CARE ENOUGH TO SEND THE VERY BEST

Sending and receiving cards is a dying tradition these days. But it still gives me the joy to find an old card buried in my treasures. They evoke such beautiful memories. During my school and college days, I have spent hours standing in the Hallmark or Archies gallery looking for the perfect wordings and cards for my friends and families. And believe it or not, I used to always find one such perfect card which suited the receiver’s personality, and also the wording felt like they came straight from my heart. And was also budget-friendly considering our cash-strapped student days.

Finding the perfect card was not enough then we decorated it with our comments and quotations using colorful sketch pens and stickers. Still more sketch pen work on the envelope and then the card was ready to be sent.

This whole rigmarole around sending a card really jived with the tag line of Hallmark cards – “When you care enough to send the very best.”

That hold true today also. Even though we don’t send many greeting cards in today’s times but we do give gifts to our loved ones. Giving the very best doesn’t necessarily mean the latest version or the expensive one. Giving the best means putting thought and effort into buying something that really touches the heart of the receiver, something they really needed or something that excites them or gels with their personality.

Going back in time an 18-year-old lad Joyce Hall started selling postcards from two shoe boxes. More than 100 years and billions of well-wishes later, Hallmark Cards, Inc. continues to thrive with the grandsons of that Nebraska teenager at the helm.

A time came when fire destroyed his entire inventory. But he still trudged ahead moved from post cards to greeting cards, then wrapping paper, Crayola, dayspring and so on.

While going through the history of the company I was very impressed by this thought 

 “Joyce Hall was intrigued by the word “hallmark” used by goldsmiths as a mark of quality. Mr. Hall liked that it not only said quality, but also included his family name. “

Yes mark of quality and full of love and care that is the definition of a hallmark Greeting Card for you..

Link for Hallmark Cards history: 

WHERE IS THE TIME?

There are many things I know I need to be doing and don’t get around to actually doing it. Please don’t ask why? Because I will say ‘Where is the time?” 

In my quest to become a perfect homemaker, mother, employee I really feel time is running me by and I have no time to invest in myself. I have read dozens of self help books, seen multiple inspiring videos and read quite a few blogs and get very inspired and buzzed about everything. 

But when it comes to actually putting things into action I am back to square one. Where is the time? Make a different diet plan for myself – where is the time to cook a separate meal. Go for a walk – in that much time I can fold all the laundry and reload the washing machine. Write a blog – but there is a ppt pending which I need to complete first. I mean the chores are never ending. There is always something out of place which requires my attention.

And the worse part is I am still not house proud. I still feel my work is far from perfect. Lots of miles still left to be covered. 

You may call it procrastination or lack of time management or will power. I don’t know. Or maybe I just need a wakeup call to get off this chores treadmill and spend some time only with myself, only on myself.

REST LIKE YOU MEAN IT

“Sometimes the best solution is to REST, RELAX and RECHARGE. It’s hard to be your best on empty.”

But with the new normal the office has entered into our homes. It has systematically eaten into our relaxation time. Office never ends. Calls and emails keep on going from evening to late into the night trying to accommodate all the different time zones in the world. The company says – anyways you have nowhere else to go to so might as well utilize the time. 

There is a kind of buzzing in the house all the time – enter one room and you realize it’s a classroom for the time being. Enter the second room and you have accidentally entered a meeting room with your hubby’s eyes transmitting a huge ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ Board. 

My mixer grinder, cooker and even TV are not allowed to create their usual racket. So what do I do? I blot out the buzz sit on the sofa plug in my earphones and login to my favorite OTT channel.

This was my relaxation. My little world inside this bigger world. I was really enjoying it. I get transported to another world, comfortably lounging on my sofa and the headphones whispering into my ear and time just flies..

Yes it flies and how.. Gone are the good old days of weekly soaps or even daily soaps. Now is the time for series. I am sure no one has dutifully stopped after one episode. One episode leads to the second and then the third and so on.. minutes turn into hours.. 

I have watched entire seasons in matter of days. Just completed the series ‘Sherlock’ which has 7 seasons. 

But seriously I have come to realize that is not rest and surely not relaxation. My body is lying for hours in an awkward angle trying to balance my phone or remote. Binge watching and binge eating go hand in hand. And then most importantly my eyes are not getting any rest. Work also means I am staring at the screen for long hours and fun also means the same. Brain is also buzzing with the non-stop watching. There is a sense of satisfaction that I completed so and so series in such less time but then again it’s a race to complete it not relaxation.

