#UseYourAnd And Be UnStoppable

There was a time when a girl was born in Indian families, the mothers used to only think about getting them married. Daughters were a huge burden for their parents. Parents used to save everything for the marriage of their daughter. Slowly things started changing. People started educating their daughters. They decided that it is better to educate the girl child and then to get her married. But it is not just education, some people just want their daughter to study, get a degree and get married. But this does not work everywhere… like for EG. My case.


My mother was a teacher in a high school. She quit her job because she had to take care of two kids and had lots of responsibility towards the household. In spite of being well educated, right from the time I was born she was saving for my marriage. I was a topper in school and my parents wanted me to be a doctor. My Mom always wanted me to be the first ranker in the class and I always stood by her expectations.

But I could not get a medical degree and my destiny ended up in making me an engineer. When I was about to complete my graduation, my Mom one day came to me and said that she wants me to get married. She told me to either find a job or to get married to her choice of groom. I wanted to pursue Master’s degree and felt helpless. My Dad came to my rescue and helped to get admission for Masters Course as he understood my situation. Dad’s always love daughters more J

But during the last year of post-graduation, my Mom again pressurized me to get married. I was married when the 6th semester was still on. I wanted to get a job before getting married. I wanted to be independent. I was just 22 and it was not the right time according to me to get married. But Mom stood by her decision and got me married to a guy whom she chose. It happened just within a span of 3 months. My friends submitted all my project reports in college. My Mom kept scolding me to learn to cook. Since I belonged to a joint family, I never cooked in my life. I felt that it was the worst thing happening in my life. My Mom used to scold me and say “Please don’t put my name to shame at your in-laws house. Please cook something there.” (Typical traditional Mom you see…)

But today when I look back, I think it was the best thing that ever happened to me. My husband is a lovely soul. He helped me fulfill all my dreams. He helped me to complete my post graduate degree. He accompanied me for my final semester exam. He helped me find a job. We decided that we would have a kid only after 4 years so that I get settled in my professional life. Though Mom was constantly pressurizing me to have a kid, it was my hubby who stood beside me and helped me to achieve my dream.

Today, 10 years down the line, I am working in a multi-national in Bangalore as a software engineer. I have a 6 year old daughter. I manage my job and my kid alone and I take care of my kitchen too. From a girl who never ever cooked before marriage, I learnt to cook and I now successfully run this Blog named Raksha’ s Kitchen. I am now helping other people to cook different types of dishes. 

It happened once, that my Mom did not know that I was running a food blog. My aunt from US called Mom and said that Raksha is running a food blog and it is very famous all over. Since then my Mom is proud of me. She says that she can’t believe that I cook so well.

Yes, I too say I am a mother and I am a software engineer who work full-time in a software company and I attend late night meetings and I am a food blogger and a food photographer. Thank God, I did not become a doctor as my parents wished for. My heart called me towards what I wanted. 

It was all because of my hubby that I am Raksha of Raksha’ s Kitchen. Some people think that I don’t do any job but I only blog. But when I tell them that I write a food blog and I work in a multi-national in the IT hub of India, they just say... wow. Some people ask me, how I find so much time…. I tell them it is passion.

I love my job as a software engineer too. But it is my passion, my hobby which is making me run this beautiful food blog. So this is my journey from OR to AND. I have both talent AND brains AND Beauty AND wisdom. I chose to listen to my parents AND still pursue my career. That didn’t stop me. I still went further to pursue my passion AND chose to have a healthy and a beautiful family.

You too can use your AND. If your marriage is planned and you are in same situation like me, don’t worry, you are a girl of the 21st century and you have lots of AND’s in life. So #UseYourAnd and put an end to the one-dimensional labels that limit your potential. Go ahead and pursue your passion, your dream and all the things that define you.

My journey from OR to AND was possible only because of my husband’s support and I want to thank him for helping me everyday.


This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.

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Tips For Home And Kitchen Improvement

Since Republic Day is on Monday this year, we got a really long weekend. I decided that I would not go out anywhere but will relax in the luxury of my home and to finish off long pending tasks. The first thing that was on my mind was to declutter and to clean my house and kitchen.  It was a big task which was pending since the last 9 Months. I had renovated my house in April 2014, since then I was planning to give my home and kitchen a new look. So here are some tips that will help you all if you are planning to declutter your home. I will also give some tips on how to have maximum savings when you are trying to improve your home and kitchen.

