Children poem: Rex and Max

Rex is a pup
A 2 month old pup
The one who jumps up
And who drinks water in a cup

Max is a cub
A 1 month old tiger cub
The one who plays in a tub
And who eats gub gub gub

Rex and Max are friends
And they love French fries ends
The ones who love tender meat bends
And who dress up and set a trend

They live in a corner of my house
Because there is no mouse
And because there’s no cows
Alas, nobody here my mom allows

(Suggested to be written by my soon-to-be-5-year old, who made up all these rhyming words. And tomorrow’s task is to do drawing. And repeat, till I get a pet at home)


Cheers to Periods with a Cup

Period .
Periods …..
We, women have periods and periods over months, over years till we hit menopause. We use, rather used, cloth rags, and now use, disposable pads or tampons. But there are plethora of things which can be used alternatively – cloth pads, menstrual cups, or menstrual discs. You didn’t know? Me neither and this is a post about my journey to an easy comfortable reusable environment friendly “cup”.

5 years back
My son, about to turn five next month, was born then. And like a new mother, I struggled. I struggled with my own C-sec body, the little baby I held in my hands, breastfeeding (a story for some other time), diapers and the continuous rashes that he used to have.

I searched and searched the ins and outs of social media, different parental forums, blog posts and so on and on, to give him the best comfort I could give, with the limited knowledge passed to me over the ages. Some advocated cloth nappies, wet with a single use, while others diapers, and both I found either inconvenient for me or uncomfortable for the baby. And then, I came across Superbottoms, Bumpadum and many other cloth diaper brands for the babies. And from there, my quest for a reusable and comfortable option started.

4 years back
My periods started comparatively soon after having a baby. And I wished why why why, please let me have had a break for a few more months. And with that, I started noticing that peculiar smell emitting from the chemical disposable pads. Perhaps, as a mother, I had become more susceptible to smells! And along with it, the garbage I was contributing every month to Mother Earth! Tampons, I was always scared of, after reading about the shock syndrome associated with it.

I started searching for alternatives to pads and I was amazed how come I never came to know about it in my previous 15 years. And I understood that definitely, there should be more marketing and news about such sustainable options.

Cloth pad
Though I read a lot about menstrual cups, I gradually wanted to switch to sustainable options and it was cloth pads that I selected. And then COVID hit!
I still persevered in my sustainable cloth pad tryst, though it required more effort. But I had become comfortable with the softness of cloth pads. Now even in cloth pad, there are multiple types – pads for heavy flow, pads for medium flow, pads for light flow or just panty liners. I tried them all, from various brands.
There was a major constraint – how to go to office or outside for “long” hours. I had purchased wet bag for my son’s diapers, so at least there was some help. It was still a hassle though!

1 year back
I had been reading about menstrual cups since past 2 years, but it felt a big leap. There was so much content available on the internet. Size of the cup to be determined with cervix size and that to be checked during periods! Loop in the cup! A stem! Stemless! F***! And I wondered how am I going to select one. But but but, I did it. I started noting down all popular brand names, writing pros and cons, took the plunge and bought a “Safecup” “large” size (because it seemed Csec moms and those with 30+ should buy this). I still wondered if I will ever use it or keep it in my attic, like the other multiple things that catch my fancy.

I was so scared for first time usage but it was still a breeze. I had read about the many folds we can do and the C fold (punch-down) and 7 fold (triangle) seemed the easiest. But 4 hours later, my worry grew no bounds when I wasn’t able to take it out. I struggled and stressed. “Nope, I don’t think it will come out. I bought the wrong size. It’s gone inside vagina.” I googled. All talked about taking a break and then try with relaxed mind. After a few minutes or more likely, half an hour, somehow, I breathed in and out. And pop, it came out! Great.
It was better the second time. Third time, even more so!

It’s so easy, you know. You just need to flush out all that period blood every 4/8/12 hours depending on your flow, clean it up with plain water and voila, it’s done. No garbage refills! No tension to spill blood! No stress to sleep in just one straight posture in the night! No need to remember how many pads to keep on a long trip, or those sudden periods outbreak (for those with PCOS can correlate)! Only one menstrual cup will last you for many many years because they are made of medical grade silicone and that’s safe. Only thing to take care of, is sterilization – before and after your periods. And that’s very important.

And as my friend, Priyanka says, “Menstrual cups are the blessings for women in period – I started using them 3 years ago and haven’t touched sanitary napkin since then ! They are economical and most importantly environmentally friendly option. It is surely one of the best in market to be your friend during your period!”

Any questions, you have, do post in comments below or DM me on my Instagram profile @alkanicks . Happy periods! And yes, periods can be happy and it’s a choice you can make – cloth pads or menstrual cup, whatever suits you the best.

