Tag Archives: inspiration

Teaching my teen to clean the kitchen

Okay, so this is part of my 500 words a day commitment, as part of my new year plan to develop the writing habit. I have tried it last month with another encouraging writer, but did not manage to write every day. So here I am trying again. I love writing, I love the way it lets me solves puzzles and issues using words. I love the fact that I can use words to reach out to others and make a difference to someone, but after my initial efforts, my enthusiasm peters out and I get caught up doing some routine work and not writing.

But what the heck! Here I am, back again, working on developing my daily writing habit over the next 31 days.

So today, I am going to crib a bit about how I am just so tired of having to clean up the kitchen every night. I am a working woman, live with my two boys, my hubby and my amazing amazing in-laws who literally hold our home together. And at the end of each day, after dinner, while the boys (the big one and the two little ones) watch TV, I have to drag myself to the kitchen and clean it up! Trust me, it is quite a task, we are a large, kind of a messy family and it takes me almost 45 minutes each night just to clean up the kitchen platform and put things back into their places.

There are times when the chore really gets to me and I pull in my teenage son to pitch in, and to be fair to him, he can really get the granite on the kitchen top to shine and get everything organized. But kids being kids will do this kind of work only for a day or so, once in a while; you can’t actually get them to do it on a regular basis.

And I can’t help but wonder why this happens. I mean, look at the teens that we have growing up around us these days: they have a tremendous amount of exposure, are well read, intelligent, but it is very difficult for us to get them to contribute usefully in a family or community. Anything you ask them to do will be done with enthusiasm till it has novelty value. Beyond that, they will quietly escape the responsibility. So what is it that makes teens behave like this today?

You can look back at history and find that till about 60-70 years ago, typically by the time a young man was in his teens, he would be employed as an apprentice with some master craftsmen, or artist, or in a family trade; in the hope of learning some skill or trade that would enable him to earn a living.

What are our teenagers today doing? They are very busy putting up selfies on social media, commenting, connecting, watching videos that someone else is making… and the academically oriented ones are busy cramming for some entrance exam. Does this make them ready to take on the real world? Of course there are those who question everything and challenge the establishment at every step, and one assumes this is where the new thinking will come from. But in my personal experience, merely thinking about something is not good enough, a very important aspect of learning is applying your knowledge and execution of what you have learnt. With most of the learning being essentially theoretical, there is a distinct gap when things come to execution and application.

As the mother of a teenager, my constant effort is to get him to ‘do’ something and not merely think about what needs to be done. And learning a skill, any skill in my opinion is a very important part of one’s growth process. With ideas available everywhere, today ideas are valued lesser and lesser unless you are able to make these ideas happen. Making ideas happen needs skills: any skill, you could be a computer operator and you could make an idea happen, or you could be a fashion designer and make ideas happen. But if the only skill you have is putting stuff up on social media, you are not going to get far. For even on social media, what gets shared is unique, original content. That is what Google is looking for. So to be a success even on social media, you need the ability to create and develop content – have skill that you can put to use.

This is what stays at the top of my mind as I see my son work away, cleaning the kitchen top on the few nights that he agrees to help me out. I hope that as he does the work with his hands, he is learning a skill or two, something he may be able to apply to his daily life, at school or at play. That is what I as a parent hope to impart to my teen, as he prepares to step out into today’s highly competitive world. What are you doing as a parent to get your teen ready for the future? Please share!

~ Bharti Athray



How journal writing has helped me become a better person

I have always been a writer: I have written diaries, journals, stories, poems, observations, essays and articles. My home is full of diaries and journals written over 20 years ago, half full diaries and lots more.

By profession, I am an advertising copywriter, so writing is something I do for a living. When I look at my writing graph, I realize I wrote a lot more for myself before I took on professional writing. Once it becomes a job, you just feel you don’t want to come home and do the same thing.

Life took over and I stopped writing

This became a gap of some five or six years when life took over, soon after I got married – I was writing very little. Most of my unfinished diaries are from that period. It was a tough time for me, I had had my first boy, my job was going through change as I needed something that would allow me Mommy time, and the stress of being a new mother was taking a toll on me. The last thing I wanted to do at the time was to write. I just didn’t have the time, or so I made myself believe.

It was years later, after my son started schooling and I got into some kind of a routine with better time management and a clear understanding that my life had changed forever that I began writing again.

Now I am writing again

While I am still not as regular as I would like to be with my daily journal writing, I do manage to do so at least a couple of times a week. As the habit has built, with me penning down all my thoughts, angst, worries and ideas in my journal, I have realized I am growing as an individual. When I read my jottings from a year ago, it is interesting to note the changes in my life, my responses to various occurrences and I can now catch and stop myself from reacting impulsively. This awareness, this observation has enabled me to truly respond to life instead of merely reacting to stuff.

How journal writing has helped me

This has meant fewer arguments with family and friends, fewer occasions that I feel someone was saying stuff just to hurt me; and even when an event unfolds, I am prepared to walk away from a conversation that I know is heading in the wrong direction.

These learnings, these insights have come to me through journal writing, making this a meaningful process for me. As this becomes easier, I also find space within my mind to create writing that is more creative and I now find it easier to write poems, short stories and essays once again. 

My writing defines me

My learning from this experience has been that if you see yourself as a writer, make the time to get back to your writing. For most of us, it is what defines us as individuals, just as clothes define a fashionista and paintings define an artist. Get back to your passion, your craft and you will see small changes that will move your life to a whole new level.

Write, even if it is just for 10 minutes each day

If you are struggling with time, or content, don’t worry too much about it. Writing for just 10 minutes every day, or just expressing your opinion on some current affairs issue, will slowly but surely help you get back into the groove of writing. So don’t despair over the days you have not been writing, start off today and stick with the habit.

If you find this sharing meaningful, do let me know. If you are struggling with the writing habit, feel free to share your writing with me. Sometimes, just getting a feedback can be a good enough reason to get you writing. I would be happy to help out a fellow writer in anyway I can!

~ bharti athray


It was just one of the long lonely days when I felt I must say something, but had nothing to say. I sat at my computer waiting for the inspiration to arrive. It never did come.

I finally walked away from my computer; out into the lobby of the floor on which my office sat. Sun spilled into the lobby warming my air-conditioned, numb body. I liked walking in the sun, always did. I did a couple of rounds around the block, playing hide and catch with the sun. Finally I had to come back to my table. My break had been a long one.

I sat, remembering the feel of the tropical afternoon sun on my skin and knew inspiration had just reached out to me. This little sharing is the result of that brief walk, my short interlude with the warm afternoon sun. I hope you have yours too, soon.

~ Bharti Athray

Image Source: hisgloryinourstory.com

Why we must write!

An inspiring post by Mare, a self-confessed food addict on why we must keep writing. The interesting post comes just after her having attended a writer’s workshop. Excellent read!

‘If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.’ –Barry Lopez

Find the full post here: