My first 6 months- guest blog by my daughter

I decided to takeover mom’s blog for one day and describe my first 6 months on earth. 

I was born on July 26 at 9.41am in a bright and noisy hospital room. It has been an enormous journey to learn how to live and adjust to my surroundings, and here are the highlights:

  • The two people everywhere in my life are my mom and dad- the first people I saw and cuddled. First few weeks, they seemed oddly obsessed with a few details of my life: feeding, diapers, and sleep- discussing it at length, so weird right? Everything daddy says is funny so I save my best giggles for him. Mummy gives the best cuddles and loves to sing to me- I think her voice is improving! 
  • I have two sets of grandparents who have spent a lot of time giving me hugs and kisses. I love playing with them but sometimes they also try to put me to sleep.
  • I really don’t like sleeping- everything around me is so bright and colorful, I don’t want to miss anything. 
  • My favorite thing to do is stare at all the lights- sunlight, bulbs, nightlight. Mummy buys all the toys and puts me on the mat but all I want to do is stare at the ceiling light.
  • My favorite place in the house is my changing table- it has the star nightlight, and seeing it makes me so happy that I kick and play.
  • I love swimming and being in the water- mummy has been taking me since I was 4 months old and it’s safe to say I will be a pro soon.
  • Mummy and I have outings everyday, which I love. Children’s center, sound and light classes, swimming, Pilates, and meeting my baby friends. 
  • While I love to go out, the one thing I hate is getting ready. Whenever mummy starts putting me in a jacket, I get uncomfortable, sometimes I even cry. 
  • I play little tricks on mummy and daddy- when they tell their friends I don’t sleep, that day I sleep without any effort- it’s fun! 🙂
  • I am friendly, I like staring at other babies and making friends. 
  • I smile a lot, although most of my smiles are in the comfort of my home.
  • I have just started talking and my favorite words are “ta ta” and “va va”.
  • Mummy is introducing new food to me and although I was skeptical at first, they seem tasty. My favorites so far are banana and butternut squash.
  • I love to sit- I haven’t quiet figured out how to get from my back to sitting but once mummy or daddy make me sit, I love it! 
  • Tummy time used to be a pain but now I can escape it by rolling onto my back.
  • I love rhymes- my favorite ones are 5 little ducks, you are my sunshine,  and the good morning song.

I can’t wait to see what’s next- in the meanwhile, comment if you like my post :).. it will encourage me to post an update again! 

The 3am musings 

It’s 3am, and your perfect little angel is sleeping in your arms, on her nursing pillow, with a bellyful of milk. With a lot of hesitation, I lower the baby into her bassinet- decked with Sleepyhead and other attractions to lure her to sleep. And then, “waaaah..”, she is up, extremely cross at your attempt to separate her from her cozy resting spot. This is what every night feels like lately!

You start thinking of waking up your loving and supportive spouse who would happily trade places with you for a while so you get some shut eye when a wave of guilt hits you. He has been in the office all day, exhausted while you are still on maternity leave. You think “Naah I will catch up during the day, he needs his sleep”. 

After all, I have all the luck in the world with parents and inlaws visiting and a lovely lady who cooks for us. I think of my antenatal group, and I realize everyone pulls through on their own. Everyone seems to be finding their own way of managing the night. So my mental speech to myself “come on, buck up. You can do this”. 

I remember the sleep workshop- sleep training the no cry way for softies like me who can’t handle the crying. But we tried one night- she was fed, and hubby rocked her to sleep and gently placed her in the bassinet. She smiled for a few seconds thinking it’s a game but when she realized daddy left the room, the little precious one wailed like a monster and refused to calm down. After 15 minutes, we settled her against us and said bye to sleep training! Icing on the cake- she turns around and gave us a victory laugh I started rocking her to sleep!

Then I remember all my conversations with mums and aunts in India-“what sleep training? You were in bed with us and fell asleep”. Setting aside all our fears of SIDS, we decide to go Indian for one nap- strip the bed of pillows and blankets and place her in the sleepyhead between us to avoid any flying elbows. Two minutes of kicking around and amusement seeing parents on both sides then the demand- how about rocking me to sleep now? Sigh British born babies don’t seem to get the Indian way!

Your mom friends and relatives always ask you about sleep. If you are honest, you get a lot of suggestions. Some advice is helpful, but sometimes you wonder if you are doing everything wrong- your confidence is shaken. So you mention no issues- after all until she got the cold, she was sleeping in the bassinet. You have selective amnesia about the first two months, the growth spurts- it’s all a phase anyway 🙂 You can’t have all this cuteness without some sleeplessness right? 

