Bio: Tanya is a graduate in Sociology from Sophia College, Mumbai and a post graduate in Communications and Media from SNDT Women’s University in Mumbai. She also has a post-graduate diploma in Instructional Designing, from Symbiosis Institute, Pune. She started her career by writing children’s books, creating e-learning modules and writing lifestyle articles for Rediff.com. Currently she is working as a Content Head at an Insights based PR Company in Mumbai. A foodie, a lifestyle features writer who loves writing restaurant/ food reviews and travelogues and in her spare time, she likes to pursue her hobbies of painting and photography.
Posts by tanyamunshi:
- Raina presently conducts three signature workshops:
- Relationship Mastery
- The SuperWoman
- The Breakthrough of Your Life!(Coming soon)
It all began when 46-year-old Mumbai based Siddhi Padgaonkar took a sabbatical with the birth of her daughter. A working professional since 1996, she took her sabbatical rather constructively where she turned a passion into a profession.
She recalls, “I was like any home maker trying to manage a house. My sweet little daughter’s birth and a break during her growing up days actually inspired me to deal with kitchenware. I used to buy different types and colours of kitchenware from my neighbour. In fact, it were these colours and designs in kitchenware that motivated me and exciting me to be in the kitchen and relish the food in my favourite cutlery.”
It then struck her with the possibility of creating a similar positive impact of colours across every household by becoming a dealer in the elegant kitchenware of Ektra Superware.
Siddhi was one of our participants at our first Entrepreneur Meetup held on 11th August in Mumbai. Her 3-minute talk about her Dealership journey for Ektra Superware was truly impressive. Here we are in conversation with this lady who has worked her way up to create a mark of her own.
How did it all begin?
Siddhi was a regular customer of Ektra kitchen wear for almost two years until one day after a preliminary research she approached Ektra directly.
“I must mention that the seriousness and warmth in which the Ektra team addressed my enquiry by appointing Mrs. Aparna, one of the largest Distributors of Ektra in India, helped me to navigate my path. Thereafter Mrs. Aparna took care of my appointments as a Dealer, training needs and handholding during my early struggle in business,” shares Siddhi.
Siddhi breezed through a multiple of challenges both on the domestic and the work front. While at the home front, she focused on the growing up years of her daughter and her studies, looking after her ailing father-in-law, mother-in-law and running a household while her husband who often travels on work.
On the business front, the challenges started with finance for initial as well as recurring investments, storage and maintenance of stocks; which mode or method to apply for sales and distribution, which she overcame.
“When I committed myself to venture into this line of business, I must share that the extraordinary support from my mother-in-law for managing the kitchen chores, extended support from my husband and well-managed studies pattern designed by my daughter helped overcome my challenges quickly,” smiles Siddhi.
What makes Ektra Superware Fine Dining unique?
According to Siddhi, Ektra is a fine dining concept by Srithai Superware Pvt. Ltd. with attractive designs. They’re available in unique styles with a classic finish that can stylize your kitchen, cafés or office cafeteria in an instant.
Bestsellers from Ektra Superware Fine Dining
Some of the best sellers that Siddhi recommends are Dinner Sets and Roti Keepers. In fact, she adds that Storage Containers are fast moving and highest selling products.
Response so far
Siddhi shares, “The response has been very good and I can proudly add that once a customer remains a customer with repeat requirements since new designs launch, product durability and utility is widely appreciated among all.”
“I aspire to multiply my reach to many through direct access by references and contacts as well as by participating in various exhibitions. I have a vision to “impact the lives of millions of Mumbaikars by decorating their household with Ektra kitchenware”, smiles Siddhi.
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We had invited Raina Khatri Tandon as a Guest Speaker for our first Entrepreneur Meetup in Mumbai. In the 10 minutes she spoke, we really liked her positive energy and enthusiasm that was an instant connection with many of our women entrepreneurs.
Here’s our conversation Raina, about her journey from a simple homely girl who lived in a cocooned affluent family and her personal breakthrough when she decided to step out for the first time and study in the UK. Her story makes us realise that many times, we don’t have to cross obstacles outside our spectrum, and it all begins with a single step and from the comfort zone of our homes and families.
Here’s her incredible story, read on…
How did it all begin?
It all started when she decided to visit the UK for her post-graduate studies to be a VLSI System Design Engineer from the University of Westminister. It was a big thing for her, especially when coming from a simple homely girl who hailed from a business family, wanting to pursue a corporate job.
But she was determined to leave that overprotected girl behind and to do something out of the box and unique. It started with taking a bold step to travel abroad alone for the very first time without a single gadget like a mobile or a laptop with her.
“For someone who’s never stepped out of her home or the city, travelled alone all the way to the UK to pursue her post-graduation, it was something,” laughs Raina. She adds, “In fact, I was one of the first in the family of 20 siblings to break the tradition of joining the corporate world and not the business community, which I feel was nothing less than the first unknown Breakthrough that I experienced!”
So she landed in a country where she didn’t know anyone and she became the only woman to be a VLSI Hardware Engineer from her batch of global students from the University of Westminster. Central London (1998 – 2000)
What came first and how? – International Educator, Breakthrough Transformational Coach, a speaker and a corporate trainer?
In her 15 year career, she has donned so many hats and we couldn’t help her ask what came first. According to Raina, International Educator came in first as she has been actively involved in educating youngsters and has been in the Immigration and Educational sector from the University of Westminster.
“The speaker in me awoke during a presentation session, drama and performances on the school stage. Did I mention that I was also into singing and dancing has been my passion which I still pursue through my casual events connecting and bonding people through relationships,” laughs Raina.
She further adds, “Corporate training happened just about two years ago and ever since I realised that I have a passionate and an inspirational public speaking presence. Eventually, I started focusing on the training on women, a empowerment and leadership and moved on to NLP, Transactional Analysis and Mindfulness and Leadership programs.”
Workshops conducted by Raina Khatri Tandon
She explains, “For corporate clients, I conduct leadership, team building, outbound programs, decision making, goal setting and constructive feedback, personal excellence, facilitation, coaching, mindfulness and stress management, change management.”
It is through her workshops and sessions that she aims to bring about a positive transformation in the lives of people whether they’re corporate professionals, youngsters, women or entrepreneurs.
What makes her workshops unique?
