Saturday, August 15, 2020

Aaji

13th August was  my Aajis birth anniversary. Had she been alive she would have been 107 years old. Aaji was born in the Kamat family of Banda in the Sawantwadi district in  Konkan. She was the second eldest amongst 4 siblings, 2 brothers and 1 sister. Aaji was named Saraswati, which means the goddess of knowledge. She was fondly called as “Tai”. After marriage, Aaji moved to Vengurla. My grandfather’s family business was a grocery store in Vengurla which was started by my great – grandfather.

Aaji had 5 children, 4 daughters and one son; my dad being the youngest. Aaji spent the major part of her life in Konkan( almost 60+ years). Still when she came to Bombay( as it was called then) , she adapted pretty quickly. Aaji came to permanently live in Bombay in around late 70’s.

 Aaji was the one who raised us ( along with my aunts), she was the one due to whom my mom could work in peace. Aaji did not go to native again because if she goes taking care of us would be a problem. My aaji would help in cooking as long as she could. Aaji would  help my mom make laddoos for us every 15 days( that time she was 80+). She was not the “ now – my – daughter in law – is – here – I should – just -chill -type- mother -in -law”. For aaji, the happiness of her children and her son’s family was of paramount importance. She would tell us to study and ensured we followed discipline. 

I remember a small incident , both my aaji and maternal grandma used to make pickles during summer. I would like both the pickles, but I liked my maternal grandma’s pickle more. Whenever my maternal grandma gave me pickle, aaji would feed me maternal grandma made pickle. She did not have the -I will purposely not feed anything given from the maternal side attitude. My mom never had to worry whether we are well fed or taken care of when she was in office.

Aaji wore a nine yard saree, she would look a bit traditional. But she was probably more modern in thought than some of the fashionable looking people. She chanted shlokas but never insisted upon us to blindly follow rituals. We had pujas, prasad etc but the most important thing she said is doing the right things. We need to be honest, sincere  , helping fellow human beings only then god helps us. Another thing I remember if there was a work commitment that coincided with a puja, aaji put work first.

 Aaji always believed women should work. She told me no matter what, a woman should earn so much to sustain herself independently.

 Aaji was very focused on her “sansar” – She would say “ Apla aaplya sansarakade laksha pahije” – means we should pay attention to our sansar. No matter how many helps you have, you should know what is going on and never leave the full house under their control. This has served me well more specially in covid times. Because I was always used to home management and chores, the no help in covid times are manageable.

 Aaji never played home politics. For her, her kids were more important than her ego massaging. If I have enjoyed the benefits of joint family , it is due to aaji giving it a direction and all the rest aligned with the intentions.

.Aaji’s wish was she should be able to be present at my brothers thread ceremony and my sisters( eldest aunts daughter) wedding before she dies. Both those events were planned in 2001 and 2002( she was 88 then). She could witness both these events. 

In 2002, she was hospitalized for around 22 days for sever cough and related illness in BPT hospital, Vadala. My mom and my aunt would do hospital duty daily alternating between day and night.. My eldest aunt and my dad took care of us while they were in hospital.  This was my aaji’s sanskar- family comes together in crisis and not only for get-togethers. I have always got the strong support of my family and that is the reason why I am able to have a career alongwith kids.

In 2006, aaji feel sick , a mild paralysis I would say. She did not get better after that and passed away in 2006.

P.S. There are many things and lessons I learnt from aaji, which cannot be covered in one post. But this is my gratitude post to one of the most influential woman in life

 

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Crowd

 In the morning it was all empty

Then the numbers increased

One by one taking up the space

As more people were wanting to get in


I looked at it and thought to control the numbers then

But work took priority

Let the crowd increase

I will look later I said


Finally as I wrapped up my work

I unloaded the crowd one by one

And soon there was no one

Because nothing gives more peaceful sleep

Than a clean kitchen sink


.-Dhanashree

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

I am not flexible

 

Sima aunty, are you listening? Poem based on the latest show on Netflix - Indian Matchmaking 

Every relationship is a give and take

With a lot of mutual respect

I am nice that way

But don’t take me for granted

I am not flexible, not compromising my principles is my mandate

 

Respect is to be earned

I don’t care what is your age

Paay laagu,I won’t do unless you are worthy of it in the first place

I am not flexible, not compromising my principles is my mandate

 

Family is a joint venture

With everyone pitching to help

No matter how busy you are, find time for the same

Excuses to evade housework won’t be entertained

I am not flexible, not compromising my principles is my mandate

 

