DPDF Series: 4-teen

It’s been awhile since I have blogged about the boys.  Why?

Hmm…. let’s see… I’ve been quite busy pulling them off window handles, making sure they don’t fall off the fridge while monkey climbing them up, rescuing small items from the house that get stuffed behind radiators or chucked out windows…. etc. etc. etc….

But that’s just the physical stuff.  A & Y can head the debate team in senior school.. like NOW… and perhaps write the speeches for our current UK politicians! or be caught scribbling I ‘heart’ graffiti all over the place!  Awww….

Yash loves Aimee
Yash loves Aimee

Our conversations:

  1.  Me (after asking A & Y to do something politely at least 4 times without any response):  So how come you listen to Miss Jan and Mrs. Simon but when I speak you can’t hear me.  Y:  That’s because they are teachers and your are Mama!


2.  Me:  Please don’t move the beds like that… you could have hurt my feet.  Both:  But see mama, you didn’t get hurt!

3.  A & Y wait till I switch off their bedroom lights as I walk out of their room.  Y to A:  A… look.. ‘she’s leaving… let’s go down!’

A to Y:  Y… quick quick… ‘she’ is going to see us!

And so this is how it goes…. from morning to night… the party doesn’t stop… and ‘it shouldn’t’  said some philosopher or author of a good and bad parenting!  Yah right!

More to follow….



Jab-Jab Hook!

I've got my groove on!
                I’ve got my groove on!

I’m just loving it!

For those of you who think I’ve lost the plot… perhaps I have.

I am just loving my weekly ‘Body Combat’ class… which is a version of the ‘Kick boxing’ from the 90’s!  Ooops… just gave up my age!

Many of you have heard me go on about Yoga for so many years and on how I just love every minute of my Yoga classes for various reasons – toning, stretching, escaping, meditational, remedial, therapeutic…etc… While I was in recovery from a broken hip, then a surgery to remove the rods, then a twin pregnancy that immediately followed which lead me to an episiotomy and a C-section (now that’s a story for another long afternoon), Yoga was my ‘go-to’ to keep healing and to keep stretching AND to keep my sanity!  It was also my go-to because I did not have long enough gaps post surgery recoveries to be able to do anything high-impact.  I then just fell in to a comfort zone.

While slooowlllyyy trying to break out of this comfort zone I had a personal trainer chart out a work out for me to increase my cardio (well… start some cardio) and do some strength training I would watch these high impact classes – Body Pump, Body Combat and watch the Grid classes on the gym floor and actually get intimidated.  I made all sorts of excuses – hmmm… not ready yet… hmmm… I’ll be flat on my face before I even begin… hmmm… let me do a bit of TRX and rowing instead…

Finally this year I had enough! (of my own dialogue) and decided to try these classes out …. and after the first week of doing a Pump and Combat class…. I’ve got my mojo back baby!

I’ve been religiously going every week for these two classes for the last 4 weeks and boy I can’t even begin to tell you how I feel after that ‘combat’ class.  (It’s a shame we aren’t wearing boxing gloves, not hitting a bag, or a pad!).  The repetition and speed of each blow – jabs, hooks, under cuts, cross jab, kicks, combined with all the jumping jacks,  lunges and squats makes me feel so damn good after each session.  It just gives me the mental, emotional and physical power to face the world and it’s challenges… oh! AND the mirror!

Yoga who?? what???

I can’t explain the ‘high’ I feel after throwing those blows in the air, keeping the heart beat up and walking out of that class full of energy and strength.  This is definitely my ‘new’ meditational, remedial and therapeutic ‘fix’ next to long hikes at the heath (woods) when the weather is great.

The cherry on top – you can clock up to at least 5000+ steps in that 1 hour!

Jab Jab Hook!


Do you ‘practice’ Mindfulness?


‘Mindfulness’ has been the ‘buzz’ word for a few years now.  I first got acquainted with it during my pregnancy when a relative of mine who is qualified in ‘Mindful birthing’ coached me.

Now this term is everywhere, in every field, in every aspect of life.  Being ‘Mindful’.

It’s a great, non-religious approach to one getting to know one self.  In this hectic, fast-paced world we live in where we are engaged in so many roles and wearing so many hats, it’s so important to just STOP and OBSERVE our own thoughts and emotions.  One might call this meditation where-in we observe our breathing pattern and our thoughts.  But is it?  Perhaps a form of….?

