Month: August 2021

Kindle cover of Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi with a bunch of pink roses on a white fabric

Book Review: Transcendent Kingdom

Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom reviews were almost entirely positive, so I was at first worried that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. But oh! It did. It is a book about relationships with family and oneself, religion and race, love and loss, and mental health. The narration is by a young woman named Gifty. She was born in America to Ghanian parents. She has an older brother who overshadows her at every juncture of her life, but he is also her hero – someone she loves and looks up to. She talks about how her mother migrated to America in the hope of a better future for her firstborn son. Her father had followed reluctantly. After she was born, she could see the unhappiness in her father, who eventually chose a path away from them. “My memories of him, though few, are mostly pleasant, but memories of people you hardly know are often permitted a kind of pleasantness in their absence. It’s those who stay who are judged the harshest, simply by virtue of …

Gentle Parenting

Being a parent is the best role one can have in life. It gives you both physical and emotional satisfaction. Your child’s well being and happiness are all you think about when it comes to decisions related to your child’s life. Childhood is one of the most critical years in a person’s life. It’s also a time when parents can drastically affect their kids’ future by deciding how much influence they will have over them. Parents just want to see their children succeed, and they employ a variety of methods to shape their kids’ futures.  How much of your parenting behaviour is based on what you went through as a child? Have you told yourself that you turned out fine, and so will my kid if I hit them for the sake of discipline? Or have you gone in the complete opposite direction and cannot enforce any discipline at all? Were you listened to as a child? Did your thoughts and opinions matter? Were you threatened with dire consequences at the thought of disobedience? Were …

Lasagne from Scratch

I love Garfield. Garfield loves lasagne. So it just proves that I love lasagne. I used to buy the packaged lasagne sheets till I realised how easy it was to make them at home. They’re easy to make, taste better, and you have full control over what goes in them. I don’t add eggs because I prefer to keep the ingredients to a minimum, but they taste great nevertheless.  These are best for parties. You can make all the items a day before and just assemble them before cooking and serving. That way you’re not stuck in the kitchen while everyone’s chatting away. Ingredients: Serving size: 1 9-inch tray (good for 2 adults) Lasagne sheets: 1 cup refined flour (maida or bread flour) ½ cup whole wheat flour (even ragi or millet flour would do) 1 cup warm water (adjust according to the dough) 2 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp salt Extra flour for dusting A large deep pan full of salted water  Method: Add both the flours to a large mixing bowl and mix in …

Bowl of hummus with olives and paprika

Super Easy Vegan Chickpea Hummus

My preference for recipes are ones that are fast and don’t require a lot of utensils. There are plenty of chickpea hummus recipes that call for making different aspects of it separately. I prefer to mix it all in one blender jar, and it’s done! I love how protein-packed this dish is. I don’t feel any guilt having this with a packet of nachos. Ingredients: Serving size: Makes a large bowl. Good enough to eat some and store or for a party 2 cups boiled chickpeas ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil Juice of ½ lemon 2 tbsp sesame seeds (or 1 tbsp Tahini if you have that lying around) 5 cloves of garlic (medium-sized) ¼ cup cold water  Spices: ½ tbsp roasted cumin powder ½ tbsp paprika Salt to taste Deseeded olives on the side (optional) Method: Please don’t buy a can of chickpeas. Get dry chickpeas, soak them overnight, and boil them till soft. Wait for it to cool. Add all the ingredients except for the spices and the cold water in the …

Lone black duck in a lake

Taboos: Seeking Therapy for your Mental Health

Have you ever been to a therapist? Or thought about seeking out one? Would you tell people if you did? Mental health awareness is shockingly negligent in our society. So many of us are broken, and we’ve been told to just deal with it on our own. Seeking help for your mental health is seen as the absolute last step you can take before it is too late. I had studied to become a counsellor, but life took me on another path. It made me realise how helpful a counselling session could be for someone going through a difficult time. Over time, as life went by, I never gave another thought to it. Then I became a mom. Every emotion seemed intense and amplified. It was challenging to manage them all at once. Even with a supportive family, I felt I couldn’t express all I felt. I feared judgement and hurting their sentiments. After my first session itself, I felt such an enormous boulder had lifted off my chest. I could say whatever I wanted …