“Be it Relationship Mastery or The Superwoman, my workshops draw a systematic practical approach to solutions and results in real life,” says Raina. She further adds, “I have a combination of role plays, PowerPoints, visionary boards, models systems, awareness sheets, application-based examples, Harvard Business Review, research and case studies, Ted talks and inspirational video from Tony Robbins and Marshall Goldsmith, enacting and DIY Methodology and sustaining model of constructive feedback and follow-up which retains the essence and remains in the participants’ minds for a long-lasting impact and continuous growth.”
The response and the journey so far
For Raina, the response has been good as she’s chalking out a beautiful experiential journey. She signs off by saying, “I plan on connecting more lives globally and eventually to grow and the drive and passion to reach out to more people. The award and accolades give me more power to work in the areas of leadership, women entrepreneurship, training and coaching and empower all inside out!”
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Art Break Day is an international phenomenon headquartered in Corvallis, western Oregon United States. It believes in the concept that ‘art is moving’ and is held every year on the first Friday of the September across the globe.
Established in 2011, Art Break Day has held over 26,000 workshops, across 203 communities around the world with the help of more than 570 volunteers. Now, they’re all set to visit us in Mumbai at Kinetic Living, Bandra on September 7, 2018 (Friday) from 11am-8pm, with the help of two volunteers – Shraddha Vora and Shweta Saraf.
Shraddha (31) is a Counselling Psychologist and Arts-Based Therapy practitioner and her partner Shweta (30), is an Architect and A Zentagle Artist at PenToSoul.
The girls have volunteered to be an active host of Art Break Day here in Mumbai, where surprisingly, it has never been held before. The Lifestyle Portal talked to this enthusiastic duo Shraddha and Shweta about their visions, mission and hopes with Art Break Day.
How did it all begin?
Shraddha recalls, “I was a volunteer for Art Break Day at Art studio in Madhuban Village, Nainital in 2016. The entire journey of preparing towards this day and warmly encouraging people to engage in art was so therapeutic by itself that I wondered that something like this in the city would be a great idea.”
The very first time Shweta heard about Art Break Day was from her co-partner, Shraddha. The concept and intent behind the event were inspiring and exciting. “Being recently connected to the art background, I understand its importance in our daily life. So the idea is, through art, spread happiness amongst the people to make the world a peaceful place”, smiles Shweta.
Introducing Art Break Day in Mumbai
While there are a lot of paint parties being held in Mumbai that are fun and work well, but they come with a lot of structure, guided artwork and are result oriented. For Shraddha, art is something which is free of judgement, more about being in the moment, less outcome oriented, feeling free and letting go. She says, “When I tried to bring this in my introspective art therapy workshops, it took a while for me to get people to get in touch with themselves, and allow the colours to lead them.”
For Shweta, anything related to art excites her as she explains, “The concept of ‘open to all’ gives an opportunity to each and every one to come and explore the artist within them. Through our humble initiative, we intend to create an awareness amongst people, as to how even 5 minutes of an art break can bring a smile on their faces.”
“And an event like this perfectly fits into what Kinetic Living wants to offer not only to our students but to our entire community as well. Events such as Art Break Day is absolutely the need of the hour and no better place to make this event happen than a place like ours. This is where people come to improve their physical fitness but leave as a changed person, because motivation, happiness, art, self-awareness, joy and hobbies are enriching at a very personal and life-skills level,” adds Urmi Kothari, Energy Coach and Founder of Kinetic Living, a Fitness and Wellness Boutique gym in Khar, Mumbai.
As Shraddha explains art in India is viewed from a very different perspective than elsewhere. To get people to understand the therapeutic nature of art is challenging at times. People look for quick fixes, immediate outcomes, but art is a journey, a process and we have to allow things to move organically.
Shweta offers a unique perspective for art. Being a Zentangle artist, she shares how Zentangle is an unplanned, abstract, black and white art created on a small paper tile. It’s a form of “artistic meditation”. The art form being novel in India was a challenge in itself along with its black and white concept. And they’re hoping to bring such unique yet simple elements to the Art Break Day in Mumbai.
What makes Art Break Day as a concept so unique?
It is a free space, there are no judgments, no expectations. The idea of bonding with people over art by itself makes it exciting. Art and culture have been binding people from times without beginning. It is a new idea by itself but the openness to explore something new is where growth lies.
How does art help as therapy?
“Art therapy does not judge you. That is the environment we have created even in our workouts. It doesn’t demand you to be or draw in a particular way. Art creates a fun, comfortable and a creative way of looking inwards (without even realizing it and making it very serious). The results sort of creep up on you at the end of the class. We have had students cry and let their emotions out. They have expressed how it has helped them feel more at peace and as coaches, we at Kinetic Living couldn’t be happier to see our students make all-round progress and find their own kinetic version of life,” smiles Urmi.
Art Break Day collaborations
Shraddha has tied up with two foundations for the upcoming Art Break Day event in Mumbai. She says, “Manav Foundation and Kinetic Living are organisations which I deeply cherish and really appreciate for their openness towards exploring new avenues. I have been associated with both of them closely and the freedom to express through art is something that they have always encouraged their respective clients to do.”
For more details, get in touch:
1st Floor, Fatima villa, 40th Rd, Opp. Old Masjid, Khar West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400052
This festive season make a pledge to go as eco-friendly and nature loving as possible. It starts from a simple shift to papier-mâché or earthen idols instead of the plaster of Paris ones, minimise the use of thermocol and plastic for decorations, reduce the use of the loudspeakers or at least keep the decibels within permissible limits and last but not the least, switching from plastic and theromocol plates to biodegradable cutlery.
All you have to do is to start off with a checklist and research on reliable resources for the same. And if you’re getting stuck with regard to eco-friendly cutlery, there are companies such as Eco Serve that is here to help you with just that.
In our quest for eco-friendly and bio-degradable cutlery, The Lifestyle Portal came across Pune based ecopreneur Anindita Choudhury, the Founder of Eco-Serve who never allowed her ‘green spirit’ to fade away and has been working relentlessly to bring about this positive change even before the plastic ban took place in our country.
Read about her entrepreneurial journey right here:
How did it all begin?
“My childhood was spent in the lap of nature in Durgapur in West Bengal. Since I was a child, I had a keen interest in gardening, right from sowing seeds to picking fruits,” recalls Anindita.
After work and marriage, when she moved to Delhi, London and finally to Pune where she continued her gardening experiments.
As she finally made Pune her home, she started working as a consultant and had to frequently travel to Kerala and Coimbatore. It was here that she came across earthy Areca plates made by the village women that left her mesmerised.
