Bitten by the entrepreneur bug- Prateeti & Archana – Art Blend Cafe mums

Bitten by the entrepreneur bug, two mums share their story on starting Art Blend Café in Bangalore.
Art blend web
The café is getting noticed for its collaborative effort in making space for mums, space for families, space for kids, space for craft, fun and food.

Prateeti Shukla and Archana Gupta, say, “We wanted to create a space where our guests can spend peaceful and quality time with their families and loved ones. The art initiatives provide a soothing feel, we hope to most of the people. Hence we blended art with a cafe to provide a differentiated experience.”

Prateeti was working in the IT sector before being a co founder to Art Blend café. She along with her team has her focus on the food served to the customers in the café while Archana takes care of the various art activities.

They feel most urban mums that they are in touch are running business from small to medium scale, especially those whose children are above 5 years. This according to them is a good sign of rising women entrepreneurship in India.

Prateeti adds, “Becoming a mum is a creation of life that comes with a huge responsibility in life to up bringing a good human being. It’s a constant transformation that mother goes through every day and nurtures her children every moment.”

She further adds, “On children’s day a mum requested for a special surprise gift for her daughter. We suggested her message on a canvas art. She gave us a very beautiful message, which we painted on the canvas with colorful decorations. The art work was ready to be gifted, while the mum and child finished their food in the cafe. When the child received it, she hugged her mum and said that she would also gift her something on Mother’s day. That of course was a lovely moment for us to see beautiful smiles that we will fondly cherish.”

Archana pitches in to add “It so happened that once a 12-year-girl had a school project for which she had the imagination; however wasn’t good in arts. The project was on showcasing a domestic animal in a village. We had to ask her lot of questions to bring her imagination live. The project was completed in 2 days and on each day’s progress brought shine in child’s eye, her confidence in art grew while doing hands-on work. The project turned out very well and rewarded as best project in the class. It gave immense happiness to boost a child’s confidence.”

Both being mums to two children each, the duo say they conduct birthday parties at the café with craft activities, “make and take” concept and a variety of art workshops over the weekends.

Mums and stories wishes them good luck.

 

Diya and her twin children- A single parent

Mums and Stories is proud to share this story who chooses to remain anonymous. Lets’ call her Diya, the light of life.

“I actually don’t know where to begin saying what’s there in my heart.

Diyaweb

I am a mother of two 12-year-old twin boys. I lost my darling husband 3 years back. ‘Shattered’ is too low a word to describe what happened to me. Indeed it was a blessed and blissful marriage. A beautiful love marriage which we shared for ten years.

There was absolutely no complains at all.

He was the light of our life and in a flick everything was gone.

Everything seemed so dark that I thought I just can’t live with this reality.

But here I had two young 9-year-old boys who were so lost. They had no clue why this happened to them.

It was their adorable innocent faces that made me pick up myself. I perhaps knew what they were going through when I had myself lost my dad when I was six years old and I had seen my mum going through the turmoil. Incidentally I am also a twin and I have a adorable brother as a sibling twin.

Coming to my children, once the light of my life was gone, I knew I had to make a decision to shift to a city that they were secure and had lived their whole lives. For sometime we had moved back to India and then we shifted base to where my two sons lived most part of their life.

Thanks to my husband, I was financially secure, but that wasn’t enough I had a long way on the long road of recovery.

It was lonely and scary. But either I could all along mourn for my husband or teach my kids to deal with it.

How do I convince my boys life will be fine without their father whom they adored so much.

Well I had to find peace in myself to help them. It was too much of effort. I was choked with tears but I had to put my sorrow aside.

It’s 3 years now.

With God’s grace they are turning into fine young gentlemen. They adore me, respect their peers, have good memories of their father. They miss him a lot but they have come to terms with the loss. I hope so.

For me I feel I haven’t mourned my husband enough. There are times when I feel in need to break down and cry hard but I know my boys are in the next room and I can’t get myself to upset them. I understand maybe its my way of dealing with it but young hearts like theirs have to be filled with love and happiness not sorrow.

With wishes and blessings from heavens above, I am able to bring them up with pride and I couldn’t be happier for the young men they are turning to be. It is after three years I am putting down on paper what I have felt all along. Thanks for reading.”