Okay so I am no yogi and I can not preach on meditation being that I can not even find 10 minutes in the day to sit in silence! My brain just won’t allow it! BUT, now that I am being ‘mindful’, I am doing this 24 hours a day in every activity I engage in, in every conversation I have (be-it after the conversation where I’ve already put my foot in my mouth) or when I’m with the boys (yup… sometimes my ‘full mind’ only engages after I’ve said or done something silly and wished I hadn’t).  I am not being too hard on myself and will actually give myself credit to say that I am putting my all in to being ‘aware’ of myself although some times AFTER an event.

Mindfulness to me is:

Being aware of my thought patterns when I am on my own; when I am in conversation with someone; being aware of my emotions during or after an event that either made me really happy or sad.  Taking the time to think about why I reacted a particular way or why I had a particular thought.  Then thinking what would have happened had I thought or reacted differently. All this without ‘judging’ myself or being ‘critical’.  Just plain observations, then thinking how could I make it different should a situation or person require me to have a different approach.

Being aware of how I spend my time.  Being aware of whose company I thrive in and whose company I get negative emotions in.  Being aware of how I interact or react to my children (boy do I need loads of work on this one!) and while trying to be aware of myself, also being aware – MINDFUL – to other people (family, friends, colleagues, helpers, teachers, contractors, etc. etc. etc…) around me and how we affect each other.  How I react to various successes or failures of my own.

I may have the concept completely wrong but mindfulness to me is getting to know oneself, getting to really know people around me and attempting to make those teeny weeny steps to reaching a ‘better’ me – once again I emphasize – without harsh judgements on myself… but just having fun observing and adapting where necessary.

What is ‘mindfulness’ to you?

I found 6 hours…. and then lost it again!


I found my missing 6 hours in a week and then I lost it again.
So I have to say that I’m pretty good at making lemonade when life hands me lemons.
In fact I get a real high from the process of squeezing these darned lemons to get every bit of juice that I can.

Towards the end of December I started to get this rash all over my torso. I ignored it for a while and just hoped it would disappear back to where it came from. It was a busy Christmas especially entertaining the boys and trying to recover from the very busy quarter.

The rash just kept growing and spreading so as soon as the boys went back to school I booked in to see my GP.  At first glance I was told I had folliculitis and was put on a course of penicillin.
A week later after completing the dose I saw more rash and now massive red scaly patches.
Back to the GP and to hear that it is actually *psoriasis.  I had heard the term before but had no idea what it meant.

I was then referred to a dermatologist who prescribed 25-30 UVB Light treatments!
The first question my GP as well as my dermatologist asked me was ‘Are you stressed?’
Aren’t we all to some degree? I said perhaps I over did it last quarter balancing work, home and the boys’ activities but I don’t feel stressed. It’s life, I’m handling it.

While I was relieved to not have to take any medication, I was a bit annoyed that I needed to go 3 times a week for this light treatment to a clinic that was 45 mins away from home.  Which mother of toddlers has the time to get an annoying ‘condition’ to deal with for crying out loud!?!  Was I stressed then??   Yes! I did not have 1.5 hours + treatment time ranging from 2-15 minutes each x 3 times a week!
How could I possibly de-stress myself now??

A good friend heard me whining one day after a couple of weeks of treatment. I was whining about how I now have to spend 6 hours a week on treatment – 6 hours I already didn’t have. And she said, ‘you have just found 6 hours you didn’t have!’
I wasn’t sure what that meant initially.

I chose to take the bus (no driving and parking stress involved) to my treatments – 45 minutes each way. I caught up on work calls, social messages, coordinated my boys’ birthday parties, listened to inspiring podcasts and even began my first audio book on being a ‘conscious parent ‘ . This was ‘MY‘ time! I had found 6 hours I didn’t have and it was for me. Forced as it may have been but I would not have had that opportunity otherwise.

Now for regular commuters this may not seem special but I hope you get my drift on making the best of a situation.

During my treatments I also had a chat with an Ayurvedic doctor who also had to hear me moan about how I was ‘loosing‘ time I already didn’t have when he advised me to ‘de-stress!’
He just said to me, ‘embrace it‘.
And I did. And I enjoyed that ‘me‘ time.
7 weeks later, treatments done, psoriasis healed for now and I have just lost my lovely 6 hours that I had found in that time. I’m back to the pressure of making every minute be productive getting caught back up in the rat race of life. The treatments had slowed me down to take a breath.
My take-aways  from this incident: embrace the situation & look at the bright side.
Just with these two learnings I experienced a ‘shift‘ in my perception of the situation and was more in control of it where I made it work for me.
* As for the psoriasis please feel free to ask anything you would like to know. I will also be sharing some experiences with it in due time. 



