Some pics from #CareerKonnect2015 yesterday

I spent the better part of the day yesterday at Phoenix Market City in Kurla, where the very wonderful Anjali Gulati of Back to the Front had organised a two day mega event reaching out to women looking to either re-enter the workforce or women who wanted to explore entrepreneurship.

I was on the stage for two separate events–the first was a discussion with the very glam Tisca Chopra (In Zara, Kurt Geiger nude pumps and the most divine Bulgari sling, which sadly didn’t get into the pics I have), on how women can look the part–precious little tips from this session, get fitted for the right bra, invest in shape wear, wear a light colour on top to throw light onto your face, line the inner rims of your upper eyelids, as well as life advice, do something everyday that makes you happy, were wonderful takeaways for me from that session.

The second was meant to be a panel discussion with Amrita Singh of TLC, Ruchita Dar Shah of and Mansi Zaveri of on giving birth to new ideas but we decided to turn it around and have a discussion with the audience where they came up with the questions and we did our best to answer them as honestly as we could. It was an absolute cracker of a session.

I don’t have great pictures from the event, but here are the ones I have. And yes, that’s me in one of those rare long dress appearances. I love the Ritu Kumar Label Kaatha Long sleeved maxi dress I had on, it fell beautifully on the body and was most comfortable.

IMG-20150628-WA0003 IMG-20150628-WA0010 IMG-20150628-WA0012

My Parent Quotient post from last week: How to teach your child to handle money

In a world where children get what they want, and are at the risk of not realizing the value of money, how can we as parents teach them how to handle money and how to have good saving and spending habits?  If you’ve ever been tempted to ask your kids if they thought money grows on trees, perhaps the best thing to do would be to take a deep breath, step back and think about how you could inculcate good money habits in them.

Read the rest of the post here.

My Parent Quotient post for the week: How to keep your child healthy through the monsoons

With the first rains come a slew of dratted illnesses that have most parents on tenterhooks through the entire three months that make the monsoon in India.  The change in temperature, the increased likelihood of waterborne diseases and not to mention the runny noses and deep rumbling coughs that plague little ones who’ve been reveling in the rains, this season can be a nightmare for parents.

There are some things you can do to ensure that you minimise the risk your child faces of falling ill during the monsoons. Here are some tips:

Read the rest of the post here.

Of the dreaded call for ‘Mom’

(This was written for Yowoto, but since they’ve moved to an app format, am posting this here. After yonks, an offspring post on the blog. Would love to have comments on the post.)

Once upon a time there was a baby, and he was cute and it was good. Then the baby grew and began crawling, and pulling table cloths off tables with the crockery included as a package deal, but he was learning to stand, and it was good. Then the baby became a toddler and took his first shaky steps through the house, and discovered speed, not of the narcotic version thank you very much, and couldn’t yet apply the brakes to himself when at top speed, and there were banged noses and it was good.

And there was a mother who was waiting and waiting for the baby to start talking and call her Mamma and one day he turned to her with his big, big long lashed eyes and lisped Mummumummum and she was so overjoyed she turned cartwheels and it was good.

The Mummummummum gradually got refined to Mamma and this mother was overjoyed at hearing her offspring call her thus.  It was all good.

Cut to 11 years later.

“MOM,” comes the call, echoing through sturdy cement and concrete walls, shaking the plaster off the ceiling, as I hide in a corner of the house, pretending not to have heard the definite demand in that tone of voice.

It may be appropriate to insert here that this clarion call for immediate attention will often come just when I have drawn the drapes, unfurled the comforter, tucked myself into it, and put the eye mask on in the ambitious hope of being able to grab approximately 30 minutes of shut eye of an afternoon nap given the wake up time that morning had been 4.30 am after a night punctuated by nightmares primarily concerning missing a flight or being chased by ghoulish creatures wearing tutus.

I ignored the call, which was now being repeated on a loop, worse than a really efficient alarm on a ten second snooze setting. I pulled the sheet over my head and buried my head further down into the pillow hoping against hope that the calling would stop.

It did. And ten seconds later, which an explosion that could only mean the building had collapsed or a runaway elephant had crashed the bedroom door, the door burst open and an irate offspring parked himself on my stomach.

“Mom,” he called, opening my eyes with his fingers. I realised that I have brought up a brave child who takes wild risks with no thought for life or limb. He could go into hedge fund management without a quaver. “Give me something to eat.”

I play dead. If he was a right thinking bear or other wild animal this might have worked, but being a human child with a growling stomach, it didn’t.  He prodded me in the ribcage. “MOM!” he said again, louder and more insistent, and all letters capitalised.

What hope do I, a hapless mom, have against this monster called GrowingTeenChildAppetite? I gave up the unequal fight and rose like the dead, to get into the kitchen and source nourishment for this, my offspring, who could also go by the monicker The Bottomless Pit, if I was pressed for an option to the perfectly nice and misleading name we gave him on his birth certificate.

If you had told me 11 years ago I would dread the call of ‘Mom’ reverberating through the premises I would have laughed at you and asked you what potent stuff you were smoking. Today I quail at the cry of ‘Mom,’ I hide behind newspapers, I take myself into the bathroom for mysterious personal maintenance purposes, I tremble.

