Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Brigade That Builds Brands: Monika Tomar Saroch talks about being an artist & Army wife

The Brigade that Builds Brands is all about Fauji wives / military spouses, who create businesses or stay uber creative while juggling all the social + family commitments. It's a whole new ballgame with multiple postings, plenty of social commitments, living out of boxes + suitcases, stints of single parenting and being posted at super small places. Today, I've invited Monika Tomar Saroch over to the blog for a tete-a-tete about how she can juggled a successful career as an artist & art teacher while being an Army wife.


C. Please tell us something about yourself – what do you do, where are you based and how long have you been a fauji wife.
M. I am Monika. I am an artist and right now in Delhi. I have been married to an army officer and it’s been fifteen years of bliss.

C. What has been your business or creative journey been like: how & when did you start your venture?
M. I started painting again when my son was three months. One of my friends told me that I could paint professionally and it was a moment of realization for me as this is what my calling was. The journey has been beautiful so far. It has transformed my life completely. Its full of struggles and rewarding at the same time. From someone who started a novice to a professional with many exhibitions so far, it has been an amazing experience.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Book Review: Secrets And Tea At Rosie Lee’s by Jane Lacey-Crane


Book Review by Chandana Banerjee


Here’s a brand new column about book reviews and authors – something to look forward to if you enjoy reading as much as I do. In the past, I’ve written about books that I’ve enjoyed; but from now on, I will be posting my reviews about new + some not-so-new books as well as interviews of authors. Whether these are books for grown-ups like us, Young Adult fiction, non-fiction and even cute children’s books, there will be something we can all tuck into while we sip our coffees and ponder about what to read next over the weekend (or what books to buy for our children).

So, onto my #bookreview of Jane Lacey-Crane’s first novel ‘Secrets And Tea At Rosie Lee’s’:

Abigail aka Abby Cowan is almost 40 with a daughter about to leave for college and a café that needs both – some serious profits and a makeover in terms of the menu and décor to keep it afloat. When Abby takes up a catering job to help out her event manager friend Liz and earn something extra to pump into the Rosie Lee café, the side job turns out to be much more than she bargained for. A chance meeting with the host of the party sends her reeling back into a past thick with secrets and reignites all those sparkler-like feelings that she thought she had got over long back.

Jack Chance – her first love and first kiss is no longer the boy next door, but a successful and dashing millionaire in America. He’s still in love with Abby but this only brings back painful memories for her. Also, with Abby’s emotionally-distant mother and the secrets that she’s got stashed away, an old gangster who resurfaces to collect something that he feels Abby has been hiding and answers that she finally begins to find, Jane Lacey-Crane’s first novel is packed with everything good you’d want in a weekend read.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Brigade That Builds Brands: Nupur Heda Patil crafts a Tarot practice around an Army life

Hello folks! Today, we’re back with another interesting fauji wife/military spouse entrepreneur interview in our The Brigade That Builds Brands series. Meet Nupur Heda Patil, a Tarot reader, Angel Healer and Reiki practitioner + relatively new Army wife. She is passionate about her work, is happy to set up her practice wherever her life with her fauji hubby takes her and has a positive outlook to work-life balance.


Here’s what Nupur and I chatted about setting up a brand on the move, doing work you’re passionate about and juggling the fauji life & our calling in life.

C. Please tell us something about yourself – what do you do, where are you based and how long have you been a fauji wife.

N. I am Nupur Heda Patil. Born and brought up in a traditional Marwari business family, it was a dream to start something of my own when I grow up. My idea of marriage was a choice based union. I met my soulmate in 2010; we were friends for a long time when we decided to take a step ahead. With two different cultures and families coming together, lot of hustle bustle finally with the blessing of everyone we believed in, tied a knot on 1st Dec 2014. Being a fauji wife is not only about being married to the man in uniform but it also brings a lot of responsibility towards my soldier and his life. Thankfully my husband helps me in every single step and he is my friend, mentor and my life partner.

Post marriage I kept juggling between jobs. Picked up teaching at one station, counseling at the other. The only constant job profile I have had is my Tarot. I have regular telephonic clients and events in the city which keeps me busy. Planning to set up an office at the next station so that I can take face to face clients in future. Right now enjoying the best of spiritual growth and a sense of fulfillment in Nilgiris at Wellington.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Maid Of the Matter: 5 tips to save time & energy and stay stress-free

Ever so often, I stumble across intense conversations about..maids (domestic help). During social visits, in parties, at welfare meets, in Whatsapp groups, I see the topic of maids sneaking into conversations. I get it – here in India, we do depend heavily on house help. 


It’s not just the colossal dust that needs to be cleaned and mopped and dusted from our floors and shelves that finds us utterly dependent on domestic help, but also a certain mindset that prevents us from picking up a broom or rinsing our own dishes or even cooking our own meals. And more often than not, when we pay someone else to cook and clean, we find them come up short - more so, in today’s world.