I am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced


I am Nujoom, Aged 10 and Divorced
     I am Nojoom, Aged 10 and Divorced

The movie by Khadija al-Salami is based on the book I am Nojood, Aged 10 and Divorced, written by Nujood Ali & Delphine Minoui.

This is a true story about a young girl in Yemen who is married off to a man 3 times her age by her parents, who then gets subsequently raped by her husband before coming off age and how she seeks the help of local lawyers to divorce him.

Child marriages are still prevalent in rural areas of the Middle East, India and other developing nations. Although illegal in these countries, its confines are within the ‘cultural jurisdiction’ lead by the ‘head of the village’. These ‘cultural jurisdictions’ deem child marriages acceptable and a must to 1) protect one’s daughter from potential rape and molestation giving her the ‘protection’ of a husband or 2) to ‘receive’ a dowry if the girl’s family has fallen on bad times or 3) to lessen the financial burden on a family sooner than later. The latter two depending on the country and its customs.

I watched ‘I am Nojoom… ‘at the Asian Film Festival Premier last week at the Regents Cinema in London with two of my friends and was privileged to participate in the Q and A with the director Khadija al-Salami after the screening.

Scenes from the movie made us emotional and others made us sick in the stomach. This does have a happy and encouraging ending. Nojoom meets a very helpful lawyer whose wife takes her in after some hesitation that her own daughter would be in the company of another girl who has ‘had sex’. Once she met Nojoom she melted sErving that she was just a child.

The interrogation that followed in court of the father and husband left one baffled at the level of ignorance in these villages where they could not see how they were committing a crime and how it was a father’s right to ‘protect’ his daughter by getting her married especially when he needed money. The husband didn’t understand why he was imprisoned for ‘legally’ having sex with his wife.  In their minds they honestly could not see how they were harming her.

This is pure testament that in this day there is still so much education and awareness required in many parts of the world.

The happy ending is that Nojoom wins and gets divorced and progresses to get an education and be ‘free’.

During the Q & A Khadija explained how she fought in a bid for the rights to the script against a French director as no one could do better justice to this story than her as not only was she from Yemen but Khadija herself was an abused child bride who rebelled and broke free, got an education and was here today as a film director.

She was asked about any obstacles that she faced during the funding stage, casting and filming of the movie and she related some really fascinating experiences that would have made anyone quit the project  but her determination was so strong that 4 years later she had a successfully completed project.

I just had to ask her about herself. We now know Nujood/Nojoom/Nojood’s story but I wanted to know hers. How did she break away from her marriage and how did she become who she is today.

Khadija al-Salami
      Khadija al-Salami

She escaped from her family and community at age 11 and went to school while simultaneously working at a local tv studio.  She received a scholarship at age 16 to complete high school in America.   She then went to Mount Vernon College for Women in Washington D.C. And is the first Yemeni female movie director.  She ended saying that ‘anything is possible’ with a huge smile on her face.

Now that’s one phenomenal woman carrying herself with such poise and grace that one would never have guessed her past.  I couldn’t hold myself back from giving her a hug and wanting some of her amazing energy.






Not too long ago my husband and his sister enlightened me on YOLO and FOMO.  I am so sure I am the only person who was not familiar with these acronyms but just so as no to sell my self short and have you MO (Miss Out) – (You Only Live Once -YOLO), (Fear of Missing Out – FOMO)… and JOMO – will unfold below.

Google on FOMO:  ‘anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.’

The Urban Dictionary on JOMO:  ‘Joy of Missing Out: You’re enjoying what you’re doing in the here and now and not on social media broadcasting or seeing what everybody else is doing. Opposite of fomo or the fear of missing out.’
FOMO (1)

I have to admit to being surprised that terminology like this actually existed – worse than that – the mindset existed so predominantly to then create these terms.  I did not get what people were MO-ing out on… I surely did not feel like I was MO-ing on anything and that because of YOLO you need to die hard.  ??  Seriously??  Social media has done wonders for the world and businesses…. but…. it’s really created a whole new set of insecurities and negatively impacted relationships.