Diya didn’t want to share her pictures or of her children. And she stays with the kids, outside India.

Festivals now and back in my childhood-Reliving it with my daughters -Shuchi

Shuchi Chokawala shares with Mums and stories on her Diwali moments of childhood and her celebrations this year with her daughters, Naavya & Natasha.
Shuchiweb
This story goes back to a small village of Gujarat thirty years ago when computer was an unknown word. I grew up in a city by name but for every Diwali, we used to visit our native home which was at a distance from Surat at Madhi.

Over there, even owning a television set was a far of dream and mobile phones or video games were never heard of.

If I have to go back in the past, “It’s Diwali in the village. All the family members from the nearby cities have gathered to be with their parents who are head of that family. The entire family lights diyas together, put rangoli together, bursts crackers together, prepares various delicacies together and eats together. Diwali is a major festival in Gujarat and they make sure that it is been celebrated together with a lot of pomp every year.”

The same story, with the same characters, comes to the present….The young children of the family have grown up and are staying in different parts of the world, where definition of family and definition of festival are entirely different.

Now, they hardly see each other in their busy urban schedules. The members of the family, who are in their 30s now and having children, try to infuse the values of ‘family togetherness’, ‘sharing’ and ‘caring’ into their children. One of the best ways to do so is obviously celebrating Diwali, the way we all used to do in our hometown.

So this time, me being one of the family members of the earlier story started grander Diwali preparations for this year with my two daughters Naavya and Natasha.

We prepared numerous traditional delicacies, put rangoli, lit diyas, met community people, wore traditional dresses and performed ‘Lakshmi Poojan’.

By the end of the festival, we all felt supreme rejuvenation which would have been hard to experience by watching a movie, going out to a mall or by playing a game on a computer. Just happy sharing this experience.

More than words can express- Priya Shetty

Priya Shetty, a mum who has shared a happy travel experience with her kid earlier today shared this poem with Mums and stories.
Priyaweb
“My husband is a maxillofacial surgeon . He is associated with an international charity organization for children called ‘Smile train’.Smile train provide free treatment to children born with cleft lip and palette.He has been doing these surgeries even before we got married. Whenever I see the ‘before ‘and ‘after ‘pictures of tiny tots on his laptop I have always secretly admired the courage of the parents and of the babies themselves.

Today being Diwali, I was cleaning out the cupboards and shelves of the house sighing at how many unused things get collected over the years.

Then my eyes fell on an old sheet of paper turned yellowish. But something about it caught my eye and even though I had lot of things to do , I sat down to read it. It was a poem . But it was no ordinary poem. It was written (or shared) by the father of a 3 month old baby who had cleft and was being operated upon.

The poem read like this:

Dear doctor
Please remember
That little face you are
Reconstructing is more than
Muscle and Tissue and Bone
It is the smile that fills
My heart with joy and
Swells my chest with pride
And brings life and meaning
Into my everyday
And when it is you and him
Behind the Big Doors
And me in the little room
Waiting,
Please remember
You are working with more
Than just a life
You have in your hands
A reason for living as well
And as you look upon your
Little patient,
A mere few pounds of person,
Remember that he is cherished,
And not by me alone,
But by the many
Whose lives have been touched
And enriched by his
And Doctor,
I will also remember
That I have chosen to trust you
And to trust your skills
And that by choice
I have entrusted his face
Into your skilled hands
But for these next three hours
While you and he
Hide behind the Big Doors,
And I wait in the little room
I hope you don’t mind
If I also choose
To Pray

Mums and stories thanks Priya for this lovely poem shared. Also featuring an art work done by Priya’s daughter. The bark of the tree is the tracing of the little child’s hand itself.

Spreading positive messages today on a joyous festival.

 

Me, my angel and my super mum-Akshata Ramesh

Akshata Ramesh, a successful chartered accountant working in an investment bank along with being a successful blogger, shares with ‘Mums and Stories’, her biggest inspiration in life- her mum Sunita
Gangadhar.
 Akshaweb

“A huge inspiration in a little one’s life is the one in whose shades the little one takes those first steps; the one who teaches him values and much more.

