The Little Booktique Hub presents the cover of the Gorgeous Author Mini Balakrishnan Debut Novella for the title, Dare to Live.
Blurb: Through the pages of this book, I have tried to capture the emotions and thoughts of someone who has, against all odds decided to rise above his/her circumstances and follow their dreams. The concept of self-love has been portrayed in all its importance as people often neglect their own well-being. The consequences being despair, depression and an unfortunate urge to quit their efforts to improve the quality of life. I have included an array of poems, open letters, affirmations, thoughts and articles which will take you through a journey of self-learning and self-realisation. Once you understand how valuable you are, how precious the gift of life is, your whole perspective changes. And I hope I will be able to bring some positive change in your lives. It’s high time people practice positive thinking and self-motivation. For anyone feeling low and useless, here is the perfect solution which will help you work on yourself, be kinder to yourself and love your life. Dear readers, dare to defy the voices inside your head that discourage and try to defeat you. Dare to rise in competition against none but yourself. Dare to be the best version of who you are meant to be. Dare to live the life you love!
The new year’s almost here. Just around the corner…..Are you making resolutions for 2021?
Let’s talk about 5 little things that can help you be a better person in 2021. These are the simple changes that you can bring in your life. They make you a happier person. A simple person who takes delight in small miracles.
*Inspire yourself to discover something new. It can be something you like or something you have been longing to do for a long while. Just find something new to look forward to.
*Observe and notice the world around you. Facebook may not have it all. There’s magic around you in the real world. Make tiny notes of what you find interesting. Capture moments and store them. One day they will be useful.
*Lose time in books. Find the joy in turning the pages, feeling the paper with all those beautiful words as they find a way into your heart.
*Write your feelings down. You can tear them up later if you want. But pen them down to clear your head, to sort your feelings, to process your thoughts.
*Feel gratitude flow through your soul for all that you have. Find your happiness multiply as you say thanks for the beautiful gift of life.
Make your life beautiful because though you cannot control everything, there is always a little something that gives you joy. As we approach the New Year, let’s believe that we will all be happy, healthy and safe.
Hope you are doing well. Times are hard these days and people all over seem to be losing hope. They have lost their loved ones, some have been unemployed for so long, others have been in a constant state of uncertainty. I hope all of you are holding on, waiting for the happier days.
When your patience is tested, when you feel like giving up, pause for a minute. Take a deep breath and ask yourself to slow down. The only race you need to run is to improve the quality of life. And by the quality of life, I mean, the peace, satisfaction and joy you experience in life. Help others. Be kind to strangers. Do what you can to create magic in lives around you.
As you spread happiness around, do remember to take care of yourself too. Avoid people who mistreat you. Avoid situations which cost you your peace of mind. Avoid unnecessary stress. And most importantly avoid being present where your presence doesn’t make a difference.
Give and take joy, however, it comes. Don’t go looking for huge overwhelming experiences to be happy. Find joy around you in small moments.
Take a minute to be grateful for all you have. Yes, life cannot be entirely fair to you. I agree. But there is a ray of hope even in pitch darkness. Find reasons to say Thanks to the Universe, thanks for being alive, thanks for your home, family, job. Be grateful for the breath of life that flows through your body.
Remember that failures will be followed by success. You need to know failures to rise above. You have to experience darkness and sadness to appreciate the light in your life. So stay strong, Failures will only strengthen you.
Be the light for your loved ones and make sure your flame thrives amidst the storm. You can do this. You were born for greatness. Stay hopeful even when your patience is tested.
Today as I sign off, I would like to pass on showers of love, hope and patience to each one of you. Stay strong and know that rainbows appear even after the heaviest storm. God bless you all to live your dreams. Be safe, be happy, be the Sun!
“No person, no place, and no thing has any power over us, for ‘we’ are the only thinkers in our mind. When we create peace and harmony and balance in our minds, we will find it in our lives.” —Louise L. Hay
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” —Saint Francis de Sales
“Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity.” —Thich Nhat Hanh
“Being relaxed, at peace with yourself, confident, emotionally neutral loose, and free-floating — these are the keys to successful performance in almost everything.” —Wayne Dyer
“You will find peace not by trying to escape your problems, but by confronting them courageously. You will find peace not in denial, but in victory.” —J. Donald Walters
Covid-19 has changed the way we live our lives completely. During the lockdown periods, our whole world started to revolve within the walls of our home. Everything happens online and internet connectivity has become the most wanted commodity.