“I almost left a portion of my heart there as I travelled back home to Pune yearning to connect with these people. Even when I was expecting, I aspired to do something eco-friendly and meaningful that would connect me with the ‘green spirit’,” adds Anindita.
Soon after the birth of her twin baby boys, Anindita joined a plastic recycling group called Rudra where she tried to create awareness about the importance of recycling in her society.
“I started off with two missions – ‘Mission Green’ and ‘Save Water Save Lives’, which got recognition from young and old alike. Through these initiatives, we created awareness about saving water in our area. We also involved kids in our initiatives through plantation drives, street plays and marches with slogans,” smiles Anindita.
Finding an investor & then the branding
Finally, a second trip to South India in 2016 rekindled her passion and Anindita decided to revive an old Areca factory along with a close friend who pitched in as a silent investor. And in October 2016 Anindita finally launched her Areca plates under her brand name and so Ecoserve.
“My passion for environment and my urge to create a green road to connect eco-friendly products with each and every household and my desire to promote an environmentally friendly way of life gave birth to the idea of creating an eco-friendly business and that’s how I decided to launch my own earth-friendly brand EcoServe,” says Anindita and she fondly adds – Eco-Serve delivered its first ‘Green Baby’. She is stylish and robust and completely non-toxic, Areca nut palm leaf dinnerware.
About Ecoserve and its philosophy
Anindita’s main thought process of launching an eco-friendly dinnerware range was to provide people with a healthy alternative to plastics and other disposable dinnerware which is one of the big causes of deadly disease like cancer, kidney stones and even neurological problems. Usage of unhealthy thermocol plates not only affects our health but also results in polluting the environment.
Eco Serve Areca nut dinnerware sets not only help in reducing our dependency on plastic products but also help in moulding the psyche of people towards safe eco-friendly biodegradable and earth-friendly substitutes. Eco Serve strongly believes in a philosophy of safe eco-dining Dinnerware and lives up to its motto of ‘safe for you, safer for the planet’
“My products are completely eco-friendly and are 100% biodegradable and compostable. In fact, unlike any other biodegradable material Areca Nut adds 15% more fertility to the soil,” adds Anindita.
The production cost of any eco-friendly material cannot be matched with plastics. Sadly, people tend to compare rates and in this matter, Areca dinnerware can never be as cheap as plastic.
As Anindita explains, “I have a limited network at the moment so I cannot spread across the awareness too much. Being a sole proprietor many a times marketing of my products dealing with clients developing my brand and also getting financial stability becomes an issue.”
She further adds, “I would also like to increase my network or reach not by the usual distributor-dealer network instead would like to make my own new supply chain management with small educated resellers rather than illiterate wholesale dealers. It is a challenge to go for bulk or volume in terms of sale. Also to approach corporates and big hotels on my own takes a lot of effort and is very time consuming and often those leads do not get converted. In fact, getting connected to the right set of people and spreading awareness about Eco-Serve is a big challenge.”
Areca nut product attributes
Anindita takes pride in sharing, “My green baby is elegant and 100% natural, wood-like finish. Her strength to withstand hot and cold food and liquids makes her the showstopper of disposable dinnerware. She is pure, devoid of any harmful chemicals, glues or adhesives and is completely natural as she is born out of fallen leaves and crystal clear water. Eco-Serve dinnerware adds that extra green flavour to your parties and festivity.”
Her second product – Eco ware- Sabaii grass tableware
To complement with their Areca nut biodegradable dinner sets, and to make more people aware of the eco-friendly substitutes that can replace plastic, Anindita started a completely new range in Sabaii grass tableware. This Sabaii grass dinnerware is made from needle-sharp golden grass and is 100% biodegradable. They are beautifully hand woven into beautiful items like table mats, coasters, runners, planters, bags, laundry baskets, gift baskets, roti baskets etc.
Her purpose behind using sabaii grass homeware items is to contribute to this rural initiative that helps revive the glorious eco-friendly handicraft industry of Odisha. This beautiful handicraft gives people a lovely range of eco-friendly decor items and also enables economic and social uplifting of the tribal artisan community.
How Eco-Serve is different from others
The brand strategy of Eco-Serve is fundamentally different from the others in this league. As the primary motive of Eco-Serve is to bring about a change in people’s life.
“We have around 25 items in eco-friendly dinnerwear. The pricing of areca ranges from INR 30 for a set of 12 bowls to around INR 100 for a set of 12 plates. We have a lovely range of Birchwood knives and forks which are a perfect replacement of plastic spoons and beautiful takeaway containers in various sizes from 250 to 1000 ml. We are also in a process of expanding and going in for takeaway containers in sugarcane bagasse for salads and healthy food. At Eco-Serve we are also trying a different range of painted trays for gifting during Diwali where we’re employing village girls for the same,” adds Anindita.
In fact, Eco-Serve is also promoting a toxin-free lifestyle with their sabaii grass range that starts from coasters to pen stands, mats, planters, roti boxes, bathroom accessory, trays and bags.
Eco Serve may not be registered as a social enterprise, however, their main motive is to provide mass scale awareness about eco-friendly brands.
Eco Serves’ main clientele includes names like Loghouse, Chocolate biclate, Cake and cream, Bread story, Ribbons and balloons to name a few.
The motive of Eco-Serve as a brand
The purpose of Eco-Serve dinnerware is to create mass awareness and inform, educate and influence people to get over their habit of using unhealthy plastic/ thermocol.
Eco-Serve also aspires to motivate people and help them by moulding their psyche, so that they can take an informed decision and also make safe eco-friendly biodegradable substitutes as part of their life, thereby making them healthy and also contribute in creating a safer and a cleaner planet.
So the next time you’re planning on hosting a party or this upcoming festive season, make a conscious effort by opting for such eco-friendly cutlery and do your bit for the environment.
To get in touch with Anindita and place an order for Eco-Serve and Sabai Grass Tableware, click here: Ecopreneur.
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By Priya Narayan
Parul Sujay Hande is a child therapist, specialized in art based therapy. She resides in Mumbai with her husband and her 2-year-old. She is a fitness freak and enthusiastic cook.
She shares an easy, flourless and sugar-free banana oat pancakes with our readers. This breakfast item is healthy, served with fresh fruit and can be made in minutes.
- 2 bananas
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- In a blender, combine the peeled bananas, eggs, oats, baking powder and salt.
- Blend until the mixture is smooth.
- Let the batter stand for 10 to 20 minutes.
- Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.