Start with one room at a time
Since I have a 3 bedroom apartment, I divided the work for all the 3 days.
Clean the wardrobes and discard any clothes which you have not used since last 6 months. Any clothes which you do not need for the season can be stored separately. For e.g. Woolen clothes are not needed in summer season. Remove them from the wardrobe and store them in the store room.  If you do not have a store room then store them in the loft or in the compartments under your bed. If your bed does not have compartments, then you can store them into unused and empty briefcases or bags. I love to store them in the below shown boxes which are available at Fabfurnish.com. They look chic and add a new style to your home. Don’t worry about the prices, you can save a lot when you shop with Fabfurnish.Discard any unused clothes, towels and bed sheets. Have a strong heart for this. Either donate to charity or give them to your house help.

Image Credits: Fabfurnish.com

Store all the important documents in one place
Store all the papers of a particular type in one particular file. E.g. Store property papers in one file. Bank papers in another file. Childs fee receipts in another. Medical prescriptions in another. You can reserve a particular drawer in cupboard for this.

Declutter the kid’s room
Start with checking the toys. You will need to involve your kid in this activity. Ask him/her what all toys they need. If they do not use it or if it is damaged, just discard it. Organize all the toys in these storage big boxes.

Image Credits: Fabfurnish.com

Clean the study table
Discard your child’s old books. Children store any kind of books. My kid just scribbles on all the pages of book and stores them in her drawer. You can check these and discard them. All the stationery items i.e. Pens, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, etc. to be stored separately.

Clean the shoe-rack
Any shoes/jootis/sandals which have not been used since long can either be discarded or stored in a separate shoe rack.

Store all medicines in one place
Keep all the medicines in one place.

Store all cosmetics together
Keep all the cosmetics in one place. I loved this vitality box which is one place to store all my vanity stuff.  Discard old cosmetics or creams which you have collected but not used since a long time.

Image Credits: Fabfurnish.com
Declutter the kitchen
Start with a single shelf or drawer. Have patience and whatever you feel you don’t need just pack them in a separate bag. I take my things one shelf or drawer at a time because I have a lot of other distracting things to be done like cooking for my family, taking my kids homework, etc. If you have not used a particular type of utensil since a long time, then you can store it in the top most shelf. If you have a lot of pans you can hang them.

Discard any containers which do not have lids or any lids which do not have container. Any oily stained plastic containers can be discarded. Do not store the white plastic disposable takeaway.
Any non-stick utensil of which the non-stick coating is gone needs to be discarded. Do not even think about storing them in the top shelf. Also any rusted or cracked steel utensils should be immediately discarded.

Clean the kitchen panty
Discard any expired products. Any sauces, jam bottles needs to be discarded immediately.

Make a list of the arranged items
Make a list of what is stored where. Making a list helps 6 months down the line when we forget where and in which room we have placed a particular thing. You can keep this list handy, probably in your room. If you have stored them in boxes, neatly label the boxes. You can put a date when you have arranged stuff in that particular box. You can purchase new storage boxes at discounted price at Priceburp.com. Priceburp.com has a lot of discount coupons for online shopping with various retailers like Flipkart, Pepperfry, Lenskart, Fabfurnish, Myntra, Snapdeal, Jabong, eBay, etc.  



After you find the stuff that you no longer need, just give them away. If the product is in a very good condition but you don’t need it any more then you can sell it at a cheaper rate by finding out second sale groups around. Facebook has many such groups.
After you discard you will get lot of new space in your home. Apart from that it helps you to organize your home.

   For more interesting posts of this type follow Raksha's Kitchen on                                                                               Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
 

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I Wish I Never Had Pimples

I was a beautiful girl since childhood and always had clear skin. Everyone would appreciate me for my clear skin as there was not a single blemish on it. It was during my college days, some 15 years back that I first experienced acne. That was a real black mark for my glowing complexion. 

