20 Habits For Your 20s, For A Financially Secure Future

It is an unstated yet well understood fact that we need to earn, save and create funds for a secured and comfortable future.
In this article, let me tell you some habits to pick in your 20s to build a financially secure future. Do not miss the opportunities in your 20s so that you can enjoy a very happy retirement.
So, start today with new hope and a new plan to overhaul your financial picture. Start practicing these habits, become a new person, and walk towards financial security.
Little Drops of Water Make a Mighty Ocean. So, start from the small steps, repeat regularly, rather than doing it in one single giant leap.

Avoid Credit Card Debt
Today, almost all financial institutions have attracted youth towards various credit card offers. Being pulled by curiosity, many youngsters get unknowingly trapped. Eventually struggling through debt. So my best suggestion that you practice as a habit to pick in your 20s for a secured future is to avoid credit cards. If you are buying anything, or shopping, or paying bills, make a point that you should have money in your account.
Credit cards have 45 days no interest period, but even though many people are not able to pay on-time. If you failed, you are charged with a high-interest for the outstanding amount. It can ruin your finances over time.

Pay Attention To Your Credit Score
In the previous topic, I told you to avoid credit cards and credit card debts, but that doesn’t mean that you should completely ignore credit cards. Having a good credit score will help you in many different ways, such as you can avail loans at a better rate of interest than others. If your credit score is more than 800, you will get a loan at the fairly low interest rate.
A good credit score also determines your retirement insurance rates and other types of financial deposit plans. So, if you get a credit card, play a safe game, and maintain that you should not fall into the trap. So a better way to use a credit card to build your credit profile is to get a credit card and use it a few times in a month. Buy something or pay a few bills and repay the credit card bill in full before the no-interest period expires. Try not to carry a balance to the next month.

Tackle Your Debt
The accumulation of a debt ca also be understood as wasting your potential future savings. Avoid unnecessary debt by properly planning your purchases and distinguishing between your various needs. I am not saying all debts are bad. Borrowing for education or mortgages is theoretically worth the cost. A credit card debt is classified as a bad example of debt or called a bad debt. So list all your debts and start paying off by following SnowBall Method. It means to start paying off the debt with the smallest balance first. But do not stop paying other debts (rather than pay smaller). Once you complete full payment to that smaller debt, you can start using that money to pay off your larger debt. Keep this as a practice until all your debt got paid and cleared. Do not unnecessarily buy things and shop online that is having no or less value for your living now using your credit or borrowing money. Follow this habit very strictly in your 20s to build a secure financial future.

Set up an Emergency Fund
In our life, we never know when we could be in need of that extra. It could be a lay off, medical emergency or family emergency- they usually come unannounced. It’s not fair, and it’s not even funny, but it may happen. The best thing to be prepared is creating an emergency fund.
As you see, the world stalled, and nearly millions of people lost their job due to Corona aka COVD-19. Many companies have stopped their operations and laid off their employees or have had severe pay cuts. It is in such cases that an emergency fund helps one sustain.
Like investing in other assets, insurance policies, retirement planning, invest some money for emergency needs as well. You can determine the size of your emergency fund based on your other expenses.

Create a Budget
Easy to say, difficult to do and even more difficult to follow.
Budgeting is one of the hardest parts for many. They spend all their earned money in a more uncontrolled way, and at the end of the month, they’re left with lose to nothing. Many people in their 20s are not learning how important it is to manage money. So first, how do you create and manage your budget? There are lots of ways to follow and at first separate into categories: Savings, Needs, and Wants.
After you have earned your paycheck, create your budget, and split your money for the above categories. First, prepare for your savings like retirement plans, life insurance premium, Fixed deposit, Investments like trading, bonds, etc. Then comes the Needs, which are the things that cannot be postponed or avoided. Like, your home rent, which you cannot avoid every month.
Finally, Wants, if your guess is correct, wants are different from needs. Yes, for example, you need to need, but it’s not necessary to go to a big hotel to eat. You can cook for yourself at home. Another example, do you really need to buy new clothes this month. Not if you can postpone to next month.
So, create your clean table of Savings, Needs, and Wants every month so that you can create a perfect budget. There are so many online budgeting apps are available that can help you track all your spendings using your debit cards, credit cards, and bank account.

Create Short-Term Goals
After you completed your college degree, your first short-term goal is to bag a job in a good company for decent pay. A Goal can be either a short-term goal or a long-term goal. But do not set long-term goals, as we do not know what life is having for us tomorrow. So, planning a long-term goal is a daunting task for young people.
Also, setting one short-term goal isn’t enough. Like after completing a college degree, get placed in a Good Company for Good Pay. Set a series of short-term goals to achieve your long-term goals. For example, the first goal is getting a good job. The second goal is paying off your education loan in a span of 12 months. The third goal is opening a savings account and retirement account as soon as possible in the next few months.
Keep creating more series of short-term goals and put effort to achieve them one by one. Constant setting and achieving will ensure your steady growth both in terms of your financial career and in your life.

Modest LifeStyle
After the massive boom in the IT industry, many students are joining computer-related courses in their college. After you complete your college degree, you can join an IT company based on your skill and your academic qualification. The starting salary of these companies is also higher than what our parents earned in their young-age. So, this makes the graduates in the first few years of their employment, spend excess money on unnecessary things. Stop performing these stupid spending habits, quiet use the money in other useful ways.
You can use the money to invest in returning assets or paying off your debts, or add and increase your savings. As you advance in your employment, your salary will also grow.
So, you should focus on creating a healthy budget according to Savings, Needs, and Wants. A general formula that if your lifestyle lags your income, you are well in your financials. It’s possible to begin a normal lifestyle by completing the basic needs. So, start practicing to live a modest lifestyle as a habit to pick in your 20s for building a secure financial future.

