Thursday, May 31, 2018

5 First Steps For The Work-from-home Fauji Wife

So, you’ve decided to work-from-home and juggle the many social commitments & postings that are part of the military life, while carving out a niche for yourself. But how do you begin working-from-home? 

Here are a few first steps to take the bull by the horns:

1. Get that training/degree/know-how. Now that you’ve decided what you want to do – it could be online teaching, writing, graphic design, art, baking or anything else, check if you need any further education or training to get started in the field. Get on Google and search for online courses and/or Youtube for relevant tutorials and courses. If it’s a paid course, see if you have the budget for the course fee. I personally find that even if a course is expensive, if it’s adding to our professional know-how and we’re sure we’ll use the education, then it’s worth investing in. But then, that’s just me. Set time and money aside for your studies and gen up before you set up your office.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Brigade That Builds Brands: Catching up with teacher-turned-fashion blogger & Army wife Meghna Kohli Vachher

We're back with another interview from the 'The Brigade That Builds Brands' series. It's all about fauji wives / military spouses, who make work work for them through multiple postings, back-to-back social commitments, spotty internet connections, long stints of single parenting, community mindset regarding how military spouses should or should not work and a lot more.

Today, I’ve invited Meghna Kohli Vachher to the blog. She’s a teacher-turned-content writer-turned-fashion blogger & Army wife + a member of Lush Green Wellness (an online community focusing on green wellness). Re-inventing her career options has helped Meghna find + create fulfilling work while also traveling across the country on postings. Like I’d mentioned in my ‘The work-from-home fauji wife’ blog post – sometimes zeroing down on your passions, looking at work from a different angle and doing what you can, when you can, is a mantra that serves enterprising fauji wives well in crafting a career. Let’s find out about Meghna’s journey - I hope many of you will be inspired to re-create your work options to craft opportunities for yourself.

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. Born and brought up in a small town of Madhya Pradesh in a business class family, I finished my schooling from the prestigious Scindia Kanya Vidhyalaya. I have always been inclined towards fashion and wanted to make it big in the world of fashion as a designer. But fate definitely had some other plans for me. After completing my schooling, pursued graduation in Commerce and then masters in Business economics.

I got married in my last semester to a fauji to whom I met through arranged alliance almost 2 decades back. Being a fidgety soul right from childhood days, when I realized that my management degree was no use, I did my Bachelor’s in education and then started teaching, so I could travel with my husband on postings. To keep me intellectually occupied and stimulated, I taught at various stations for almost a decade and had an absolutely fulfilling experience.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Sherline's Sari Style: Inspired by art & worn with boho-panache

Hello Sari/Saree-loving ladies! Today, we have sari style with an interesting twist.  Sherline Pimenta, a storyteller and Lush Green Wellness member (check out da community – you won’t be disappointed), shares a fun, fuss-free drape with us. 

Here’s what she has to say:

Sherline says:

“This is all about the Sari drape that I've been flaunting:).

The story behind the drape is a simple design problem that I faced.

I am a storyteller and I need to have both my hands free as gesturing is an important component of narrating oral stories. I am also a lover of saris and wanted to use it as my trademark costume for my storytelling sessions.

In the most common way of draping a sari the pallu is left hanging over the left shoulder. This did not allow me to use my hands as freely as I wanted to so I looked at alternative ways of draping the sari.

The other issue was the blouse, I have been losing weight and gaining weight so my blouses just don't seem to fit me well. So I was looking for something that does not show the blouse too much.

Additionally, since I am a performer, I will have people looking at me and I get very conscious if my midriff or cleavage shows.  So all in all i wanted a one step solution to all the above.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Work-from-home Fauji Wife – 5 Beginner Issues & How To Crack It

For every feisty fauji wife/military spouse entrepreneur I meet – the ones who make working-from-home work for them through the thick and thin of fauji life, I meet 10 others who are equally qualified and super talented but are not sure how to turn their talents into a viable career. The question is, whether working-from-home or military spouse entrepreneurship can be made to fit into our already buzzing fauji life and how to go about doing it.

Can one set aside time to carve out a career while also hosting Ladies’ Clubs, welfare meets, coffee mornings, weekend parties, beerings and breakfasts?
Is working-from-home easy or difficult? Is it worth giving a shot?

These are a lot of questions, but let me zero down on the first step - how to hack through the beginner issues of working-from-home and get down to business.

Let me begin by the quickly outlining the common issues that many fauji ladies face while taking the work-at-home/entrepreneurial decision & how to find come up with viable solutions:

1. Issue: “How do I know what I should do from a back-of-beyond place (because I can’t find anything to fit my college degrees) or where do I start looking?”

Crack it: Make a list of your strengths and hobbies and interests. What floats your boat? For me it’s writing and green living & women’s wellness. For you, it might be art, craft, fashion, counseling, baking, teaching or designing. Do a quick online search to see what kind of entrepreneurial careers can be fashioned out of these. Would you like to exhibit your art or sell within your community (a lot of my friends do this); can you take permission to create a baking business from home (I’ve seen this too); would you enjoy teaching online (this is getting popular); or, working with a karigar to create your own jewellery range (a friend had a home-based silver business)? Pick out one or two ways that you can work with a talent or qualification to set something up for yourself.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Fort Kesroli - A Queen-size Holiday

As the summer see-saws between mind-numbing heat and raging storms, I yearn to escape the dusty furnace that this big, jammed-with-traffic city has become. 