For me, my mum has always been a very big source of inspiration. Her grit, determination, resilience, her never-to- give-up attitude at any age has never been a barrier. It has made me achieve my dreams and helped me in being what I am today.

She took up varied professions, starting with working in a bank and then moved to a government sales job, got pregnant and decided she wanted to be a homemaker for the simple reason that her mom was not one and she wanted her children to not miss those things that she missed in her childhood. At the same time, she was not among one to sit idle.

She started taking tuitions at home. In fact her classes became very popular as well. She later moved to handling a catering business and then due to monetary constraints had to take up a job at a call center. Working with computers amongst people half her age, was no easy feat.

Anyone else would probably have not been able to last that long but she worked for 7 years, learnt so much about corporate life, technical stuff and above all it enriched her as a person.

She then took up a Montessori teaching course at the age of 51, when most of us are sticking cozily in our jobs or resting in the confines of our homes.

She worked night shift, attended classes in the day, completed assignments, studied, wrote exams, cooked and did the household chores too, I always asked her “But when do you sleep Mumma?”.

As always, she passed with flying colours and was offered a job in the institute where she studied. She then got the job of a coordinator in a reputed school and is now a principal of a school.

Life has indeed come full circle for her. From someone who decided to be a stay-at- home mom as she wanted to be with her kids in those formative years to a career woman who fuelled her passion, overcame all obstacles and shone.

Presently I am a mum to an eleven month old baby and have named her ‘Angel’. My mom lives with me and her advice to me is to be always be self reliant. Life teaches you many lessons and some of them come the hard way. Don’t be afraid for whether you win or loose it will always leave you richer with experiences. Don’t make anyone indispensable in your life, learn to be strong, don’t have too much expectations from anyone for its only you who would end up getting hurt eventually. Learn to fight your own battles by yourself, believe in yourself and victory will be yours.

I have always felt why I should look elsewhere for a role model when I have one right here at home. I only wish I can set the right example before my daughter and influence her positively to dream big, have the courage to chase her dreams and be fearless in pursuing her goals.”

Mums and stories feels Akshata has two angels in life. We wish her to stay blessed.

 

My journey as a mother of two very special children-Snigdha Kemkar

Mums and Stories is proud to share this amazing story of RJ Snigdha Kemkar.

‘My journey as a mother of two very special children’.

 

Snighs-daughter

“Before I could get out of the infatuations and teenage crush, I was made to realize and understand the meaning of true love together with my husband who I married really very young.

A little short of twenty I was engaged and as I crossed twenty, I left my parental abode. A true tomboy, extremely restless who loved to live life to the fullest was married at the young age of 20 unaware of what life had in store for her.

A year and a half later, I was carrying my first baby and I was many a times a target of adult jokes at fauji (armed forces) get togethers. For instance, “this is a classic example of child molestation”!

Of course, I learnt to laugh them off with time.

A beautiful baby girl, near angelic was born to us and brought a new lease of life to me. It indeed was the most beautiful moment of my life.

Though I never wanted to look back at the labour room, there I was one more time 3 years later. A lovely looking boy child who looked no less than a born model.

I was so blessed. I was all of 25 when I was a mum for both my children. On the other hand, I had friends who were shining in their higher studies, career and other ambitions, and here I was devoting my complete time to my family with two small babies to raise but without any regret of losing out on my time for other things in life that a young lady would perhaps dream off.

Sometimes I would get frustrated! After all I am human!

Everything was settling down until my son, my younger one was diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorder by the age of 3 at the NIMHANS.

Though I sensed much early that there is something wrong but could not perhaps give a deep thought or maybe I was constantly denying the truth.

We were blown off as we were not even aware of this lifetime disorder that never gets cured but can only be managed to some extent.

Life for me came to a halt at 25.

Just when I was glad that I shall restart my career options once the children start schooling, I started a life with a different meaning altogether.

My girl by then was about 6 years old and was subjected to responsibilities, understanding, compromises and sacrifices at an early age. I still feel sorry to have neglected her at times but later realized that the reason why today she is the best child, best sister and a best friend, is only because of her maturity and I have no qualms in admitting that she is half a mother and sometimes knows better ways to handle my son that we do.

