Saturday, 26 May 2012

What is the difference between a mother and a mother-in-law?

What is your idea about emotional conflicts?
 Recently we have moved to a place where you don’t need any morning alarm. There is no buzz, no ting, no clink, and no chime. You can be wide awake by the screeching s and jolting sound of the monkeys who are like our next door neighbors. Every summer morning you would find them   sitting on the roof of the nearby house. Sometimes   the baby monkeys would be jumping from one tree to another or would be chasing each other as if playing hide and seek. Mostly the mother monkeys would sit in a row   and would feed their babies .The babies would run here and there, rummage through the dried leaves and hop and pop in the nearest pitch. Sometimes they would climb the old thin water pipes and would perform different feats.   Some of the old ones would lie down and place their heads on the lap of their partners who scratch their backs, detect a number of lice, snatch them and put them inside their mouths. However, there was nothing very striking about their activities which could bring a sudden change to our daily moribund city life. Though it was a fun to watch their antics for some time, but soon it became a normal affair like taking our meal, doing our office job, coming back home and stretching ourselves on the sofa in our living room. But yesterday it was the other way round. A huge gathering of the monkeys dragged us to our balcony.
“What is up?”said my husband.
“They might be planning for a feast.’’, giggled my son.
Suddenly there was a rush on the parapet. Armed with sticks and cudgels, five young men approached the group. But for a while, the  men staggered. The reason behind this was one of the enormous body-builders. The patriarch pounced on them. Another big monkey attacked them from the other end but eventually, all of them were feeling helpless in front of the meticulous steps taken by the young men. The situation was beyond their control. So all the monkeys had to leave the battle- ground one by one. And they took shelter on the nearby terraces or trees. Only one lean and thin mother -monkey was still there. She would not leave the place. However, when the place became free from her fellow colleagues, we could now get the full view of the terrace. What we saw was amazing. A frail cute baby monkey was trapped between two very thin water-pipes. These two old thin water –pipes were linked with a water tank. The baby monkey had tried to climb the tank, but he could not. His neck was caught in between the two pipes .He was struggling a lot but could not get out of the trap. The mother went to him, tried her best but only stared at her baby with tired looks. She was ashamed of her futile efforts to save her child from the dangerous grip. Yet she could not leave him. She could be hit by the armed group. But she risked and would not budge from the place. She was the mother, the mother of the baby monkey. How could she leave her child in danger? And it was the Mother’s Day too. But whether it is a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, a monkey can never know the difference. So out of sheer love and affection of a mother, the mother monkey felt dejected. She might be feeling totally insecure, yet she was sitting near the child as if assuring him of its safety.
“Are the young men scared of the monkeys?” , said my five-year old grandson.“  
“They might have come here to fight.”, my son gave a passing remark.
But their entire guess turned into a fiasco when one of them rushed towards the baby monkey, grabbed its neck, got him free from the pipe, threw it towards the mother and ran away .The mother took hold of her kid and started feeding him. The story came to an end but it had an indelible imprint on my mind. It made me recall the glaring stares of my daughter-in-law when I wished to take my grandson in my arms when he was young. She could never part with her child for a moment. The situation was not the water-pipe trap or monkey-business. It was the mother- in-law syndrome.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