Open a Savings Account
When are you above 18 (or) any legal age of your country, first open a savings account in any reliable bank in your country? Search for a high-returning account that offers more interest on the money that you keep in your account. Create a habit of adding a few dollars a week or multiple times a week to your savings account. Never mind if it is one-cent or two-cent, deposit in your savings account.

Education Loan (Borrow What You Require)
Today many students are studying through education loans as their parents can’t afford high tuition fees. The government also passed many laws to ease the loan process. But you borrow only for your tuition fees, exam fees, and lab fees. Do not include other expenses and make your loan bigger. The smaller the loan, the easier to repay.
After completing your studies, approach your banking partner and ask for a repayment schedule to repay the loans. I can see many students caught up in loan consolidation scams and merely wasting large sums of money spent on student loan debt.

Buy a Suitable Life Insurance
Life insurance is not only for working people or adults, but you should plan to buy on in your 20s. It is not the subject of the aged people, but you need to plan in your 20s to secure your future. Because when a 35years old opts for an insurance they pay more premium for the same maturity value than the one in their 20s.
It is a bitter truth, but you should make this a habit to pick in your 20s for building a secure financial future. If you are planning for a marriage in the coming years or so, having life insurance will secure your financial protection of your family. Start finding a suitable insurance plan at 20 and choose your premium duration as well.

Find a Reliable Financial Planner
A financial planner is a qualified person who is responsible for preparing financial plans for the people. S/he helps individuals and corporations to meet their long-term financial goals by planning multiple short-term goals. It often includes investment, trading, tax planning, asset allocation, insurance planning, etc. But you can ask, I am just 20, and why should I need one as i don’t have any assets to manage or budget to hire a financial planner? You need to hire one after you starting earning your first penny so you don’t lose out on any opportunities- big and small.

Develop Your Skills
Today many people have achieved great heights even though they aren’t academically proficient. Yes, it’s not necessary to complete a college degree to get a job. However, you can identify your skills and groom them. List down all the skills you think you have. Filter the best ones that you think you fit yourself with and develop the skills that are in demand. There are many certification courses you can join to land a good job. For example, digital marketing is the trending job in the current decade. So, if you are able to develop your digital marketing skills, you can find a lot of online jobs from home.

Start a Reliable Side Hustle
Today a majority of people are pursuing part-time jobs in their free time. Having a side hustle can diversify your income and ensure continuous money flow in your bank accounts. Identify your skills and develop your skills to get a reliable side income. There are so many jobs available online such as Virtual Assistants, Micro Workers, Freelance Web Designers, Digital Marketers, etc. Having a side-hustle not only makes you earn more but also helps you groom your skills.
An additional income makes you free from relying too heavily on a single source of income. try making this a habit in your 20s for building a secure financial future.

Practice Investing
It is the age to keep learning new things and gain more knowledge about work and life. So, always spend some time to learn about investing. The best example is Warren Buffet, who is a great investor. He is also a role model for many entrepreneurs. This man is all about money management and recognising opportunities to invest and grow.
So get help from your financial advisor or use the internet to learn various ways to invest your money so that it can get you good returns. You can invest in instruments like Fixed Deposits, Bonds and Securities, Stock Market, Forex Market Trading, Invest in start- ups, etc. But you need to earn money before-hand to get into this part (which is money makes money).

Create a Habit of Saving Money For Big Purchases
Start saving money for big purchases right from your 20s. It is the right time to start saving for various wishes and needs like world tour, marriage, that dream car, etc. It is always better to buy things from your savings rather than buying from the credit that will sometimes end up in long-term debt. If you are planning to buy a car that isa luxury, do not buy on loans. Instead, work more to save more money, you can end up buying the same car after a year or two than planned. There won’t be any happier moment than buying your dream car in full payment rather than buying through a loan.

Open Retirement Account
Like savings accounts, when you are at your 20, open a Retirement account as soon as you start earning money. Do not wait until 30 or more to open an account. Because when you start investing in your 20s, you can save more. As soon as you receive your first paycheck, open a retirement account with your company. Else you can open an IRA account where an earning person can contribute to an IRA.

Pay Bills On Time
When you grow over your 20s, you become responsible for yourself and more. It becomes necessary that you pay your own bills. Your parents aren’t/ shouldn’t be responsible for them. Do not miss any utility payments, phone bills, internet bills, or other items. Because delaying payments or missing payments can harm your credit score for years. Yes, this will affect your eligibility when you apply for that home loan in the future.

Build Your Network
You are just coming out of your nest to see the outside world. On completion of your basic education, take advantage of internships, free jobs, community jobs, and other opportunities where you can garner and share your expertise and gain on field experience. Always search to meet new people and build new relationships, which will give you more opportunities for your future.

Give to Others
Healthy finance means helping others in need. Give some part of your earned money to churches, charity, or volunteer in organizing camps, events, etc. Give your time, money, and effort. This habit can give results in other ways and makes you explore new opportunities, thus helps to build a secured financial future.