Adjustment is both ways, not a one sided game

I am not flexible, not compromising my principles is my mandate

 

-Dhanashree

 

Monday, August 10, 2020

My Tribe


She knew I was just a kid aged 5
Knowing not more than playing and doing hi-fi
She ensured I read and write
And gave me the precious gift of time

He knew I was worried about exams
Whether I would do well or screw them
He ensured he gave me his time
And guided me in that phase then

She knew I loved delicious food
She kept it ready and it tasted too good
I couldn't cook then or swiggy it
But she made sure I was fed well atleast

She knew I had no help
And 2 babies to look
Without asking "Should I help"
She got me cooked food

He knew I had a meeting
And no time to do grocery shoppy
Without any ado, he asked me what should I buy for you

In my times of need
Am blessed to find these wonderful people indeed
The gift of god
What more could I ask for
These people are my tribe
And may it grow further in this lifetime

 -Dhanashree


Sunday, August 9, 2020

Beyond the 'I'

 Corona has changed our lives in ways unimaginable. The effects are felt by everyone. One of the things is the social lessons of Covid . Sharing a poem reflecting some similar thoughts ...

I will travel

No one can stop me , she said
Then corona came and she had to wait

I cannot sit at home
No one can stop me , she said
Then corona came and she had to be home bound instead

I won't cook
I have a cook she said
Then corona came, her cook left , she had to cook herself

I cannot live in a small house
I need a big house she said
Then corona came- with job cuts forcing her to shift to smaller rentals instead

I will do this
No one can stop me she said
Then corona came forcing her to acknowledge a greater force instead

We do not know what the post corona world looks like
What is the new normal like?
All I know is
Covid , temporarily atleast , reminded people that there is something beyond the 'I'
And if they are wise enough, reminded them it's not too late to drop senseless egos.

-Dhanashree

Friday, July 10, 2020

How the dosa batter saved my life


It's said if you are a South Indian you will always have a dosa batter ready in the fridge. I am a Maharashtrian which basically means I am a North Indian or South Indian depending on whether you are from Madras or Delhi. In the BC era which is before covid era, we made dosas once a week, typically for breakfast or my husband's dinner sometimes. The batter quantity was such that it lasted us for 2 meal times( 2 breakfasts, breakfast dinner etc). 
It's now the AC era or the after COVID era. It's the era the transformed me from making doses once a week to having dosa batter ready for any time of the week. Dosa are my savior these days.  Their best use to me now is as an ideal 6 pm snack. When you know it's going to be a long day , dinner will be post 9 pm; a heavy evening snack becomes essential. I had stopped making snacks due to lack of time but hunger won in the end.  The advantage of having dosas as evening snack is that they can literally be made within no time. Take a tea break. One gas stove has tea and the other two gas stoves have dosa pans so that two dosas get made in parallel. So literally you can make 5-6 dosas within less than 10 mins. They go with tea or sambar / chutney whatever is available.  I can truly say that Dosa batter has saved my life in these busy times.
But then having dosas of only the urad dal  and rice batter mixture gets boring. So I have a variety of dosa batters /dhirda / ghawan batters in the week.  Bhakti tai's theme on dosa and ghawan  prompted me to write this and share what kinds of dosas I make

1) Regular dosa: Batter has rice to urad dal in 2:1 ratio.Soak overnight, grind and allow to ferment. I either make it or buy it depending on time and availability. 

2) Onion uttapam- Add onions to this batter and make thick dosas, this makes onion uttapam

3)Wheat rava dosa - Wheat flour and rava in 2:1 ratio add salt and ginger green chilli paste make batter of dosa consistency. Advantage of this is it is instant , no need of fermentation 

4) Moong dal chilla- Soak yellow moong dal overnight ,grind it, add rava, lal tikha, salt . No need of waiting to ferment

5) Moong dosa or Pesaratu- I have ready moong dal dosa powder to which I add salt, grated ginger garlic chilli powder and make the batter. If you want to make it at home, soak moong overnight and grind to paste next morning

6 ) Ghawan/ Rice dosa/ Neer dosa- Rice flour and salt make it as a flowy batter . I also use the rice dosa mix by taste for life. To that just add water and make the dosas . They go very well with coconut chutney

7) Ragi dosa - Ragi flour and urad dal in 2:1 proportion. Udal dal soak overnight. Grind next day mix with ragi flour allow to ferment and make dosas post that

8) Besan dhirda/ Besan ghawan/ Tomato omlette- Besan, Tomato chopped, onion chopped, lal tikha , ginger garlic paste salt. Make a dosa like batter.