All of these thoughts and I scan Instagram for the 100th time and look at the watch- it’s 6am. I gently place her down, and lie down realizing she will be hungry soon so I must have a power nap.

And the day dawns 🙂 

The two sides of globalization


Shifting gears back to politics and the parallels between the US elections and Brexit, one thought on my head lately is the discussion on jobs and the sentiment against globalization. There are a 100 reasons to hate the result of the election but we also need to take away that there is a sentiment that is building which hasn’t been talked about enough. 

As a student of economics, we have always been thought that globalization is a wonderful thing- free movement of people and products across countries without barriers resulting in economies of scale and lower prices. That premise has brought the world closer- we drink Kenyan coffee brewed in a German coffee machine in a cup made in China.

People who opposed globalization were labeled protectionist and countries pursuing such policies were pressured into joining the global free market for trade.

But there is a price to pay: developed countries like US and UK have seen jobs move to China and Mexico. The people working in these factories in the small industrial towns presumably don’t have degrees that offer them new jobs and don’t have the luxury to re-skill with mouths to feed and mortgages to pay. The result is they take lower paying jobs to pay the bills but might end up in a lower income segment. This group doesn’t reflect in any unemployment number but they feel forgotten by their governments. This article Article: Revenge of Forgotten Class has examples from the swing states. There were similar anecdotes from UK, where a builder interviewed said he worked for 20ÂŁ an hour but was outbid by Polish migrants who work for half that. His choices are to work at half pay or risk going hungry, even if he went the half pay route, he feels significantly poorer.

The lack of focus by the Democrats on this issue cost them a lot of votes- Michael Moore called the result in July and cited this particular reason for the Rust belt- Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin- traditionally Democrat states to switch to Republican. 

There needs to be more thought on how this situation needs to addressed otherwise those negatively affected by globalization with hold the politicians responsible for negotiating trade deals that resulted in cheaper items for them to buy but not enough money to afford them. 

How my life changes as a mom..


Motherhood is an intense experience- it is a life altering journey and you come out on the other side a new person! There are lots of blogs out there sharing best practices, what to do, etc. This isn’t one of them! I don’t claim to be an expert, I think every baby is different and every mother child relationship is unique so no pearls of wisdom from me.

I am changing gears and attempting humor! As a new mom, here are 5 changes I observed:

  • Meal time marathons: somehow my little one knows mom is ready to eat and has to be changed/ fed/ put to sleep. So my time to eat has been quartered (if that is even a word!). I am still slow but it feels like I am running a marathon to finish! 
  • Sleep time anytime: there was a time when I needed a solid 30 minute wind down time and a cozy blanket and bed to get me to sleep. Now a nursing chair where my neck is slumped to one side and arm numb is just fine! I can’t claim no wind down time but I am hoping it goes away- otherwise I finish nursing, settling the little one down and I am running a countdown in my head “in two hours I have to be up, so I better sleep now… make that one hour 55 minutes so I can run to the loo…” and so on until it’s time to wake up! 
  • Date night joy: we are blessed with doting parents so we get the night off every few weeks. Sounds romantic but mostly we get to the restaurant, and order everything at once just in case we have to rush home, spend the whole meal discussing our little miracle, and when I get home I have missed her and can’t believe we left her for so long! 
  • Chats with your friends are different: with your mom friends, no topic is off limits- “does your baby’s poop smell?” Or “how long does she feed?”- no real embarrassment or privacy. Having said that, the antenatal group is your most viewed chat group and your lifeline at 4am. 
  • How you shop changes:My me time activities are shopping and a little mani pedi every now and then.It’s all about efficiency, online shopping or pick up in store and try at home. Not sure if it is working out as efficiently as I hoped, lots of returns. 

How did your life change as a mom? Share your experience in the comments below.

The world today 

I don’t usually post on politics but I had to comment on the headlines from this year that will be in history books for years to come- Brexit and Trump presidency. Both have some parallels:

  • a vote that seems anti establishment 
  • Shows a strong city versus the rest divide
  • Can also be perceived as blue collar versus white collar divide
  • Age demographics show young old divide
  •  All odds, opinion polls, and pundit predictions are wrong 
  • A departure from globalization to a more inward looking view
  • Immigration backlash

The point I want to bring out is this is a shock because we live in a bubble and tend to surround ourselves with people who share our views- this include the media. As an immigrant who has always lived in big cities, my views have been liberal- I want to see a female president and I would have voted remain. So do most people I know and work with. I read New York Times, follow MSNBC and CNN- both liberal mouthpieces. What we miss is every poll has sampling bias and most channels were looking at self -fulfilling prophecies- people who support their theories. 