Okay – so I’m not judging but I really didn’t get it.  So… I took stock… feeling insecure for 10 seconds that there’s perhaps things out there or people out there that I am missing out on.  What could it be?? What am I missing out on other than sleep??

So my inventory told me:

  1. Blessed with great family.  May they always be blessed.
  2. Blessed with great friends.  May they always be blessed.
  3. Blessed with good health.  By God’s Grace.
  4. Blessed with a great community and a network of like minds.
  5. Blessed with a roof over my head. By God’s and my Family’s Grace.
  6. Blessed with good food so much so that I need to shed some of it. Ditto.
  7. Blessed with a job that keeps me busy and so out of FOMO.
  8. Hair dresser. Check.
  9. Manicurist.  Check.
  10. Beauty Salon.  Check.
  11. Car.  Check.
  12. Community events.  Check.
  13. Social events.  Check.
  14. The Arts. Check.
  15. Education.  Check.
  16. Travel & adventure.  Check.
  17. A stack of books needing to be read.  Check.
  18. Local coffee shops and pubs to have a good girlie catch up.  Check.
  19. Profile on Twitter, FaceBook, etc. Check.
  20. Tons of group chats on WhatsApp.  Check.
  21. Full calendar just balancing this all out.  Check. Check. Check.
  22. etc.. etc.. etc.. (In the words of Yule Bryner in ‘The King and I’)

Nope.  Could not find what I was missing out on.  And so I could not relate.  Am I square?

The next day I asked a friend (very naive of me) if she was familiar with these acronyms…and she said this…’There’s a new one! JOMO!’

Oh no!  I’m really out of it.  I’m so not cool.  I so don’t speak today’s ‘lingo’.  Some cool mum I’ve set out to be!  I surrender… ‘Okay, and that stands for?’

‘Joy of Missing Out’

My eyes brightened and I yelled, ‘That’s me!!! I’m JOMO!!  I love missing out on what I’m not sure I’m missing out on, and so I don’t know what I’m missing out on, which makes me very Happy missing it all!!! I’m SO JOMO! Now I can relate to a cool title!’

On Saturday night, I related this conversation to another friend who probably thought I was slightly loosing the plot.

And today…. I read this fab post by Shweta Bachchan Nanda…. and I don’t feel so all alone any more in my world of JOMO.  🙂  I’m sure you’ll have a few chuckles as I did.

Shweta Bachchan Nanda – Jomo Trumps Fomo





Happy & New – The Year 2016

IMG_7124Happy New Year!

It’s the 4th of January (3rd still if you are anywhere West of the UK).

How are you faring with your ‘New Year Resolutions’?

Did they start on the 1st of January?  Or are you waiting – like me – for Monday – the first day of the week? 🙂

I ask these questions as I can not remember the last time I have made a NY Resolution but am always curious as to know how people who do make them see them through.

I was at a fantastic NY Eve party this year hosted by good friends at their home.  It was just the way I remember NYE parties back in LA – plain good fun with plain good people!  The best way to end a year and start another.  So during the typical ‘what’s your new year’s resolution’ conversations I asked someone… when is it a new year for you? Your birthday or the new calendar year?’

For me it’s usually my birthday when I am turning a year older, when I am embarking on a NEW year and number.  That’s when I get pensive or enthusiastic and think of ‘who/how I am going to be’ in that new year/age.

I asked a group of my good friends today to send me their list of New Year ‘News’ that they wanted to accomplish to give me some inspiration.  I got a great response from one of them… ‘What are you looking forward to saying goodbye to in 2016?’.  Brilliant answer Simi!  My answer – BS.  Primarily mine and then blocking out all the noise around me!

We all carry some kind of emotional or mental baggage.  Road blocks or barriers in many cases.  I sure have my own set of them.  However, without giving it much thought and without contemplating on resolutions, when I look back at the last few days of 2015 and the first couple of days of 2016, I feel like I have naturally shed some of my BS just by being around the right set of people and listening to their own dialogues of being their ‘better self’.  Listening to my peers on how they make their choices and admiring them for their courage and focus on managing in a positive way their own ‘full plates’.

So then it’s just obvious how I want this year to flow for me – and yes I dare to write it publicly as I mentioned in a previous post – there is a power to writing your desires and goals – they do manifest – somewhere, sometime.