Learn to Cook
This could sound absurd, but when you calculate your average monthly spending on food, it will account for a large part of your earnings. Yes, not every student will get a job in their hometown. Sometimes, we might need to re-locate for our job. When you learn to cook food for yourself, you can save a lot of money (& who knows this could be your little side hustle). Eating unhealthy foods and fast foods can lead to various health problems, which in turn can drain your money. So, learn to cook for yourself and save money from unwanted expenses and hospital bills. You will be healthier, more active when you eat healthy food. So, you can put more effort and simultaneously earn more money in your 20s.

Bonus Points
Everyone’s life including mine starts at the age of 20, before this we are coddled and comforted. We need to be more cautious in taking every step forward towards a financially secure future. If not now, then when?
So, follow the above advice and start practicing the habits to pick in your 20s for building a secure financial future.
You cannot work over-time in your 40. You can’t spend time with your family in your 30 if you forgot to shape your future ever since your 20s.
Think Wise, Act Wiser. Think about what you value and its importance to you. Spend more time on priorities instead of wasting money on things that wouldn’t matter in the near future.

Making The Extra Buck From Home!

You could be leaving some money on the table, it is about time you cashed it in!

Hey!
Hope you’ve all had the time to recognise, ponder and address your levels of exhaustion and create a custom kit to help you deal with it.
Today, I’m about to address another elephant in the room.

That’s right!
It isn’t a unique fact that the pandemic has tightened our pockets a little and has made us reconsider our grocery lists and momentary splurges. Over the last month I’ve been spending time researching ways in which we could all make that shrinking inner lining a little more accommodating and make room for a little more change.
While I cannot take full credit for this thought, it was Shop101 that had me thinking about it.

Here’s my list of mediums through we can all cash in a little extra.

  • GOOGLE ADSENSE
    I’m sure you’ve been on websites and seen Google advertisements. They are all there for a good reason and purposefully.
    Not only are they easy to set up, but can help you earn too in accordance with the traffic that your website experiences.
    You just have to signup with Google Adsense (for free). They will give you a unique code which you have to paste onto your website. And the you just wait to get paid. They payments roll in through pay-per-click (PPC) system.
  • AFFILIATE MARKETING
    Don’t let the term intimidate you.
    Affiliate marketing is like running a retail store. You sign up with retailers like Amazon, Flipkart and Ajio, and promote your favourite products on your website or social media and add your link.
    Everytime someone shops by clicking onto your link, you earn a commissioned income.
    This doesn’t necessarily require you to have a website, just a good amount of traffic on social media should be enough.
    Here are some popular affiliate networks that work in India.
  • ONLINE PAID SURVEYS
    Who could have thought that we can get paid for our opinion!
    You just have to find some genuine platforms and set up an account. It’s pretty much as simple as that. This method requires you to share your banking details for the transfer of credits; so please do your research before starting off!
    Here are some of my favourite survey sites Panel Place, MOBROG, YouGov India, SwagBucks
    The benefit of these is that you get to be your own boss with flexible timing and it isn’t always time consuming. But at the same time it could get a bit boring and there could be lack of availability of surveys and the SCAMMY SITES are the biggest turn downs.
  • FREELANCING
    If there is a skill that you are equipped with, then make sure you aren’t leaving money on the table. Go through professional websites and be on the lookout for freelance jobs. You could be good at Writing, Tally and Data Entry, Social Media Management, Graphic Designing, Care Taking (for toddlers and elderly), Content Development, Typing.
    Just about anything. Any skill that you are confident about and are will to find a job for, you could earn from it.
    Just hop onto job portals and stay on the lookout for Freelance Jobs!
  • START AN ONLINE COURSE
    If you are good at something then creating a course is the way to go.
    You could be teaching anything from Meditation to Water Colour Painting or creating modules on Parenting and Positivity. You could be a great Cook or someone with a knack for Car Care or Stitching.
    Create a community and spread the word.
    You could just make videos of yourself explaining and guiding others through the process or advertise for one-on-one video call lessons.

Final Takeaway, today all you need is a smartphone, confidence in yourself and willingness to not leave money on the table. Set up a PayPal, GPay or PayTM account and start exploring your options.
There is always the need to see if your are becoming a part of something scammy but beyond that I like to believe that
“either we earn or we learn and both are equally valuable”
Also, if you know another way to start making that extra buck at home then share. your suggestions with us. Hurry Up!!

Since a lot of the options that we explore might require a website. So don’t step back, in todays day and age making a website is quite simple and for free. Try WordPress !

Roadmap to making money online

Magical Words

A compilation of words, thoughts and teachings that have strengthen, supported and confronted me as and when I needed them.

Hello, you lovely soul!!
What I’ve put together this time is more like a compilation.
A compilation of words, thoughts and teachings that have strengthen, supported and confronted me as and when I needed them. They have contributed to my moral fabric from time to time. And trust me, each time I’ve felt myself become a better person in that moment.
As a sucker for words, these were never said by me or to me unfortunately, but nonetheless they have held my hand and taught me to smile and lightened those stiff shoulders!

“I LOVE YOU means I accept you for the person that you are and that I don’t wish to change you into someone else. It means that I don’t expect perfection from you, just as you don’t expect it from me.
I Love You means that I will Love You and stand by you even through the worst of times.
It means loving you when you are in a bad mood or too tired to do the things that I want to do.
It means loving you when you are down, not just when you are fun to be with.”