In the case of Trump, they spent a lot of time ridiculing his over the top comments, which he gave us a lot of. But they should have spent some time understanding who were the people voting for him. The media lumped and labeled all of them as stupid, less educated racists and sexists. I am not debating if they are or not, the point is without listening to why they support Trump and taking an elitist view of them being less intelligent was a huge blunder. 

I think Hillary made that mistake too- she called Bernie supporters the losers living in parent’s basements and Trump supporters deplorable. Clearly they tapped into some real discontentment with the economy and they voted to the person who heard them. 

This is the exact parallel to Brexit, with London voting remain and rest of the country voting exit. No one saw it coming, every poll expected a large win for remain. Even the exit lobbyists were not expecting to win!

It is easy to label those who don’t share our views as stupid, but trying to understand why they voted is crucial to uniting a divided country. And a big role for the liberal media is to spend some time with both sides of the divide, otherwise they will risk never getting it right!

Super parent

My life changed… we had our princess 3 weeks ago and from being a daughter, wife, professional, friend, and so many other hats, I get a new hat called mother…

The role of a mother is worshiped, described in movies and songs in the most pious ways. Hindi movies have songs where moms are praised by their children. I am now realizing what it really means to be a mother. But as I digest this new world, I had a different thought- why isn’t there as much of a fuss about fathers? While nature gives us the lion share of pregnancy and child birth, fathers are often the silent partners to the entire journey. We point out when the father is absent from a child’s life, but we don’t spend enough time celebrating their role in a child’s life.

I can speak from my experience- my husband was a part of every stage in my journey, helping me through morning sickness, trying to feel her kicks and an enthusiastic partner of my antenatal classes. From the second she was born, he was with her every second, every midnight feed he waited patiently to burp her, changed every diaper enthusiastically, worried about every reaction, and celebrated every activity she did. I watch with pride as I see her cuddle against him and nap for hours on end. When we go to doctor’s appointments, they are surprised at how involved he is, and tell me I am lucky- and my hubby is perplexed. As his paternity leave is almost done, I keep wondering how much we both will miss him.

It reminds me of the nature v/s nurture argument- moms have a natural bond, one that we feel from the womb with every kick and one that we feel every moment. But isn’t it amazing that someone can be a part of every moment without actually feeling it constantly? Isn’t that something we should watch with wonder, and maybe talk about every now and then..

The world I imagine for my daughter..

As I count the days to the arrival of my little princess, I have been thinking about the world I want her to come to.  The world for me was a lot better than me previous generation, but there is still sexism, women’s safety is a concern,  and women still have to battle for being treated equally.

5 dreams for my daughter are:

  • Safety for women is a right:

This needs to explanation: we live in a world where 20 schoolgirls were taken from Nigeria 2 years ago and there is no sign of them, university campuses in US have episodes of rape,and gang rape cases happen even today in India. We grow up with a sharp sense of fear, walking fast and being wary about strangers. It is a women’s job to constantly be alert and can never really relax. I hope the world is a nicer place where she doesn’t need to be on guard and enjoy the world for being what it is.

  • Sky is the limit for my girl:

“This job may not be right from a woman, it has long hours” or “it might be hard to do this job when you have a family”… how often have we heard things like this? If a man with a family can do it, there is no reason why a woman with a family cannot. We are breaking the glass ceiling, but it isn’t equal opportunity for everyone. It should be a given for all women to have any role they dream of, sky is the limit!

  • The term “like a girl” is a powerful statement, not an insult:

The Always “Like a Girl” commercial got me thinking, we use these statements all the time. But now when I hear someone say like a girl in a derogatory way, it will make me cringe. I want my daughter to never feel self conscious about being a girl, she can run like a girl and fight like a girl, but that is a because she is a girl, and there is nothing to be ashamed about!

  • No pressure on appearance:

A hot topic that has been written about a lot lately is the pressure on appearance. The airbrushed magazine covers set unrealistic standards for beauty and young readers get under pressure about their appearance, raising the ugly head of eating disorders, unnecessary plastic surgery, and self esteem issues. In a recent interview, Jennifer Lawrence (of all people!) mentioned she felt like the fattest one- something that baffles me. It is crucial to make all body shapes acceptable, as long as someone is happy and healthy!

