The IGP experience

As a mom the most frustrating times I have are when I am unable to get out of the house and buy my friends or family members a gift on a special occasion. It is extremely annoying and makes me feel like a proper failure. There are gifting portals online, but I have never been able to find anything interesting or found the websites reliable. However now I do have a savior. Tried and tested! The Indian Gifts Portal aka IGP were kind enough to send me a voucher to try out their website and also purchase gifts. Here’s a lowdown of my experience and what I purchased from the website:

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IGP is Indias largest online gifting store in India, they started their website in 2001, which also makes them the oldest and most experienced in the industry. They specialise  in personalised gifts, flowers, cakes, festival merchandise among others gifting ideas. The website is clean in design, simple to browse and such that you can find a gift easily because of the various links on the home page itself. They have a simple animated video on ‘how it works‘ for anyone who is new to the website.You don’t have to browse through the whole website to find what you are looking for, they have four major categories ; ‘Personalised Gifts‘, ‘Gifts by recipient/occasion‘, flowers and cakes‘ and ‘Gifts by country/city‘. Apart from these, you can also find other filtered links like ‘Gifts for anniversary’, ‘gifts for Birthdays’ etc. They keep in tune with any special days that come up in the calendar like valentines, mothers day, etc. All this helps in streamlining the search and finding the gift.

I had taken this opportunity to buy gifts for my kids; purchased two for Baby Abbas and one for Batool. Fisher-Price Rock-a-stack and Snap-Lock beads and Funskool Sun Catchers. The price sticker for all of these was either removed or scratched,  which is very important if you’re having the gifts wrapped and delivered directly to the recipient. All items of the order were delivered together and on time, I shall leave you with pics of the same now…

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I am aware of a couple more gifting sites, but haven’t dared to try them. It was very nice of IGP to approach me to try it out as a courtesy.

My experience with the customer support was satisfying, I was having some issues with placing the order because of crappy internet, and wanted some information on a product as well, so I had reached out to their customer care and they were very helpful. The helpline operator, made a note of my query, gave me an estimate of when she would get back to me with the information I needed, and she stuck to it. I was very pleased with their service. When it comes to buying gifts for someone you want to make sure that everything is perfect and there should be no room for mishaps.

Nothing in the world is perfect is it? Critically analysing the website makes me want them to have a larger range especially for little kids, it would be nice to purchase products that I or anyone may not otherwise find on other retail stores in India as gifts. Also, since I was placing my order around the Mothers day the website was very slow, which also I got clarified by the help-desk that it was because they were constantly working on the website by adding new products for mothers day. But still it kind of was annoying.

Having said that , I will give IGP 4/5 and will definitely turn to them for future gift purchases. Especially since many of my friends and family reside in Dubai I always tend to lose out on doing something special for them, sending a bouquet of fresh flowers, or a personalised gift from here, would enable me to express my love for them. IGP delivers to over 90 countries, and over 350 cities have same day delivery option! Isn’t that impressive?

Highly recommend the site, have you ever purchased anything from there?

Moms we should be talking about

Mothers Day went by and brought a lot of joys for moms across the globe. The social media exploded with posts, photos, heart warming messages and quotes, videos and loads of competitions/giveaways. There was happiness everywhere. I am a mom too, and I pondered over my life and the many moms that I know of. Deep thoughts made me realise that we don’t discuss some mothers. We are too caught up in the normalcy of life, and the struggles we see in common around us that we do not think beyond them to realise a fellow mom exists who isn’t in the same state as us.

This Mothers day I thought deeply of the moms like me, Moms who visit the courts to fight for their childs custody. I at-least have baby Abbas with me now, to feel more like a hands on mother, but what about the mothers who are struggling in our judicial system fighting in court for the best interest of their child? Dealing with an ego-centric ex-husband, not being allowed visitations! Thoughts led me to think about the moms who aren’t living the ordinary life. They don’t get a card or gift from their child, because their child passed away….Moms who are trying to make a living on their own as single parents, moms who have just separated or divorced and are trying to figure out the dynamic of their new life…moms who have child/ren with disabilities….moms who have children fighting for their life in hospitals..moms who chose to be moms and adopted children…..moms who have recently lost their moms…moms who may be battling a life threatening disease…moms who have been separated from their children due to war, moms who are unable to meet their children waiting for visitations rights….Moms who have children who have not turned out to be morally sound….Moms who are consoling daughters/sons who have been through abuse…..moms who became moms due to assault…They are all moms aren’t they?