Work from home is yet another challenge especially when you have kids at home. They need your attention and it is up to you to find a way to balance both work and family. Spending all their time at home away from friends, school and regular physical activities can make them cranky and demanding at times.
How does this withdrawal from the outdoors affect our kids? Have you noticed the look on your kid’s face when you say they cannot go outside and play? The visits to the park, playgrounds and entertainment areas have reduced considerably. While they may enjoy their online time, the question most parents face is how to keep the youngsters engaged at home.
Today let me take you through a few tips that can work out well for you. We will also have another session where we can discuss some activities for each age group. For now, let me remind you that all parents are undergoing the same issue and you need to relax. Remember that seeing you happy influences your kids too. Without much delay, let’s take a look at how to put things in place and keep our precious ones safe as well as happy.
Delegate chores to them
Yes, it may sound mundane. But it’s a super fun way to keep your kiddos active. Ask them nicely to help you with the household chores. They would be seeing you run around with all your work. So when you tell them that their efforts could make a big difference, of course, they will help. Make a chart of the chores they can help with and give them points for extra motivation. Don’t forget to rotate the chores weekly to avoid boredom. The daily chores can also give them a sense of responsibility as they begin to learn that life is a mixture of work and play.
Find engaging routines
Routines keep children focused. They would also be confused with the disruption of their normal routine. While it is ok to let go and relax for a few days, in the long run, this may make them inactive. Find a routine that gives them a proper time to complete the activities required for their mental, intellectual and physical growth. Sit with them and make time for study, fun, exercise, online games etc. When you discuss the routine with them, they feel involved and will try to honour the routine.
Introduce family activities
Being at home with kids and spending time with them are two different things. You may be present at home, however, when you are piled up with work, the kids may not get the attention they deserve. This may be disappointing, especially to small kids. To solve this, all you have to do is fix an hour for family time every day. Include their favourite games, lots of music and dance, small competitions and other activities which the whole family can participate in. Your family bonds grow stronger just like when you have team building games at the office.
Unleash their creativity
Give your children the space to get bored. This is when they try to explore their creativity. Let them try out new talents. You will be surprised at the new venues they discover. Your Lil ones can turn out to be wonderful artists, singers, magicians and whatnot. Just give them the chance to think out of the box. Don’t work too hard to keep them company Alone, they find out what they are made of. All you should do is provide guidance. Let them know the rules and boundaries. Then see them fly.
Ensure rest and breaks
Keeping kids engaged is hard work. But equally important is allowing the liberty of taking breaks. Getting adequate sleep and rest time improves their power to focus on the rest of the day. Kids need a minimum of 8 – 10 hours of sleep. When they are spending so much time online doing their school activities and indulging in games as well, it is important to give the brain adequate rest. Excessive use of screen time calls for proper rest. So let them have a good night’s sleep and wonderful breaks in between their days.
I’ll be back soon with another article on activities you can introduce to keep your kids active at home. Consider their time at home as a blessing and enjoy your moments with them. Stay safe, healthy and happy! See you soon!
As a child, everyone has dreams. You dream of being a superhero who has a magical touch. You dream of being the best of all. You believe in your dreams and see yourself living the life you want. Growing up, you realise that life is not only roses and fragrance. You come across thorns and ditches. The dreams start fading, the superheroes vanish gradually and the picture of your best version is forgotten.
Yes, life is full of twists and turns. You can live a disappointed life, waiting for things to turn around. However, should you accept defeat? Should you live with the disappointments? So what if one path didn’t lead to your destination? Don’t you have the courage to start a new journey? Why do you give up hope? Why do you let yourself fall and sink? Why not choose to rise instead?
Dare yourself to rise above failures. It all starts from within. Unless and until you decide to rise above something that has drained your inner peace, you would only go in circles. It’s like losing weight on fad diets. You start with all your might and complete your first day of extreme dieting. Then your resolve fades a bit. Without a strong will to achieve your target weight, you will falter. And once you do reach it, do you stick on to the hard work? For most people, the answer is No.
Working on yourself needs patience, insight and true self-love. Life is short and once you realise that you are the master of your life, you will never waste a moment. How do you measure success? The answer is different for all. Some equate wealth to success. For others, it may be the perfect figure, the perfect job, the highest paying salary etc. Whatever your criteria are, ask yourself if you would be truly happy once you achieve that goal? Be honest to yourself as you answer this. To be truly happy, you should experience every moment in life. Being mindful of what is going on at this moment is what can help you love yourself. Once you start focussing on the present moment, you will appreciate all your blessings. You will begin to feel grateful for what you have. You will learn to silence the mind and listen to yourself. Now you are ready to face your challenges.
