middle of the doughnut. The hopes, the decisions, the resolutions fall through the hole. Often our workout shoes.

Despite us being in our resolutionary best, (that is not a typo), our weight-losing resolutions are like hot-air balloons which disappear in the air even before we can hold them in our hands.

This is what usually happens to my gym resolutions in New Year.

The gym knocks and these are my replies:

On Jan 1 – No way! Are you still drunk?

On Jan 2 – Insane. Not happening.

On Jan 3 – Just getting over the hangover dude. Please hang on to your hopes.

On Jan 4 – I just started feeling fresh.

On Jan 5 – Sounds astronomically pragmatic.

Finally, finally, all in my best spirits, and with around 15 snoozes of the alarm, I wake up, look outside, feel drowsy and kicked at the same time and rush out of bed.

Fresh new sports tees, shorts, shoes, ummm, its a warm feeling right?

I reach the gym, look around curiously but with confidence and talk to the instructor about how my biceps need work. My core needs to be strengthened. My abs need love. He directs me to the nonchalant treadmill.

I walk.

I pump it up. I feel like a hungry dog.

I come down. Drink loads of water.

I look for the exit door when the instructor taps gently to ask ‘Madam, where are you going?’

The last person I would want to meet at this moment.

‘I will be here tomorrow,’ and I rush off.

I walk out. A smug smile of ‘I worked out’ plastered all over my face along with a ‘hah, you belly bag! Look at me’ snigger radiates from my face.

The next day comes, and the alarm needs to snooze around 20 times. Gradually, the alarm gets too tired to snooze constantly, and eventually, stops ringing.

So does my gym routine.

My shoes find a good spot somewhere in my store room.

Au Revoir my Nike until Dec 2017!

‘P’ as in Pneumonia

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I decided to be mischievous when I got repeated calls from a certain telecaller and wanted to end it all so he would never call again. EVER.

I agreed to give him my name and email id so he could send over whatever registration forms were needed. Honestly, I don’t know for what!

Let’s call this telecaller TC. Here’s how the last conversation went.

TC: ‘Thank you maam. I’ll email you the form. Please tell me your name.’

Me: ‘Ok, my name is Phebe Kynx.’

TC: ‘What is it maam?’

Me: ‘P-h-e-b-e K-y-n-x. Do you want me to spell it out for you?

TC: ‘Yes maam.’

Me: ‘Ok, here you go.
P as in Pneumonia, H as in Hour, E as in escherichia coli, B as in Buttercups-butterflies-dot-blogspot…

TC: ‘The first letter is T maam?’

Me: ‘No no, P, P as in Pneumonia.’

TC: ‘D maam?’

Me growling at him ‘I said Ppppppp, P as in Psychiatrist’

TC: A little confused and relieved at the same time, ‘okaay maam, I got you. Next?’

Me: ‘H as in hour’

TC: ‘R?’

Me: ‘No, its H, H as in Hour.’ I went on ‘E as in Escherichia, did you get that?’

Silence. Some fumbling again. I realized he was getting super confused and nervous. I realized that I had wasted at least 5 to 7 minutes in this farce.

Me: ‘Listen, I don’t want to waste time. Call me later.’

Click-I hung up. It’s been quite a few days, and I haven’t received that call yet. *Evil grin*

Note that the picture above is just a representation of goofiness, and has no connection to the post whatsoever.