7 Tips to Decorate Your House the French Way

DIY crafting: decorating your house the French way
I am worried .Are you too? The same old chairs   , the same old tables   , the same old kitchen, the same old walls--- quite nauseating, aren’t they? Well, just wait.  I feel   triggered and have got some mind-boggling ideas   . I am sure you would like them too. Just   get rid of this “feeling blue” mode   and cheer up with DIY crafting and decorate your house the French way. A décor with a difference, eh?
Freshen up   your walls with birdies
Who does not love the birdies? The cute little ones are really a refreshing change.  The faded colors of the walls can be easily covered with the paintings of the birdies. Have you got a penchant for birding? Now you don’t have to visit a park.  Just sit in your living room and watch them sitting in a row or in couples. Place a model of Eiffel Tower on the side- table in your living room and enjoy the French style .
Collect   some embroidered fineries
Collect   some beautiful pieces of embroidery related to French scenery and paste them   on the cushions or write Monsieur   and Mademoiselle with threads of different colors. You can also write the lines of French poetry on the curtains in the living room and give them   a different touch.
Boost your stamina with hand-painted chairs
After doing all these, you must have got tired. Just visit your kitchen for a refreshing drink. But have you ever thought that your kitchen can be a joyous refuge with the hand –painted chairs? Just imagine the Eiffel Tower at your back when you sit on the chair. This can be painted on the backs of the chairs or this can even adorn your curtains .Beautiful French damsels can be dancing around you in the form of different candles when you enjoy a candle-light dinner with your partner.
Make the floor of your kitchen unique
 But I’m sure you have not thought of the flooring yet. Use the tiles which are black and white. It would look like a chessboard .This is the magic of French kitchen flooring and none can deny the French flavor .The tiles can be either laminated   or real. To make the floor unique   , use brick or flagstone for the floor. This would give it a real   rural ambiance.
Paint the concrete countertops
 Paint the concrete- countertops   in different colors. These   colorful stripes can create an elegant flamboyance with the special country look. Decorate the walls of your kitchen with the painted eggshells and the paintings of hunted rabbits or pheasants.
Decorate the fireplace
What about the fireplace? Do you have a real one? If you have a natural one, deck it out in clay -pots and mugs .If you wish to create an artificial one, it is easily available in the market. Place a simple wooden table which   can be used for dining and complement it with   chairs of light-weight. The kitchen napkins   with the embroidery of a   cute little bird sitting on a leafless branch can be amazing.
Get a rapport with the sewing – machine
Stitch curtains which are decorated with ruffles. They are so cute to look at and always   go with the French style. Hang them in the wash-room or you can also cover the windows of your little angel with them. Get embroidered bees on   the towels .They look gorgeous. White, gold silver and blue ---all these colors remind you of the French style. So use them in abundance. Wrap up the worn- out cushions with white napkins .Paint golden and silver spots on them to make them more attractive and fix them with the help of glue .Use the shower curtains with white and blue shades to cover your window and   use the metal hangers to hold the plants to provide  support to the curtain rods.
 Now, it’s time to begin. Are you game?