9) Jowar ghavan- Jowar flour, chilli garlic paste, salt. Add some rava if you want. 

10) Gulache pole/Jaggery pancakes- Wheat flour and jaggery in equal proportion. Melt the jaggery, mix with Wheat flour add water. Nice sweet dosas. 

11) Mixed millet dosas- Mix various flours , add some remaining dal, gi ger chilli paste and you can have variety of flavourful combos. Adding sooji/rava to this gives a nice crunch

12) Amboli- An Amboli is a bit of a Konkan thing somewhere between a dosa and an uthapa. I make it using the ready Amboli mix. Tastes yummy.

I cannot believe I hardly have any dosa pics with me🤦🤦Hence sharing the ragi dosa pic I  have

-Dhanashree

Thursday, March 12, 2020

What is your hands on parenting quotient?


The other day my husband and I were having a general conversation. He made a statement that will linger on my mind for long and I will forever remember that. It was "D, how our personal and professional life shapes up also depends on how hands on we are in raising our kids." What does being hands on parent mean? So I would say how much of parenting you delegate and how much and what you do determines
 how much hands on you are. Is it bad to delegate? Absolutely not! In today's world where both spouse's work,some part of parenting will always be delegated. How much is that part and how is the delegation managed is the question.

When I was at home, I would make sure my daughter is fed all meals which are healthy. If there is help and the help doesn't make it as per my style, I will take control and do it. I will spend time with my daughter instead of engaging her in n-number of classes so as to have my free time.  This is my parenting style. Now for someone, who wants more free time or is not so concerned about their child's meals, they will not have the mental load of spending time or bothering what their child has eaten. Hence they will always have more time for other pursuits in life either professional or hobbies. 

Why is this discussion even relevant? In today's world there are a lot of working women. Parenting brings a lot of changes , more for the mother but also for the fathers.  The career progression after parenthood will largely be impacted by how hands on parent you are. I am not talking about impact in a negative sense. The impact will be determined by how hands on you want to be in parenting. Let's say you have a year old child and get an international assignment which might take your career to a different level. If at that point you want to be near your child, you will not get to choose that career path. A lot of people will tell you - " Take that assignment. Kids turn out fine. They are resilient". My question is "How resilient are you?" That is the question we need to ask.
A lot of people are ok with the nanny feeding junk food, showing mobile screen to the kids because they have become dependent on her. Even if I were dependent, I will find a replacement to her. Someone else might say, " Our kids grew up eating biscuits and nothing bad happened"  My point is good kids are not necessarily an outcome of good parenting and bad kids are not necessarily an outcome of bad parenting. You can always post facto rationalize your parenting style. But if you truly want good for your kid, you will do what good means to your conscience. 
For someone, leaving a 9 month old behind with family for a trip might not be a big deal . For someone else it might be. Kids will grow up fine ,because just as parents don't have choice of how their kids turn out, kids don't have choice how their parents are.
Hence the next time someone tells you why don't you do this -some xyz baby turned out fine- tell them your hands-on parenting quotient is different from theirs or wait ignore them and tell this to yourself.

#dsaidso
#mydaughtermyteacher
#parenting

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Shared Parenting


The other day I was a bit unwell. So much so that I wasn't able to get up and was feeling feverish. Husband equally tired from a long day and late from office, immediately handled the kids and did some basic household chores like filling water bottles etc which is normally done by me. He did all this without me telling him to do this. Core feminists might say there is nothing great about it. So what if my husband does this? It is great because it's an improvement from earlier times when I had to tell him to do certain things and he would not even understand sometimes. Now this is happening seamlessly. This to me is what shared parenting is all about - It's not just about sharing the chores on the list ,it is moving away from Do as Directed to taking ownership of execution as well as mental load.

Why is shared parenting required?
Purely, because when both the partners engage in child rearing, it becomes enjoyable for both as well as less stressful had it been done by one parent predominantly. It helps in binding with kids for both the parents. With today's nuclear family structure , it becomes imperative that both the partners share the load. Even if you have household help, there are still certain things you might need to do and there will obviously be mental load of tasks to be done.  Also 100% dependance on household help is risky as they take advantage of the dependence sometimes. Hence shared parenting is required. Shared parenting does not mean exact 50-50 division of tasks. It means division in a way such that both the spouse's get time to pursue their other ambitions. Sometimes the child rearing  load might be more on the spouse whose the professional load is lighter and vice versa. But over a period of time it evens out.

What are the roadblocks to shared parenting? What are the possible solutions to them?