  1.  Surround myself with the people I admire (admiration has so many levels especially for us women).  Engage in more dialogue with them.  Imbibe the qualities I admire.  Learn from them by listening to them.
  2. Open my horizons to learning new ideas, concepts, skills.  I realise now that this does not have to happen in separate ‘me’ time.  This process can transpire simultaneously while engaging in my duties and roles in life.  There is room to grow and learn just there without looking afar.

Baby steps.  As I still have my birthday new year to look forward to when I can look back and see how far I’ve come and what do I need to tweak for the new year to come.

I would love to hear your new thoughts for yourself this new year.  Please share.  Sharing and dialogue is key to a healthy mind and healthy relationships!

Wishing you a brilliant and beautiful 2016 with our without resolutions.  If you have them… then I wish you consistency and focus!



Colourful Woman – Milanee Kapadia

Every time I introduce a colourful woman, I say she is someone special. Every single one of you is special and wait and watch… you will find yourself reading about yourself here and finding out just how special you are!

My colourful woman today is Milanee Kapadia.  I first met Milanee as the wife of my husband’s childhood friend when they came to live in London for a couple of years during her husband’s (Sujal’s) assignment here in 2009.  I am happy to say that now I can call her a friend of mine.

Milanee is an inspiration to me in so many levels and so I thought hmmmm…. ‘let me explore some more, get to know her better, and yes…. share her with all of you…’

So here I am… interviewing a TV Journalist!

Milanee thank you for being a ‘Colourful Woman’ and for allowing me the pleasure of featuring you on my blog.  I have been very impressed and very inspired by you and your joie de vivre.

I would love to share with our readers these specific aspects of your life that I find so fascinating:

  1.  Where in India were you born and at what age did you move to the U.S.?

MK:  I was born in Mumbai and we moved to the U.S. when I was a year old.  At the age of 8, my family moved back to India, to a city called Ahmedabad where my father started his own Engineering Company.

  2.  Where did you go to school?

MK:  I went all the way up to college in Ahmedabad and did my undergrad in Commerce at  HL University.  At 21, I went to Pepperdine University, Malibu where I majored in Communications.

3.  Tell me about your career… how did you become involved in media and more importantly become an anchor woman for Yahoo! Finance?

MK:  During my summer break at Pepperdine, I did a summer internship at a local Indian TV show in New York.  I wore many hats there, from going in the field to selling ad time.  Then I worked at the TV Station on Pepperdine‘s Campus which was broadcast locally in Malibu.  It was an amazing experience with only students running the show.

After Pepperdine, my first job in TV Production was in Portland, Oregon at their CBS Affiliate.  It was an entry-level position where I ripped scripts, ran prompter and did entry-level production work.  The producer of the nightly newscast (Kara Garcia) gave me my first break writing TV copy and mentored me. 

4.  How did you meet Sujal?

MK:  I met Sujal in 1995 while I was in my last term at Pepperdine.  He came to Los Angeles to attend a friend’s wedding (our parents who were in Gujarat had exchanged our numbers).   At the time I could only commit to a long distance relationship (he lived in New York City) as I wanted to move around and be flexible in fulfilling my dream of being a TV reporter.  After a year at my job in Portland, I moved to New York and got a job as an assistant producer at  CBS News. We lived together for a year.

Then I got my lucky break. I was offered my first job as an on-air TV Reporter in Midland, Texas – one of the smallest TV markets in the country!  However, this was the best place to begin my career as a reporter as it let me make mistakes and learn.

5.  How was working in this station compared to working in New York?

MK:  Being a small station, it was a great platform to get live shots, shooting and reporting experience.  Large TV Stations in big cities are pretty unforgiving.  Starting at a small station, I gained a wealth of experience in being on air journalist.

6.  I am sure in your early years in the States you would have had a strong Indian accent.  Was this ever an issue?  Did it change naturally or did you have to overcome it for your career?

MK: My stint in Texas was the first time my accent was ever mentioned. I started voice coaching then and continued when I moved back to New York after marrying Sujal in 1999.

7.  Where did your career lead you to in 1999 in New York?

MK:  I freelanced with a few small local stations.  A friend working at Bloomberg News took my CV and I got offered a job as Business Anchor at Bloomberg Television.

8.  Did you have any background in business and finance?

MK:  No.  I had no knowledge about business news.  I did not know much about finance although Sujal worked on Wall Street! The news director called me and said ‘We will teach you all you need to know about business.  You already know TV.”  It was tough but a great challenge.  So I took many classes at  Bloomberg University and in 4 years, I developed a strong foundation in economic news and markets.

