November 26, 2016

10 Random things-to-do!

This is for you. 
And you. 
You, as well.
10 Random things-to-do. Everyday. Or just today. Whatever!


1. Tell someone they have a charming smile. Also, smile more often yourself. It is infectious. It is important, however, to know when to retract that smile. You do not want to be that weird guy who smiles that constant psychopath smile ALL the time.

2. Make conversation with that small vendor you see outside your apartment everyday. Ask him how his day was, politely. If he seems sour, just give him an encouraging 'koi baat nai, chalta hain' and walk away.

3. Greet the watchman and the lift-man in your office with a dazzling 'Good Morning' everyday if you can. It's a no harm done move. They like to feel important and you are giving them just that. 

4. Say 'Thank you' for the smallest courtesy offered to you. Be consistent but not overly enthusiastic about it. You want to seem courteous, not bat-shit crazy.

5. Call/text your parents and just ask them how their day was going. If you are someone who does not do this often, you might alarm them with questions of such concern. Reassure them that all is well and you are just generally trying to be nice.

6. Wave to a child/toddler on your transit. But do not be the creepy dude who gives them chocolates. Avoid them chocolates.

7. If you want to grocery shop, make a day of it. BigBasket your products only if you are swamped like crazy. There is no equivalent to physical shopping. EVER! 

8. Once a weekend, go out and play a sport for hours together. Does not matter if you play hide-and-go-seek with the apartment kids, what matters is that you revisit that playful side of you every once in a while.

9. Dance. And Sing. Even if you have two left feet and the voice that could put a frog's croak to shame, sing and dance like your life depends on it. Whether you do it in solitary confinement or full public view is a personal choice. 

10. Cook. Learn to cook different cuisines. Or pretend, maybe. And if all that fails, order food in and have a good laugh over your failed culinary attempt.

Do it and pass it forward. A chain reaction of all things happy is what we need the most today! Making someone else happy is rewarding, even just a little bit. And when it does a full circle and comes back to you, you will know you have made a lot of people smile and laugh along the way.

A little more joy did no one harm! 

November 19, 2016

Acceptance and busting Pregnancy-related Myths

I have never complied by rules on the first go. If someone asks me to do something a certain way, I first do the opposite and then if that does not bode well with me I will return to do things the way I was first asked to do. So naturally, my first instinct is usually to revolt and if that does not work, I recede.

So when I found out I was pregnant, I was bombarded with all sorts of dos and don'ts that I needed to take care of for the impending gestation period. Not just people, the books and the websites and every little material I read and saw tried to put me off certain things more than anything. And being the natural 'chill'er in life, I paid little or no attention to most advice that was doled out to me. 

It was then that my husband pointed out a general flaw in my personality that I characteristically emote disapproval through my face more often than I need to and that hit home! Even though my intention was not such, my face emoted my detachment from the advise as soon as it was given to me. I decided to be a little more accepting of things that were said to me, especially by family, because of course they mean well and 'all they want is good health for you and the baby', I told myself. 

So with time, I adopted a more tolerant attitude toward said things but I did not completely shed my disapproving behaviour. I transformed into a more logical self, analysing things I was told to do and adjusting them to suit the needs of the baby and me. It was in the course of these meticulous 5 months of analysing, over analysing, incessantly reading and personal experiences that I came to realise that some pregnancy related advice are essentially myths.  

1. The Great 'Khatta khaane ka mann' logic
No, you do not suddenly want to eat all the achaar and the khatta imli when you conceive. Some have the hankering for sweet food and some for savoury. I, for one, oscillated between the two. You feel like eating a lot of sour things to basically ease the first trimester nausea but that too, for some women, is a temp thing which last a couple of weeks.

2. Sleeping on your right is a strict NO-NO

Yes, the doctors will advise you to avoid sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your back compromises the blood flow to the uterus and the baby. Also, towards the end of the third trimester, your lungs will feel burdened if you sleep on your back and so your cuddle up on your side. But one of the scariest things I have heard is that sleeping on your right results in the birth of a still-born. I have met with a fair few doctors and practitioners in my present term and there is no medical proof backing this claim. 

3. The many many legends of guessing the baby's gender

The silver chain and ring test, the sweet-savoury craving test, the shape of the tummy test. There are all kinds of small little legends that people have to determine the gender of the baby. Personally, my husband and I never really put a lot of thought into it. When someone tries to predict the gender of the baby, I laugh it off by saying that there is at least a 50% chance they are right. Either way.

4. You have got to eat for two!

No! You have got to eat healthy, being an expecting mum. And the doctor will advise you of the same after taking into consideration your medical history. And when they tell you to eat for two, pile on the nutrition, not the portion size! 