Deanne Laura Gilbert

Be Brave. Take Risks.
Nothing can substitute experience.

Paulo Coelho

I’m slowly learning that even if I react, it won’t change anything, it won’t make people love and respect me, it won’t magically change their minds. Sometimes it’s better to just let things be, let people go, don’t expect answers, don’t fight for closure, don’t chase answers and don’t expect people to understand where you’re coming from. I’m slowly learning that life is better lived when you don’t centre it on what’s happening around you and centre it on what’s happening inside you instead. Work on yourself and your inner peace.

Unknown Author

I cannot fix on an hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It was too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.

Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)

Save money every week! It doesn’t matter how much. Just Save.
Listen to your parents’ advice… at the end of the day they are only ones who want the best for you.
Choose your friends wisely as you are a product of your environment.
Learn to be alone. It’s a skill few master.
Educate yourself- Read. Read. Read.
Be healthy and look after your body.
Don’t wait for someone to love you; learn to love yourself.
You’ll be okay!

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You are on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…

Dr. Seuss (Oh! The Places You’ll Go)

We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes – understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.

Arianna Huffington

Leaving the place you grew up can change your life. Don’t think you’re leaving your family and friends behind; you’re not. You’re just letting yourself grow and move forward, and that is okay. You are allowed to grow and become a new version of you.

Sylvester McNutt III

Women are not rehabilitation centres for badly raised men. It is not your job to fix him, change him, parent him or raise him. You want a Partner not a Project.

Julia Roberts

But who can say what’s best?
That’s why you need to grab whatever chance you have of happiness where you find it, and not worry about other people too much. My experience tells me that we get two or three such chances in a lifetime, and if we let them go, we regret it for he rest of our lives.

Haruki Murakami

FOOTNOTE: I can’t get over the fact that we are TWO!!
Thank you for all the love and response. Thank you for always coming back and choosing to spend your time here!

Monsoon Mania

Self Realisation: The arrival of monsoon doesn’t just effect my wardrobe but also the way my body needs to be taken care of!!

Hello people!
How have you been holding up? You know, in addition to the pandemic frenzy we are now in the flu season *sigh*.
While jumping around in puddles and eating those hot coal toasted corncobs are some of my favourite things in this world, along with how the rains amplify the experience of a warm bowl of maggie. Or just how staying snuggled in bed on a sunday morning, under a layer of comforter with your favourite cuppa to the view of the trickling drops staining your windows. Or just taking a cute romantic walk tucked under an umbrella while watching the world around me press pause and change tones.

So after a Vitamin-C rich couple of months and hogging onto those raw salads, I realised that coming of monsoon doesn’t just effect my wardrobe but also the way my body needs to be taken care of.

Here are some simple and necessary tips that could save all of us a lot of unnecessary hassles.

  • Say NO to leftovers
    Not just the ones from the previous day, but say no to leftovers from the same morning as well. Always keep your food covered and in the refrigerators, not on the table or platform. Leftovers raise histamine levels in food, making them cause allergic reactions.
  • WARM WATER- all day, everyday!
    Warm or hot water is ideal for consumption. Cold water can lead to congestion of lymphatic system making you susceptible to infections. This also improves digestion; which is already quite sensitive during this season.
  • BREAKFAST IS A WONDER
    A warm breakfast can do you wonders. That’s right!
    A good option would be a millet porridge with some nut butter. Boiled or roasted sweet potatoes, a vegetable induced flattened brown rice or poha are some options. Also, adding Indian spices could help fire up that digestive juices.
  • Monsoons also mean a greatly increased chance of gut infections and usually the biggest culprits are dairy based products. NO DAIRY- they are very heavy to digest during the monsoon. Or if you cannot quit it altogether, you should consume yoghurt, curd and almonds instead of milk.
  • PICK FRUITS
    Consume lemon, limes, cherries, pomegranate, apples which are more astringent and reduce the monsoon’s impact on your body. Mangoes, watermelon and muskmelons need to be avoided.
  • TEA IT IN
    In two cups of water boil some ginger, a tablespoon each of coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds in two cups of water. Reduce the quantity to one cup. Strain and consume with your meal.
  • Adding spices such as ginger, coriander, cumin, garlic, turmeric, fennel and asafetida (ajwain) makes the food flavourful and save you from the unexpected stomach aches and discomforts.
  • KEEP IT LEAN
    For the non-vegetarians and meat lovers, lean meats like some free-range eggs and freshwater fish for breakfast or lunch. Keep away from heavier animal proteins which are harder to digest, unless combined with spices that fire up digestion. You can use boiled ginger tea to your meals as a digestive support.
  • GO LOW ON SALTS
    Medium to low salt food is highly advisable. Avoid heavy salty food as it causes high blood pressure and water retention.
  • DRY OVER WET
    Watery foods like watermelon, rice, lassi and muskmelon creates swelling in the body. So, opt for foods like corn, gram flour, chick pea etc., which are drying in nature. The best foods on could have during monsoons are brown rice, oats, and barley.
  • BOILED Everything
    Opt for par boiled or boiled vegetable salads instead of raw vegetables in your salads as they contain active bacteria and virus which could lead to infections of either or both the natures!

Let’s talk about skin!
1. Wash your face twice a day with cold water
2. Use less makeup as pores could get clogged
3. Use water/gel based creams
4. Use homemade face packs and peels with natural ingredients
5. Apply a thin layer of sunscreen

These are some of the facts I could accumulate for all of us.
Please do share any tips that you know and I’ve missed out on. Also, do share if you are already following the things that I’ve mentioned above.