I want to go to the hills with its lush forests and slower pace, bright sunshine and rolling breeze. We live in a huge apartment society with too many flats and lots of concrete; an island set amidst rivers of busy roads. If there’s anything I crave right now, it’s to sit on a patch of fresh green grass, listening to the birds (the only birds here are flocks and flocks of pooping pigeons) and the rustling of leaves.

But I’m not sure whether a holiday, even a teeny-tiny one, is on the cards. Not everyone in our house works from home, and so, out of the schedule holidays are hard to come by. So, the best I can do is escape into photographs of faraway lands that we traveled to this February, and create an imaginary holiday for myself.

Earlier in the year, we traveled to Fort Kesroli, right outside Alwar. Set on a small hillock, amidst dwellings of the local people and surrounded by a patchwork quilt of fields, Kesroli is designed like a fort, but is small enough to pass of as a haveli. Once upon a time it belonged to a jagirdar, but now it’s under the luxurious care of the Neemrana Hotels.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Fauji Wife Sari Style - Standing Out In That Regiment/Squadron Sari

Earlier, when I’d hear about ladies of entire (fauji) units wearing the exact same sari, I’d roll my eyes and wonder why anyone would want to turn up in the same thing? I mean, why 'uniformalize' the sari for a party, even a super special party? (Ah! do wait...the gorgeous photos will change your mind.)

Photo credit: Strand of Silk

Over the years, I’ve seen ladies of units place an order for and dress in saris for official occasion that represent their unit colors (example: red & gold, or blue & white, black & gold), and the impact has been stunning. Instead of blending in, ladies decked up in that same shade of sari, stand out and proudly so. Wearing the same sari on a planned date generally takes place when there is something momentous happening for that particular unit – like a Raising Day function or a jubilee celebration, or sometimes even when the ladies are hosting a Ladies Club event (monthly evening get-togethers hosted by ladies of a particular unit and often with a theme).

Today, thanks to my fauji lady friends, I’m sharing some of their photographs.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Brigade That Builds Brands: Meet Artist & Air Force Wife Monishikha RoyChoudhury

We're back with another interview from the 'Brigade That Builds Brands' series. It's all about fauji wives / military spouses, who make work work for them through multiple postings, back-to-back social commitments, spotty internet connections, long stints of single parenting, community mindset regarding how military spouses should or should not work and a lot more.

Today, I'm chatting with Engineer-turned-Artist and fellow Air Force wife, Monishikha RoyChoudhury about how she juggles fauji life, motherhood and her art through postings and social commitments.

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 a fauji daughter, an Electrical Engineer by profession and an artist by passion. I have been married to an Air Force officer for 14 years now.

C. What has been your business or creative journey been like: how & when did you start your venture?

M. I have always had a passion for sketching but until a few years ago, I regarded it as a hobby only. I began painting two years after getting married, when I saw my mother in law painting .She introduced me to the basics of oil painting, and from there I took wing. A few months down the road however, a long cherished dream came to fruition when against significant odds, I became pregnant.So, I put away my paints so as to keep my baby away from noxious chemicals. 

Once my son was born in July 2009, I returned to blogging and sketching late at night while he slept. By the time he was a year old, I realized that watercolours would afford me the freedom of painting while being around my baby, without having to worry about any potentially toxic fumes. So I jumped in head first into what is mostly known as the most difficult medium of painting, namely watercolours. Thus began a long and happy creative journey of discovery from teaching myself how to paint, onto eventually teaching many a painting class and of late having the confidence to exhibit my work in exhibitions. 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Sari Folding - An Art Or A Science?

Hello there sari/saree girls! Today, I'm popping in with a different kind of #sari Friday. Not about style, but about sari humor. Cartoonist and writer, Ramya Sriram shares her take on sari folding through her images. Have you struggled with folding a sari on your own? I sure do :-).

Shares Ramya, "Every time I have worn a saree, I have struggled to get the folding right. I was inspired to draw this comic when I realised that I'd given up and asked my mom for help almost every time. I don't get to wear sarees often, though I do have a small collection that I hope to unleash one day. I adore Sambalpuri weaves and Kalamkari prints."

Posing with an Ethicus saree in Pollachi. Pic: Pravin Shanmughanandam 

Who is Ramya?

"I'm a cartoonist and writer, and I run The Tap ( independently. I currently live in a small town in the UK, and go back to Hyderabad often, where I'm from. I like long train journeys, filter coffee, monsoons and the Western Ghats."

#sari #saree #sareefolding #ramyasriram #saricartoon #saristyle

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

19 Things I Like & Don't Like About The Fauji Wife Life

I’m married to a man in uniform. I’ve also grown up as a ‘fauji brat’ + my uncle and grandfather were men in uniform. And I have this to say: I like a lot of things about the services, but I’m also not totally gaga over it. Like all things in life, there’s always a good and a not-so-good side to every situation, and the same can be said for the service lifestyle.

Here’s what works for me (and what doesn’t work) in my life as a fauji wife/military spouse. 

Disclaimer: Your opinions may differ and this post isn’t meant to offend anyone. However, what I write here is based on what I’ve experienced as I've bumbled along in my ‘career’ as a military spouse.

Here’s my non-sugar-coated list:

What I enjoy about the service lifestyle:

1. Some of my deepest bonds have been built in the services.

2. I love how laughter and light are part of gatherings with friends. Most people in the fauj don’t take themselves too seriously, and that makes our banter lighthearted.

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