The journey of daily therapies began, the special school visits and rounds started and day after day a new challenge was thrown at me.

A few schools denied entry to my son because he is non verbal and hyperactive. I don’t blame them really. But it also meant I am under house arrest with him 24/7.

It can take a toll on the most energetic, positive and super moms sometimes, and the world never realizes or understands that.
I had made up my mind to face each challenge with my chin up and fight till the end and I continue to do so!

I changed my outlook towards my life. I wanted to live again, breathe again, enjoy again and it was like serendipity. However the moment I stepped out of my cocoon, I was able to give a better life to all others around me, specially my immediate family members and most importantly my son.

Soon I resumed my career as an accredited Soft skill trainer at an age of 33 when my son found a better school too.

It was a year later that I was also selected for auditions and I completed my certification as a Radio host at AIR. This is where I truly lived my dream, being someone who eats, breathes and sleeps music.

Nearly a decade in radio, I simultaneously started hosting live stage shows and organizing events of large magnitude with names to reckon with. Mike became my favourite accessory!

I perhaps always believed in the Mantra” Healthy Body leads to a healthy mind” and my passion for dancing took me another world and I started a Fitness Academy called DANCERCISE and it is successfully running more than 5 years now.

One common question that am asked almost every single day past 15 years is -” HOW DO YOU MANAGE”? My answer is- “IT IS JUST A STATE OF MIND…IF YOU WANT, YOU CAN.”

However, nothing of the above would be possible without my family’s support. My husband who sacrificed his Job in the Air force as a senior officer to be with us. My daughter who takes turn to look after and baby sit my son when I am away at my ventures.

Today, when I think back, there is so much satisfaction that I have made better use of my life so far than others who had all the time in the world for themselves and are yet idle.

I thank God for blessing me with a child who taught us the real meaning of compassion, focus, patience, tolerance and above all, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND CARE.

He gave me the opportunity to introspect my strength and skills.
Albeit, There have been instances which I would like to forget forever since they left behind a lot of pain. It is sad that the society does not include these children and understand them as one amongst them.

We are constantly trying. Hope is the way of life!
I am extremely proud that my daughter who lost her childhood in taking care of him when it was her time to play with toys, is today a very stylish, intelligent, talented architect in the making doing very well for herself. Touch wood!

I share a very special bond with her and the fear of letting her grow and go away sometimes bothers me and ironically on the other hand, I am planning to send her abroad for her further studies and career options;-)

The most lingering thought about my son that worries me and my Husband is-“WHAT AFTER US”? He has just turned 18!
We have decided to recognize his skills and try giving him the best we can.

Recently an organization that works with autistic adults opened doors for him with a career option as a model who could get paid by performing ramp walks or pose for still photographs.
I firmly believe that God does some balancing act with each of his creations.

My son may not be verbal but is blessed with above average looks and physique.He was called a born model but we never thought of this option.He is begun his journey of a life of his own that means the world to us.

The beautiful Journey continues.”

Chubby Cheeks – My adorable daughter-Urmila Chanam

 Urmila Chanam, Newspaper Columnist at Imphal Free Press, Program Manager at Orphaned and Vulnerable Children(OVC) and Founder at Breaking the Silence shares a beautiful and a moving story with Mums and Stories, her perspective of her relation with her daughter.
 Yeh hai hamari kahaani

” When I was carrying my daughter, my parents use to run a school those days. Around the month of February and March when the school was preparing for new admissions, it was decided that the nursery be painted afresh with cartoon characters in bright colors to make it child-friendly.

I was living in my parental house as per our tradition of spending the last trimester and first few months after child birth in mother’s house. Lethargy was setting in with progressing pregnancy so the tubes of paint and crayons lured me to volunteer to make a set of charts carrying nursery rhymes for the class. I had something fun to do!

My project paint began with great enthusiasm. My mom helped me get the materials on the large desk that was shifted to my bedroom. I also got hold of a rhyme book from the school library and in that winter morning, I flipped through its worn out pages to enter another world- a sweet and innocent world of rhymes and childhood.