Child walking down the steps of a high lookout tower

Hyderabad Staycation: Life at Prakasham

Have you been itching to travel, but common sense has held you back? Even after we completed both our COVID vaccinations doses, we have been quite hesitant to travel. Our primary concern is our young unvaccinated child and the unpredictable new variants. We have been exploring our immediate surroundings around Hyderabad, India and looking at options we feel are relatively safer. Many resorts in Hyderabad have sprung up in the last decade mainly catering to corporate team-building events. I never enjoy these places because they are always crowded and noisy. Weekend places in Hyderabad: Hyderabad stay options range from luxury hotels and big resorts on the outskirts of town to the quieter and smaller home and farm stays. I had written about one such stay – The Baby Elephant Farm in my earlier post. Today, I’m writing about Life at Prakasham. Both these places cater to a limited number of people. There are no crowded restaurants or noisy parties. Set amidst a relatively small farm, they exude peace and calm. A farm stay in Hyderabad, …

6 Common Parenting Mistakes We All Make

The main lesson I learned about parenting is that it doesn’t stop. Once a parent, always a parent! Each of us has an idea about good parenting skills. What makes a good parent? Does anyone have an answer to that question that will go unchallenged by someone else? Each child grows into their own person with all the inherent imperfection that this entails. Healthy parenting recognises and embraces these perceived imperfections. Positive Parenting Parenting styles differ from person to person. It should also differ from child to child. Each child’s situation is unique, and they respond differently to the same things. While one child may throw a temper tantrum to get what they want, another might prefer to crawl under the bed and cry silently. Positive parenting is recognising how best to make kids aware of their own needs and feelings without forcing your own. As I learn everyday, it is a darned difficult thing to do. Inevitably, I make mistakes everyday and learn something about myself in the process. The world is full of …

Art Journal Review: Kaagazi

As someone who loves to draw and paint but hates criticism, I used to think every one of my artworks should be the final piece. I didn’t believe in practice or sketchbooks.  Over time, I learnt that it was too much pressure on each artwork to be perfect. I had stopped enjoying the creative process because I was seeking the end goal of perfection and subsequent monetisation.  I decided to start journaling for myself alone. It has freed me from many of my inhibitions. I’m not afraid to try out new things even at the risk of failure. I also experiment more with my techniques and practice a lot more as well. I had plenty of art journal ideas…from a doodling book to practising elements and patterns. So I decided to buy a whole bunch of journals and sort them into different art journal themes. Their pile on my desk inspires me to use them everyday.  Art journal inspirations can come from many different sources. You just need to experiment and see which ones interest …

Book Review: Ammachi’s Glasses

The story starts with Ammachi not being able to find her glasses. However, she continues her day as usual and hilarity ensues. The story is simple yet so engrossing. The illustrations capture your interest with little things happening all around Ammachi as she tries to navigate without her glasses.

My son loved reading it again and again, focussing on the bits he found the funniest. Upon revisiting it again, he found a few more fun things hidden in the illustration and he loved discovering these pieces of the whole puzzle.

Homemade shea butter body lotion in a glass jar

Homemade Shea Butter Lotion

I have struggled with dry skin for a long time. Apart from my laziness, the availability of good body creams in India has not been of any help. I’ve tried everything from store-bought creams to coconut oil, to no avail. Dealing with Dry Skin In the temperate climates of India, the weather is humid most of the year, but towards the end of the year, it gets dehydrated. Within an hour of slathering on lotion, my skin feels stretched and dry again.  We were in Vegas a few years ago during the winter months and had applied coconut oil every morning. Even then, I noticed my son’s skin had become very dry. On our return, our paediatrician said water-based lotions get absorbed by the skin, and the oil-based ones only protect the outer layer. So with our skin that’s predisposed to dryness, we need a combination of both. That’s a lot of effort for someone who hardly uses any cosmetics. Shea Butter Body Cream Last year during the lockdown, when our supply of body lotion …