9 tips to Select Best Eco -friendly Window Shutters and Blinds

Waiting for the right moment to discover the best eco-friendly window shutters and blinds? Just go green with the recycled materials for the treatment of your window shutters and blinds and check out the following tips to know more about them.
1.Select window shutters and blinds carefully
To select the best eco friendly window shutters and blinds, measure the U-factor which should be nearly 0.25 in any type of climate. Also be sanguine about the SHGC(Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) which should be from 0 to 1. In warm weather, it should be lower to get rid of the scorching summer. In winter it should be higher to catch the sunlight. Sometimes a low VT(Visible Transmittance) window can decrease the natural light in your room in the daytime. Yet this is a boon in disguise because in summer or in winter , it saves you from too much heat or too much cold. Leakage of air is another problem.0.3 is the benchmark for this. Your window shutters should pass this test.
2. Choose window-panes which are double or triple
Choose double or triple window panes. They have lower impact of SHGC and U-factor. High-E-Coatings and low –e-coatings are applied in layers. Use them to protect your shutters from getting affected by cold or heat. The tinted glass absorbs heat. If you wish to avoid heat, you can use this type of glass. Fiberglass which is insulated and frames made of vinyl and wood are the best for window shutters because they prevent the heat-factor.
3.Seal the edges of the window panels with Velcro
If you wish to keep your room temperature cool, you can cut a piece of foam according to the size of your window and paste it with the help of Velcro. The edges would be sealed as you have used Velcro and prevent the room from getting too hot or too cold. However, it may not look so attractive, but it would serve your purpose. The awnings which are woven tightly are very useful for summer season. Get hold of opaque ones and they can prevent too much heat. But for winter, buy a retractable one .You can be far from getting chilled. The shutters which are solid are the best for all weathers. So always select a solid one.
4.Select the blinds according to the seasons
The colors and the shades of the blinds play a significant role in controlling the temperature of the room. Use a dark shade and a coarse and rough material for your blinds so that the summer heat does not leave you perspiring. Hang a lighter shade of blinds to enjoy the best of the sunshine in the winter season inside your room. Fit them close to the glass of the window so that they can absorb heat or cold. You would love Roman shades and quilted roller shades for summer and winter both as they are very good insulators.
5.Buy blinds which are made from organic material
Choose the fiber options which are made from grass, bamboo, reeds, paper and other natural material. The blinds made from these materials can be far more eco-friendly. Don’t go for synthetic materials like polyester .Use recycled polyester for the blinds . You can also use vinyl blinds but they must be bought from the fresh stock. The vinyl blinds which were made before 1996 were very much hazardous for the environment and children. So always buy from the latest stock. Cotton, linen silk, wool or hemp are also there to adorn your windows and keep you free from any environmental hazard. So why don’t you think about them?
6.Switch over to dust-free blinds
Always choose the material for your blinds very cautiously. Get hold of something which can be easily washed at home or can be easily cleaned from dust. The gorgeous-looking velvet curtains are always a lure for the home-maker, but they are very difficult to clean. They absorb a lot of dust and can play havoc with your health or the health of your family members. They can suffer from dust allergies or even asthma.
7.Use light-absorbing blinds
If you are staying in an urban area and your house is situated at the roadside, you are sure to be a victim of the flooding street –lights. This can hamper your sleep at night and can cause many problems like depression, cancer or other health-hazards. To keep away from all the mindboggling medical expenditure, curtain your windows with blinds which can block the light to enter the bedrooms. These blinds can be added with  liners which can make them thick and would not allow the light to pierce your eyes.
8.Avoid using pull chords with loops for your blinds
If you have the blinds which can be opened or closed with the help of pull- chords with loops, always be careful to keep them out of the reach of the pets and the children. They can jump and pull out of sheer fun and the fun can turn into a tragedy. They can be easily strangled by the chord which hangs loose and all your décor simply cause a serious consequence.
9.Get away from the layers of shades and draperies.
You may feel very much delighted by the layers of shades and draperies which give your room a highly sophisticated air. But beware of them because they can really create some trouble before you are able to find a trouble-shooter. They can create a lot of environmental problems and are a burden on your pocket too.
So if you wish to lead a hazard-free life, always cover the windows with Eco-friendly shutters and blinds and don’t forget to close them on scorching summer days and chilly winter nights.

The Saga of a Bengali Bride

. Once, my husband asked me to deposit some cash in the bank which was inside the I.I.T campus. I had butterflies in my stomach. I am always like that .I am scared of all those financial matters, filling up the forms, adding and subtracting, multiplying or dividing. However, I went to the bank and filled up the form and stood in the queue for some time. Then my turn came and the banker made a query about the account where I had to deposit the money. My ears started burning. I felt I was sweating all over  my body .I said “----rrrr it is  Fixed Deposit Sir—  “What? Two hundred for Fixed Deposit? Something is wrong, Madam. First you decide, then you come. Now leave and allow the other one to talk to me.” said he, frowning .I got quite  vexed. It was about thirty years ago and there was no cell phone through which I could contact my husband. So I left the bank and was totally confused and ashamed of my ignorance. What would he say----?What  would he think about his wife who does not even know the difference between the savings account and the  Fixed Deposit? ----I felt guilty.I came out ,opened my umbrella and started walking.After a while ,I found that every passer-by was  staring at me. I felt more  shaky. Were they in the bank? Did they hear the conversation between me and the banker? Why were they smiling? I dawdled along the fence of the beautiful deer park, thinking and thinking .When I reached the guest house where we had been staying at that time, I found the stewards enjoying their leisure, with their half-dhotis encircled around their waists. This was the typical south Indian style in which they used to wear the dhoti. I never liked the bare strong dark bushy legs. As I was about to enter the portico, the loud thunderous peal of laughter shook me to my roots .Suddenly I threw a glance to the shadow which was going ahead of me and I found that my umbrella was completely upturned ,without providing any shade to me. This was caused due to the strong wind that was blowing. Now I came to know why everybody was   looking so curiously at me. And I wished I could hide myself anywhere in this world from their glaring eyes.
 Days passed by in the blink of an eye and I was now preparing for the most important period of my life ----motherhood when my husband left his job , joined another and came back to stay with his family.