5. Pile on the kilos

Not all mommys-to-be need to put on anywhere between 10 to 15 kilos while preparing themselves for the baby. You can put on anywhere between 5 to 18 kilos but the range is decided upon by your doctor after taking your BMI into account. Since I am an overweight woman, I have been advised to gain weight in the 5-8 kilo bracket. With the right food, exercise and activity, the less than needed gain weight does not affect the baby at all.

6. Do not drive!

Agreed that the first couple of months, you are on tenterhooks about the whole driving thing. You want to but you are too scared to and so you completely do not. But personally, driving is something which is a lot more convenient than riding a bike (which you should avoid because of increased accident risks) Take a couple of months off in the beginning if you are unsure, but you can resume driving if your back feels fine. Plus the kick from driving is more soothing than anything else.

7. The third trimester will only make you look and feel unattractive.

Maybe. But not always. Pregnancy glow is not a thing abundantly found among women. In that case, use makeup to your rescue. And yes, you will feel tired most of the time but lean on your husband to lift up your spirits when you are feeling unattractive (read troll-like)

Before you take my word for it entirely, these are the things I have generally found to be non-applicable in my case. But if you do try to google their authenticity, you will find at least one hit on the first page that will debunk my claim as well. So, like me, do venture out to make your pregnancy your own personal experience than being chained to some age-old things you are forced to comply by. And do this whilst being accepting of all opinions. 



November 17, 2016

5 thoughts I have when the baby moves!

One of the most defining moments during your pregnancy is the time you feel the baby squirm inside of you. Given that you have been living with a black and white ultrasound image of a blob of mass, five months into the pregnancy, you finally get that one proof that there is indeed something growing inside you and believe it or not, it is FREAKY!

Let me dive head first into it. I know you are judging me a little when I do not categorise my 'the baby moved' experience as beautiful. It was downright freaky. It is only then that the time has arrived for you to come to terms with the fact that you are now a manufacturing and food processing unit for another human for the next 4-5 months of your life. Of course, over time the frantic situation dissolves into a more subtle and novel experience but there is no denying all these feels you will feel when you actually feel the baby move for the first time and all the times after that!

1. Is it gas?
Yes. That was the absolute first thought and heck, it felt like it too. The soft feathery swish termed as quickening is what most mothers feel in the early months of the second trimester. Though categorised as baby movements, quickening is more like that uneasy wave of gas you feel after a heavy mexican meal. It took me while to tell the two apart *facepalm*

2. Bring it on baby
The baby loves a challenge and so do I! This is one good thing that happened in the months that followed the movements. I have not had sleepless nights because of the kicks, in fact it helped me sleep more soundly knowing there was an over-achiever in my belly. To be an expectant mother and be so laid back about it is something I am given grief over constantly but hey, why fret when the baby is as chill as you are! 

3. That is an unreachable itch!
The squirming inside your belly however results in an unbearable itch. What is worse is that this is happening inside your body and there is nothing you can do about that except for plead to the baby to go easy on you. Mine did not listen to me and only became more active. The little devil, this one! 

4. Do I sit or do I stand or do I lay down?
So what is the protocol when you feel the first set of solid kicks. That is, after you have identified them as baby kicks/movements. Do you sit down or do you stroll around a little or do you just lie down on your side. What will aid the baby's movements more? The answer to this, however, comes to you with time as you live with your baby and learn its habits. Each baby reacts to the mother and the environment in a different way and so you have got to work with the baby to find what is best for them.

5. Come on baby, put on a show! 
I have a baby who does not comply by demands. So when you tell the baby to move, there will be dead silence, like absolutely no movement but moves about nonstop when I am in the middle of a midnight snack watching Modern Family re-runs. Fact of the matter: My baby moves only when it wants to. He is a twisted one too, moves the most when the Nani (my mum) or the father (my husband) talk. 

Four months into feeling the little one move around and doing somersault pretty much every time I eat cake, I am more used to this than anything else.

I am into this constant habit of sitting on a straight chair with the laptop propped in front me as I sit down to type posts every other day. And for the past few weeks, the baby syncs its kicks and movements to the sound of me typing on the keyboard. I even get an appreciative jab or a punch after I type a particularly long non-punctuated sentence. Of course, I will miss this synchronised dance routine we share but I am ready for little 'baby hashtag' to kick me out of my sleep every night. 

Have you felt anything like this while you were pregnant with your baby or was it different? Do share your thoughts. 


November 10, 2016

Plus-size shopping : My favourite brands

Wearing a comfortable Jersey Tshirt from aLL

The struggle for the perfect clothes is real. And especially if you are a full-figured on-the-heavier side woman, finding clothes that are the right size and fit for you is the most difficult. 

For years, I have been on the lookout for stores big and small that had signs on their doors that read 'UPTO 7XL SIZE AVAILABLE'. These places do not necessarily make me feel all too great about myself but hey, a girl's got to do all she can to look like a million bucks. Makeup could only take me so far. Clothes is another level altogether. I have had a lot of people telling me very politely over the years, 'Nahi yaar, XXL toh aa hi jaayega kyuki tum inti bhi moti nahi ho'. But then I passed the XXL mark in a lot of popular retail brands a few years ago according to whom size variations are just darned. It is hilarious that a size XXL is not necessarily the same fit and measurements in any two brands. 