Hyderabad getaways: Day trip – Koheda ORR viewpoint & Sanghi Temple

Hi! I am writing a blog post after many days, of a fun Sunday that I had, today. Of Koheda ORR view point and Sanghi temple. It’s a great morning getaway for early risers to see sunrise. And for those who cannot wake up that early, Koheda ORR view point is great as a sunset point too!

Old covid days

For those staying near Hi-tech city in Hyderabad, during initial covid times specifically, when malls, cinema halls etc hadn’t opened yet, one of the popular destinations which emerged was Khajaguda hills. A place on the rocks to do a bit of trekking, picnic, and enjoy the view. I could see my place My Home Avatar, standing tall amongst all other buildings then. Then I visited it multiple times, some times with friends and others, just with family.

Not so old covid times

Recently, or more like a year back, when I visited this place, it had lost that charm. The urban points of fun (malls) had opened and the crowd here was totally different. And thus, I was on the lookout of finding a new similar destination, but not having very high hopes of finding one near Hyderabad.

And now!

And it came to an end, when one day, our good friends Shuvjit and Smita suggested to go to Koheda ORR view point and Sanghi temple at 6 am. We started all fresh early morning with zero expectations. The drive was refreshing, first on the ORR and then on the service road where a bunch of trees were planted on both sides of the road.

Then we took a turn on the road and the way to viewpoint suddenly became steep. Ah, so at least a few cars and many bikes, is what I noticed! And lots of good monkeys (because they didn’t come near us).

The view was great, see for yourself!

It also had a Hanuman temple (and perhaps that’s the reason of so many monkeys)

There were multiple photo shoots happening and so after taking a lot of selfies ourselves, we asked a random person to click our good pics too!

After an hour, we started for Sanghi temple… The parking charge was Rs. 100/- which seemed a lot then for we were still to climb 10 sets of 15 steps each (or, simply 150 very steep stairs). Phewww, finally we reached at the top. And what we noticed, there was a road leading directly to the temple. It seemed God wanted us to climb so many steps because of which we didn’t notice the way ahead. Suddenly, the parking ticket of Rs. 100/- made sense.

The temple is nicely maintained and had that aura of spirituality. Since it opens at 8am, and we reached at the opening time, it wasn’t crowded like the way people had warned us. And we took ample time praying in front of the main temple and the other mini temple structures.

We ended our rendezvous with a sumptuous and lavish breakfast spread at Ishtaa’s new branch in Kokapet.

Overall, a great day for me and all of us, with whom we went! Would recommend everyone staying in Hyderabad to go at least once; we are definitely going to visit next time soon…

Rating: 10/10

Hyderabad weekend getaway: Mannanur

Aug 2022:

Trees on the either side. Curvy roads. The landscape, simply wow! Fresh air. Bollywood music in the background, I love them. Sitting in an easy cross legged pose*. Relaxed. Totally. No office. No house-work even. Eating, not junk, but my childhood favourite – raw poha, haldiram bhujia and sprouts mixed together. Now what else would one want for a tic-tac break!

Though a planned trip two weeks back, we started with not much expectations and took just a day’s booking in a Mrugavani Resort in Mannanur in the hearts of Amrabad Reserve Forest in Nallamala Forest Range. It is just 2.5 hours drive from Hyderabad (the place we stay). Mannanur also has Tiger Safari (alas, it was closed then)…

Interestingly, the weather played it’s match perfectly. It rained when we drove towards Octopus View point, and then when we reached, it stopped. We came back, Aaru played in the resort’s play area for an hour and then it again started raining. And we sat in the balcony and enjoyed the view of forest for stretches of kilometres ahead.See for yourself:

 It again stopped for us to go to restaurant and finish dinner. And it again started raining and we slept. Yes at 9:30pm. Because early to bed and early to rise makes a woman healthy and wise. Though not for this reason, but so that, we can feel fresh in the morning and explore more of the area.

So, every weekend, don’t just visit Jubilee Hills or a movie theatre or Sarath City Mall, do take out some time for greenery. It’s good for you!

No need to plan ahead. Wake up at your place in Hyderabad, see the weather outside. Looks good? Not sunny, not rainy, just a bit cloudy. Ok, second base. Check the weather forecast online. Just pick your overnight bag and take your car. It is anyway a short ride!

When to go?

Rainy and winter season, when there is a lot of greenery around!

Places to visit (with the mention of driving hours from resort)

# Octopus View Point (1 hour) – no words, see for yourself

# Mallela Theertham Waterfall (1 hour)

We did not visit since it has 500 steps and in rainy season, we did not want to take any risk.

