Towards organic ‘cult’ivation

Once we moved to US, along with the health insurance hokums, another arduous challenge that gradually dawned onto me was to find natural food not necessarily extremely healthy food. It was tougher than I thought; it’s  ineffable to put those thoughts, especially, in the initial first year. 

I had discussions at length with a good friend of mine, who still thinks super foods is the only solution to cater to this growing population. This more so when we consider that the actual amount of agricultural land is decreasing and the consuming population is ever increasing. And, according to him, that’s how the future existence will be. Whilst I am preparing myself to not get distressed seeing posterity taking a pill of super foods for their meals, my husband dug a small portion of the limestone-rich backyard to make a fertile vegetable bed for us. The main aim is to grow organic vegetables and fruits. Land is abundant in Texas and so is the sun; a perfect recipe for cultivation!


And thus started our foray into backyard ‘organic cultivation’.

With the initial frost in the late spring that affected the corn, choosing wrong varieties of seeds for the squash has costed us this year just hard work and low-yield. But, this journey makes us, especially the kids, realise the value of food. a farmer’s true difficulties, and to invest time to not go for foppish but inculcate love for natural food. 

Lush green fields that please your eyes hiding, well-camouflaged, yet unwelcome guests: pests!

  • Mealy bugs
  • Garden snail
  • Carolina sphinx
  • Tiger crane fly

The word organic that I took for granted while I was growing up in India, and used fashionably in UK has made me very finicky about natural, organic food. Added to these, adulterated food is now coagulated into our systems beyond our measure or control. As they say, organic cultivation is the future of our agriculture. Perhaps, it is high time we should seriously consider thinking about the source of food we eat. Growing it yourself could be one way of knowing what we eat.

How are you today?

Last month a rather peculiar incident was witnessed by my son. He’d forgotten to sign-out of his system at school, and a couple of students from next period, put some inappropriate stuff on his page. His teachers found who that were, and made them apologise. So, his lesson to take home was to wrap-up properly. Thanks to his teachers, this innocuous incident was dealt with firmly, yet swiftly! But that has evoked many thoughts, innumerable instances that prompted what that would have led to if not addressed properly! What about the all vile, spiteful events that keep raising their heads very so often in and around us in the form or bullying and goes unreported or unaddressed.

Bullying, a word that should be highlighted enough to be wiped off the human-dictionary! When it comes to the choices of schools, as a parent, my first priority is for zero-tolerance towards bullying, not those schools that can make my children robots and Wikipedia. This bullying is not pertained just to schools or to younger children. Silent suffering leads into depression and mental illness. We should nip it in the bud to eradicate just as we did with small pox and polio. This thought of standing up for yourself should be sown at the embryonic stage. In this modern era, schools pay the pivotal role in this process. Pain should neither be ignored nor subdued, but dealt with properly. The cognitive brain should realise the pain has disappeared totally.

Going back to the incident at my son’s middle school, he showed me this letter written by his seniors. I’m in awe of his teachers. I’m more in awe of these students who owned the mistake. They were helped to demonstrate the true meaning of ‘apologising’. Teachers should be passionate towards the role they play in designing every kid’s life They lay the foundation for a better tomorrow. Kids who are raised with self-respect and receive support to address any pain inflicted, emerge as confident and stronger adults. In this particular instance, I’m overjoyed to see how teachers channelized these students who did a mischievous act without realizing the repercussions nor intended to hurt one child. It’s an act at the spur of the moment. There will be many that are done aiming and targeting one particular individual only because they appear vulnerable. Hence, I believe we need to weave human relations that will act as a cushion to raise a harmonious society. We need to be caring and empathetic. Schools, caretakers, and parents should act as strong anchor points. We don’t have to be perfect at everything and anything. As much as kids must be taught to accept failures, they must be taught to handle success too.

Kids who are shy, who are bullied, and who are constantly shunned, are made to believe they are born to suffer and that they aren’t lucky! Lucky or not, no one has right to bully others. Every one is equally equal. Way back in early 90’s my sister’s friends did a project on horoscopes and scientific relations. They came up with lots of predictions; one was, “you are lucky but never happy”. I could never comprehend that until I hit my adulthood. Now, when I entered the era of quadragenarian , I have realised, you may be lucky and not happy. But you can choose to be happy even if not lucky”! Self confidence and self respect are the DNA blocks for a healthy life. No one has right to hurt others. Kids must be taught the importance of social manners.

Bullying has no religion nor limited to races. We see one or two spikes when certain incidents get reported. But it’s prevalent every where.Google Wiki says, ” About one person in 5,000–15,000 dies by suicide every year (1.4% of all deaths), with a reported global rate of 10.7 per 100,000 population in 2015 (was 11.6 in 2008).” To curb this, we need human relations, every school needs counsellors, every citizen must act as soldier bringing bullying down at the bud stage. I’ve been an agony aunt for many of my friends/acquaintances. But there is no human chain that keeps this going. We get busy, we get consumed by our own desires and careers.

All we need is to do, ask anyone who is quiet or appearing disconnected or who always active or anyone we see, ” how are you today?” Every one must do their bit before bullying or other selfish motives consume us all.

It’s okay to fail!

Patience, perseverance, and empathy!

An MBA friend of mine, who I treat as my own sister, raised this very good question on, “how to teach children to deal with disappointments and failures”! Firstly, let’s remind ourselves that failure is also an option. An unavoidable option in everyone’s life; if not now, a little later. But it better be now than later. Let that ‘now’ lay a strong foundation for a successful, happy tomorrow.