I chose Chubby Cheeks poem for the adorable girl in the picture. I started sketching it on the big white blank sheet and in no time, began painting the small and cute face. It was a challenge to then write the poem in the space that remained after the sketch. Once I completed, I felt that the face of the little girl occupied more space in the chart than the written words.

Was that the reason that I spent a lot of time looking at the chart which hung on the wall opposite my bed? I slept to a peaceful slumber. In my dream, a small girl, about 3-years in age woke me up saying ‘Mama, mama!’ I woke up with a start in the morning and rushed to the kitchen to find my mother. I excitedly told her, ‘I am going to have a daughter. I saw her in my dream’.

My mother smiled and fed me some cookies with morning tea. She did not give it a second thought.

The girl in the chart I made for my mother’s nursery class had a rounded forehead, very large almond shaped eyes, thick and curling eyelashes, a small button nose and a small mouth. Her chin looked like a mango tip and she had an appearance close to how Casper looks in the Hollywood movie.

In the next few months, the chart was forgotten and life took another turn. Pregnancy is such a difficult time. No preparation for it prepares you for what lies ahead. No advice and no regime can make you escape any of the challenges of labor and child birth.
In the Operation Theatre (I had a cesarean section), the lady doctor lifted my newborn out of my womb into this world on 13th June 2004, Sunday. In the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) there might have been many deliveries that day, but I am sure none was as unique as mine. ‘It’s a girl!’, the doctor said with a broad and happy smile. I would like to thank the doctor for her smile that day if she happens to read this story.

The nurse wiped and cleaned my baby and she was wrapped in a polka dot baby blanket and brought to me. Under sedation, I was very weak and my senses were fading but I could see the small face clearly. It was the Chubby Cheeks in the chart paper!
I smiled at her and I cried at her simultaneously and before fading out in sleep I told myself ‘I will call her Tamanna (my desire, my dream)’.

Today Tamanna is an 11 year old girl who is interested in academics, singing and music, crafts and poetry. Besides being my best friend, she is also a reminder that it’s not just marriages that are made in heaven, the relationship between a mother and her children are made in heaven too!”.

 

Food story from a food blogger – Nithya Ravi

A well known food blogger Nithya Ravi who has shared many recipes in publications and on her blog Nithya’s kitchen talks of motherhood and culinary skills in her life.

“I am sharing with you all my everlasting memories and journey from my mum’s kitchen to mine.

My mother, Mrs.Padma Mani is a wonderful cook besides being a doting mother. I look forward to meet her every time most eagerly as she is in Chennai now and is extremely proud of me of my being a blogger.

I am going to tell you about one recipe which I learnt from my mother which is a favorite of my daughter too.

It is Puliyodharai or Tamarind rice. You need to make the tamarind gravy or Pulikachal for that of which my mother is an expert. One can check my blog Nithya’s kitchen to understand the recipe

My mom makes the toughest of recipes with ease and her kitchen is always filled with love, warmth and of course pleasing aromas. The fondest memories still are there with me when I think of pulikachal. My mom used to pack this for journeys when we used to travel from Delhi to Chennai to visit grandparents. The very idea of eating in train with my brother and parents exited me always.

My daughter Dhivya who is in college now, is slowly getting interested in cooking and she is the one who encouraged me to start a blog of my own.

Puliyodharai is loved by Dhivya and I plan to teach her to make all by herself, like her grandma. The idea of excellent culinary skills are surely getting transported from generation to generation.

http://www.nithyas-kitchen.com/2015/08/puliyodharaitamarind-ricelunch-box.html

 

A memorable trip to Kashmir – Priya Shetty

Priyaweb
Mums and Stories is delighted to share another travel story this month. This one filled with happy memories.
A family trip to remember and cherish for a lifetime
KASHMIR, the paradise on earth. It has always been my childhood dream and it got fulfilled only now. Better late than never right?
So we set off on our journey at five in the morning. Our daughter who never rises before 9 am was fresh as dew. That’s the magic, I guess these much anticipated travels create in our children
Almost the entire day was spent travelling. But did we regret it? Not a bit.

We reached Srinagar and were received by a local friend. He took us to our houseboat on Dal lake. The view of the lake during sunset and sun rise was breathtaking to say the least.