Life, right now

Because the universe is showing us that it holds all the cards, once again

I am not better than you because of my religion, colour, culture, education, status, wealth, etc.
I am not, and neither are you.
I must accept, and so should you, that there are differences between us that we were born into.
Why do we focus on these differences?
Put your hand in mine and let us accept that our differences should not come in the way of us uniting for the basic human values that we share: compassion, peacefulness, respect, honesty, innocence, humbleness and sympathy.
Does a baby born here smile differently from a baby born anywhere else in the world?
Do they cry any differently?
We may not speak the same language and we may not live the same lifestyles, but a smile I put on my face when I see you puts a smile on your face before you can even think of it.
NOW, THAT IS POWERFUL.
I hope that every sense of arrogance or greed in my heart is deviated to a sense of humility, so the wall of ignorance to the real issues in the world can be shattered by the common rights that I share with all of my brothers and sisters in humanity.

Najwa Zebian, ‘Mind Platter’

My Two Pennies:

These words aren’t mine, but the sentiment is the same.
I’ve borrowed the expression, but there is honesty in the thought.
I’ve said it before, I’m saying it again.
You’ve heard it multiple times, and we aren’t close to being done.
The times are hard, for all of us.
It will get worse before it begins to look better; that’s a fact.
The faster we absorb it, the smoother the sail shall be.
After all, it is a time of survival and not war.



It is a time of survival and not war.
Let us try to be considerate of the ones around us.
Let us show that we are really worthy of being at the top of the pyramid.
Let us revise our kindergarten lessons of morals and humanity.
Let us do so without malice and hidden agendas.
Let us not try to out smart anyone…
Because the universe is showing us that it holds all the cards, once again.

All Is Life

Hold on, in times of pain and strife:
Until death comes, All Is Life.
-Ruskin Bond

Whether by accident or by design,
We are here.
Let’s make the most of it, my friend.
Make happiness or pursuit,
Spread a little sunshine here and there.
Enjoy the flowers, the breeze,
Rivers, sea, and sky.
Mountains and tall waving trees.
Greet the children passing by,
Talk to the old folk. Be kind, my friend.
Hold on, in times of pain and strife:
Until death comes, all is life.

Ruskin Bond

My apologies.
Apologies for all the non-relatable yet tempting optimistic content that we are having to binge over social media.
In times when the motivation to get out of bed or to create a to-do list seems beyond lost,
enjoying each moment is a myth.
Kudos to each and every soul out there that has been keeping the spirits up and have managed to create a routine and find sense in these pandemic times.

Some of us have been exploring cooking, while the others have been baking their hearts out.
Some are discovering the art of reading, some have been educating themselves with online courses.
Some of us have taken to workout challenges, some are being pro cleaners and organisers.
Some are taking to art and some have been binge watching series and movies.
Some are always available for that 3am online games, while some are catching up on all that lost sleep.
Some of us are allowing ourselves the unusual slip on routine and responsibility.
Some of us are pushing ourselves to create a routine for the future.
Some are growing a kitchen garden, some are now making their own cloth bags and masks.
Some are catching up with their families and friends.
Some are taking in the much needed break from work and society like a pill of meditation.

While all these things sound like the actions of composed minds in these times of strife and distress.
But believe me when I say,
It isn’t easy for anyone.
Families have been separated.
Relationships are going sour.
Truth is being spoken.
Corners are being cut.
Gender equality and roles are being put to test.
Stomachs are going hungry.
Birds are let thirsty.

That hot morning tea is turning cold in order to put food on the table.
That office desk is catching dust, and there is an itch to call and ask for the dues.
That need to enjoy summer evenings with friends is stronger now than ever before.

Everyone needs a break;
A break from this enforced break.
Suddenly the phrase, “Excess of anything is bad” is relatable.

But guys, hang in there.
Remember, this year is about surviving- no matter what your New Years’ resolution was.
We need to survive- physically, emotionally, financially.
So hang in there and be kind
Because “Until Death Comes, All Is Life”


To the ones asking and enquiring about my long distance lockdown, thank you so much!
You guys are absolutely beautiful.
I’m back to my marital home. Back to Mr Husband. And Very Happy!

Long Distance Lockdown

Surviving a long distance as a newly wed by experimenting with some ideas.
cute-to-weird-to-awkward-to-crazy-to-plain stupid
That’s us!

Hello folks!
I’ve been meaning to use this time of lockdown to my benefit.
To a large extent I’ve been doing things that I otherwise do not get the chance to.
But with writing, let’s just say it’s a different ball game. I have at least five new ideas each day, but my ability to actually work on it and produce anything of quality is directly dependent on my mental state. And to speak honestly, my mental state is that of someone who is quite lost.


You ask why?
For starters, I was visiting my mum’s house when the lockdown was imposed by our Government.
What’s so bad about living in my family house?
Nothing! Absolutely nothing.
Then?
Well, I got married last November, which is like four months ago.
And what was supposed to be a two week visit has turned into an indefinite stay; an indefinite long distance.
Like, Really?!
Umm, yeah! We were just getting to know each other.
Didn’t you know him before you agreed to marry him?
It is an arranged marriage. Of course I now care for him dearly. Also, no matter how well you know someone, I think, you only fully learn about a person when you live with them.