In 2004, I was then called by a local widely watched channel called NY1 News to freelance.  This was a tougher assignment than when I was in Texas as this was covering New York City- a very tough market, oftentimes lugging my camera gear and shooting my own stories.

   9.  How did this move to NY1 from Bloomberg affect your career?  Do you think you made the right move at the time? 

MK:  In terms of compensation it was a complete disaster.  I took a large cut in pay, received no benefits but I still believed in it.  


MK:  Im still freelancing for NY1 as a reporter down at the New York Stock Exchange.  I have been with them since 2004 except for a stint in London in 2009-2011 I freelanced for Thomson Reuters in Canary Wharf as a presenter for News India TV and CCTV (China).

   10.  I decided to peek in to your Linked-In Profile and I just LOVE how you summarise yourself.  I have to quote it…

Seeking a job in corporate communications, branded content and news content in NYC. Willing to write, produce or act as a liaison between the company and the public. I currently work as a freelance reporter and anchor at NY1 News and Yahoo! Finance.

I am an avid consumer of media- whether its online, on TV or on my smart phone. I am also being avidly consumed by my three children an 8 year old daughter and toddler identical twin girls.Milanee3

At the same time, I love to break out of my mommy avatar and go to work as a freelancer covering the U.S. markets in the financial capital of the world. The lights go on, my mic opens and I hear the countdown in my ear before I launch into what I do best- talking to people with brevity, knowledge and a modicum of smart alecness.

I have a lot to say and trying to figure out the best way to say it- hire me folks!

Did I already say, ‘I love it!’?  It’s short, sweet and very punchy!  I’d love to say ,’Milanee, you’re hired!’.

11.  How does it feel to be an anchor woman on national TV?

MK:  Awesome! and a big responsibility.  Sometimes I feel like media is getting much younger but then I am glad to have two decades of experience behind me.

12.  Where do you want to go from here?

MK:  I am now interviewing for a full-time role in TV Production or Corporate Communication or Content Strategy.

13.  Now to your ‘Mommy Avatar’.  I remember how dedicated you were to Mila during your stay in London.  You made sure she had as much of the ‘British Experience’ as she could fit in in the time and how she really is the apple of your eye.  What can you share about your relationship with Mila and your growth as a mother?

  MKI was not ready to be a mommy when I had Mila.  Mila taught me to be a mommy- it was very tough but she got me ready for the biggest role of my life.

14.  How old was Mila when you found out you were pregnant with Identical Twins?

MK:  She was six!

I remember this was not an easy pregnancy as you needed to be monitored throughout, but you looked very well and also came back to England for a visit.

15.  And then you were blessed with two more little angels.  How did it feel to have 3 daughters now?

MK:  It feels amazing there are ups and downs but I can’t imagine life without my three girls.  They are the most beautiful people I know.  Each is one is so different even though the twins look the same.  🙂

16.  I know that having a child completely changes a family dynamic, well it enhances it.  And I also know how twins can completely throw you for a loop.  Please share what was happening in the first 3-4 months of the twins’ arrival?

MK:  The twins were premature as expected after a long 2 months of bed-rest.  Initially it felt like everything went upside down.  Our family of 3, small and sweet, went to 5 instantly with so many unpredictable moments! We had to leave one of the babies in NICU for two weeks while bringing the other one home.  This was very heartbreaking but yet gave us some time to break in to bringing home the first baby.  Along with that came the guilt also of Mila having to now cope not with one new baby but sharing our attention with two.  While it was physically and mentally shattering for us, it was also rough on Mila for a while.

17.  How long did it take you to bounce back in to work?

MK:  I went back to work after 6 months.  I needed to and wanted to work.  I freelanced occasionally then did a short, full-time stint with Yahoo!  It was a great experience working in the digital world.

Wow!  That’s incredible after the experience you have had.  Hats off to you!

MK:  I feel like I am a better mum when I am working though I wish I could stay home a couple of extra hours during the day.

18.  How did you juggle 3 children, a home and a very charged and dynamic career living in New York City?

MK:  Sujal walked away from his high-powered and high-intensity role on Wall Street and took the opportunity to bond with his children and raise them as a stay-at-home dad.  This made all the difference as both of us were able to dedicate ourselves to the 3 girls and I was able to get back to freelancing after 6 months (as well as the gym) knowing that their father was with them.  

