Welcome to Letter 1
What's special about August, Talk on Skin Colour and Getting Ready for Festivals with a tip to help you
Hello and welcome to the first edition of this newsletter. While it is called newsletter, let me promise you, there will be less or none of news and more of letter. I loved writing letters on good old inland paper and that too with my ink pen! While this will get delivered to you as a monthly newsletter, in my mind, I will be writing this long hand on paper, in an attempt to connect with all of you. So, what will I write about ?
We, the Indian Woman of today, have a lot more opportunities, access to information, people, places, finance and overall exposure, much more than our mother and grandmothers had.
On the other hand, in today's fast paced world, we have much more complex challenges, be it on the family or work front apart from parenting, primary care giving and just the mental load of keeping track of everything that goes into running a family .
The demand is more, from all sides, and from ourselves.
Through this monthly newsletter, it is my humble attempt to share some insights, bring attention to certain topics, tips for some other topics and from many more women! These will be on topics ranging from productivity, work and home management, parenting, aspirations and opportunities. For, we, the New Indian Women, have so much to learn from each other - to adapt, to be aware, to have agency and to make informed choices…without forgetting to have fun and enjoy our life. I host the New Indian Woman podcast which has episodes on similar topics wherein I share actionable strategies and chat with women who inspire and help us learn more. If you find links to certain episodes of this podcast, don’t feel surprised! I do hope you enjoy reading and find this useful.
OK, ready to read ? Hope you are sitting in a nice cozy corner, with your favourite drink, taking a little time off for yourself ?
What's special about August ?
For me, lots. 2 years back, on Aug 17th, I launched my podcast, the New Indian Woman. This podcast, as the name suggests, focusses on Indian women. It has 2 episodes every month, hosted by me. This is a passion project. Some episodes focus on a specific topic like Finance for Women, Sustainable Menstruation practices, Child Sexual Abuse, Challenges women face at workplace etc. Either I share inputs based on research or have conversations with people from relevant background. The second category of episodes feature Inspiring Women - these are not famous women essentially, but women who chose to aspire or have a dream beyond their defined roles. I find it very difficult to believe it is 48 episodes already - I still remember how nervous I felt while recording the first episode, with absolutely no background in media or conducting interviews. But I am happy I overcame the equivalent of stage fear(should that be called mike fear?). Click here to see the list of episodes and to listen to them.
If you are wondering what a podcast is, I must tell you it is like YouTube, but only audio. You don’t need to be connected to the Internet for you to listen to a podcast. If you are using Android phone, you may be having the app Google Podcasts on your phone already. Search for New Indian Woman and subscribe, that’s all. It is fun to go for long walks or do boring work around the house, listening to podcasts. You could refer to this article which gives a little more detail on the same, in simple terms.
Coming back to the topic. Yes, I launched the podcast in August. And on its 2nd anniversary, I thought it best to start this newsletter. You may feel I am being superstitious, but I find August auspicious - it also happens to be New Year Day, at least in one calendar!. Many important milestones of my life have happened on this day - me joining college and leaving home, me joining my first job and living alone and more. I feel this day is very special for me, especially for new beginnings. So one more to add to this list - starting this newsletter!
Talk on Skin Colour
I was on a long phone call with my cousin. She was excited about stepping out of her house after ages, to visit a friend and her new born baby. When was the last time I saw a baby, held a baby in my hands, I wondered ? When would the world become better to the extent of us being able to extend our hand to a stranger's baby in a public bus or in a train, to be rewarded by an innocent baby eagerly jumping to come to you ? Are those days gone forever ?
Sorry, I got lost in a different train of thought. My cousin started talking about the baby, about the baby's wonderful mop of hair and then finally, how the baby looked so beautiful, despite being on the darker side. There, that was it. I could sense that feeling - of anger, of when will this ever stop! Immediately, I responded, "Isnt it time we all stopped talking about skin colour, I did not expect you to make a remark like this". Was I rude? That was not my intention. I was quite happy to hear my cousin's response after a brief pause - "yes, I should not have said that". I felt relieved - I wanted to correct her by saying "you should not have felt that".
But this conversation prompted me to write this short article that got published in Deccan Herald. I truly believe each one of us should think about this, be aware of how this happens around us and within us, the prejudices we have and what we should do about it.
Getting Ready for Festivals
Well, we are in August already and regardless of where you, this is the month you become aware of the start of the festival season. The next few months will be an array of small and big festivals. Considering we are still primarily confined to our homes and are on the verge of Zoom call fatigue(if not fed up of it already), this calls for a very different kind of demand on us, as families. This is about how to celebrate these festivals ? Celebrating it in the ways we are used to, may not be feasible. And that is where, we may have to go deep into what the intent of some of these festivals were, what it meant for each of us, in our families. Are we ready to rediscover the meaning of these festivals and adapt them to today's context ? I have been giving it a lot of thought and I am eager to know what people are doing in this context. My friend and me had an interesting chat around this topic, available here.
After this chat, I have got into the habit of listing down all the festival dates of the month in my planner, at the start of the month. This simple step helps me keep this an active thread in my mind on a weekly basis, be it around planning what to cook on that day, whom to call and surprise that day, what kind of activities to be done with the family as that day is special, to add to our list of happy memories.
A small tip for you
That brings me to the tip I wanted to share. Festival times also mean you see articles around the same coming up in newspapers and magazines you subscribe to. And along with the articles, come some recipes. Some are traditional and some are what they call "a modern take on a traditional recipe". What I love doing these days is to take a photo of such a recipe - not just any photo, but a photo taken inside Google Keep which I think is there by default if you have an Android phone. Within google keep, you can search for text within the photo - this may be feasible in many other apps - but I have chosen Google keep to store all such recipes.
A sneak preview from my phone here - do give it a try, you will love it. I just took many photos and later searched for dosa - it detects the text within the photos and brought out relevant recipes. In fact, for traditional dishes, I have taken photos of the handwritten recipes that Amma had in her recipe book. I simply love this feature..