This has pretty much been the conversation that I’ve had in my head, and also the 100 and one things that I try to explain to myself about how its a global crisis and I cannot be so selfish.
That we live in the 21st century where technology works beautifully to reduce the physical distances, etc etc etc…

Hence the “Long Distance Lockdown”


After a lot of nights of: ‘I Hate This’, ‘I Miss You’, ‘Why Us?’, we have managed to come up with some simple yet effective ways to not feel so distant and also help get to know each other.
Someone once said that ‘the best way to get to know someone is to be around them during unfavourable situations’, to something like that 😉

So get ready to rad some of the things that we’ve been experimenting with; ranging from cute-to-weird-to-awkward-to-crazy-to-plain stupid on somedays. No matter how these sound, they’ve worked pretty well so far!

Movie Dates!
Living in the times of Netlix Party, Video Calls and Screen Sharing watching a move together is just a matter of creativity and willingness. We select a movie and watch it (without intermission) in the comfort of our bedroom with snacks.
And we also continue to talk during the movie the way we would if we were in the cinemas.

Candle Light Dinners
Pick a time and day
Set up your dinner along with good wifi
Create the ambience that you wish for- candles, music, fragrance
Dress up
Click the video call button!
One can never be too old for a dinner date and its the best way to make them and yourself feel special. It takes effort but why not?

Online Games
There is a plethora of options available today. Our favourites have been Scrabble Go and Ludo King, currently. (because I don’t know how to play anything else) 😛
There is of course, COD PubG and the likes of it too!

Sudoku Competition
It is exciting to be competitive but in a fun way!
So we share the sudoku that with each other and then start solving it at the same time and maintain score. It is actually fun teasing each other over speed and accuracy 😉

100 Questions
The web provides plenty of these lists. We picked questions that we liked from different platforms (two hours used) and then keep going back to them with 10 questions at a time and continue to be surprised by one another.
These range from childhood to teenage, from emotional to spiritual, from aspirations to dreams, from future plans to goals, from personal experiences to deeper darker secrets.
If you are doing this then you surely are in for a whirlwind.
Some like to get you started: here, here, here, here,

Origami
It’s a fun paper folding art. And what better than being creative and learning something new with your partner?
Make flowers for one another or fly swans and butterflies or just make hearts.

We never miss saying the things that we did everyday.
It is the simple Good Morning and Have a Great Day
How was lunch?
What plans for the day?
How was your day?
…. they are simple and can sound silly but they just make us feel a little more in touch.

Surprise Letters
We leave emails for one another at random times.
They are like little appreciation, gratitude and love notes.
These always put a smile on my face and make my day!

Planning Our Next Vacay/ Getaway
We talk about where all each one of us has already travel do and the places we want to visit soon.
The places that he/I wish to revisit, but the time with one another.
We look up and talk about the things and activities we want to do at specific places and the food we want to try together.

Learn To Cook
Depending on cravings and availability of ration, we find recipes to help each other.
Or just learn to cook something that your partner really likes?

TALK
Somedays there is no activity planned and nor is there any inkling to come up with one. On such days, we just talk. We talk about our day, we talk about the first five things each one of us wants to do individual and together as soon as the lockdown is lifted. We plan our agenda list based on priority and probability for the time when the lockdown is lifted.

Co-ordinated Workouts
We have been meaning to do this and will do it soon enough.
Pick a workout routine online and start it at the same time and doit together over a video call. It sounds quite satisfying to us (but we are just lazy).

Self Care
From full body stretches to face masks and a self mani-pedi evening while you chitchat with one another is also great way to pamper yourself and spend time together.
Everyone deserves it!


The times are hard.
The world is going through a crisis and the best way to do our bit is to Stay Home, Stay Safe.
It is mentally stressful and emotionally draining to be in times like these and it is okay if you just do not feel unto anything on somedays. If you just want to stay in bed and are not excited about anything on certain days. Being over-whelmed is alright.
But it is our personal responsibility to not let ourselves get stuck in the cycle where there are no good days.
Please do little things for yourself and your loved ones. Make the most of your time together. And if apart, try to find ways to spend time together, virtually!

If you have other suggestions and ideas that you think could help us, please do share!
And for the ones staying apart, start making your lists and create some quality time with your loved ones in this pandemic!

Celebrating Women with Dr. Meghna Singhal

A Parenting Educator
A Fitness Enthusiast
A Logophile (deduced from personal experience)

A Parenting Educator
A Fitness Enthusiast
A Logophile (deduced from personal experience)

Let’s give it up for

Dr. Meghna Singhal


I am a clinical psychologist and a parenting educator.

In simple words, I teach parents how best to parent. Wait, isn’t that a bit presumptuous? I mean, who am I to tell parents how to raise their children—isn’t parenting instinctive? Well, I wish all of parenting was. I wish we could all simply ‘know’ what’s correct for our children, and how our actions today will impact them tomorrow. But the bitter truth is that we don’t. We don’t always know, we can’t always know. Its true that we have raised children as long as human have been around. But we haven’t known everything about what’s appropriate for children. A few decades ago, it was considered acceptable to spank children. But today we know that physical punishment has an adverse emotional impact on children.

