Sanitary Measures

Sanitary pads are used as a protection for menstrual flow. They have been around for so many centuries though in various forms. It is said that a woman uses approximately 16,000 sanitary pads in her life time. For a product that is used extensively, women must take the effort to know the proper safety measures. We see a variety of brands on all types of advertisements. Are all the fancy brands safe? What are the different choices offered to women? It is not advisable to spend money on an unhealthy product which might pose a health risk in the long term. The main component of a napkin is cotton. The cotton is bleached using chemicals in most processes. In addition to this, napkins may also contain residue of the pesticides that have been used on the cotton crop. Most of the product companies also use artificial fragrances for the cotton. All these combined together may cause various side effects like headache, dizziness, and bacterial infection. So what should we as women, be aware of?
1.       There are a variety of models available for different type of menstrual flow. Take time to go through it and use it.
2.       Certain chemicals may react adversely with certain women. If there is irritation, itching or discomfort in the menstrual area, check your napkin and change immediately.
3.       Organic pads are a very good option for a healthy life style. They are gaining immense popularity in recent days.
4.       Do not use a single napkin for more than 6 hours at a stretch. Try changing as frequently as needed. Prolonged use of the same pad may accelerate the growth of bacteria.
5.       It is always better to be safe than sorry. High priced napkins need not automatically equate safer napkins. Always be alert about ongoing issues regarding the different brands.
6.       Last but not the least- do not be shy of discussing health issues with regard to menstrual cycle. Immediate attention may curb a lot of risks.
      Menstrual cycle is natural and a very important cycle of life. Seeking medical attention when needed and using appropriate measures will prevent infertility in women, since uterus and vagina are the most vulnerable organs in most cases.

Be Aware. Be Safe.

Power Yoga

The 'Power’ Yoga

With the every-day rapid changes in lifestyle, physical and mental fitness is fast becoming a luxury. But here is a way to effectively achieve your fitness goals with just an hour to spare every day.  A new fun style in an age-old process - this is what power yoga brings to today’s generation of fitness- conscious population.

What is Power Yoga?

 Power Yoga is commonly used as a generic term to describe any vigorous yoga practice. The concept of Power Yoga was initially popularized by K. Pattabhi Jois in the mid-1900s. Power Yoga has its roots in the Indian Ashtanga (eight spiritual concepts) yoga. This yoga stems from the variation of the most popular yoga called the Hatha Yoga. In contrast to the slow rhythms and structured functionalities of the Hatha Yoga, the Power Yoga offers completely action packed package of modern Yoga. While the emphasis is on physical flexibility while nurturing self-discipline, this yoga does not have specific poses and can vary depending on the teacher’s style.

These are the eight spiritual concepts on which the power Yoga is based on.  

  • Moral codes
  • Self-study     
  • Posture      
  • Breathing control
  • Separating the mind from the body 
  • Enhancing the power of concentration
  • Deep meditation
  • Higher consciousness

Health Benefits

Power Yoga classes are designed for beginners, intermediate and advanced depending on the vigour of the poses. The sessions last from anywhere between 30 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the ability of the learners. For effective weight loss, power yoga must be practiced at least 3 times a week mainly for beginners.

Combined with vigorous activity, it is one of the most effective weight loss options available today. It is a fact that one hour of power yoga can easily help you burn about 300 calories.  Poses in Power Yoga involve stretching the legs and hips and compressing abdominal muscles. This extreme or rather active form of yoga also includes rapid switching between poses making it a ideal work out for weight loss. In addition to slimming down, it is a great form of cardio-conditioning to get strong and flexible. The fast-flowing movements enhance the body balance. The movements are synchronized with breath-control to achieve complete benefit. It tones up all body parts, burning unwanted fats and relieving stress. Maintaining poses help strengthen muscles and joints. Power Yoga focuses on integrating all the vital elements of yoga to give a well-balanced body, mind and spirit. The greatest advantage this new form has to offer is that, it can be learnt at any age as alterations to poses according to age is perfectly possible. Power Yoga is immensely popular for its customizations as well as its immense health benefits. Countries all over the world are embracing this technique for a happy and healthy life. Fitness for any age at any time – Power Yoga.

The Divine MS Subbulakshmi

Today is the 97th birthday of MS Subbulakshmi, the great music Icon from Madurai. She was the first woman to win the Bharath Rathna Award, the highest honor of our country. Her contributions to carnatic music are well-known. She gave her first public performance at the age of 13. Her contribution to devotional music in unparalleled. She has sung in all the south Indian languages along with Hindi, Bengali and Marathi. In her youth, she is also said to have acted in a couple of Tamil films. In the later period she quit films and devoted her life entirely to music. These are some of her much appreciated musical works.

Bhaja Govintham
Hanuman Chalisa
Kanda Shashti Kavasam.