- Pour a ladle of batter to make a small pancake, and cook until golden brown on both sides. Serve hot.
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Living in Mumbai leaves a craving in me to leave the city and go spend some time in the quiet countryside. I think most city people look forward to such breaks and that’s why head to either the beaches or the mountains.
When I visited Dehradun this year, I was appalled to see the erratic constructions plaguing the beautiful capital of Uttarakhand. I have been told that ever since Dehradun became the capital of Uttarakhand, there’s been a massive change in the city landscape where the natural heritage has succumbed to random urbanization and it left a pain in my heart. I didn’t realize the intensity of those words until I drove from the Jolly Grant Airport to the heart of Dehradun. Just like many cities in our country, I realised how we’re all struggling with trying to keep pace with the rapid unplanned urbanisation and with our natural and historical heritage.
During my leisurely stay in Dehradun, I would pass my time reading ‘Once upon a time in the Doon – Writings from the Green Valley’ – edited by Ruskin Bond. This book gave me a glimpse of what Dehradun was earlier and what it has become today and if as a visitor I could feel the pain, I can just imagine those who are from Dehradun, how terrible they must be feeling with the way the peaceful hill town is turning into a chaotic one.
I was in Dehradun for a week with my 6-year-old and here are a few things that we did together with friends. I hope these first-hand accounts help you in planning your next trip to Dehradun.
1. Clement Town
Our trip began with a visit to the beautiful Buddhist temple in Clement Town. A less than an hour’s drive on the busy roads of Dehradun from Inder Road to Clement town brought us to this beautiful place of worship that was crowded with tourists. As the sun sets, you’ll be mesmerized by the 103 feet high statue of Lord Buddha. I have been to a few Buddhist monasteries – one in Coorg and another in Bangkok, and what attracts me about such places of worship is the peace and calm that it embraces you with. But alas, we Indian tourists are so loud that we land up ruining the peace. This place is a lot of fun for kids to play in the sprawling lawns and you can pick up some mementoes from the curio shops. On our way out, we dropped by for some freshly made momos and piping hot thukpa from Mahabodhi.
2. Dehradun Zoo
If visiting with your kids, then a trip to the zoo in Dehradun is a must. Yes, there are far better zoos that you would have seen in other parts of the country, but this was has been recently revamped and done up really well. They have an Aviary, Aquatic World and regular enclosures for wild animals. The kids loved playing and running around in the wide-open spaces.
3. Dehradun Mussoorie Road – Maggie Point
While we didn’t want to brave the traffic and get stuck for hours, we decided to go on a leisurely drive up to Maggie Point for some nice kadak chai and yes, how could we forget – Maggi! Even the fussy eater of a 6-year-old gobbled up an entire plate of Maggie. There are several Maggie points along the road, we stopped at one little dhaba and chatted over piping hot cups of tea and enjoying the crisp mountain breeze.
4. Café Marigold
After a pit stop at Maggie Point, we decided to drive up to Café Marigold. Seemed like quite a popular favourite amongst high-end tourists, we stopped by for some cold and hot coffees and an additional chit chat and customary photo sessions owing to its rustic ambience. Quite aesthetically done up, the café is pretty cosy nestled in the roadside of the narrow mountain roads. I’m sure it must be looking pretty dreamy in the night when it’s all lit up.
5. Kumar’s Sweet Shop
No trip to Dehradun would be complete without the Kulfi and Falooda at Kumar’s Sweet Shop. As we stopped by on our way back, we drooled over the freshly made kulfis being topped with falooda, which was devoured as an evening snack. Truly the hills make you hungry!
6. Robber’s Cave
A sheer disappointment, Robber’s Cave is in its most pathetic condition. The stream reduced to almost a nala/ gutter, with mucky dirty water and ten times the population trying to picnic there. I have never seen a picnic spot as dirty and filthy. I would recommend skipping this place. We left and drove to Sahastradhara. Sadly, we Indian tourists are the worst; we just don’t know how to enjoy nature’s bounty responsibly.
This was another very popular tourist spot frequented by people. Well, the only difference was, this place HAD water. Even though not maintained very well and lacking in environmental cleanliness and hygiene, this place enjoys a lot of tourist attraction. You can take a dip and play for hours in the water. Changing rooms are available. Stop by at the roadside cafes and dhabas for tea and coffee and you’re good to go.
8. Paltan Bazaar
It would be insane if you missed a trip to Paltan Bazaar as this is the place you can feel the pulse of Dehradun. We bought freshly baked biscuits from Sunrise Bakers, the only of its kind in Dehradun. My friend and I walked through the narrow lanes of Paltan Bazaar, while she shopped for things for the house, I picked up some gorgeous dupattas for friends and some trinkets too. I think I enjoyed the pulse and energy of this place, it was so lively, so unpretentious and that gives you a true glimpse of the city’s soul.
9. Bun Tikki
On our way back from Paltan Bazaar, my friend and I stopped over for some mouthwatering Bun Tikki. This was something totally out of the world. I started salivating like Pavlov’s dog when I saw them frying the tikkis on a large iron tava and preparing it for the clients waiting eagerly for their orders. The soft sweet buns complimented the aloo tikki with the chutneys. This is far better an alternative than McDonald’s.
10. Orchard Restaurant
Finally, the last day before returning to Mumbai, my friends and I visited the Orchard, a popular restaurant in Rajpur Road. Situated on a highland, the outdoor café overlooks greenery and of course a whole new set of construction going on at a distance. Drop by here if you’d like to try out some Oriental, Thai and Tibetan cuisine.
Overall, a week-long holiday spent in the company in the loving warmth of good friendship was all that actually mattered. This trip was a wonderful blend of fun, laughter, sight seing and just enjoying the slow pace of life. If you ask me whether I would visit Dehradun again, of course, I would and this time, I would explore other facets of this town, which I haven’t yet done. Until then…keep smiling Dehradun.
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Have you ever tried to go medicine free? Did you try to completely stop your dependency on plastics at home? If you think it is only for a bunch of people who can easily do it and not you, you’re mistaken. The best part is, we all can be a part of an eco-friendly movement, and here’s one lady who can show us how.
The Lifestyle Portal caught up with Rhituparna Mitra, the founder of Our Earth & Us: Striking the Right Balance – a Facebook Support Group for greener and healthier living. We invited her in our First Entrepreneur Meetup in Mumbai on 11th August 2018 to share her vision about sustainable living and the way it is linked to our soul, our cell and the environment we live in.