Prisha was super thrilled when allowed to row the “shikara”.
She was made to sit at the wheel of the fast boat. She and her dad went jet skiing as well. That was the one of the best activities for Prisha.

Our days were well planed and the plans very well executed by our local friends. The days were packed and we didn’t waste a single minute in enjoying the Kashmir bliss.

Next day we were supposed to go to Sonmarg when a strike was called at Kashmir due to some internal reasons. But we were not ready to loose even a single day of our stay at Kashmir
All thanks to our friend we braved through the risks and made it safely to Sonmarg. Here all three of us went on a horse ride for three hours up to the Thajiwas glacier.

Unexpectedly and adding to our happiness, we got to see the first snow waiting for us at the top. It was a dream come true for our Prisha.
The trip down the steep slope was quite scary with loose pebbles and one unfortunate person who fell had to be rushed to the hospital
Our horseman, a god sent angel carried Prisha down the slope. Huh was I relieved?

We did go for horse rides at Pehalgam and Gulmarg as well, but none so dangerous. The horsemen at Sonmarg were totally different from the rest. They were not hitting the poor animals but encouraging them to move on in the steep terrains.

Prisha enjoyed every moment of the horse ride building a rapport with her horse and the young orphan horse boy too. She even readily shared her chocolates with him. Guess it’s the Kashmir weather that made her do that.

The cable car at Gulmarg was probably less exciting for the child as she expected it to move super fast with only her in the car.
Well all good things come to an end and so did our visit to this beautiful place with very affable people.

The sad part is the people there are very upset that every where else in India people generally think that Kashmir is a dangerous place to go to. They even presume Kashmiris are violent people.
As per my personal experience, all the Kashmiris I have seen have been very friendly very peace loving people. There is absolutely no disturbances there and everything is peaceful

 

A scary travel story -Sindhu Sharath

Sindhuweb

This is the story of our trip to Sikkim which can never go out of our memory. We took a direct flight from Bangalore to Bagdogra and reached Gangtok in a taxi. It was a beautiful journey.

The gigantic Himalayan mountains on both sides and the beautiful Teesta river gorgeously flowing in the valley. It was nature that was picturesque. We reached the hotel by late evening.

Later we had a good dinner and retired for the day. Next morning we were off on a city tour. Gangtok is a beautiful city with options galore for tourists. Cable car ride, copter ride, amusement park for kids; everything went beautifully. Subsequently the next morning our tour guide informed us that the itinerary for the day is Yumthang valley for which we will be required to travel to a remote village spend the night there and leave the far off destination, back to the valley next morning.

So we left in a cab and the journey was good 7 hours. The journey seemed long and there were many heavy vehicles from the other side on the road. It was then that we felt that our car shook a little. We just thought it must be because of the heavy vehicles going past us and continued with our journey. After a while we reached a small place on the narrow hilly roads.

The tour guide had arranged for or lunch in the hotel and we saw that the staff members were hovering around the TV set. We grew curious and went to see what’s so interesting on the television. We came to know by the news channels that there was a major earthquake in Nepal and what we felt in the car was the effect of the quakes.

The experts were continuously informing that there would be multiple earthquakes and this was just the beginning. The entire north east India was going to experience the quakes.

Soon we got to know later in the day that Delhi, Kolkatta, everywhere earthquakes were being experienced by people. We didn’t know what to do. We started getting calls from family members back in cities. We were literally in some kind of remote destination. We continued our journey and reached the village. It was very cold out there. Instead of enjoying anything in the holiday spot we were bombarded with news flashing on TV sets that earthquakes were going to repeat that night.

A remote chilly village with no room heaters, no phone signals and the anticipation of earthquake scares. We really didn’t know how we passed the time during the night. My stomach churned when I saw my two little daughters.

I had tears in my eyes when my daughter asked innocently, “Mommy, are we going to die?”

Me and my husband just prayed to God and hugged our daughters’ all night. Then there was this other group of people who had come. They approached us and played antakshari all night. I wondered if they were having a good time as they projected or were they masking their fear?

Thankfully the ordeal ended and we were back soon to our home city in the earliest possible time. A trip I will remember forever.