Break your hardships into smaller blocks and deal with them one at a time. Focus on your end goal, but remember to take baby steps. There is no harm in changing your path if ultimately it leads to the final destination. Trust your instincts to guide you in every situation. You don’t have to go through life lonely and sad. You have to move ahead strong and learn to enjoy your own company. Stop expecting others to accompany you. Some paths are meant to be travelled alone. You can do this because the power to overcome lies within. You are destined for greatness. All you have to do is allow it to happen!
“It’s Not Whether You Get Knocked Down, It’s Whether You Get Up.” – Vince Lombardi
“We May Encounter Many Defeats But We Must Not Be Defeated.” – Maya Angelou
“You Are Never Too Old To Set Another Goal Or To Dream A New Dream.” – C.S. Lewis
Are you a new mom? Welcome to the world of motherhood and Congratulations on the new arrival! Entering this new phase is not the same experience for all. It is an overwhelming experience where you may have no clue on what is happening around you. The pre-pregnancy clothes do not fit, you have no time to be yourself, a small baby constantly calls out for attention and there is complete chaos around you. Amidst all this confusion, most moms neglect to take care of their own bodies. It is not their fault at all. It is just that you don’t get time to think about yourself. So chill. For those of you who have been fretting about getting out of shape, I have a few pointers which can direct you in the right direction. Let us start your baby steps towards making yourself fit and healthy!
Take it slow and steady
Never make the mistake of rushing yourself into a fitness routine. Your body has transformed and undergone major changes. So allow yourself time to heal. Take it slow and steady. One pace at a time. As it is, you will not be getting any rest with the busy ”getting -to -know -baby” stage. Just be mindful and learn to evolve into motherhood. It won’t be an easy journey, and it is definitely not one that you can quit. So train yourself to pause. Breathe deeply and know that you can deal with the extra kilos when you are ready.
Consult your doctor
Before you decide on any exercise regime, consult your gynaecologist. Make sure your body has healed enough to handle more pressure. Do not compare yourself with someone else who has just given birth and returned to their fitness regime. When your doctor says its fine to start, then you can go ahead and plan a workout programme. Not before that.
Understand your emotions
The postpartum time is a roller coaster of emotions. It is not only during pregnancy but also after childbirth that you get overwhelmed by all those emotions. You get stressed and tensed about how to manage the crazy routine you are living right now. Sleep deprivations, mood swings, physical ailments, mental stress and so much more will keep on occurring. It is not just you who goes through all this. Every new mom is a wreck. And each one is doing her best to accommodate all these sudden changes. So take some time off the overthinking and give yourself a break. As you slow down and prioritise, you can clear your head and find some time to take out for yourself. It can be as little as 10 minutes, however, at this point, that’s more than good!
Practical ideas you can adopt
Start with realistic targets
Realistic goals are easier to achieve. Do not strive for a 20 kg reduction in 2 -3 months. Set targets that motivate you and bring you closer to your target weight gradually. Aim for 0.5 to 1 kg loss per week. That’s a great achievement considering all that your body has gone through. And do not worry even if you do not achieve it right away. Once you have decided to start, the rest will fall in place.
Switch to clean eating and avoid fad diets
A big No to Fad diets. It is never healthy and not at all now. Your baby needs you to be healthy and well-nourished. If you are a nursing mom, always make sure that you are taking a proper, balanced diet that provides all the nutrients to your baby. Moreover never give your body more strain than needed. Consult a certified dietician. Do all the recommended tests. You need to know if you have any health condition that needs to be addressed before starting a new diet. Follow a proper diet that gives you all the food components in the required proportions. Food is a very important part of your life right now. Choose wisely and serve your body with the right nutrients.
Include activity time with Lil baby
Yes, this is a great chance to get fit as well as develop a bonding with Lil baby. Take the baby out for a stroll. As you push the stroller, use the chance to walk around admiring the beauty of nature. This practice helps the baby to develop a sense of liking for everything in nature. Talk to your baby and enjoy the moments. Soon enough, you will have to start running to keep up the pace with a toddler. So savour the stroller moments where you can pause and watch the birds fly past. Make it a routine for at least 30mns a day to take a walk outdoors. This helps the baby to adjust to this outdoor activity and expect it in his/her daily schedule. And you could do with the physical exercise too.