Sweeping and mopping that’s not up to the mark, dishes that retain stains of previous meals, food that isn’t cooked hygienically or tastefully, and unprofessional attitudes (i.e. asking for higher salaries than what’s fixed in a society, answering back, grumpiness etc.) lead ladies into fraught-with-anxiety discussions about maids and the daily annoyance they cause them.

But is there a way around this? Is there a way we can stop this profuse time drain? Can we find a way to discuss maids less (no one needs to stop ‘coz we need to talk sometimes to find a way out), so we can pack our days and conversations with more hearty and interesting things?

Over the years, having employed a variety of domestic help, most of whom entered my home with a bucket load of baggage and attitude issues, I can safely say that the help at the end of my arm is way more reliable. 


As my son crossed his toddler stage, I slowly delegated less and did more to reclaim my peace. We went intentionally maid-free when we moved to as big town (for a while we hired someone for the basics, but again, we noticed that that brought in more hassles, so we went back to our maid-free existence).

Note 1: I don’t spend the entire day cooking and cleaning – in case, you’re wondering if that’s all I do, so I can mange in maid-free mode. With an almost 5-year-old, a blog to write, workshops to teach and a new green start-up to grow & tonnes of books to read and hobbies to tend to, my day includes all of this and cooking & a dash of cleaning.

Note 2: I’m not suggesting firing the maid (like I did).

With these 5 methods anyone can reclaim control over their house chores + time and be less dependent on maids and maid-related issues:


1. Invest in a dishwasher: I bought a dishwasher a year back and can say that it’s one of the best things to have happened to our home. The dirty dishes, once stacked properly, are squeaky clean and germ-free after a wash cycle. Whether its summer and the basin water too hot to put my hands in, or winter with freezing cold tap water (yes, in Punjab, the water was just as temperamental as the climate), I don’t really have to worry about the temperature of the water anymore. Neither do I have to fret about semi-clean utensils or a wild jumble of washed dishes in the drying rack, waiting for a maid to arrange on the shelves. Yes, at Rs 36,000, the cost of a dishwasher might seem steep, but it’s worth every little penny in terms of the stress-free dishwashing experience that it offers.


2. Check if you need cleaning gadgets or tools: There are great cleaning tools available in the market that can make the mundane chore of cleaning and mopping a lot easier. I use a spin mop to wipe up the floors, but someday, I wouldn’t mind getting a Floor Cleaning Robot. Yes, you heard right – there are circular robots that’ll sweep and mop for you (google the offerings by Milagrow). Interspersed with manual cleaning, it’s a great house-cleaning solution. Also, stocking a cleaning caddy with everything you need (baking soda, surface cleaner, cloth wipes, duster, scrubbers and brushes) to dust and wash around the house, makes chores a tad easier. And of course, we all have washing machines, so that's one job less to worry about.


3. Elbow grease and gym workout: We often drive to the gym to work out and keep fit, or invest in a treadmill for a home-based workout. But interestingly, a full-body workout is available for free right at your home via house cleaning and chores. Whether you’re sweeping, mopping the floors (even with a Spin Mop), dusting, wiping gadgets around the house, washing bathrooms or even emptying your dishwasher, you’re engaging all kinds of muscles and keeping those joints supple.

4. A change in how we perceive housework, including daily cooking: A slight shift (okay, Major shift) in our attitude about doing our own work (at least a lot of it, if not all) instead of having to get it done by someone else, even if we’re not happy with their output or attitude, can make a Lot of difference in how we approach housework. Its food for our family and it’s the house we live in – when I keep that in perspective, a lot can get done through DIY.


5. Ask your family members to help: Whether it’s your spouse or kids, everyone can do something for the house – it’s their home too and chipping in just makes the load lighter. When kids are involved in keeping their home or room clean, they understand the value of work, won’t depend on others to clean up after them when they grow up and will learn life skills. My husband helps me keep our home clean, while our little one, does what he can (like grate the cheese, mop up the spills he makes, pick up crumbs, prune the houseplants & water them). I totally believe that just one person cannot do every single task to run a home, especially, if you’re also managing business/project/job.

Try these five tips and see if you can free up time. I get more done with less stress with this maid-free/minimum approach than when I had more help. Yes, when we’re not discussing maids most of the time or following them around to check if they are cleaning/mopping properly or showing them how to clean or cook our way or trying to figure out why they answered back when you were perfectly polite, we can reclaim back precious time (yup, even while doing a fair chunk of the housework with the help at the end of our arms). Time that we can spend reading books, learning a new skill, watching a movie at home or setting up a venture.

Do you do a lot of your own work + cooking? If you have any tips to get it done more efficiently, do leave a comment below.

And hey if you're on Twitter, follow us at @chandanawriter.

Would you like to detoxify your personal care products, greenify your home and introduce your kids to eco-friendly ways? Download my 17-min Online Workshop for Free at Gorgeous Girls Go Green.

#maid #housework #housechores #housecleaning #cooking #dishwasher #spinmop #time #stressfree 



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