37-year-old Rhituparna is a Navi Mumbai resident, a B.E. (Electronics & Telecommunications) and PG Diploma in Public Relations and Corporate Communications.
In the past 13 years, Rhituparna moved from software engineering to public relations to corporate communications to a content role at a maternity and childcare startup. She was then urged by her instincts to dedicate her time and efforts to a sustainable and a holistic living. On this journey, she is seeking help from experts, evangelists and consumers and sharing their experiences through her online support group.
How did it all begin?
“There’s something inside me that always stirred up and made me uncomfortable when I saw plastic bags being dumped, or items being mindlessly bought and thrown, people rushing to the hospital for every small issue, the news about pesticides in agricultural produce, people leading stressed out lives and so on,” recalls Rhituparna.
This prompted her to start looking for solutions in an attempt to make the necessary changes in her lifestyle wherever she could. While Rhituparna could take a few concrete steps in the area of health and wellness, gardening, deploying alternatives for plastic, she realised that she needed help in changing many other aspects of her life.
She adds, “When I reached out to people, I saw that many people are doing some good work in different fields such as farming, health, making organic products but they are all operating in silos. Consumers like me needed help in making the right changes and the good word needed to spread. After much thought, the group came alive on 1st January, 2018, after I visited a village in Sagar Island, West Bengal in December and observed simplicity and sustainability at its best.” In fact, this is also where she witnessed how a scientist, Dr Amales Misra, is growing 108 varieties of rice and testing climate resistance to yield stable varieties and training the village girls to do so.
How an urban gardener turned into an eco-warrior
Rhituparna fondly recalls, “I grew up in a relatively small city where we had a huge space for gardening, walked by clean roads and connected with people soulfully. Back then, I hardly valued it. Later in life, when I moved to metropolitan cities for higher studies and work, I just couldn’t take the automobile smoke, the dirt on the streets, lack of greenery, the push and shove by a burgeoning population. Somehow, I had begun to accept it, until I had to undertake certain medical procedures. Post that, my system (soul, body and mind) simply started refuting anything chemical, unnatural or stressful.”
She was fortunate to have found excellent food and body guidance at The Health Awareness Center, Mumbai in 2015 and that quite, was the turning point of her life. She was already an urban gardener by then and begun to join the dots in different life forms.
Thereon, Rhituparna and her family, haven’t taken any medicines for fever, cold, cough, loose motions or even needed to get our blood checked for blood pressure, cholesterol and alike. They have learnt to eat right (what human beings are programmed for), rest adequately and place faith in our body whenever we see the balance tipping off.
She adds, “As my first child was young (since she was around 2.5 years old back then), I took her to several nature trails, camps, safaris and treks and found that very liberating. Again, there was a strong connection at all three levels – soul, cell and the environment. This year, I have laid my hands on making bio-enzymes at home (to eventually substitute all household cleaners and toiletries), composting to achieve zero wet waste, consciously stopped acquiring goods unless critical, learning to make food interesting without animal-based foods, refined foods, packaged foods, oil, wheat and milk and other such initiatives.” She admits that it is a long journey and there are miles to go before one sleeps.
Various initiatives discussed in the forum
This group is aimed at bringing all quarters of sustainable living together – health and wellness, farming, gardening, zero waste living, natural/ organic alternatives for household needs, nature-inspired travel, art, books, education about our health and environment, healing of the mind through yoga, meditation, chakra balancing and more…
Rhituparna’s group covers a spectrum of topics and purposefully so. For example, she posts about her medicine free journey and food lessons based on her experience. Then there are nature inspired events being regularly covered in the group. Questions on alternatives to chemical products such as cosmetics, mosquito repellent, a switch to a bamboo-based toothbrush are common too. And many things in between – such as books to read about health, gardening, art forms that inspire us, things that heal our soul and initiatives taken by the government in this space. An interesting series by an expert was about our various chakras and what can we do to achieve a balance between them.
What makes her forum unique?
I think, the group is unique in the way that it encompasses all aspects of sustainable living. Most other groups are based on zero waste lifestyle, health or gardening alone. “In fact, we are very clear that we want to support people in making the change. There’s a need for balance. A ban on plastic bags doesn’t mean we start buying new cloth or paper bags! It just means we stop acquiring any more plastic bags and use what we have judiciously. Natural resources are not just a prerogative of the rich. It belongs to everyone who needs food and oxygen.”
Examples from her forum
Rhituparna explains, “We have around 35-40 pots in our balcony where we grow all kinds of greens – ones that absorb toxic gases, ones that flower, a few vegetable plants and so on. We have set a rule in the house that whosoever goes to any kind of shop will carry a bag. It is not ok to just take a paper bag too as even that consumes natural resources. Our elder daughter, now 5, picks up plastic packets randomly from the road and starts looking around for a dry waste bin. We have also been composting all our wet waste from the kitchen for over a year now.”
She further adds, “We are decluttering our house to see what we really need and what really sparks joy. For things we don’t value anymore, we are finding ways to give them to those who need it. We avoid buying unless we really need something badly. We have stopped going to supermarkets for over 2 years now unless there’s something we would get only there. We literally buy nothing for the kitchen which comes out of a packet. Not even packaged salt and sugar. We try to buy from wholesale grocers as much as possible.”
5 simple steps to a more sustainable living
Rhituparna shares a few examples of change at a personal/ domestic level that each one of us can bring about:
- Increase raw foods in your diet – fruits and vegetables. (Raw fruits for breakfast and evening snack. Raw vegetables along with lunch and dinner)
- Plant at least 5 plants in your balcony as a thumb rule
- Recycling old bedsheets or clothes to make cloth carry/ storage bags
- Helping the economy, nature and our health by ditching Aluminium or non-stick cooking vessels and move to iron or earthen pots.
- Use bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic ones
Rhituparna signs off by saying, “It is my heartfelt wish to make this group a source of inspiration globally for whosoever appreciates the need to live a more fulfilled, healthier and sustainable life. I would like it to become the group where people can fearlessly ask for help on alternatives, propose solutions, make bold changes and share authentic experiences. It should create a movement for change, one that makes everyone to join in. I want everyone to understand that the environment is not just a subject for nature conservationists/ environmentalists but it is something that deeply affects each of us every day. The group is meant to be a warm, kind, supportive space where we say ‘We can do it. The world is ours to save, after all.’”
