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IDEAS BY CHANCE

ideas generated by a busy woman's brain

My Smart Home

Me, My Son and the Piano

S.U.P.W

S.U.P.W. What is SUPW? Well.. SUPW is Socially Useful Productive Work. This was something we did once a week during school in India. During the SUPW class we did crafts, knitting, sewing and embroidery.

In elementary school, boys did crafts, girls did crafts. They were the same, but not really. Everyone produced their craft differently. We did origami, decorated cone wooden doll heads. If we forgot to get materials from home for the class, we would get pinched by the teacher. The pinch was our punishment and supposed to make us remember to get it the next time.

I distinctly remember one project, making a kind of paper mache bowl. I am not sure it is really paper mache but the creation went like this. Go to your kitchen , take fenugreek seeds and soak them in a bowl overnight. Then take newspapers and tear them up and also soak them in water overnight. Next day morning, make your mom or grandmom or anyone ready to do this in your family, to take the contents of the 2 bowls and grind them together in the kitchen mixer. Now find a bowl or maybe the same bowl that you soaked the stuff in, turn it over and spread the green gooey mix onto its bottom. Let it dry and then the next day you could separate it out and produce a paper mache bowl from this.

Nice…But was this socially useful? Hmm not sure. But it was definitely productive. We had produced something! And we had fun and our young minds were kept busy and creative. Well , fun yes, unless it was the day we had got pinched because we forgot to get our paper mache bowl…..

In middle and high schools the girls graduated to doing sewing, knitting and embroidery. We knitted different patterns , learnt to do different embroidery stitches by hand. And we also sowed and created frocks, rompers,  dresses and blouses. Hmm…it seemed like we were starting to get socially useful and productive.

If you noticed, I said girls graduated. Well, what happened to the boys? No… they did not stop being socially useful or productive. They just started doing socially useful electric work. What!!! Yes, they learnt to fix electrical circuits, connect light bulbs, make them shine and not sure what else.

The school and the board of education and the country thought that young women would be socially useful if they learn sewing and knitting in addition to physics, math , economics and history. And similarly the boys would become socially useful when they knew to build basic electrical stuff.

Hmm.. maybe this is a decent idea or strategy. But lets think again.. And now I want to be cautious, correct and respectful. India is a country with enormous man power. I don’t want to say cheap labor. So how many young adults from these schools actually used their socially useful productive or electric work.  A few maybe but it was quicker, easier and more economical to hire an electrician or get your clothes tailored….

So was this a waste? No, there is a small or maybe big section of this youth that is grateful for this learning. They are the ones that moved to other countries like the United States of America. When I buy clothes from the department and brand name stores  and the short is too short and the long is too long and the average is not quite alright, then out comes my sewing machine to the rescue. It is difficult to find someone to alter your clothes and may not be that cost effective. Thank you SUPW!

My husband likes fans and TVs. He likes to have them in every room. So here, the cost of a fan is almost quite comparable to the cost of installing it. So he installed all the fans and TVs in the house in almost every room…There!… we were now both Socially Useful Productive and Electric!

 

COFFEE AND A BLOG

I love coffee and I love coffee shops even more. I love their fancy atmosphere, the aroma of the freshly ground coffee beans…hmmm… As I write this, I am sitting at my long wooden gleaming kitchen table, enjoying a sip of my black coffee. The coffee carefully brewed using my French Press with boiling water and heaped spoons of my favorite coffee brand.

I have fancied working in a coffee shop, brewing and serving coffee. Even cleaning and maintaining the sparkling stainless serving counters. The cups and spoons… Its a dream from several years. Something I am not sure I might even take up in real life. Why?

I have an alternate career…hmm. I have worked for Fortune 100 companies all my life, in software development, product management. Coffee shops and product management seem a bit far away.. Well, are they really? A lot of business could happen over a cup of coffee…

When I was growing up, I wrote diaries. I wrote them every day and wrote them most years during my middle school. Well, this is self expression but the audience is limited. It would be just me or anyone in my family that chanced on it. Today my self expression is in my whatsapp  groups . Unleashing my random thoughts and opinions on unsuspecting family and friends. I am finding this limiting too now.

So this fine Friday evening, I have decided to start my own blog. Enjoy folks!

 

WHY I WASH DISHES BY HAND

When I first came to this country, I was a new wife and a new housewife. It was going to be a few months before I could start working. I could cook very few dishes and was even further away from kitchen management. When dishes lay in the sink, it did not occur to me I should be washing it. Well, in my home back in India, like every middle or upper middle class families, we had a maid that came in everyday. She did all the cleaning.

One of those days, a chance remark got my goat..husband says .. my grandmother would be appalled to see the dish pile up in your sink. How dare he!! I had never met his grandmother. Poor soul! She was resting in Heaven.

So I decided that I would use the dishwasher. Well, this dishwasher had never been used in this house for 5 years and nothing I did would make it work. So we got a shiny new dishwasher. And that was the beginning…

Years and years of arranging dishes , running the dishwasher cycles, loading, unloading, day in and day out. Still very rarely could I claim a shiny sink!

A few weeks back my mind was full and so was my sink. I had plenty everyday stressors and issues to sort out. I stood before the sink and mindlessly started washing them by hand. All the while working out the different permutations and combinations for my stressors in my mind. In very little time, I see I have a empty sink and all dishes washed. My mind did seem a little less heavy. Hmm. ok this is worth googling!

So everybody googles everything nowadays… So I googled benefits of washing dishes by the hand. There were amazing articles out there. Most interesting or the ones I really wanted to believe were those that said you can resolve mental problems when you wash dishes by hand. Ahah! This is going to be my new mantra….

So I wash dishes by hand these days, I am almost obsessed by it. And waiting for a dish to hit the sink and wash it up. I lovingly admire my gleaming stainless pots and pans. And my sink now is gleaming and shiny.. Well, I would be happy to meet anyone’s grandmother now…And when I see someone’s sink full of dishes , I am appalled. How can they?

 

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