Interesting facts:

A kanchipuram Sari clour called MS Blue is named after her.
She was acknowledged as the court singer at the Tirupati Devasthanam.
A postage stamp was released to honour her in 2005.
She was a philanthropic at heart donating most of her concert money to charitable organizations.
She was awarded a lot of honorary degrees by various universities.

A music legend who still resides among us through her undying renditions - M.S. Subbulakshmi

Women and Education

Every one would have heard of Montessori schools which are very specialized school for kids which focus on education through play. Ever thought about who conceived the concept and when. It was Maria Montessori. She lived from 1870 to 195. She was the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome's Medical College, famous for her work in the education of young children. The schools that we know today are named after her.

In 1819 Emma Willard writes her “plan for Improving Female Education”. Though it was not as successful as expected it defined the road map for female education. Even in the 1900s, Mary McLeod Bethune dedicated her life to improving educational opportunities for African Americans, founded school for African American girls. Helen Keller is a very familiar name with all. She was a triple handicap (deaf , dumb and blind) who incredibly went on to show that a will is all that matters to achieve. Not even her unfateful circumstances prevented her form getting a good education and proceeding much beyond that.She overcame blindness and deafness, graduated from Radcliffe, gave many speeches on behalf of the physically handicapped and wrote several books. Her inspiration was her teacher Anne sullivan.

Recently Malala Yousafzai was given a chance to address the UN gathering about women and education. The speech that she gave was so in-depth and full of determination that it is difficult to belie that speech came form a 16-year old. She threw light on the plight on Afgan women and stressed more than once that education was extremely important for a dignified survival. In her own words,

I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.
Those who have fought for their rights:
Their right to live in peace.
Their right to be treated with dignity.
Their right to equality of opportunity.

Their right to be educated.

Article 26 of universal declaration of human rights states thus:

1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
The world average literacy rate is estimated to be 84%. But sadly India registers the largest illiterate population. Needless to say, the population comprises a majority of women.

What does this show?

 That we have not taken education for women seriously yet. In increasing population, females are made to take over activities like farming which was once a male role. The tasks which does not require any formal education are gladly pushed to the female boundary and to sustain it, the society maps such activities are women-centric. Less than 2% of women who are involved in agriculture are educated. Inequality based on gender differences thrive even better today, increasing the uneducated female population to alarming levels. Even during the previous centuries when the world was not so much civilized  we had women pioneers in the field of education. It is a crime today to think education for women is an extravaganza. A woman is entitled to as much liberty as a man in getting an education. I might even go to the extent to say that she has the fundamental right to education. It is a chance for her to change her life positively and influence hundreds of others in doing so. Like how Helen Keller or Maria would never be forgotten ever.

Special Note:
International Literacy Day is celebrated each year on 8 September. It aims to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies.

Right To Education Act

The right to education act is a blessing for all the under privileged children who wish to take up their education seriously. It basically states that every child between 6 and 14 are entitled for free elementary education even in private schools. For all the parents who are struggling to educate their children in good schools, this is a great opportunity. Providing a strong education will ensure that the citizens of the future are sensible. This act does not allow capitation fee or donation for the above mentioned children. This act has always existed in various forms till now undergoing amendments through the years. Gender and social discrimination is not present in this act. It is done in the best interests of all the children. Values that the children learn early in life undeniably shape their attitude. This is a great platform which only requires the awareness and co-operation of the parents to send their kids to school under this act.

Education is a fundamental right in our constitution. 
It is our duty to see that our children get access to good education.

I Know How It Feels

My sister had come home from the hostel. She is  currently staying at the usual good-for-nothing hostels which have high rents and low amenities. As expected the chances that she comes home seem like n escape route to her. Being the youngest in the family, she was always showered special attention. But now she does not even have enough to eat at her hostel. It is the same case with all  the hostels in her area.

I on the other hand am the mother of a hyper-active toddler. Managing a one-year old without the support of elders in the family is no easy task. I rarely have my meals on time as there are a lot of things going on at once in our house. My day is spent cooking and cleaning after my little one who constantly likes to mess up things and eat stray things on the floor. Obviously his diet is of concern since he shows a lot of interest even for inedible stuff. On the other day I caught him chewing on a strand of hair.. Ewww.. Disgusting, isn't it? I know. So I have to police him around all day and the only time I catch my breath is when he takes his daily nap. I long for some kind of support so that I have lesser aching arms and more free hours.