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People who think they are crazy enough to change the world are the ones who do – Steve Jobs
Well, I may not have changed the world for the better (it is still a work in progress), but I was crazy enough to host the first entrepreneur meetup to bring together all the entrepreneurs I have featured so far. I must admit that it was a mammoth task at first for a single entity run enterprise like mine, but I am proud to have executed my vision and turn it into a reality.
However, the best part being, when friends, well-wishers and fellow entrepreneurs who reached out to offer a helping hand, it reaffirmed my belief that there’s still a lot of good people in this world who believe in you and your work.
A huge heartfelt thanks to Aparna Garg, the Founder of Let’s Get Lost, Apoorva Mairal, the Founder of The Sweet Store and Behroze Menon, the Founder of Beads Cocktail extended their support by being Gifting Partners at our event. Also a big thank you to Pallavi Mehta for encouraging fellow women entrepreneurs to attend our meetup and to Karthik a dear friend who ensured that everything went off smoothly at the event. Finally not to forget, Anand Rohimal, an amazing photographer (mentored by an ace photographer Priyam Dutta) for clicking such fantastic pictures at the meetup.
It was my long harboured dream to give a platform to aspiring entrepreneurs or those who want to bring out a positive change in the country and in our environment through The Lifestyle Portal. I am grateful that this first meetup proved to be a fantastic platform as a learning ground for so many of us.
I was truly humbled where the keynote and guest speakers attended my first entrepreneur meetup and spent the day interacting with all the participating entrepreneurs. Not once did they make me feel like a novice with no experience of hosting an entrepreneur meetup before.
Our two keynote speakers Sanjay Mukherjee and Avishek Ganguly took centre stage where they shed light on some pertinent yet undermined aspects of running a business. While Sanjay touched upon vital elements in entrepreneurship such as decision making and being the first to start something new, Avishek talked about the importance of getting the right team to propel your business further.
We also had Raina Khatri Tandon a Breakthrough Coach talking about how personal breakthroughs and focus are one of the key elements for personal growth and success. Her radiant personality, confidence and charm won over the audience. And Rhituparna Mitra, spoke about leading a sustainable and a healthier life for oneself which also proves to be beneficial for the planet as well. Her talk made us aware of the choices we make as consumers and as humans so that we can minimize the damage that we knowingly or unknowingly inflict upon ourselves and on our planet.
The second half of the meetup was open to all the participating entrepreneurs – almost 23 of them who got a three-minute slot to present their brand based on the theme ‘Challenges’ and how they have benefitted from it. This became a fantastic learning ground for each one of us where the entrepreneurs detailed out almost every challenge they faced, overcame which further fuels their passion to move ahead. While for some it was financially supporting their spouse, giving the special children a chance to lead a dignified life, the others overcame challenges of creating their own name, throwing caution to the wind and changing their career path for the love of turning into an entrepreneur.
Little did they know that the participants know that they were being judged by Sanjay and Avishek and guess who all took the prize? Aparna Garg bagged the Best Presenter Award, Anushree Chatterjee Patni for the Most Innovative Concept and Salloni Mirchandani Malkani took home the Most Promising Entrepreneur award.
My heroes entrepreneur participants were Shraddha Kiran Sawant, a Dealer in Floria Naturals Products which specializes in herbal soaps, cow therapy soaps, face wash, shampoo and floor cleaner. Neha Chavan – Founder, Elegant Jewels – that specializes in everyday affordable fashion jewellery. Megha Kumbhar – Founder, Nurturing Talents. Megha is a special educator who has been teaching special children for the past 20 years. I call them heroes is because this was their very first meetup, they were very nervous and yet, they went up and spoke about their lives, their visions and their entrepreneur journey, thereby inspiring us all.
I am also super proud of Taniya Nirankari, the Co-Founder of Amritsar Express a restaurant in Malad and Rupal Shah, a Certified Yoga Trainer, overcoming their fear of talking in public, to take this opportunity to talk about their work. And how could I miss, Adv. Nishant Makasare, who braved the Pune and Mumbai traffic in the rains and made it to our event for the last 30 odd minutes, and left us awe inspired with his speech.
When established entrepreneurs like Saloni Mirchandani Malkani – Co-Founder, Food Blogger’s Association of India (the FBAI) and Gaurang Chandarana – Founder, Wellzee & Abhisti – attended the event, I was truly humbled. It was very encouraging to have them attend our meetup and share their knowledge with other entrepreneurs as well.
Well, this is not the end as I recall this wonderful quote by Winston Churchill, that a friend sent to me on Whatsapp being several continents away, just before the meetup – “Success is not final, Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts” – I felt I have learnt so much today, am so much wiser and now ready to continue with my dream of writing about entrepreneurs and giving them platforms like these to showcase their work. Until next time…stay inspired!
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The success of The Lifestyle Portal’s first Entrepreneur Meetup – Mumbai Edition has brought us some thank you notes.
When these messages of gratitude started pouring in, I was elated:
Mamta Kalambe, Co-Founder Tell-a-Tale Studios
TLP’s Entrepreneur Meetup was different from other meetups I’d been part of before. Unlike other meetups, where there are just card exchanges and fewer conversations, this group focused on giving time to each entrepreneur by letting them exclusively present their brands themselves. It had experienced speakers talking on how to run and sustain a business and delved into how challenges can be enabling. It was humbling to see an array of women entrepreneurs ranging from different age groups. The best part of the meetup was, the talk by Rhituparna Mitra – Founder – Our Earth & Us: Striking the Right Balance. Nikhil and I as the co-founders of Tell-a-Tale Studios and as individuals have a focus in life to be and live an ecologically conscious lifestyle. We feel as entrepreneurs, we need to be ecologically conscious and ethical in not only doing a business but also how we impact our nature. So there goes a brownie point to Tanya to have this talk!
Aparna Garg, Founder – Let’s Get Lost
Avishek Ganguly – Founder, Calls Incorporated
It was an enriching experience being part of The Lifestyle Portal’s entrepreneur meet up! Most one day workshops tend to be stereotypical often following a very set but monotonous pattern. This one was a like a vibrant interactive session, where keynote speakers not only elucidated pearls of entrepreneurial wisdom but equally gained wisdom from the diverse but fascinating journeys of the participating entrepreneurs. It was truly an all-star team. A special mention for Sanjay Mukherjee, he was magical and truly a worthy mentor and to you Tanya and The Lifestyle Portal – a round of applause. I loved the meticulous planning, the eye for detail, the format and content of the sessions and those wonderful takeaway goodies!
But the most important takeaway was this forum where one got to network with fellow entrepreneurs to enhance one’s own business prospects.