The pimples were following a typical pattern too. Either they would be in a straight line or form some pattern which looked really very odd. They were only present on my forehead and would grow into puss-filled mass. I thought it was a part of growing up and ignored it, but I could not bear the pain on my forehead.My Mom would try all types of home remedies on my face like making a paste of tulsi and neem leaves and applying on those big pimples. I was also gifted with a bottle of tea tree oil from a friend. Tea Tree oil is an anti-fungal and antibacterial herbal remedy for treating pimples. This would provide some relief.

One day my aunt noticed my face and said that my skin used to be very clear in the past and now this acne is spoiling it. She also scared my Mom saying that after another 2-3 years, I will get married and at that time these pimples may serve as a blockage. Mom immediately took me to a skin specialist who gave me an some medicines. An ointment first to clean the acne and later another gel to clear the marks. I was also asked to change my diet, drink plenty of water and avoid oily and spicy food. I followed everything and my skin got cleared and was fine again. Minor marks still remained on my forehead, but those were ignored as the damage was real huge.

Last year when I went to The USA, I got acne on  my cheeks. The air pressure in flight cabin causes dryness to our skin. It has left huge marks on my cheeks and literally spoiled my flawless skin.

It is now after 15 years that I again got acne. Yes, we can get acne at any age and this is my experience. I am in my early 30's and I can't believe that acne could strike my skin again. Again those puss filled, painful pimples are back and that too on my forehead.  I get embarrassed now as people think that this is not the age to get acne. But believe me, acne can strike at any age. Mom now stays miles away from me, so no more home remedies too :(

Every time whenever there is a function in the family I get these huge pimples. I don't know how they get invitation for the same and I really hate it when my brother-in-law jokes saying that I got "headlights" again. My other cousins wonder why I get them during functions and I blame it on the parlour lady who shapes my eyebrows or maybe those facials that I do.

Once during my daughters birthday party, my hubbys uncle told me to consult another skin specialist.
The doctor gave me a gel to apply on the acne, the pimples went off but the marks are still prominent.
My beautiful flawless skin is no more like that. It has lost it's charm. 

Sometimes I feel like I look like an aged aunty and I have to hide the marks under make-up too. 
But how much can we hide? Make-up can make our skin glow temporarily, but can it stop those popping pimples?

I have spent lots of money on skin specialists and medicines for treating the acne, but nothing provided relief. Sometimes in office during meeting's, I feel odd due to these huge pimples on my face. But nothing helps.

I use a hand-sanitizer for cleaning my hands before touching my skin. After reaching my office, I wash my face first, that too with a face wash. I wish I had used a face wash with tulsi or neem leaves paste or tea tree oil right from my childhood days, I would have had retained my beautiful skin and would have had no pimples and no marks too.

I have written this post for Indibloggers Garnier Pure Active Neem contest. But what actually made me write this post was because of my experience which spoiled my skin and not the desire to win something here.
So guys please take care of your skin right from your adolescent days and you will retain your skin forever.

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Masoor Tonak | Sabut Masoor Dal Masala Recipe | Whole Brown Lentils

Sabut Masoor Dal or Whole brown lentil is known as just Masoor in Goa. We Goans make a delicious coconut based gravy using this sabut masoor dal and it is known as "Masoor Tonak". Tonak means any spicy curry made with coconut and spices to which either legumes,mushrooms or any vegetables have been added. In Goa, we make "tonak" almost everyday. Though majority of us eat rice for lunch, our dinners consist of these "tonak's" and chapatis. Some people love to eat these with pooris or bread.



The North Indian's cook this dal in a completely different way. They don't add grated coconut. A reason why they don't add coconut to their food is because, coconut does not grow abundantly in North India. But coconut grows in abundance in Goa and therefore we use it in our day to day cooking. Do try this recipe as it turns really good. Apart from Masoor Tonak, do check the Chana Tonak recipe. You will see that the procedure to prepare tonak is similar. Just that the star ingredient changes.



Sending this recipe to Susan's MLLA which is hosted at Lisa's Kitchen.