I am trying to kick this habit. Or at least reduce the binging time. 

Do share what is the kind of relaxation you are into. And does it really give rest to your body?

THINGS DID WORK OUT

Trusting my own decisions has never come easily to me. I always rethink my decisions weighing all the pros and cons over and over again. Even while making a small decision of buying a dress, I feel more comfortable after taking a second opinion from a friend. I jokingly say that it is the aftereffect of being completely surrounded by Librans and their balance (My closest family members are mostly Librans and I am sure they will not forgive me for this statement 😉).

I guess living a very sheltered life and always having some one at hand to bounce my ideas off has made me dependent. 

Anyways so for a person like me to think of an incident where I completely trusted my own decision, I had to do a lot of deep diving.

When my kids were pretty small, the elder one was in Nursery and the younger was hardly a toddler. My life was all chalked up. My in-laws were staying with me. There was a full-time maid to help out with the kids. Me and my husband both had a good job.  I was actually working with a government organisation having a pensionable job.

Out of the blue moon things changed on every front. There were some family obligations because of which my mom-in-law had to shift to her elder son’s house. My husband got a great opportunity to work in Pune. He shifted base to Pune and suddenly the responsibility of handling my job and two small kids felt very huge.

We tried to manage for 6 months but then I realised that at this stage I didn’t want a long-distance marriage. He was tired  of travelling to and fro every weekend and kids were becoming very cranky and difficult to handle.

After a lot of deliberations, I decided to take a 1-year leave and move to Pune to see how things work out. To cut the long story short things did work out there and I left the government job.

People called me foolish to have taken such a decision… Others said this was a wise decision. The jury is still out on that.

But looking back all I think is things did work out for good in the end.

A NUDGE OR A PUSH

Look at the picture above and tell me what you see? I see the nudge or the push that mother elephant is giving to her baby to go on her own into the water. The little one is scared to move ahead on her own but the mother knows she is ready for the world. Similarly, we have heard stories about birds who push their young ones out of the nest. That is their way to make them fly. They know the little one is ready to fly and explore even though he is scared. Hence the push is required, it’s a necessity.


Do we humans also do the same? I guess not.. We hold on to our children for a long time. At least I can speak for the parents in India. We want to keep the children with us as long as we can. First because we think they need us and then we need them.


As a small child it is important that we protect our children from the harsh realities of the world. But there is a time when we should let the child explore on his or her own. When is the right time to let go of the umbilical cord is debatable but I guess it generally happens in phases. The boundaries of the child keep increasing as they grow up and then one fine day they grow up into young men and women ready to take on the world.
I have two almost adult boys who want me to leave them alone and let them decide on their own about everything. We have a tussle deciding the boundaries every day.


The other day my younger son was playing in an online chess tournament. He was having a tough match I could hear his frustrated comments in the other room. I so much wanted to walk into his room and hold his hand and calm him down. Tell him its ok. Relax… You are doing well… But no, I couldn’t. Firstly, because the camera was on and it would tantamount to cheating but also because he has to go through these emotions on his own and learn to control himself if he has to win the tournament.


I keep telling myself they are prepared. For their personalities to shape up they need to explore on their own. Even if they stumble and fall… they need to learn to get up and dust themselves and move on… not wait for help from Mumma… So, learning a lesson from the animal kingdom today… Something I knew but many a times forgot to put into effect. It requires courage on both the side. The parents who have been the protectors for so long need to courage to let go and the child who has to venture out on his own requires courage to do so.

Sometimes a nudge or a push is the right thing to do.

SMALL ACTS GO A LONG WAY …

Act of courage need not be something monumental that you did. It also means the small but meaningful acts that we do every day. Like owning up our mistakes and saying sorry, standing up to someone who is bullying you or just saying a firm no.

Recently I came across the story of my colleague’s daughter who is in grade 5 and is being bullied by her so-called best friend in school.

Yes, even I was surprised to hear that. In today’s day of online classes, even when they don’t physically meet, she is able to bully her.

Let’s call her Annie and her friend Rachel. Rachel was a topper in the class and a favourite of her teachers. When Annie joins the same school and becomes her classmate, she becomes direct competition to her. Annie starts bagging the prizes which Rachel used to get. Annie is at the top of her class now.