That’s quite commendable for a man who has worked since the age of 20 in the same field and has accomplished so much in his tenure in banking to just be able to walk away from it and immerse himself to being a full-time parent.  I would love to interview Sujal next to learn his thoughts and emotions behind his decisions.

MK:  Ha ha.  Many of my friends have said the same!  As for juggling, it’s easier now with Sujal on board full-time.  Also Mila and I have always had our bonding time over Piano lessons.  I home-school her through the Suzuki Piano method and that is our one-on-one time together.

The house-hold chores are well-balanced between Sujal and myself.  He being the family CFO does the budgeting and tracking our Family expenses, planning our holidays, preparing lunches.  I take care of the elaborate dinners and the laundry.  It’s an equal division of labour which makes it all manageable.

19.  So do either or both of you have time for yourselves/ for fitness?

MK:  Yes, we take turns.  Sujal goes to the gym at 6a.m. and I go at 7a.m. everyday.

Great discipline to have! That can’t be easy on a winter morning!

20.  Your biggest challenge to date?

MK:  The hardest time I have had so far is the months post-delivery.  The twins were c-section and were winter babies which along with my hormones was very depressing.

21.  Sujal and you have been quite involved in a social service.  Please tell us about it.

CityHarvestMK:  Yes, we are involved with City Harvest it’s a food rescue organization feeding New York City’s Hungry people.  They rescue food that would have been thrown away but is still safe to eat from farmers’ markets, restaurants and grocery stores.  They then deliver the food to soup kitchens, homeless shelters and churches.

Sujal is on the board of the organization, and I volunteer my time doing cooking demonstrations for their Healthy Neighborhoods initiative.  Some folks don’t even know what to do with something as simple as an apple as they don’t get healthy produce close by.  I go and show them to wash, slice and cook with various fruits and vegetables. I also volunteer as an Emcee/Auctioneer for Fund Raiser Events for the charity Lend-A-Hand India.



Thank you Milanee for sharing your experiences with us in all the aspects of your life and being so open.  What one thought would you leave us with?

MK:  Everyone’s life looks amazing in Social media, as would mine.  But it is a real struggle and there is no shame in asking for help to make it work.  The only way you can be a good person and manage your life is if you reach out for a helping hand now and then.  And that is something you will never see on Facebook!  When the girls were born, all the parents in Mila’s class came forward with a helping hand.  From preparing meals for us individually – Sujal and I have different dietary preferences – to helping us at home, taking care of Mila.  They had a lovely rota system going just for our family!

Also as the mother of three daughters, I am also conscious as to how I want them to see me. So that when they grow up they are strong, honest and hardworking women who are not afraid to stand up for themselves in the homeroom, the boardroom or wherever they end up!

I wish you every success in finding your next perfect job as well as every success in being that amazing role model for your beautiful girls.





The power of writing your intentions


On August 19th, 2006 I was in California visiting my family.  On that particular day I was in Hanford, California visiting my brother and his family and my besties from LA drove up (3.5 hours) to surprise me. It was my 21st (NOT!) birthday!  I was clearly surprised that the 3 of them – Roma, Sumita & Anita would leave their families and businesses to come all that way to surprise me and spend a good 24 hours with all of us.  I stayed that night with them at the Comfort Inn where I made a diary entry of all the things I wanted to do that year and other things I aspired for.   I forgot about this, never made another entry in this diary and buried it in a drawer.  While Diwali cleaning this year, I dug out my pretty velvet book and read through it and I found this:








‘I’d like to write a couple of books.  My inspiration – mum, my family & friends, my life, women, the Indian culture.’  


Some of the things I am so passionate about that I wanted to write about them.

On that day, in 2006, I had also written that I wanted to have a baby, that I wanted to spend more time at the gym, and I wanted to surround myself with real quality people.  In 2012 I had 2 babies, not 1.  I am at the gym 2-3 times a week (yes I know it doesn’t look like it!), and I am so blessed to have only the best people around me.

In 2014 I started this blog.  Writing about my mum, my friends, my life with my kids, women that inspire me.

I had read so many books and heard so many new age philosophers talk about the power of writing your intentions.  Write in chits of paper, fold them up and put it in the jar.  Write your aspirations.  Write positive thoughts.  Write.  I had no idea it would actually happen.  When I look back now, every time I open different note books, diaries, etc. and I find an aspiration or dream of mine that I had written and when I take stock… I see that I can check many of them off.