Patriarchal mindset- Why should men do this? It's a women's job. Plus we can hire help. Why should a man be involved in all this? Log kya kahenge mindset - beta bacche ka diaper badalta hain
Solution- This one takes time. Mindset change is individual as well as societal pressure helps. Ads by Ariel like Share the load sort of help in driving home the message. Also because we emulate the west - showing that in the west people do things on their own should help in changing the mindset. Give the example of Sharmaji ka beta from USA .

There is help available mindset-   There is affordable household help available in India, why do this on our own. So delegate. 
Solution- Not everything can be delegated. Also if it can be , what about the mental load about this management if househelp? What about their sick days? We need to drive this point strongly.

Women not letting go- Women expecting perfection and hence refusing to delegate
Solution - This is a tuff one. Women being perfectionist,  want things to be done in exactly one way. Women must realise that even if things are not done in their way they want but done in a reasonably ok way, the world will not come to an end. For example if your husband gives bath to your child in a diferent way than yours , it's ok. 

Income factor - The factor that women's salary is much lower, hence she can stay at home so that husband can fully focus on work. The combined family income due to this will still be higher
Solution - Men need to understand that job is not merely a source of income , it's much more for women. Two jobs also help in risk diversification in volatile times. 

Joint family -  Joint families are great support systems if they want to help. But they are the worst if big egos are involved. If the elders especially elder women in the family want to trouble the daughter in law, they will ensure she doesn't get her husband's support and brainwash him against shared parenting.
Solution : Men need to be smartly told that what difference their help makes and how it positively impacts babies. Once they realise that, then they generally are willing to contribute

Shared parenting is the only way forward for us to progress as a society. So the sooner we go there, the better it is.

#dsaidso
#mydaughtermyteacher
#parenting

-Dhanashree.
Https://dsaidso.blogspot.com

भाषा - the connect

आमचे इस्त्रिवाले भैया म्हणजे बाप लेक जोडी आहे. कधी बाबा येतात कधी मुलगा येतो कपडे न्यायला घ्यायला.मुलगा चेहऱ्यावरून मराठी वाटला नाही, म्हणून मी त्याच्याशी हिंदीत बोलायला सुरुवात केली. बाबा मात्र स्वतःहून माझ्याशी मराठीत बोलायला लागले. अगदी मराठी accent वाटला , आणि त्यांचा चेहरा महाराष्ट्रीय  वाटला.  ते मराठी बोलतात म्हणून त्यांच्याशी वेगळाच connect वाटला. मी सहज विचारलं, तुम्ही मराठी आहात का? ते म्हणाले, मी यूपी चा आहे, पण बरेच वर्ष महाराष्ट्रात आहे.   

बंगलोरला हॉस्टेल मध्ये होते तेव्हा इथे कोण जास्त‌ मराठी बोलणारे भेटत नाही याची खंत वाटायची मला.  मग कोणी मराठी बोलणार भेटलं की खूप मस्त वाटायचं.

माझ्या आईची आई आणि बाबांची आई दोघीही मालवणी ( कोकणी सारखी) भाषा बोलायच्या. त्या भाषेत डाळीच्या आमटीला डाळीचा सांबारा म्हणतात. आई अजूनही मराठीत बोलताना असे मालवणी शब्द वापरते. 

स्वित्झर्लंड येथील jungfraujoch ला जाणाऱ्या ट्रेन मध्ये स्वागत करण्यासाठी नमस्कार म्हटलं जातं आणि तेव्हा आपल्या हृदयात ला एक कोपरा सुखावतो. बहुतांश प्रवासी भारतीय असल्यानं त्यांनी असं केलं असावं. 

आमच्या मुलीशी आम्ही मराठी बोलतो. ती आधी फार छान इंग्लिश बोलत नसे. म्हणून आम्ही घरात इंग्लिश बोलायला सुरुवात नाही केली. आता ती इंग्लिशमध्ये सुद्धा छान बोलते. ती इंग्लिश शाळेत जाते. पण तिला उत्कृष्ट मराठी लिहिता बोलता आलं पाहिजे अशी माझी इच्छा आहे. काल mother language day होता. त्यानिमित्ताने हे लिखाण .  