Rachel is so consumed with jealously. She uses technology as her tool. Whenever Annie replies to any question in the class Rachel writes snide remarks in the chat box. Wonder how her teacher misses it. Then in the evening Rachel has set up a zoom meeting everyday to do homework. The rule of the meeting is that Annie will finish all her homework before that zoom call and share it with her friends in the zoom meeting.

Poor Annie thinks she is doing it for her friend. Her innocent brain does not comprehend that she is being used. Another instance of bullying is that Rachel tells Annie ‘You are an only child because your parents got so fed-up taking care of you that they decided they didn’t want any more children.’ ‘Look at me I have two other siblings to love me.’ With both parents working and she staying with her grand parents for almost the whole day Annie didn’t tell anyone about all this and was on the verge of a breakdown.

Constant messaging on WhatsApp that you are good for nothing. Your mother does all work for you. Really brought Annie’s self-worth down and she really started believing it herself. All along Rachel kept telling her that I am your only friend and no one else wants to be your friend. Friends do get angry with each other but then its OK to be angry.

Annie got so traumatized with the whole thing. On one hand she kept getting critiqued by her ‘Best Friend’ on the other hand she was scared to lose her only friend. Annie got fever and finally she broke down in front of her mom and told her the whole story.

My colleague was so worried about her daughter. Both the parents counseled her a lot. After a few days of explaining and counseling, my friend told me today that finally Annie got the courage to call that girl and tell her that she is blocking her on WhatsApp and she does not want to talk to her anymore whatever the consequences. A formal complain was also lodged with the Principal. Now that is an act of courage! Specially from a 10-year-old girl. She must have gone through a lot of emotional stress. May God give her more strength! She will bounce back I am sure, as children always do.

Standing up for oneself and being able to say no to things we don’t want to do, whatever the circumstances, not letting someone take advantage of you these are our day to day acts of courage.

HONESTY CAN STAND ONLY ON THE PEDESTAL OF COURAGE

The question put to me today is ‘Do I have the courage to be honest?”

Oh not at all! I am the wrong person to kick start the week about ‘courage to be honest’. See, the thing is that I from my very childhood have been a people pleaser. I mean it mattered a lot to me to what others think about me. I have gone to great lengths to avoid conflict, to not rock the boat. Overlooked a lot many things to avoid argument. 

But over the years I have realized that going along with other’s plans even when we don’t agree with it usually back fires on us. Keeping quite at the start to avoid a conflict eventually leads us into a bigger mess.

For a long time, I have been part of the cultural committee which plans all big celebrations in our society. There have been times when a deco idea or dance idea doesn’t feel right but we still go ahead with it because the person who is suggesting it is very enthusiastic and we don’t want to break their heart. But then eventually when on the D Day there is a debacle or things don’t work out the whole team is blamed, we all become the fall guys. At that moment I realized that its better to be brutally honest right at the start.

Imagine you are in a meeting and your boss suggests an idea. You think it’s an absolutely bogus idea. Do you have the guts to say that to your boss? I have gone along with ideas suggested by my seniors or super seniors which I didn’t really like. And the end result is that if things don’t work out it’s the team which takes the beating and the senior gets away scot free. Why? Because we agreed with it. 

So in my personal opinion in the long run its better to be honest and tell the person why we thing that what he or she is suggesting wont work. I still don’t do it with brutal honesty. I put it forward with a little diplomacy but hey… I am trying…

What happens if your being honest could have an adverse effect on you or your work? Do you still have the courage to be honest? 

Here I will give you an example of my husband. He owns a start up company. Now imagine the scenario. Their company really needed a certification from a government organization. He applied for it and after the due process he was called to the office to collect the letter. The guy in charge said the letter is ready you may take it and also hinted that he was excepting an X amount as bribe… The bribe amount was not very huge and the value of that letter to the company was much greater. My hubby returned the letter to him and said that he will not pay a single paisa and walked out of the room. I can only imagine the dumbfounded expressions on the officer’s face. Not that’s courage to be honest. He put a lot of future contracts in line by refusing to pay but he didn’t regret it.

Eventually that courage paid off, our company did get that letter eventually and we benefitted from that also.

So I guess being honest and pointing out something wrong does feel like a negative thing to do at that time but in the long run it is better for our own sanity, our work and our relationships. And I feel when it comes to honesty, courage is required by both the teller and the listener.