# Uma Maheswara Temple (30 mins)

You like visiting temple, go for it. No? Still go. The route started so serene, so peaceful and later reminded me of the best hill stations (we were finally able to try out hill descent feature of our XUV). The temple in itself is a master-piece, located at the hill top.

# Srisailam (2 hours)

Did you know Srisailam is the only place which has both Shivling and Shaktipeeth, and i got to know from my mami who found that out surprisingly while visiting there few years back. We did not visit it now since I have planned it for my next trip when we go to Eegalapenta (another place, another story, another blog post)

#Dindi Reservoir (45 mins)

This is on the way from Hyderabad to Mannanur. No de-tour required. Just stop your car on the side. No, don’t climb the stairs, which you would see lot of people doing. Find a kachcha path going near the waterfall, (hold your kid’s hand tightly) and walk inside. The sound of water falling and hitting the ground, I can listen to it for quite some time.

About Mrugavani Resort

It is a comfortable stay. Remember to book the first floor rooms, the view from the balcony is just mesmerizing. And when we went, thanks to the perfect weather, it was just perfect! 

Food is average in resort, though it has many options. I think it suits more the taste of Andhra. But I loved their fresh roti and dal for dinner. Idli and dosa for breakfast were excellent.

There’s a small children play area with Swing, slide, merry go round, enough to keep the little ones fully engaged, if you have one. I was so happy that this was available for my son was able to play outdoor for hours on his own.

Just be very aware of the monkeys. Though they are peaceful in general, I had a narrow escape on two different points to save my 4 year old. But seeing them have their fun climbing stairs up and down, was in itself like seeing a circus in good old childhood days. Ah, nostalgia! Mummi – papa ki yaad aa gayi. 

And yes, in the morning, you can explore a hiking trail in front of the resort (no one told us, we just tried it out), which just goes on and on!

What you can buy?

Temple sitting mats (we did buy two)

*Tidbit: While writing this post, i was struggling to find one word for this and it’s Sukhasana post. Very easy. Ah. Very comfortable.

Today is the day…

Today is the day
We met last
8 Years ago
But that is past

Hugs and kisses
Love and lust
But all I remember
Is you were my must

Cuddles and muddles
Shakes and tastes
You were right there
And just the best

Now all I have
Is a present of memories
No screw ups, no fights
Just good times dreams…

Book Review: The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson, Rebecca Cobb (Illustrator)

Book Review The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson, Rebecca Cobb (Illustrator)

The one Julia Donaldson book on which Aaru and I made an activity to play with. We have so many paper dolls at home 😀 And the first time, we made our own rhyme too when we read it last year (it all tore apart, but we are still left with the original pieces, ah, I am nostalgic already). By the way, had you made paper dolls when you were little?

Embark on a fantastical adventure with a little Female and her string of paper dolls. The dolls step into the garden and try to escape the claws of a toy dinosaur and the snapping oven-glove crocodile but see if they can escape a pair of scissors! Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Rebecca Cobb, this wonderful picture book is filled with sweet pictures and features beautiful rhyming text.

It is a very very sweet book talking of memories and of growing up and my my, full of nostalgia. Quick point: My friend Priyanka also has got the same book for her girl Mahika and all four of us did a video call with an expression of same pinch on both of our kids’ faces. And then my 3 year old got all so excited on seeing Mahika’s books/ toys collection. In these covid times, we are so much missing out catching up on friendship. Missing you Priyanka 😦

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

About the author:
Julia Donaldson is an acclaimed author, playwright & performer whose catalogue features more 180 published works. She published her first book in 1993, & is well known for her collaborations with illustrator Axel Scheffler. In 1999, her most famous tale, The Gruffalo was released, resulting in massive success & establishing her as one of the UK’s most popular & renown children’s writers.

Rating: 9/10
Genre: Children Book
Book Name: The Paper Dolls
Author: Julia Donaldson, Rebecca Cobb (Illustrator)
Pages: 32
Publication Year: 2012

Book Review: The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler (Illustrator)

Book Review The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler (Illustrator)

Yet another brilliant Julia Donaldson book for which we have also seen the movie adaptation! A snail longs to see the world and hitches a lift on a whale’s tail. Together they go on an amazing journey, past icebergs and volcanoes, sharks and penguins, and the snail feels very small in the vastness of the world. But when the whale is beached in a bay, it’s the tiny snail who saves the day.

You know, earlier I might have pegged all these books as too slow. However, while reading them with my 3 year old now (he was 2.5 years old when I first read this book to him), I realised how some books are so age age appropriate. A snail very small can forge friendship with a big biiiiiggg whale and how we see through them – landscapes, brightly illustrated like we are also part of the same journey. An interesting book to lay foundations or talk around different landscapes of earth – volcano, marine life, ice lands and so one. Recommended!