#मराठी
#motherlanguageday
#unesco

-Dhanashree
https://dsaidso.blogspot.com

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

मोठेपणा


‌गेल्या आठवड्यात रस्त्यावरून जाताना ओळखीच्या काकू भेटल्या. माझी त्यांच्याशी फारशी ओळख नाही म्हणजे  जाता-येता दिसतात फक्त. माझ्याबरोबर माझी लेक होती. ती कुठल्या शाळेत जाते अशी  काकूंनी चौकशी केली. माझ्या लेकीनं शाळेचे नाव सांगितलं. त्यावर त्यांनी आपला नातू कुठल्या शाळेत जात होता सांगायची सुरुवात केली. (आता त्यांचा नातू कॉलेजात आहे.) तर हा त्यांचा संवाद. "माझा नातू आर्य विद्यामंदिर शाळेत जात होता. मग त्याला IG बोर्ड हवा होता. अंबानी च्या शाळेत दोनदा ट्राय केली ऍडमिशन ,पण मिळाली नाही म्हणून मग शेवटी जमनाबाई मध्ये घेतली."त्यांच्या बोलण्यात नातू इंटरनॅशनल बोर्डात जातो त्याचा भयंकर मोठेपणा होता.  मला त्यांच्या वागण्याचं  नवल वाटलं. नातू कुठल्या शाळेत जातो यावरून कसला आलाय मोठेपणा?

‌ काही लोकांना आपण मोठ्या घरात राहतो किंवा शहराच्या मध्यवर्ती ठिकाणी  राहतो याचा भारी मोठेपणा असतो. माझी आई मुंबईच्या दादरमध्ये वाढली. तिच्या माहेरचं हिंदू कॉलनीत पाच खोल्यांचं घर होतं. अतिशय मोठं घर आणि हिंदू कॉलनी सारखी सुशिक्षित सुसंस्कृत आणि पॉश लोकांची एरिया. तरीही माझ्या आईने कधीही- कधीही म्हणजे खरंच कधी एकदा सुद्धा आमचं असं मोठं घर होतं हे विधान केलेलं आठवत नाही. छोट्या घरांना तुच्छतेने बघितले असं  आठवत नाही. त्यामुळे मला घरावरून असा मोठेपणा करणाऱ्यांची खूप मजा वाटते.

‌ एकदा तर एका ओळखीच्या बाईंनी त्यांच्या मुलाला सासर्याने कसं दिल्लीचं विमान प्रवासाचं तिकीट काढून दिलं त्याचा मोठेपणा केला. मी त्यांना विचारलं तुमच्या मुलाची टिकीट काढण्याची सुद्धा ऐपत नाही का? असं म्हटल्यानंतर त्यांचा चेहरा अगदी बघण्यासारखा होता.

‌ काही लोकांना आपण किती फिरलो विशेषतः किती परदेश फिरलो याचा भारी मोठेपणा असतो. दुसरे काही विषय नसतात त्यांच्याकडे बोलायला. वाचन ,काम, अजून काही छंद,  काहीच नाही. मला म्हणायचं तुम्हाला फिरायचं होतं तुम्ही फिरला. त्याचा कसला आलाय मोठेपणा?

‌ मोठेपणा कसला आणि कुठे मारायचा त्याला सुद्धा काहीतरी सीमा असते. त्याहीपेक्षा माझ्या दृष्टीने सर्वात जास्त महत्त्व माणसाच्या वागणुकीला आहे. तो माणुसकीने वागतो का हे खरं महत्त्वाचं..बाकी  मोठेपणा करणं ही रिकामटेकड्या लोकांची कामं.
-धनश्री
#dsaidso
#randommusings

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Paay lagu....

A few weeks ago, Narayan Murty touched the feet of Ratan Tata and it became a news. It was considered as a sign of humility by the Infosys founder. In Hindu tradition, touching the feet of elders is considered as a good thing. The way I grew up, we touched elders feet during festivals and maybe before important events like exams . But I don't remember it was compulsory or doing it regularly.

As I grew up, I realised this touching of feet was a very strong symbol of showing respect. Irrespective of whether you respect the person or not , if you touch his/her feet , you are 'sanskaari' . Especially if you are a girl, you are sanskaari "bahu" or "beti". Worse , if you dont do so, you might be labelled as non sanskaari.I know a friend who did not even bother when her mum was sick and went on a trip. But publicly she would always touch her mum's feet. Even at the risk of not knowing the exact equations between the two, if she did not bother about her mum , why did she need to show that paay lagu mummy every single time? To show...to show the great Indian family is all about care and respect. In an Instagram world , where life is measured by pictures, paay lagu is a sanskaari picture. It is still a very strong symbol of respect without much effort.
I remember once , my daughter had asked me , why do we touch feet , should I touch feet everytime? I told her to behave nicely to people. Touching feet comes later and is optional. That's my sanskaar to my daughter, I don't care if she appears sanskaari or non sanskaari to the world.

-Dhanashree

Aaji

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