Once upon a time this very same clarion call for me would have me drop whatever it was I was doing, regardless of whether it involved iron pans and would lead to disastrous consequence for the toe it fell on, and rush to see what it was the child needed. The mind, of course, would always conjure up an emergency of proportions that involved blood and a visit to the casualty department but more often than not it would be nothing more gruesome than the head of a WWE action figure needing to be jammed back on again after much energetic twisting had detached it from the torso. (Full movable parts for lifelike action being our motto when we bought these.) As he grew older the “Mom”s got rarer when called out from a distance, he was learning to get himself things he wanted, solve disputes on his own and knew he was to come to me only when blood was spilt.

He’s been taught how to forage in the kitchen when his survival depends on it, how to look to the fruit basket for immediate nutrition when there seems nothing handy in the snacking department and how cheese slices, bread and sandwich spread and jam can always save the day. I’m not even going to talk about microwaveable popcorn packets and how the yellow side goes down has been demonstrated over and over again, to the threat stated with as much sternness as I can muster at the conclusion, “And don’t wake me up again from my nap…”

“Mom,”  he calls. The maternal heart quivers. Should I respond? Should I call him to the room I am at to elaborate? Should I rush to his side, gather him to my bosom and plant a kiss on his forehead, all sweaty and tousled from making WWE action figures battle ferociously. “What?” I reply, without the courteous addition of “…is it?”

“Come here,” the strident demand floats back in reply. “What is it?” I call back. “I’m busy eating/cooking/sleeping/reading,” I reply, as might be applicable. There will be silence for approximately ten seconds and then the child will call through the walls again, “MOM,” at decibel levels which could have the neighbours come across and enquire politely about whether they needed to report me for parental neglect. I give up all pretence at holding out and go forth to investigate. “What is it?” I say, wearing my best surly ThisHadBetterBeSomethingImportant expression. “Gimme a hug, gimme a kichu,” he says, reaching his arms out. I melt, do as requested, knowing in my heart, what his next sentence would be.

“Mom, gimme something to eat.”

Never thought I’d make it to a best dressed list

These Authors Have Style Written All Over Them!

  • Somya Suresh
  • Jun 23, 2015, 14:30 PM IST

Yashodhara Lal on her latest book ‘There’s Something About You’….

Y, as I know her, or Yashodhara as the vast populace of the reading public knows her, like me, was part of the immensely supportive community of mommy bloggers way back when our kids were little and our angst was high. Along with Parul Sharma, we were three from Mumbai who blogged about our respective offspring and eventually, growing disenchanted with blogging, we in our own individual journeys moved on to writing books. This one, There’s Something About You, is Yashodhara’s third book and here’s what she has to say about it.
”I never intended to write this book as a love story, but it seems to have turned out that way. It’s not a typical love story anyway – Trish is 28, unemployed, single and highly, highly sarcastic. She’s convinced she doesn’t need anyone in her life and she’s fine the way she is. But then, she gets fired and suddenly finds herself in a lot of trouble given that she’s got two dependent parents and her father has Alzheimer’s. The story has quite a few twists and turns and complications which differentiate it from a regular romance – there are various issues touched upon including dealing with loss, guilt, the many layers of friendship, relationships at work and at home and of course, complications with finding love in urban India- it primarily follows the journey of self-discovery in a young woman’s own head. Sahil is a key character in the book and he’s interesting because he’s not just a tall, brown-eyed, sensitive boy, but he also has flashes of insight that give him special psychic powers. Kind of unusual, isn’t it? I loved writing this book, and I just hope it finds readers who’ll love it too! 
Three sample chapters are available for free on this landing page right here –
My copy is here, and I plan to get to it this weekend. Go get yours.

Webinar with Womens Web on June 26th 11 am to noon

Writers Special: How To Get Published How easy is it for aspiring authors in India to be published today? Is self-publishing the right thing for you? Even if a publisher wants to publish your work, what should you watch out for?

This interactive webinar with Kiran Manral, Author of two published books with a third on the way, is meant to help aspiring authors on their journey to get published.

Kiran Manral was a journalist before she quit to be full time mommy. Her blogs were both in India’s top blogs and she was a Tehelka blogger columnist on gender issues.

Her debut novel, The Reluctant Detective, was published by Westland in 2012 and her second novel Once Upon A Crush, was published by Leadstart in May 2014. Her third book is due out in August from Penguin Random House.

She initiated the online volunteer network India Helps, post the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai and the team of volunteers worked on the rehabilitation of the affected and the bereaved of this and the 13/7 bomb blasts amongst others. She is also part of the core founding team of both Child Sexual Abuse Awareness online initiative and Violence Against Women Awareness Month.

She is on the planning board of the Kumaon Literary Festival and is an advisor on the Board of Literature Studio, Delhi. She was awarded the Women Achievers award by Young Environmentalists Group in 2013.

She lives in Mumbai with her family and counts every day off the Nutella wagon as a successful day.

[Note: This webinar requires you to first register here and then make a small payment to confirm your participation. Making a payment lets us bring you useful webinars like these, and also ensures that you add it to your calendar! In case you miss making the payment: this is where you go: