Monday, June 29, 2020

5 Ways to Savour this Lockdown Summer - What’s your favourite way + My new book cover

Summer is not the easiest of seasons for me to bear. The days are thick with heat and humidity, as thick as molten cheese and  often it feels futile to move or cook or do all the things that bring me joy.

If I could have my way, I’d build a small castle in a turquoise pool and spend my days like a mermaid soaking in the cool water. But with the lockdown and Coronavirus whirling around the world, I (and all of you) have had to find smart ways to cool down, stay grateful and savour this scorching season. 

My ebook "Queen Of The At-Home Lifestyle" and watermelon
Cool Treats :)

With oodles of determination ;-), I’ve come up with simple and small ways to bring my mojo back. 

  1. Start the day with a small pinch of slow and a dollop of gratitude. I try to wake up early, when the sun is still saffron and languidly rolling up the sky, still an inch away from its fiery sunniness. After I get ready, I sit down on a fat cushion for a few minutes of meditation and gratitude prayer. I play some meditation music and use this time to centre myself and start the day with a positive intention.
  2. Load up some good books on my Kindle. Now that we’re corralled in a single room with the air conditioner and trees around cutting out the heat (where we live, the temperatures are touching 50 degrees Celsius!), I love having a stack of books on my Kindle. A simple comfort that I can fall back on (literally), when I want to catch my breath and sink into a story. (I’ve been indulging in tonnes of wholesome Amish fiction by Amy Clipston and Tricia Goyer.)
  3. Create art with my son. As the summer started notching up its heat factor, we decided that sticking to the same old’ homeschooling routine was going to be tedious. So now we begin with a small bang - an art project to kindle joy and add colour to the otherwise fiery yellow day. (If you’d like to know more about these projects, do stay tuned for our arty homeschooling posts soon).

Friday, June 26, 2020

The Brigade that Builds Brands: Anita Kolhatkar, an Air Force wife & Yoga Therapist + Teacher, on creating online and in-person Yoga classes on the move

Hello friends! Today, we have Yoga teacher and therapist, and Air Force wife Anita Kolhatkar with us at The Brigade that Builds Brands. She teaches yoga through in-person classes at every military base she is posted to and also offers online classes through 'Yoga With Anita'. Having been one of Anita's students/patients last year, when my back gave out and I was struggling with a few other health issues, I know firsthand about the positive impact of her healing workouts.

Announcement: Anita has a special offer for the readers of this story. Check out the 'yogalicious' offer at the end of the interview :).

Anita Kolhatkar doing different Yoga postures
Anita Kolhatkar doing what she does best: YOGA :)

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

AK. My name is Anita Bhide Kolhatkar,  and I am a certified Yoga therapist and Yoga instructor. I have been a military wife for 14 years now.  

CB. What has been your business or creative journey been like: how & when did you start your venture?
AK. I was always very interested in Yoga and had been teaching it before marriage also. But after marriage, due to the various places we got posted to, my chances to teach and expand my horizons in this field were limited. I would start teaching, would get a group of people who were regulars for my classes, and all would change as soon as the posting signal came. So there was not much continuity in my classes or yoga therapy that I was imparting to those learning from me. The feedback from them was encouraging, but not being able to take classes at a steady location meant I had to again start from scratch at each new place to build up a good tempo. 
Finally with the increased internet bandwidth available at even remote locations, I started thinking about conducting classes online. There are various means to do so: Whatsapp calls, Skype, Zoom and other apps permitting video calling on phone or laptop. So I got into teaching online as well as offline. I’ve also taught yoga to cadets at the National Defence Academy, when we were posted there for a tenure.
However, the challenge with online teaching is that each person learning has their own free time and hence preferred slots to be online. Initially, when I launched my online classes, some of the sessions took more time than I intended, leaving me with very little spare time for normal chores.  
But with experience I've now got the knack of seeing what is possible and convincing most about the time slots to adhere to. I work almost 5-6 hrs a day, morning and evening, with short breaks in between to manage kids, meals and other chores.  

Friday, June 19, 2020

The Brigade that Builds Brands: Teesta Galway, an Air Force wife & singer-songwriter and guitarist on carving out a successful career as an independent musician

Hello friends! 'The Brigade that Builds Brands' #thebrigadethatbuildsbrands has another fabulous guest today. Meet Teesta Galway, an Air Force wife Rockstar (literally). She is a professional musician - a singer, songwriter and guitarist, and is here with some solid inspiration for any military wife, who aspires to follow an out-of-the-box career independently. Let's dive into this interview and get ready to be Inspired!

Teesta Galway performing at a fund raising music show
Teesta Galway - Musician & Air Force wife
Note: So, after more thought, we've decided to keep The Brigade that Builds Brands exclusive to Fauji wives. Military wives, who carve out interesting careers on the solo need + deserve to have a special niche of their own. But because, we're just as passionate about Women Entrepreneurs, especially mompreneurs who launch micro brands from home or bring about a change with their venture, we're launching a "sister series" called 'Ladies Who Launch'. We'll be publishing the first interview in this series soon. Stay tuned :).

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

TG. I 'm Teesta Galway, born and brought up in Shillong. I belong to the Assamese community and am currently based in Delhi. I got married in the summer of 1994, while I was in Jorhat for my higher studies and my husband happened to be posted there. So that makes it 26 years of marriage almost. 

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

TG. I 'm a professional singer- songwriter and a guitarist, with around 15 years of experience in the industry. With an early start, I played my first stage show with a live band aged merely 8 years old. It’s been a rough and tremulous road for me as a woman in music and I’ve had to nurture my talent and reinvent myself on my own accord. And unfortunately, I can’t say that I had been able to benefit off of the exposure that social media could have given me back in the day. Networking and finding work had proven to be a formidable challenge. I had no other option but to conjure up an iron will and venture out in a solitary state as music has always been my calling. 

Teesta Galway at a music show
Teesta Galway - singer, songwriter & guitarist

My journey as a musician has been great so far. I 've been a resident musician in some of the biggest five stars in Delhi, been on the drive time radio shows in two of Delhi's biggest FM channels Hit 95 FM and radio one 94.3 FM, been featured by the Hindustan Times and played in major events like the Wills Lifestyle Fashion Week ,the Lakmé Fashion Week and The Torque Festival (to name a few). I’ve also played at the most happening music venues like the Hard Rock Cafe and The Blue Frog.

Being a musician performing solo and with a band has given me the option to play in varied setups and venues. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

FREE Booklet: 60 Online Homeschooling Resources For Your Homeschool

Hey friends!  Have you been homeschooling during the lockdown and wondering how to add some chutzpah to those daily lessons, without stepping out? Wether you are homeschooling for the long run or for this temporary phase, this list has 60 super interesting websites that you can use to supplement those textbooks and lesson plans for children in different grade levels. Even when, the schools re-open and most of the kids are back in school, this resource can help add some fairy dust to daily learning. Whether it’s mathematics, languages, art, science or social science, there’s something to dip into in this list of “60 Online Homeschooling Resources For Your Homeschool”, that I've curated and put together in PDF format.

Why Online resources? We live in a remote area with no good libraries, workshops and museums around. When I homeschool my son, we often rely on online resources - tools, ideas and games that we can access at the click of a mouse, to add that extra dollop of fun to our learning experience. But now with the lockdown and social distancing, a lot of you, irrespective of your location, are in the same boat as us i.e. cannot access a variety of hands-on learning opportunities. So, I thought of adding to my list of resources and sharing it with anyone, who wishes to use the Internet to gather knowledge and learning.

What’s in this short ebooklet? From websites that you can use to supplement your daily lessons to online resources to add that extra sparkle to your homeschool days, this list has weblinks to fun educational treasure troves. I’ve also added a few blogs by homeschooling moms that you can refer to whenever you have a question, a doubt or just want to soak in some sane homeschooling advice. Towards the end, I’ve shared links to a few Youtube channels by homeschooling moms. 

How can you download it? It’s FREE and you can download it by signing-up for my blog. Pop in your email id in the form and then click on the confirm button when the confirmation email lands up in your inbox:

Get the EBooklet:

#homeschooling #homeschool #homeschoolduringloackdown #homeschoollife #homeschoolinginindia #homeschoolresources #homeschoolfun #homeschoolwebsites 

Monday, June 15, 2020

5 Ways Our Homemaking Can Enhance Our Work-at-Home Lifestyle

In my experience, if we have our homemaking systems down to a pat (okay, maybe not down to a pat, but more or less sorted out), we can create a happy place for our family and ourselves as well as work on our assignments and deadlines at peace. 

Personally, I began valuing the art of homemaking and how it adds a sparkle to our other facets of home life, including, working-from-home, after many years of homemaking by the seat of my pants. But now that I'm kinda figuring it out, here's why I feel homemaking can help me (and many of us) stay grounded and happy as we putter around home, working, teaching and being.

A group of women baking a cake around the kitchen counter
Happy Homemaking to help the Work-At-Home Lifestyle / Pic credit: Pixabay

Here are 5 ways that homemaking can have a positive impact our work-from-home life:

1. When we spend time and happy energy on “making a home”, it percolates into our work-from-home life too. And in the same way, if we pour in frazzled energy into how we manage our home, it makes our work-from-home experience hassled too. While homemaking is at the core of any home, when you work from home you’re always surrounded by the energy that you filled up your home with.

2. A simple homemaking system and routine can help us focus better on our work. Systems, routines and rhythms streamline the household chores and keep offering the regular TLC that our homes and our lives need. 

3. Purposeful homemaking means that we also factor in time for ourselves and the little treats that brighten up a day. As the saying goes “all work and no play” is a surefire recipe for a dull day. I’m learning to inject more treats into my days, instead of rushing from one homeschooling or homemaking chore to a work-from-home deadline.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The Brigade that Builds Brands: How Manasi's Pink Legal project is changing the way Indian women access their rights

Hello everyone! Today, I have Manasi Chaudhari, a spunky young legal eagle, helping bring change in this country, here at the "The Brigade that Builds Brands". She's got an empowering passion project to share with the world; but before we dive into her interview, I wanted to make a 'semi-announcement'.

For the past few years "The Brigade that Builds Brands" was an exclusive platform for military wife entrepreneurs. But now, we're welcoming All women entrepreneurs on this forum, especially those working towards bringing a change. Women who juggle a change-making social biz with their day job, moms who carve out a work-from-home micro biz while caring for their babies & toddlers, young ladies who're striving to create a home-based brand. Any gal, who strives to create a niche and a career for herself from Home, while juggling the many responsibilities of life and family, is welcome to share her journey and work with us here (however, I will retain the discretion to decide on the stories to bring to fore on this blog).

Manasi Chaudhari
Manasi Chaudhari - CEO & Founder of Pink Legal

So, back to Manasi, a full-time lawyer with a passion project that's helping women identify and learn about their rights. In a culture, where many of us have been taught the 'virtue' of grinning and bearing it, of letting our communities push us to the brink, of giving in and giving up, Manasi's is empowering women to stand up for themselves and take their rights seriously. Let's find out how Manasi is growing this change-making project while also juggling her full-time legal job.

 CB. Please tell us about yourself and your work.

MC: I am a lawyer who is passionate about gender equality and women’s rights.
I completed my law from Jindal Global Law School, Delhi and graduated with a medal as a topper of the batch. In 2018, I worked under Justice DY Chandrachud in the Supreme Court and assisted him on three landmark judgments in India- Section 377 (decriminalising homosexuality), permitting women’s entry into the Sabrimala temple, and decriminalising adultery. 

I have founded Pink Legal- which is India’s first ever platform dedicated exclusively to women’s rights and women’s laws, with the aim that every woman in India should know her legal rights.

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