And so began my quest for that one brand that would cater to my style preferences and not be limited in terms of variety. In my search that has spanned nearly 8 years, I have narrowed down my favourites to the following seven. 

1. aLL
2. Mustard
The first two brands are all about basic clothing and comfort. The price point on these brands are just above the normal range and the size options are wide too. Personally, my favourites from aLL are the Denims and from Mustard are the Kurtis and tank-tops.

3. Gia
4. Sassy Soda
Gia and Sassy Soda are two inhouse brands at Westside and I LOVE them! I discovered them only 3 years ago and have been obsessed with their range. They update their collection with the current trends and do not shy away from experiementing with silhouettes for plus size women.

5. Biba
6. Mebaz
Biba and Mebaz are my two go-to brands for ethnic clothing. While Biba is all about organic cottons and silks and fabrics that can be worn daily, Mebaz is all jazz and shimmer with a dazzling party-wear collection. 

7. Asos
Last but not the least, the brand that every blogger loves but me, not as much. Asos does have a decent collection for plus size women and the range is exquisite but the shipping and the aftermath are horrid especially if you are new to the world of international shipping. My advice would be to choose Asos over other brands for clothes that are kitsch and unique.

Apart from these brands, there are a lot of independent designers and fashion brands that are reinventing fashion to be more size-inclusive. Gladly, there is a lot more choice in terms of styles, designs and patterns for plus size people out there and this is only on the rise. If you are looking at a more niche shopping experience over buying generic clothes from the places I mentioned above, you can try out these websites.

1. Amydus
3. LastInch
4. Calae
5. Oxolloxo
6. Kaaryah
7. Faballey Curve

Of the brands mentioned above, I have had personal shopping experiences with only one of them. Other brands come heavily recommended though and so I would strongly suggest you give them a spin. 

Is there any plus-size brand that you have loved and is not a part of this list then let me know. I would love to try them out!
Until next time


November 6, 2016

5 unexpected ways your body changes during Pregnancy!

Cruising through the last month of pregnancy is turning out to be quite uneventful apart from the fact that I am suddenly very aware of every little thing that happens to my body. Apart from the obvious physical changes(duh!) that an expecting mother's body goes through during the nine months, some changes in my body took me by surprise. Read on! 

1. Nose

I am not making this up! And this is no exclusive occurrence either. If you have known an expecting mother, ask her about it and she will deny it happens. But then ask her to compare the pictures of her pregnant self with those of her pre-pregnancy self and you will have given her an epiphany. Most new moms are unaware that our noses grow in size when we cruise through the second trimester into the third. However, it is ironic that the growing nose contributes very little to the stuffy, breathless feeling we get towards the end of the third trimester because the baby grows giving your lungs very little space to function to their full capacity. Makes that growing nose feel quite redundant, doesn't it!!

2. Clumsy limbs

As the baby bump grows, your centre of gravity shifts and your body threatens to double over and fall more than usual. So like me if you have had a clumsy bone all throughout your life, things will only go downhill from here. My brain and limbs have ceased to coordinate and I just drop things while I am holding them, and for no apparent reason. They just slip out of my grip. I am not being even slightly hyperbolic when I say this. As if maintaining a healthy hand-eye-leg coordination was not enough, the pregnancy brain is totally giving me away! 

Also, pregnancy brain is the real deal! 

3. Jawline

If you are past the 30 week mark, congratulations, you now do not have a jawline. Except if you are a supermodel or a fitness freak in which case, I hate you! With the expanding nose and aching teeth, I now have a chubby round baby's butt for a jawline. Smiling or not, my face resembles a full blown balloon which is legit cool given I am pregnant and everything.  

4. Foot size

I have not had the aching swollen feet and ankles but heck I have the curse of the pregnancy feet. Any other footwear variation that is not a flip-flop feel like thorns and fashion sense literally gets thrown out the window. Bye-bye high fashion and street style footwear choices and hello man-slippers. My foot has increased by one size and flip-flops are nirvana. Socks, on the other hand, are murder. Because, heat!

5. Nails

The nails grow at an alarming rate and behold! they are strong and anything but brittle. Think about all those amazing matte mail polishes you can wear and flaunt with them perfect nails. But as luck would have it, when your maternal instincts kick in in the third semester, anything remotely sharp will make it to the garbage can and there go the 'perfect nails'. Get ready for months of non-manicured hands because baby comes first.

Anything you have felt out of the ordinary during your term of pregnancy which has not made it to this list, let me know. I have a nagging feeling in the back of my head that this list will need some constant updating. 

Until the next post in this series, Cheers!