Anushree Chatterjee Patni, Founder – Goregaon Highway Pulse
Thank you, Tanya, for a great meetup. The session was so warm, insightful and so helpful. It was organised perfectly. It was inspiring to meet and know of such great work, such great stories. The Lifestyle Portal and you are a true inspiration. May you meet so many more successes!
Adv. Nishant Makasare – Founder, The Sixth Element (TM)
Dear Tanya, I wasn’t there for the whole event but there was a positive aura of achievers that I felt the moment I walked in. Keep up the great work that you are doing. Appreciate every bit of the effort you and your team put in to make this event a success… Kudos
Sanjay Mukherjee, Founder of The Mountain Walker, RedstoneSummerhill and Chief Strategy Advisor for Peak Pacific.
Dear Tanya, and TLP community:
Today was one of the most inspiring days of this decade for me. I learned more today from all of you that I have from all my other work interactions in the past year. All of you are true rock stars and I thank you for being so kind to welcome and include me in your community. It is an honour. It was a superb event and I hope to see many more in the future.
Rhituparna Mitra – Founder – Our Earth & Us: Striking the Right Balance
Firstly, it was an absolute delight to be part of such a cosy but motivated group of entrepreneurs. I can’t be more grateful for having me over as the guest speaker and allowing me to spread the love for our health and this planet. At the outset, I must admit that the organization of the programme, hospitality, the entire communication was flawless! No one could tell that you are just a one-woman army behind the show. It was fun meeting entrepreneurs who are cracking it in their own areas of work! I was also quite delighted to see the response of my talk from the audience. In fact, your event got me thinking if at all; there could be a business around sustainable living. Looking forward to other meetups like these.
Raina Khatri Tandon, Breakthrough Coach and, Author, Corporate Certified Trainer, Women Inspired Entrepreneur and Speaker
The event organised by The Lifestyle Portal on 11th Aug was very interactive, an eye opener and very knowledgeable. It was an amazing experience sharing my knowledge and connecting with like-minded women entrepreneurs. As a Founder, you are a very warm, welcoming and an amazing Entrepreneur, a true professional and an epitome of womanhood in power and poise. I simply loved the welcome, honour and privilege you gave me on your platform where I got a chance to empower the women through an experience in Breakthrough.
Thanks once more for having me as a Guest Speaker at your meetup.
Saloni Mirchandani Malkani, Co-Founder – The Food Bloggers Association of India (The FBAI)
I had a lovely time where I got to meet such wonderful and inspiring people. Thanks, Tanya!
Apoorva Mairal, Founder – The Sweet Store
I really loved the meetup. It was a learning experience for me. So good to meet all the fellow entrepreneurs and I hope everyone liked the cupcakes! 🙂
Harshali Sawant, Founder – Tummy Tucks
The workshop was very nicely planned and organised. Personally, I found it very useful, I made many contacts and learned a lot from start to the end.
Rashmi Bagri – Corporate Trainer, Experiential Educator, Counsellor & Happiness Coach
The meet was overall very insightful. Meeting fellow entrepreneurs and listening to their journey was very inspiring. It was perfectly organized. My takeaway was to believe in your self and your services with focus and clear vision will help scale heights. Looking forward to such events in the future. Specific topics like mentoring and developing a business plan would be helpful. Finally, we met and it was wonderful meeting you. Happy to be associated with such an enterprising group.
Pallavi Mehta, Events Consultant
It was a wonderful experience, where we met with fellow entrepreneurs, key
speakers and guest speakers too. We witnessed a new world unfolding in front of us with valuable lessons to be learnt. And not to forget the vibrant energy throughout the session; we’re looking forward to many more session of the same.
Megha Kumbhar, Founder – Nurturing Talents
Thanks a lot for a great meet up.
It was an excellent experience!
Siddhi Padgaonkar – Dealer in Ektra Superware Fine Dining
Those who dare to fight the odds and take the world with the determination to establish as a businesswoman; thanks to The Lifestyle Portal and a special thanks to Ms.Tanya Munshi who has given us this opportunity. I would love to associate with you for our future endeavours and I salute each and everyone for the steps they have taken in spite of several challenges they had to face. Also thanks to our Speakers who given us the guidelines for the same.
Sunita Mundra, Founder Muskaan Collection
It was a very good experience. Thank you so much for organizing such an event. I have received excellent guidance and I am looking forward to more such meetups.
Rupal Shah, Certified Yoga Instructor
It was great to be a part of TLP’s first entrepreneur’s meet up. As a yoga teacher, I felt out of the box being there. But as insisted by Tanya Munshi I got a lot to learn from the success stories of other entrepreneurs. Being an artist by heart I have tried selling my art but all in vain. But that urge to produce creativity has never died within me. Ideas keep popping up and also blast out. But now inspired by speakers and other entrepreneurs I am going to start up something perfectly planned and executed. And by the next meet up, I’ll have my own success story as an entrepreneur.
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The Lifestyle Portal is happy to do our bit about breastfeeding awareness. Some years ago, I had faced a similar situation when I was breastfeeding my baby and had a tough time especially when I had to go outdoors. I had a chance to voice my opinion on Youth Ki Awaaz – where there had been instances I had to breastfeed my daughter in a toilet of a top five-star hotel in Mumbai. This kind of apathy and lack of awareness was something that I felt strongly about. Hope you are left more empowered after reading this article and seeing these stunning photographs by Neha and Deepak Verma.
Breastfeeding India Photostories Initiative by Out of Focus Pictures
Photographer Parents received support and information during their breastfeeding journey. They plan to Pay-It-Forward with Photographing and documenting photo-stories of mothers from India. Their photo-entry made it to the finals and won. It is the first photography company from India to be represented on Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project (PBAP) forum of worldwide photographers. Through these photo-stories, they seek to celebrate various perspectives of feeding – of nourishing and nurturing our babies, be inclusive and document diversity of normal breastfeeding, across lifestyle of mothers, ages of children, backgrounds and delivery methods of breast milk. The aim is to turn this one-week, into a yearlong celebration.
The photo-stories will range from stylized to realistic, artistic to documentary style photography. Normalizing breastfeeding in all its diversity and inclusivity is the end goal!
These stories are being created to give our society more exposure and a sense of community to our mothers. We hope, over time, society will be more accepting, that feeding a baby, in any form, anytime, and anyplace is normal.