This takes me back to late 2000’s when I was referred this book on parenting, ” Super Powers to Parents ” (by Stephen Briers), by my very good friend in England. Take home point from that book was addressing on how to use praise words for our children that makes them stay focussed by registering on what actually the praise is meant for. What could imply to them their exact value we carry in our hearts and minds.


Sharing an article that’s very relevant here: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/emotional-intelligence-the-psychology-of-better-parenting-1.899058

“I’m proud of your ‘achievement’ ” is a better suggested method of parenting than, ” I’m proud of you” as a token of appreciation. If you are using the latter, does that imply you are NOT proud of your children when they fail at achieving a medal in a competition? Are you trying to plant seeds of success is what will make you feel proud of them? But celebrating success or an achievement is important too. In this deadly competitive world, we need to train kids to give their best. But how they fare shouldn’t set a basis of them perceiving our love!

It’s our primary responsibility to teach our children to be empathetic and responsible. If we are upset with them, it’s not with them but with their behaviour or acts that might land them in trouble. We will always love and be proud of them. It’s the deeds we are aiming at, not them as individuals.

Let’s not make them victims of instant gratification that makes it hard for them to accept a failure. I have met kids who are champions at what all they do, find a way to blame others for them not faring well. High parental push, heavy expectations, and an urge to top absolutely at everything and anything make kids look for loop holes in the system, and start either a blame game or demean others who’re vulnerable. We need to coach them to accept the fact that life is only fair if it has little ups and downs. I also come across children who are scared to accept a defeat. They are only worth their constant successes, a deep rooted emotion installed by parents. These parents assume making winning as a habit will help them in long run. On the contrary, we are raising fed-up or anxious adults, who cannot be part of any team work.

Our children should never be coerced into fulfilling our unfulfilled dreams; the worst, training them into making another mini-us because we have been successful on our chosen paths! It’s ok for them to not be praised at every instance as said by Dr Taylor in this article:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-power-prime/200909/parenting-dont-praise-your-children

We expect our children to top absolutely in everything that’s available around! We want their glasses to be replaced by contacts, their uneven teeth to be bound by their braces, their failures to appear as life failures, and more over, teach them that failure is ‘never’ an option! Let’s do what our children need, not what pleases others about them. Let’s not make them people pleasers for nothing. Happiness is the paramount feature at any stage of life. Life need not be impeccable. It’s only natural to be imperfect and learn from our mistakes.

Let’s not deliver and train kids as a show-off to the society! Let’s teach our children to take steps that may fail them at times, and that we are there to hold them. We are pleased, upset or proud of their deeds, but we always love them; no matter what! Let them trust us, let them know failing is a part of life. Every failure has a lesson to teach which successful may not have a chance to learn!   It’s okay to fail.

People like myself…


Eeshwar Chandra Vidyasagar smiled, “It is clear, the invitation to dinner is to the clothes I am wearing and not to me. Therefore, I’m feeding them.”  – from a story I learnt as a kid where importance is given to the appearances, not to the people or the values they hold!

In this modern, global world keeping any future requirements in mind, some maintain a cordial relation on the name of friendship. But do those friends value me or like me? (May be neither!) But this has been the most intriguing question of my life at this juncture more than ever! This doesn’t mean I have free time to create ripples in my own life, but people around, who I assume as close, push me to my limits. I accept every challenge thrown at me, and use that to build a stronger myself. But I need to remember that I’m also a mere human being. I truly believe in amicable parting than holding onto bitter relations for ‘courtesy’ sake. This thought is a task for me, as I truly value every relation and value every person I meet. I value them for being themselves. I don’t pigeonhole people. So, how do I get to the bottom of any relation? I only analyse to see if we have something in common to have a hearty chat. I don’t understand why people make it tough for me to be myself?

What is myself? Just like any other emotional fool (if you’re one yourself, you’ll know what I mean), I try beyond my ability to keep everyone around me happy; my utmost priority is to make sure no one is hurt- not only by me, but by anyone, and to maintain a happy, positive front. But it’s hard to keep up with the folly of others, whose aim is to draw their own unwanted conclusions, judging me with their little narrow minds, and taking a stab at my pleasing personality.

For many, value is money; success is having a hefty bank balance! I have both but at a limited level; just about enough to spend my time contently, sitting in my lounge with my family. That precious time educating my children about ‘good manners, and the real values of life’. I have both the time and patience to do that. That’s my primary duty as a mother. But when my principles are labelled dated, and I still believe in them, I feel the ruffle. But I know there are some people who are champions of my thoughts. Hence, my fight gains momentum. I ain’t giving up!

Women with similar principles will go through this inherent struggle at some point in their lives. For women who are able to carve their careers, there are many factors that have been in their support. For a woman, also a wife and a mother, those factors must fall in place. Else, priorities change. It’s all about priorities, not necessarily the worth of a person that alone builds a career.

For those who take my silence as an easy target to their uncontrolled klazomania, it’s my modest upbringing that’s giving people another chance to be in my life. When I respect people, I expect that back; but modern times and arrogant life styles is making them take a stab at my principles in a way that speaks volumes of their lack of the same.

Let’s not even talk about those who talk when they want to for their own benefits, leaving people like me, baffled. With these encounters, most of the times, I’m a reactive specimen! I’m their friend when they include me as one. But, I supply the agony aunt in me based on the demand. My goal is to make them happy not necessarily my involvement in later stages of their happy lives.

I consider my life invaluable and highly respectable; the same way I see everyone’s. Hope people realise this before it’s too late. It’s hard to find people like myself.

Treat yourself the way you want others to treat you -read this some where. Very interesting, and also the need of the hour.

 I do come across people like me, myself, and it’s to that gain, I ‘m still being me, myself, though the day to day life is challenging.