Ingredients:                                          Serves: 4, Prep. Time: 45 Min's
1/2 cup Sabut Masoor Dal / whole brown lentils
4 tablespoon grated coconut
4 dry red chillies
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
5 peppercorns
2 cloves
1/2 onion
1 potato
5 garlic cloves
1 marble sized ball of tamarind
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala(optional)



Procedure:
Soak sabut masoor dal for 4-6 hours.
Boil them by adding the chopped potatoes and little salt.
For 1/2 cup sabut masoor dal, I added 1 and 1/2 cups water to the pressure cooker and took 4-5 whistles. Switch off the gas and keep this aside.

After it cools, drain the water. Do not discard the water. This can be later added to the gravy if it turns thick.

Cut the onions straight(length-wise).
In a kadai/wok, add 1 tablespoon oil, and fry onions till they turn brown.
Add garlic and fry.
Add all the masala ( red chillies, coriander seeds, peppercorns and cloves) and fry for some time.
To this add grated coconut and fry till coconut turns brownish. Make sure to fry on low flame.

Once it gets fried switch off gas.
Mix turmeric powder and stir.
Drop the tamarind ball in the kadai while the coconut and masala contents cool down.
Grind this into smooth gravy by adding 3/4 cup water or as required.

Now switch on the gas and in the same kadai(kadai will be empty as the contents are ground), add the gravy. Let the gravy get cooked for 5 Min's, then add the boiled masoor dal to the gravy. Add garam masala and give a nice stir.
Cook for 10 Min's and switch off the gas.
Add salt per taste.

Note:
Do not discard the water which was used to boil the masoor. This can be later added to the gravy if it turns thick.I prefer the gravy to be of medium consistency, neither too thick nor too thin.
If the gravy is too thick, add the water which was used to boil the masoor dal.

For more interesting posts of this type follow Raksha's Kitchen on                                                                               Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

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IIM Calcutta- A Glimpse

Few days back I published a post on IIT Kharagpur. Soon after that many people pinged and asked me information about some more colleges in India. Some people wanted to know more about management colleges in India. So I decided to write about the Indian Institute Of Management Calcutta(IIM C) because it was the first Indian Institute of Management to be established and is consistently ranked as one of the best business schools in India and the Asia-Pacific region.

Established in 1961, IIM C is fully autonomous and offers several postgraduate and doctoral programs in management, as well as a bouquet of executive education programs. In addition to its main academic programs, IIM C is also engaged in research, consultancy, seminars, academic conferences and research publications.

Pic Source: http://collegedunia.com/university/26006-indian-institute-of-management-iim-kolkata

IIM Calcutta is the only Indian business school that is a member of the Global Alliance in Management Education (CEMS). As a member of CEMS IIM C offers the Masters in International Management (MIM), the prestigious degree that has created a global standard of management studies.
It offers several postgraduate and doctoral programs in management, as well as a variety of executive education programs. Institute is also engaged in research, consultancy, seminars and academic conferences.

IIM C is well known for finance related courses and is considered as one of the best business schools in the world for finance.

IIM Calcutta offers five main full-time academic programs:
· Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) – Two-year, full-time MBA program
· Post Graduate Diploma in Computer aided Management (PGDCM) – Two-year, full-time MBA program
· Fellow Program in Management (FPM) – Doctoral program
· Post Graduate Program for Executives (PGPEX) – One-year, full-time MBA program for Executives
· Post Graduate Program for Executives for Visionary Leadership in Manufacturing (PGPEX-VLM) – One-year, full-time Executive MBA program

IIM C has a two stage admission procedure. In stage 1 candidates are shortlisted based on CAT (Common Admission Test).  In Stage 2 candidates are provided points for Class X and Class XII percentages of marks. The final selection list is based on merit in each category.

Now let us look into IIM C placements. IIM Calcutta saw 100% placements for the 2012-2014 batch with a great improvement in the roles and compensation.One of the main highlights is the increase in the International roles offered on campus. Continuing the legacy, IIM Calcutta lived up to its title of the finance campus of India. IIM C received one of the highest number of offers for the strongly coveted Investment Banking Divisions (IBD).Citigroup, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, Edelweiss, etc. hired exclusively from IIM C for their IBD roles.

You might be wondering about the fee structure to get admission to this prestigious educational institution. IIM Calcutta fee structure is decently priced according to the market and it is similar to the fee structure at other IIM's across the country. 

   For more interesting posts of this type follow Raksha's Kitchen on                                                                               Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
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