In 2014, forgetting I had written a desire about writing in my diary, it manifested itself in another form.  Not a book, but a blog where I can share my short or long thoughts.  Where I can share my people.

It made me understand that :

  1.  If you want something, write it down and want it from your heart.  Now let the universe do it’s magic.
  2. There is no immediate gratification.  You need patience.
  3. You need to want the same thing consistently.  In 2011 I tried to set up a vlog (video b/log) of the people I wanted to feature but got absorbed in my twin pregnancy. Again, it was a thought on the same path.
  4. That thought, that wish will manifest itself at the ‘right’ time.  I strongly believe that there IS a ‘right’ time for everything.

Some thoughts to leave you with…

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Stay blessed… stay beautiful my friends….

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The End of An Era – Sari Boutique/Cottage Art


The End of An Era…at Mum’s Mecca…
In June of 1984, Manu & Jyoti Nagrani (Mum & Dad) opened the very first Desi designer boutique on Pioneer Blvd., Artesia (Little India), California called Sari Boutique.
Sari Boutique was opened 2 months after mum and dad migrated to America and boy was it opened with panache & grandeur. Dad built a fine boutique with the help of a decorator (Dusyant) from London and my brothers (Banu & Jack), all hands on. Jack just sent me a message saying, ‘amazing learning experience for Dusyant and I, creating and building the interior display canopies (21 of them) and the warehouse storage……life experience that cannot be taught :-)’.   Mum picked & created the finest of silks and fashions and displayed them in unique ways which were so different at the time for a Desi textiles shop. The then Mayor of Artesia was invited to cut the ribbon and all the known Desi (mainly Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi) personalities and families graced the occasion.
Through the years, mum and dad fondly came to be known as ‘Aunty’ & ‘Uncle’ on the ‘Street’ by staff, clients and fellow business owners. ‘Aunty’ started to collect many titles by her clients and by the local media, some being ‘stylist to the stars’, ‘designer with elegant taste’ while she charmed everyone in their native tongue (Hindi, Gujarati, Kachhi, Punjabi, Swahili & obviously English).
My brothers and I are very fortunate recipients of the beautiful relationships created in these years as a result of this business. Sari Boutique sponsored many local Charity Galas, Bridal Expos and Beauty Pageants while coordinating and participating in fashion shows – a journey through which we have made some amazing friends.   I worked in Sari Boutique in between college and working in the garment Industry and in between degrees.  Later, I was part of the team which launched and ran ‘Cottage Art’.  Moving to America as a teenager and being part of the stereotypical ‘mom & pop’ business definitely had it’s poignant & positive lessons for me for which I will ever be grateful.
Along with our Desi clientele, we started to see and serve Hollywood celebrities from behind as well as on screen, musicians and fashion designers using saris and Indian fabric on western fashion. Thank you for the education and the opportunity to put my fashion degree and Industry experience to good use!
At the turn of the Millennium, Sari Boutique changed name and business to Cottage Art – a handicraft shop carrying furniture and soft furnishings from Bali, India, China and Thailand. ‘Uncle’ travelled to exotic cities (Nepal, Bali, Chiang Mai) in Asia (some not so exotic) to source and mostly to design amazing home furnishings with a blend of vintage fabrics and contemporary design.

This new phase brought about a whole new zest to the business and our lives as we interacted with a very eclectic range of visitors many of whom have become our very dear friends. (Some of these beautiful people actually flew to Goa for my wedding!).
30 years on… ‘Aunty & Uncle’ Nagrani & Family would like to thank every single person who walked in those doors, who we had the opportunity to speak with and to serve, who have enriched our lives in Los Angeles through your knowledge & experience you shared, your friendship and your loyalty to us and our business. We would like to thank especially all our neighbours, fellow businesses owners on Pioneer Blvd. and the members of the City Council.  I personally would like to thank all the designers, ‘karigars’ (embroiderers), and our exporters who took the time to teach me during my few years in the business.   It’s been magical, it’s been enlightening, it’s been growth in the most amazing of ways including spiritual, it’s been humbling but most of all, it’s been an amazing ride.

‘Aunty’ & ‘Uncle’ now embark on a new journey to build new memories with their family and friends.

From our heart to yours… ‘Shukriya’ (Thank You) & ‘Namaste’ (The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you).