Young Mascots of Mental Health

Young Mascots of Mental Health

These are my young mascots from school doing a street play  on stigmas attached to mental health.

‘We live in a world that is oblivious to this matter of dire concern. Sometimes, one ignores the simplest of signs and symptoms and sometimes the society forces you to maintain a mask of a perfectionist human being. The world needs a revolution so that mental health gets an equitable status as mental health. Talking to a confidante is good enough to let your vulnerabilities be addressed in a non judgmental way. You would only get more strong and confident’.

This was the  message reiterated by my 16 year olds. 

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Diyas and livelihood 

Diyas and livelihood 

Pottery has always made a historical mark telling us a lot about any civilisation.

Modernisation has resulted in an extinction of indigenous potters of India. Before urbanisation takes a complete sweep and such communities decide to end their ancestral legacy of pottery. Let’s make a small difference. Buy diyas made of earthen clay and make your festival special. 

I just got 100 diyas for just ₹100. Only 1.3 USD. It’s worthy of getting a smile from the seller. And yes, they are biodegradable!

Happy Diwali…

Eleven good reasons to travel

  1. You meet new people.
  2. The routine conversations change and they stimulate new neural pathways.
  3. You get a different environment to address the chatter inside your head.
  4. Relaxed mind gives you a perspective to understand yourself better.
  5. You feel grateful to have a life that is letting you travel.
  6. Even when you shell some coins to a local hawker to purchase something you realize the worth of money.
  7. My favorite ‘L’ word is livelihood. When you travel you see that people put in a lot of blood and sweat to earn a living. You are better off than so many around you.
  8. Travel of any duration tests your physical and mental endurance.
  9. You get fresh ideas for your work.
  10. Memories stay in the lens of your camera and in your mind.
  11. Tiring travel plans let you sleep peacefully.

These are my favorite lines from Baz Luhrmann’s Sunscreen song. It summarizes it all.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard;
Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel.

 

A small tribute to the Indian Army

A small tribute to the Indian Army

I remember a conversation with an elderly kashmiri man who owned a café and a bookshop in Ladakh. He talked about the uncovered mountains (without a green cover) and low oxygen levels in Ladakh. Of course, he was comparing Kashmir with Ladakh. As a tourist, I somehow managed to get quickly acclimatized with just two sleepless nights. I was extremely lucky! Ladakh is a cold desert & can essentially test one’s physical and mental endurance. So, I could somewhat relate to what the elderly shared.

Ladakh is geographically quite close to China. You can see Indian soldiers patrol the dry- rugged terrain, dig communication lines and build roads on an elevation of 5000 feet and above the sea level.

 

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Dry patched mountains, the Indus and a clear blue sky are all that defines Ladakh’s landscape. Human life? Yes, a few nomadic families who rear cattle and lot of military stations. You won’t get signboards while driving but the soldiers would give directions with a smile.

 

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It’s a feeling of gratitude that one develops after seeing this side of the world. I am living a peaceful and a contented life and this is an acknowledgment for the Indian army who marvel at safeguarding our frontiers.

Travel and explore Ladakh!

Memories of Childhood Play

Memories of Childhood Play

I was in primary school. I loved to set up my doll house in one small corner of our drawing-room and play in solitude for days. The play would go on hours till an adult would interject and ask me to do something productive.

As I grew up, my love for my dolls also grew stronger. I would have been 9, when my parents did get a little concerned over my overindulgence with dolls. They were now get a little impatient with my occupancy in that little corner of our drawing-room.

I began to feel that they are unhappy with my play. 

Well, my love to play with my doll house was beyond measure. I decided to take my doll house to one little corner of our huge terrace. I could again play for hours with my dolls. Any approaching adult from family would threaten by asking me to stop the play and get back to studies.

Guilt of playing with dolls also started to settle in me as the adults repeatedly reiterated that my play is age inappropriate. 

Soon, with onset of adolescence, the nature of play changed and obsession with dolls resolved too. 

When I reflect back, there were other forms of play in school and in the neighbourhood. And each bit of play did influence my thoughts and emotions. I would soon be sharing more such experiences. And thereby built ideas on play therapy and ways to engage our children when they play.