Practice meditation for inner peace. You cannot keep your body physically fit unless you are emotionally stable. Post-pregnancy is a time when you need all the emotional strength you can get. Being able to remain calm and composed will help you take better decisions. Find a guided meditation series you like and follow their instructions. Rest your mind and body. Silence may be hard to find now, however, get all your meditation apps ready and take your chance whenever your baby decides to nap. Even a 5 minutes relaxation session will do you wonders. Strengthen your mind to face the challenges of motherhood bravely.
I do hope you will think about the points we discussed today. Know that you are not alone and several others are facing the same situation. Let us take time to talk about other tips and pointers that can help you move ahead slowly. I will be back in yet another session with a list of nutritious food that will help you regain your strength. Remember that you are not in any race to get fit and slim. Give yourself the care and love you require with proper nutrition and healthy exercises. Take care !!
Back again with yet another delicious, mouth-watering recipe!
This time I am introducing the Queen of our hearts, The master chef of them all- My dearest Grandmom. There’s never been a day when we haven’t craved for those homely dishes prepared by her so lovingly. Even today, going home to enjoy her wonderful cooking is a treat for the whole family.
Today she presents a simple, yet spicy mango pickle which is easy to make and a sure-to-be favourite. Let’s dive straight in.
Tips to note
Always use mangoes with slightly tender skin
Store the pickle in a clean, dry ceramic jar
If preserving for a longer time, make sure you sun dry the mangoes well till there is no moisture left.
Choose a sunny day for best results.
Mangoes (cut into medium square-shaped pieces) –1 kg
Chilly powder –1/4 cup (or as per how spicy you prefer )-Using Kashmiri chilly powder will give more colour
Fenugreek +mustard –1/4 cup each (coarsely crush together in a blender )
Garlic- 15 cloves
Bengal Gram- two handfuls
Gingelly oil-1/2 cup
Method of preparation
Wash the mangoes well in running water. Dry them and cut into medium-sized cubes- 1*1 inches. Do not peel the skin off. So make sure you select mangoes with tender skin.
Add the required amount of salt (as per your taste) and mix the pieces well.
Dry the salted mango pieces in the hot sun for a whole day. The moisture should be completely dried off.
Once the initial drying has been completed, you need to prepare the spices.
*For best results, use fresh spices.
Add the required chilly powder, asafoetida and garlic to the dried mango pieces.
Then add the crushed fenugreek-mustard mixture to this.
Blend the spices well with the mango pieces.
Add the soaked Bengal gram .
Next pour in the required quantity of oil.
Mix again till the whole mango mixture blends well.
Keep the pickle in the hot sun again for three consecutive days till there is no moisture at all.
Transfer the pickle to a jar and pour some gingelly oil over the top.
One of my favourite quotes has always been- Never judge a book by its cover’. Do you know how many people out there are judged and categorised just because of their skin colour? It is devastating to know that even today, discriminations tear apart a society that could have otherwise lived happily, being in peace with each other. So does it really matter that your neighbour is of different skin colour? Does it have any value thinking that your friend belongs to a minority group? I believe not.
What counts is what’s inside of each human being. The intelligence, kindness and humane morality are what should be seen. When you look at a person, you need to see the human being within. You need to see how helpful he /she is. You need to see the divine upbringing within another person. We are all made of cells that breathe the same oxygen. So where did all this discrimination come from? Maybe once upon a time, rules were made to discriminate people. Is it necessary to continue with such rules? Can’t we, for once, just keep aside the differences in physical attributes and concentrate on how to grow together as a society dedicated to the prosperity of mankind?
People have been suffering in silence for years. Crippled with the stigma and mental trauma, they fail to seek assistance for fear of mockery. Isn’t it time to put an end to all this? Self-love and mutual respect are the two weapons that should be drilled into our society. We have had more than enough traumas. Its now time to respect each culture and learn from each other.
Couldn’t we just teach our kids to love and be loved without judgement? Is it not enough to suffer long term and hazardous health defects, unexpected tragic accidents? Can’t we all just focus on building what’s broken inside us? Together we are miracle workers. Let us say a natural calamity strikes. Is it more important to save anyone and everyone the way we should? Do we think of skin colour or gender discrimination then? No, I believe mankind has inborne humane values that got covered by the rules in society. People are good and given a chance, they will continue to do good. So let us keep aside our differences and show the world how strong we are. Not only when faced with adversity, but in times of prosperity too. Head towards a prosperous future holding hands together!