And why not take advantage of the 30 years of research on parenting we have? Like we don’t drive the car people drove 30 years back, and we don’t use the same medical procedures we used 30 years back, so why should parenting be any different?A lot of parents say, “But you know I was spanked, and I turned out fine.” To this I respond I asking back, “Did you really?” (Of course, this means I don’t get that many dinner invites). Yes, parents have always raised children but that doesn’t mean we have always done a fabulous job. You can look around you and see that adults are not always happy. We are prone to anxiety, depression, and a whole lot of mental health issues—we aren’t exactly the paragons of mental health! We are trying hard, yes, and a lot of us have healing to do from our childhoods to become happier and better people. So, isn’t it better to raise children who don’t have to do this healing? Who grow up being better versions of ourselves? I’m sure every parent aspires that for their child!

So, well, as you can figure out, I’m very passionate about what I do! I have been in my field for 20 years now and I love it! I have *wait for it* 3 masters degrees (yes, don’t ask!) and a PhD in clinical psychology. And if that wasn’t enough, I went ahead and did a post-doc too. 

Of course, being a shrink comes with its own moments. Like when my friends thought that the guy I was dating (my now husband) was my MPhil case study! Or the time when a delivery guy hung up on me because I told him I lived in a mental hospital (I was pursuing my MPhil and put up in the girls’ hostel in IHBAS, aka ‘mental hospital’ in local parlance). Or when, because I walked in late, one of my teachers mistook me for a patient and started to ask questions for my mental status examination!

I am currently with ParentCircle, this parenting organization that brings together parents, educators, and experts to raise healthy, happy, and successful kids. What I love about my job is the several hats I get to don- I write parenting articles, facilitate parenting workshops, interact with a lot of parents, conduct live sessions, and interview some of the best parenting experts, authors, and speakers the world over! (See some of the experts I’ve interviewed herehere, and here, and watch some of my live sessions herehere, and here.)

All of this with raising two kids and running a house. I also love baking and am a big fitness enthusiast. And how I manage to pack all of this in 24 hours—its simple planning and time management. I guess I’ve always loved a challenge and right now one of my biggest challenges is managing all the hundred things I do, without compromising on the quality. My super cool hubby, my mum, and my kids (who always lend their enthusiasm for any project I take up) are my strength and pillars of support. With them around, I feel anything is possible!

“If you’re a parent, I’d like to share with you some of the most precious lessons in parenting I’ve learned over the years:

Frustrated with your child’s behaviour? Seething with anger? Pause and breathe. You cannot possibly discipline your child when you’re angry or upset. I know it takes all of one’s self-control to do so, but calm down before you even attempt to say or do anything. It’s called emotional regulation (i.e., you’re learning how to manage or regulate your own emotions). It’s the single most powerful tool in your parenting toolkit. If you learn to manage your emotions, you can deliver any message or lesson to your child effectively. Added bonus: your child will learn how to manage his own emotions. 
Here’s how I do it: When I find myself getting upset at my child’s behaviour, I go stand in the middle of the drawing room and say, “I am so frustrated right now, I think I’ll splash water on my face”, and then I proceed to do exactly that. After I have calmed down, I softly, politely, calmly say to my child whatever it is I want to communicate to her. Now, my kids have started to do this too!

How connected are you to your child? Are you your child’s safe person? Do you make time to connect with your child? We sometimes approach connecting our with child as a duty. But it’s a good idea to take out time to connect with your child. Our children need to know we take joy in them or they don’t see themselves as worth loving. That deep connection is what makes everything possible, including their cooperation. So make time everyday to consciously refocus on your child and shower them with your love.
Here’s how I do it: Everyday, for 10-20 minutes, with each child individually, I do what we call ‘special time’. We do exactly what my child wants in that time—I resist the urge to teach or structure the time with activities. I roughhouse him to help him giggle out his anxieties. I do what he wants me to do, without looking at my screen, running to finish the chores, or taking loo breaks. 

Itching to launch into a lecture? Well, all your child hears is “blah, blah, blah….” When we give unsolicited advice (no matter how well-intentioned) or instruct our kids, they only hear the judgment. Connect before you correct. This means you take time to first reach to your child with empathy (where you truly attempt to understand what it must be like to be in their shoes) and then when your child feels understood, you can proceed to communicate and engage with your child. 
Here’s how I do it: Say, my child is throwing sand around while playing in the playground. Instead of lecturing and scolding, here’s what I say, “You’re really having fun throwing that sand, aren’t you? [empathizing] I see you’re in a throwing mood. What can you find that’s safe to throw? Would you like to throw leaves or flowers [offering a choice]?”  


People can get in touch with me on my email: meghnas@parentcircle.in

Also our FB page https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=parentcircle.com

Celebrating Women With Malliha

A journalist, an assistant editor and an influencer
Need we say more?

The second woman that I have chosen is

Malliha Fatima

I’ve been told that some people just have a certain energy about themselves, they almost effortlessly charm you and leave you feeling one with their high spirits. She is an enigma that dazzles in black.

She is a journalist and an influencer. As an Assistant Editor for WOW Hyderabad, she also consults with various other brands and helps with strategy. And if you’ve met her, you know she is a Shah Rukh Khan fan girl.


Tell us the story of how it all began..
“There actually is a very silly story. As an adolescent I was and
still am a huge fan of Justin Timberlake. I used to collect every
teen magazine just for him. That time I promised my self one
day I’d write for a magazine and meet him.
The story might be silly but fortunately I am in that profession.”

What keeps you going?
“What really keeps me going is the variety I come across
something new everyday. The boredom never sets in.”