So when my sister comes home, I feel relieved. At least I can have a cup of coffee uninterrupted if not anything else. She arrives pulling a long face because yet again she is upset about the lack of cleanliness in her hostel. I cook a special meal just to cheer her up. It takes me the whole morning. IN between I run errands for my little one. I'm dreaming of taking a nap in the afternoon. By noon, I have a mountain of vessels to wash. In addition to that I have all the other house hold chores waiting for me. I do it one by one juggling the baby somehow. My sister is constantly spending her time on the phone. I'm just waiting for her to relax. She needs coffee every two hours and is very careless with her things. My baby is having a grand time spilling her make-up on the floor and smearing his face with lipstick. She yells at him and asks me to take him inside. I feel disappointed at her lack of care. I have been working from the moment she walked in without a moment's rest. It is already evening. I did not even have a minute's rest let alone nap. Atlast my baby is tired of playing and wants to sleep. I put him to sleep and try to catch up with my sister thinking she would be angry for not spending time with her. But when I peek into the bedroom she is happily sleeping. I just sit for sometime all by myself. I have so many things to talk with her. But this is the only chance for her to relax. From tomorrow she has to put up again with her dreaded hostel and lifeless roommates. She wakes up an hour later and drinks some more coffee. Then she settles down with a book. All my attempts at making a conversation go in vain as she simply nods her head to whatever I say.Then it is time for me to prepare dinner. The baby needs feeding too. My husband comes back from office and the rest of the day is a blur. By the time I make my bed everyone is fast asleep. Lying down in bed, I think about my day. I have the feeling of juggling two babies instead of just one. I want my sister to understand how I'm feeling about things. But she is occupied with her own set of worries. So this is how her every visit is going to be. Maybe I should stop expecting from her. After all she is pretty much young to know about parenting and the stress associated with it.

Then out of nowhere I think of how my cousin's face would light up every time I visited her while I was studying. Sometimes her relief would make me confused. She has two kids two years apart who constantly bring the house down.Now I perfectly understand how she must have felt. Though I was not as detached as my sister, I now think I could have helped her smile a bit more.

We The Women

When a girl is born, most parents think of her a huge responsibility. According to the majority, a girl is nothing but additional cost to the family. Still in many parts of India there is no proper education for girls. Education for girls is not a necessity here. If a girl is educated, great. If not no serious harm done.Why do we need to educate girls anyways? She is going to be another part of a very different family pretty soon. Her own parents seldom know what is going on in her mind. How can we expect some total stranger to understand and accept her? From the day she is born , she is constantly judged, commented, bullied and expected to adhere to the expectation of everyone who surrounds her. She is deemed good if she keeps her head low and goes about playing the perfect subservient girl and wife. If she has her own opinion she is rarely permitted to voice it. If she does not have one, no one bothers to ask her why? Sometimes she wonders what is the purpose of her life? If she has to go about absolutely living for others who do not care about her reasonable wishes, who will live her life? If she has to speak for others where is her own voice? Intelligence here is prohibitive since it lessens the chance of landing a good husband. So what if the wife is clever than the husband? They are meant to be happy together anyways, isn't it? The job of a typical good girl is to remain unnoticed and unacknowledged till the end. The sad part here is women have been living like these for centuries and continue to do so. If a women performs splendidly at work and somehow if her personal life goes for a toss, everyone blames her for being stupid and immature. If it is a man, the issue becomes common and unnoticed.

To all the men especially husbands who have been having a ball bending women, here is to say that,

Women are very much capable of what you are doing and more.
You cannot even compete with a lady in the top qualities of patience and diplomacy.
Her survival skills are excellent. Whatever you throw at her she has a knack of getting adapted to it for the sole reason of her family's well-being.
Her management skills are highly appreciative. She can work full-time, cook and clean at home, help the kids with homework and put up with a guy like you all at the same time. What more proof do you need?
Finally before you judge a woman, you have no idea how much courage it takes for being a woman. (Yes sir, you heard it right! If you were to fix a monetary compensation for all the work that she does in a day, you would not even last a day.)

Chola Puri

My husband and myself decided to go out for a stroll today. We took our one year old son along. He is yet to walk. So we carried him alternatively all through the walk. It was evening and the traffic was heavy. The roads were dusty but we went along with no particular agenda in mind. For those who used to roam occasionally without agenda get to know how much fun it is. We watched couples happily chatting, crowded bazaars where haggling was a daily phenomenon. It was a weekday. Personally I don't know if a weekday is worse than a weekend or vice-versa in a metropolitan city. Both have their merits and de-merits.

After walking for nearly twenty minutes, we happened to cross a hotel. Out of habit, I read their menu while attempting to cross it. One name struck out. It was Chola Puri and Chenna Bhatura , my husband's favorite. I nudged him to show it and the next instant we were inside the hotel with our son. We ordered the item and sat chatting while my little Bunty played with the glasses on the table. The puris arrived and I eagerly took a bite. Meanwhile I placed Bunty on my lap. I also gave him my house keys just to distract him so that he would not have the constant urge to tear my puri apart. Hardly two mouthfuls later, he threw away the keys. It hit the person at the next table. I profusely apologized to him. Within this gap, Bunty reached and struck at my glass of water. My lap was drenched along with Bunty's T-shirt. I tried to get up from the place when Bunty decided it was the best time to grab my puri. The puri was in his hand. I tried to desperately save it by tugging but he would not let go. He grew angry and threw my precious puri on the floor. I looked in horror at my husband who did not even attempt to get up and help me one single second. He was laughing his head off, to add insult to injury. I will never eat another Chola puri without remembering this big incident!


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