  • Women for women:

This is something I often wonder about: when I got married, I decided to move to New York  to join my husband, I quit my job and I had not figured out my options. I had to face judgment from friends/family- strong career women who felt it was weak to follow a man around the world. When I speak to working moms, they mention how hard it is to juggle work and home and the often unreasonable work pressures. I used to believe women in senior positions would mean a more inclusive culture. But I have observed that often women in management roles have a uni-dimensional view of how to manage work life balance: the perspective is driven entirely on how they handled it. If they had full time nannies, they don’t get the pressure of leaving at 5pm to pick up from day care or take over from the day nanny. Don’t you think it is time we stand on each other’s corner? We should support any career choice or child care choices-we have so many battles everyday,  we don’t need to defend ourselves with other woman…

 

The world is your oyster and I hope nothing holds you back! ❤

Pray for all of humanity

I am going to take a break from travel pictures to write about something that has been on my mind the past few days. The world is seeing an onslaught of terror attacks, each more horrific than the next- the sheer horror is hard to imagine. I am no political expert, so I am not offering any theories or hypothesis. One would expect the same level of horror for each of these episodes- whether it was Paris or Brussels, Lahore or Istanbul, Ivory Coast or Nigeria, Syria or Yemen, Beirut or Baghdad, or Pathankot in my own country. But we see Je Suis campaigns for Paris and Brussels, but not for the rest. It is easy to say that these social media campaigns are just a pop culture trend but it is a reflection of what we care about.

The western media BBC and CNN of the world pander to their viewers- any episode in Europe or USA gets far more attention than a similar episode in Asia or Africa. But shouldn’t every life matter? What did the children in Lahore do to deserve such an end? Shouldn’t we have the same compassion? Isn’t every life worth the same?

If media focuses on what gets them viewers, social media focuses on what people have heard and are reacting to, and the governments change the landmarks for those episodes that are “trending”. We hear from terror experts that in the face of such violence it is important for the country to band together, have a strong sense of solidarity, which will eventually lead to resilience. So shouldn’t this support be for everyone?

I come from a city that has been repeatedly suffered from terrorist attacks- from 1993 bomb blasts to 2008 attacks, Bombay has endured a lot. The city banded together after each attack, resilient in spirit, but living abroad in 2008, it was a story till the terrorists were arrested. Then the channels focused on their nationals impacted, before moving to the next big story. Seeing the moving tributes for Paris, I can’t help but wonder why the same reaction isn’t available for other countries.

Facebook may allow me to change my profile picture to show solidarity for France or Belgium , but I want to pray for all of humanity- every person affected by all these senseless acts for violence.

Hola Barcelona

Hi everyone

I escaped to sunny Barcelona from grey rainy London over the Easter holidays. Everyone I talked to prior to the trip said Barcelona was their favorite city, and you can see why on day 1- the sun, the people, the vibe of the city. There is something for everyone here- the Gothic quarters, Sangrada Familia, Parc Guell, tapas and sangria… the list goes on!

I have to say while I adored and loved Barcelona, I have to say for someone on their babymoon, I couldn’t indulge in a few things Barcelona was famous for: the bars and nightlife, sangria, and it was still a bit too cold for the beach. So this post is the more pregnant friendly activities in Barcelona: walking around the city, eating tapas, and just relaxing! 🙂

Here are some of my pictures:

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Hubby enjoying the first sangria of the trip!

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Some gems around Gothic quarters

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St. Mary of the sea- amazing tall ceilings

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Cathedral of Barcelona

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Swans at Cathedral of Barcelona

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Parc Guell

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The grand Sangrada Familia- expected to complete construction in 2026, a full 150 years labour of love

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The apse at Sangrada Familia

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The incredible stain glass windows at Sangrada Familia

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The gorgeous ceilings with tree columns at Sangrada Familia

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An orange tree in Spanish Village (Poblo Espanyol)

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Poblo Espanyol has buildings styled by each region- some reviews found it touristy, but we loved it!

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Flamenco at the Andalusian part of Poblo Espanyol


I hope you enjoyed this slice of Barcelona- please share your comments!

The out”door” version of Barcelona

Barcelona has unique architecture- the buildings, town square and fountains are stunning even for those who aren’t architecture aficionados.I was obsessed with the doors and the outer facades of buildings.

Here are a few of my favorite ones (with my attempt at witty one liners), I hope you like it! 🙂

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Blue dreams

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Make an entrance with unique shapes!

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Who knew we would match?

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An old classic

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Am I flaming hot?

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So classy!

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I have a large green footprint

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Dancing ladies to get your attention!