What’s your take on challenges?
I think the key is to strike a balance. No matter how ambitious
a woman is there are certain responsibilities expected from you.
So try to strike a balance between work and personal life.
My core support system were my grandparents, although they
have passed on they still remain my strength.

Some thumb rules that you believe in to feel confident
in your own skin.

1.) Women burden themselves with the expectations of others.
Don’t.
2.) Keep yourself happy first, the rest will follow.
3.) Do what you love.
4.) A bit of healthy competition is fine, be comfortable with it.
5.) Learn to assert yourself.
6.) Be confident.
7.) Polite doesn’t mean weak, learn to say f-you with poise.
8.) Try to de-stress.
9.) Make time for yourself.
10.) Don’t take opinions too seriously

Styling tips that you swear by?
“My personal styling tips are-
1.)Great hair
2.) Confidence

… but if I had to give anyone else advice I would say don’t ever wear something You’re not comfortable in. You feel awkward and it shows- I notice that.”


Let’s sidestep a bit because who doesn’t love that heavenly voice that leaves wanting for more every time your listen What Goes Around.. Comes Around, Sexy Back, Mirror ; and talk about your crush on Timberlake.
Whats the status of your teenage crush?
“Its on. Always!”
If you had a chance to meet him, what would you say as an ‘ice-breaker’?
“Can’t nobody love you like I love you”..
these are the lyrics to his debut song
What would you centre your article on him around?
“His growth and his ability to adapt.
From a boy band to a pop star to a musician who can handle all genres with ease. Also, what makes him so charming.”
Okay, one last one. What would you wear to this interview?
“A classic LBD.”


How can people get in touch with you?
Instagram: @malliha_
And through email: malliha519@gmail.com
Also, there is bitterfondue

Celebrating Women with Pink Legal

To start the series that celebrates women, who better to begin with than a woman who is not just smart but also determined to support her tribe in every way she can. Not just a beauty with brains, but also a steel hearted human-

Manasi Chaudhary


Who is she, you ask?
“I am a lawyer who is passionate about gender equality and women’s rights. I was born in Mumbai and brought up in Hyderabad. I was raised to be free spirited, develop my own opinions, and dream big. 
I completed my law from Jindal Global Law School, Delhi and graduated with a medal as a topper of the batch. After graduation, I wanted to work in my hometown, Hyderabad, and I started practising in the Hyderabad High Court. In 2018, I worked under Justice DY Chandrachud in the Supreme Court in Delhi. I had the golden opportunity to assist him on three landmark judgments in India- Section 377 (decriminalising homosexuality), permitting women’s entry into the Sabrimala temple, and decriminalising adultery.”

Just another feminist, not really!
Here’s her story that led to the birth of Pink Legal.
I always felt very passionate about women’s rights and wanted to make a difference to the lives of women. On one occasion, I had to file a police complaint against two boys who had harassed me on the road. When I went to file the police complaint, it dawned upon me that I have the courage to file a police complaint because I am a lawyer. Any other woman in my place would probably choose to remain silent. Most women do not know how to file a police complaint, and many may not know that harassment is a criminal offence. 
Although laws in India are for women, women don’t know their legal rights. Therefore, as a lawyer, I decided to use my education and privilege to help women in the best way I can- by empowering them with the knowledge of their legal rights. I have started an initiative called Pink Legal, which is a one-stop platform for all laws related to women, right from rape, sexual harassment, to cyber bullying, to domestic violence, to property rights, to filing a police complaint. Pink Legal explains all women-related rights in an extremely easy to understand manner.  
Ever since I launched Pink Legal, every day we get various messages from women in distress, asking us for help. This has reinforced my understanding of how severe the gender inequality problem is in India, and how may women are in need of help. Women reaching out to Pink Legal motivates me every single day to make a difference as much as possible.

Any Challenges?
Fortunately for me, I don’t face the regular day to day challenges that most women face, especially after marriage. For example- even though women are now working and have their careers, they are still expected to take care of the house and cook for their husbands, whereas the same is not expected from their husbands. This puts double pressure on working women and continues the male privilege that Indian men feel entitled to. 
I have been blessed to be born to extremely loving, supportive, and encouraging parents, who have given me wings to fly as high as I can. They have given me the confidence to stand for what I believe in. Along with my parents, my husband and his family are also a great source of strength and support. Having a strong anchor at home helps me focus my energies on my work and career. 


Some Pro Tips:

  1. You can file a Zero FIR in any police station. 
  2. Police cannot arrest a woman after sunset and before sunrise. 
  3. You should file a police complaint at the earliest possible.
  4. Eve-teasing is a crime. You can complaint to the police.
  5. If you face any harassment, quickly collect evidence (like clicking a picture). This will help when you file a complaint. 
  6. If anyone is bullying you online, it is considered cyber crime. You should file a complaint with the police/cyber cell.
  7. If you are a woman in Hyderabad, know that the Hyderabad police and SHE Teams are extremely proactive. They are very helpful. Don’t hesitate to file a complaint.
  8. Every married woman has the right to live in her matrimonial house. No one can ask her to leave (this is very common in dowry harassment cases).
  9. Giving dowry is also a punishable offence, so don’t encourage dowry demands by giving dowry!

People can get in touch with me on the Pink Legal platform. We have a query box on each page of the website. I am listing the website and social media handles below:
http://pinklegal.in/
www.facebook.com/pinklegal.in
Instagram: @pinklegal.in