As a birth photographer from Out of Focus Pictures, I capture the moment when a woman becomes a mother – the moment of birth! I witness the start of their breastfeeding journeys as well. Capturing birth and breastfeeding, is about the moment of truth, a moment that is irreplaceable. A moment that is unique to each mother. A story, that is, their own.
Even though breastfeeding is an evolutionary act, it can be challenging! A mother overcomes many hurdles – big and small, to establish this bond with her child. I have come across heartening stories, of women who wanted to breastfeed, but couldn’t, due to lack of support and information. Some went through surgery and it affected their milk supply, some pursued hard to re-lactate, some had to stop early as their family, friends, medical professionals and media made them feel that they aren’t making enough milk or their baby are too old to nurse. The underlying message across stories is that we as a society, rob women of confidence, shroud her with misguided opinions, misinformation and replace this lack of support vacuum with a super-sized pack of guilt. We can’t truly get into the spirit of celebration if our mothers continue to get shamed and misinformed.
As mothers, sometimes, we sabotage our own selves, when we allow our inhibitions to get the best of us. I want mothers to reclaim the public spaces instead of covering up or much worse, hiding in restrooms to feed their babies. Deepak, and I believe that breastfeeding in public is the only way to normalize breastfeeding.
I was supported, guided and empowered by many peers during my breastfeeding years. This is my way of paying-it-forward. I was inspired by the PBAP movement (Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project) on Facebook. Coincidentally, this year, our photo-entry made it to the finals and won. We will be the first photography company from India to be represented on their forum of worldwide photographers. Through these photo-stories, we see, document, and celebrate various perspectives of feeding – of nourishing and nurturing our babies. The aim is to turn this one-week, into a yearlong celebration.
The long-term aim we have set out for ourselves is to be inclusive and document diversity of normal breastfeeding, across lifestyle of mothers, ages of children, backgrounds and delivery methods of breast milk.
Me, along with rock-solid support from Deepak, my husband and creative partner, breastfed my child (daughter named Noor) till 5 years of age. We look at World Breastfeeding Week as a way to celebrate, inform and educate women so that they can make informed choices and if for some reason, they aren’t able to breastfeed, their voices and stories need to be heard as well. Our upcoming series of photography and films, will be on working mothers who pump on the job, moms who donate their extra milk to milk banks, mothers who have had to bottle/tube feed their breast milk, moms who choose extended breastfeeding as well as moms who had to or chose to formula feed their babies. This, I believe will mitigate mommy wars that shame and alienate a certain section of moms, and label them as not being mom enough.
These stories are being created to give our society more exposure and a sense of community to our mothers. We hope, over time, society will be more accepting, that feeding a baby, in any form, anytime, and anyplace is normal. Normalizing breastfeeding in all its diversity and inclusivity is the end goal!
Shubhreet – I have realized people pass judgments either way – feeding or not feeding, supplementing or not, too short a period or too long. Essentially that attitude towards breastfeeding is what needs to change. This is a journey between mothers and their kids and fathers too. Judgments of any kind on this will just hamper a Mother’s journey. Be it direct or polite, those opinions should not be repeatedly told to a mother and she should be freely allowed to make the best choice she can. We need to as a society empower mothers with information and freedom to choose.
Vaishali – The first time I faced flak for NIPing was on my daughter’s first flight. The amount of glares, judgment and advice I got from random people before getting out would make someone think I had committed a felony! Breastfeeding has been about her nutrition and immunity primarily but it has also saved me. On extremely difficult days breastfeeding has helped me soothe her and thus retain my own sanity. It has helped me heal when I needed it the most. It has helped me calm an angry toddler on solo parenting days. Through my photo story, I would like to bring to that nursing in public isn’t a taboo. Breasts have a functional task first!
Vaishnavi – Breastfeeding is a relationship worth nurturing. We really need to work on dispelling myths around breastfeeding and help more and more mothers initiate and continue breastfeeding into toddlerhood. For this, family and society’s support is very important, and hence the need to normalize breastfeeding and feeding in public.
Khyati – Breastfeeding is not easy, but it’s extremely important. For me it has been the hardest thing to do as a new mother, I ended up with blisters and lumps and just this week I fought mastitis again, but it also is my magic wand. It puts my baby to sleep, helps him keep calm, gives us a moment of peace when we want it and above all it gives him all the nourishment necessary for him to grow. I have never felt uncomfortable while nursing in public, as I am usually too busy looking into my baby’s eyes. But I must admit, feeding in public, amongst people you know can be even more intimidating if they aren’t well informed. They make you more conscious. The biggest issue with breastfeeding in India is that people discourage you more than encouraging you to do it. It takes an immense amount of fire in the mother to continue feeding. I found peer groups and initiatives like photo stories of nursing mothers is an interesting way of telling fellow mom’s the importance of breastfeeding your baby.
Deepa – India used to be a breastfeeding friendly nation. Our scriptures symbolize a mother’s breast as a pitcher full of nectar. Somewhere along the lines of modernisation and struggling with our own social and cultural hindrances, breastfeeding got surrounded by misinformation and moral policing. I don’t have to go out of the way to breastfeed in public to prove a point, but I have come to realise that just like Mumbai’s monsoons, a baby’s cry to be fed is unpredictable. Would you rather hide or let your baby cry. I prefer to take a deep breath, look into my baby’s eyes and let the downpour drown out any shameful comments or stares, the monsoon mayhem turns the world into a blur for me, I feel grounded and calm. I am certain that we India mothers can regain our lost confidence back in breastfeeding, by prioritising our babies above everything else.
Nilima – I couldn’t breastfeed my first born because of lack of knowledge, doctors pushing me towards formula because of low milk supply and not having proper lactation consultation and guidance. On top of this, I was working, so formula feeding became my saviour and an easy way for my family to manage and feed my baby. However, the second time around, I prepped myself with information, had support from fellow mommy friends and my baby latched on like a pro! I feel there is nothing like breastfeeding in public or in private – it is breastfeeding! I always dress and carry stuff that I may need to nurse on the go. When your baby is hungry, you can’t do much else, feed your baby – wherever, whenever!
Lakshmi – I strongly believe that extended breastfeeding isn’t a crime. It is completely natural. Our culture is more tolerant about it, however, with western influence, people have started to frown upon it. In my breastfeeding journey, I realized that for my child it is a source of reassurance and emotional support. It doesn’t make the child clingy as it is commonly perceived. Instead of labelling it as extended breastfeeding, the correct terminology for feeding your child beyond the first year is and should be full-term breastfeeding.
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