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

About the author:
Julia Donaldson is an acclaimed author, playwright & performer whose catalogue features more 180 published works. She published her first book in 1993, & is well known for her collaborations with illustrator Axel Scheffler. In 1999, her most famous tale, The Gruffalo was released, resulting in massive success & establishing her as one of the UK’s most popular & renown children’s writers.

Rating: 9/10
Genre: Children Book
Book Name: The Snail and the Whale
Author: Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler (Illustrator)
Pages: 32
Publication Year: 2003

Book Review: Disney Pixar Cars by Mark Rader

disney pixar cars book review

Join Lightning Mcqueen and his friends on the race track! This book is based on, yes, you guessed it right, the animation Cars movie. And my 3 year old loves this a lot and can recite 70% of the story by himself now (without even referring to the book). The story is about teamwork and different cars representing different people. And this book, I got it at a second hand sale (in fact I searched now, and I could not find the book online at any place) and it turned out such a hit! But all that aside, it is a good way to introduce movie books to later lay foundations of the movie when the kids grow up. Yes, the other way round. Books are considered easy for a kid to focus on since there are no moving objects and they can grasp it better at such an early age!

Oh, do I give screen time to him? Unfortunately, yes. Because all of us are stuck at home with schools/ day-cares closed and how can we do other work (office + home) without the same. How you doing? Hope, you are able to find time to read books 🙂

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Genre: Children Book
Book Name: Cars
Author: Mark Rader
Pages: 20
Publication Year: 2012
Rating: 8/10

Book Review: What Will Fat Cat Sit On? by Jan Thomas

What will Fat Cat sit on? The pig? (Oink!) The chicken? (Cluck!) How about the dog? (Grrrr.)

Everyone in this bumbling animal gang (understandably) hopes the victim will be someone else! Leave it to Mouse to come up with a brilliant solution that satisfies everyone, even Fat Cat himself. Filled with hilarious asides and an interactive question-answer format, this irreverent young picture book will delight toddlers who love to shout “NO!”

The book is written in a way I already interact with my son during our early morning ritual of telling a short story to the birds. I say a line and he has to fill up the words. And if it takes my fancy, some days I do a recording, after all the innocence of the voice will be something for me to cherish once he grows up and is more into rebellion (he already is!).

Back to the book, it is a very simple read-out loud book with funny texts and very easy to remember. The pictures bright and illustrated and not much for your kid’s attention to waver. Especially recommended for toddlers. And with simple stories, it reminds me to recommend a must visit website with 1000s and 1000s of books to read for every age group of kids – Pratham Books’s storyweaver.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

About the author:
Jan Thomas is an American writer and illustrator of children’s books. She lives in Socorro, New Mexico and has published many children books with the likes of What Will Fat Cat Sit On?, A Birthday for Cow, The Doghouse, Beach Lane Books, Can You Make a Scary Face?, Rhyming Dust Bunnies, Here Comes the Big Mean Dust Bunny!, Is Everyone Ready for Fun?  and the list goes on.


Rating: 8/10
Genre: Children Book
Book Name: What Will Fat Cat Sit On?
Author: Jan Thomas
Pages: 40
Publication Year: 2007

Book Review: Zayn and Zoey learn about Dinosaurs

Book Review Zayn and Zoey learn about Dinosaurs

We have two popular Dinosaur books at home, written for kids. One is Julia Donaldson‘s Tyrannosaurus Drip and the other Zayn and Zoey learn about DinosaursIn fact, when I found my 3 year old’s interest towards dinosaurs, I searched a lot online to find a book which will give non-fictional take on dinosaur world. And this is how I bought this book.

Zayn and Zoey were playing with their dinosaur toys when their friend Nik joined them. They hopped onto their huge dinosaur pillow, Max. He suddenly sprung to life and took them on a tour into the world of dinosaurs.
Learn about the three periods in which dinosaurs lived
Learn interesting facts about various dinosaurs
Know about how dinosaurs became extinct

It is interesting with just the right amount of story telling mode to tell information about dinosaurs to the early learners. Aaru and I keep on revising/ revisiting this book and every time it is Aaru who picks up the book and brings to me. He is currently able to recall dinosaurs like Brachiosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Argentinosaurus, Ornitho, Edmonto, Pachycephalo and of course, T-rex. What more can I want from a book for the kids 🙂

Note to myself – I will remember to write a book on dinosaurs soon 😀

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Rating: 9/10
Genre: Children Book
Book Name: Zayn and Zoey learn about Dinosaurs
Author: NA, published by TCC Venture
Pages: 32
Publication Year: 2019
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