 

Readers, share your childhood experiences of play. Significant or insignificant, don’t worry!

Why school trips are a must for students?

Why school trips are a must for students?

Children have a different level of excitement and physical energy that we adults can’t match. Trips are a good way to channelise the same energy the right way. 

Children also get used to routine life and enjoy their comfort zone of family, friends and teachers. Short trips with peers gives them an opportunity to leave their comfort zone. The usual and the routine conversation change during the trips.

 More or less students engage bathing, eating, sleeping without an adult supervision. Just that they have to be on time to get started for the day. 

Children may just talk and just talk during trips. But, it does indicate a continuous practice of one or the other social skill. A shy student may ask you to pass salt and pepper on the table. A shy one may also find another lost soul on the trip and thus make a friend. 
The attention of the students goes to the trees, huts, farms, a fox and so many other objects and thus beginning a conversation with the peers and teachers. The discourse of these conversations can be very short lived but they are worth initiating and listening.

 I witnessed one student of grade 9 to be taking pictures of plums growing in the vicinity and taking few solitude minutes to do the same. The same kid spotted a scorpion hiding under a table. Now, doesn’t this tell me something about the student’s inclination inclination towards nature? 

Readers, do share your insights related to the topic. I will soon be sharing sequence to the blog post. Happy reading!

Parenting and Pets

Parenting and Pets

My uncle was getting transferred abroad and his pet was now going to live with us. This was a female pomeranian adult, Terry. Beautiful, healthy with apparently no behavioral issues. Terry ate well, slept well and loved her walks. She formed a bond with dad and she had no hassle while adapting to a new home. Terry was a family for good seven years and she was truly a darling!

Seven years are no less to have an experience of a pet. However, bringing up a pup from its early days could be contrasting experience. I and my family are bringing up a German Shepherd, Loki. Parenting a human baby or a pup has its own share of happiness and hassles. Pet parents would agree with me… Right?

Loki was barely 40 days old playful pup who just loved to eat, sleep, pee, crap and chew furniture sides. He is on a search mission with mobile nostrils ever since he came to live with us.  Loki created a record of passing stools and urinating in every corner of the house. His favourites being his own mattress, carpets and doormats. Since he was a tiny-miny-cute-little pup we pardoned him. He just appeared to show this juvenile behavior for good two months. Loki just seemed to be an incarnation of a devil with some sort of sadistic intent.

Gradually, Loki stopped peeing in the bed room where he always slept. Thereafter, he stopped peeing in the living room where he met all the family members. There seems to be some pattern to this.

Loki is five months old now and he has spotted a corner in the balcony for his bio-breaks. And he has learned that it is ‘his home too’. It’s truly a good feel for a pet parent.

Well, there has been a blind spot. Loki urinated on one spot in the drawing room. This behavior occurred when he found the doors to the balcony closed. Also, this was an untouched area of the house. I mean, less used by his human friends.

This is my first ever book on animal behavior that I started reading after Loki came home. Patricia B. McConnell, an animal behaviorist in her book ‘The Other End of the Leash’ has given a beautiful chapter on olfactory sense of dogs. And I seemed to have been on the right chapter!

According to Patricia B. McConnell, “We define ‘house’ as bordered by walls, but most dogs seem to define ‘house’ where you spend your time and therefore where the pack’s scent is the strongest. Many of my client’s dogs only went in the back guest room, a place with none of the familiar odors of the family. In most of the cases, simply eliminating the odor of urine and then marking the area with a different scent can get the dog going in the right rest room again. Once the area if odor-free and clean, sit down with your dog and a paperback and spend a little time each day there. In just a few days, that place will smell like a living room instead of a toilet to your pup”.

I tried the trick mentioned by the author and it seems to have work wonders. Six days have gone past and there has been just two episodes when he crapped  in the drawing room. This is a good success rate!

Enjoying the book and so much so growing up with the pup.

I would share more of my experience that relate or unrelate with this beautiful work of Patricia B. McConnell.