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From my personal experience I have learned that; yes, in our country and culture moms are given much respect. But a lot of that is in words. “Maa” they say, but sometimes a mother can be another mothers worst enemy. I guess it’s only when you go through certain experiences do you recognise the honest people from the big-talkers. Everyone says moms are the most important person in the lives of children, yet we aren’t as aware of the severity of mommy struggles that surround us. Truly mothers are the strongest creatures on earth. I remember my moms prayers, whenever she used to hear the sound of speeding sports bikes in the late hours of the night, she used to say “May Allah give patience to the mothers of these boys”. I’m talking about school days, the thoughts that used to come to my mind were ‘oh cool, they’re going by like lightening…or I wish I could ride a bike that fast…..or why can’t be quieter….’ But since my mom voiced her concern as the mother, empathising with the moms of those biker boys I realised that there is such a solid perspective to this. How many times a day or month or even year do we think from the mothers perspective? How many of us have tried to think about the experience of the mother whenever her child goes through something?

I tell myself during my mommy struggles that, at-least I have faith, and the faith in God is the best. I am grateful that I am not a refugee separated from my child, I am grateful that my child hasn’t died in a shooting at school, or been killed by terrorists or extremist groups. As a mother I think it’s important to empathise, put ourselves in the shoes of other mums, even if it’s just in our thoughts and try to understand what the other moms are going through. Only a mom can understand another mom.

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This may not have been the most chirpy, candyfloss and balloons kind of a post, but important none the less. It’s extremely important for us to discuss the societal issues, and value EVERY mom, and think about the not-so-common struggles of a mother, and if not be able to help, be grateful that we aren’t facing them 🙂

I request prayers from everyone for my pending custody case, hope to get my daughter back soon and give her the life she deserves.

Welcoming baby boy and quick life update

The miracle pregnancy has gotten over and concluded on Feb 15th with a miracle baby boy. I call it a miracle because never had I imagined to deliver a full term baby with a bicornuate uterus, it was a done deal, every doctor was expecting the pregnancy to go up to max 32 weeks. But keeping hope, taking precautions, staying healthy and a tonne of prayers sprinkled with the mercy of God has made this pregnancy progress into week 39!

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Baby Abbas was born via an emergency C –Section after normal just didn’t seem to happen. I am just glad that he and I both got through everything healthy, no NICU involvement and a decent recovery for me. A month has passed now, I can’t believe how each day passes so quickly. Loving every bit of caring for a little baby, some nights are definitely more exhausting than others, but I try to make-up for the sleep deprivation during the day time, when little Abbas is asleep. I have no experience with a full term baby, everyone seems to say things settle down in the first few months and a routine can be formed. Love routine!

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I had placed an order for a copy of What to expect the first year, and so far it’s been a decent guide. Only issue is, there’s not much time to read! I would recommend parents to buy one during pregnancy and go through the topics and book mark pages that may be seem relevant. I had read up all about breastfeeding during pregnancy as well, as I have never experienced it. I also read up the bathing baby topic, basically these were my top concerns.

Been taking a lot of pics, he seems to be very creative with his hand positions. Trying to get a hang of maintaining sanity while sleep deprived; but it’s been good overall. The baby is nothing like me in looks, hoping for the chatter box personality of mine to kick in soon. Till then, will enjoy every adventure, a running clock, and hopefully be able to blog more often along the way.

The hypocrisy of helplessness

Human beings have to make decisions in life, these range from small mundane everyday decisions to big life changing ones. Some of these impact only us on an individual level, while others have a wider family/societal impact. Decisions are not easy to make, we can’t possibly be trained to make decisions, no amount of education can prepare us for them, we all have our unique life experiences and encounters that require decision making. However, a strong moral compass helps you make the right one.

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Today I wanted to share the phenomenon on portraying oneself as helpless, when not really making any conscious effort to change your situation in life. Self-pity, playing the victim, are both cousins of the helpless person. You will come across people who are dangerous, and while danger can be described through various definitions, one kind of dangerous people are the ones who meddle, ruin things cause great chaos and when they realise they messed up, they conveniently hide behind the ‘helpless’ tag in order to avoid un-doing their mess. These are dangerous people, because you’d expect them to use the same power that they implemented initially to mess things in making things right, but they choose not to. The helplessness bandwagon is always full, filled with ego stroking, reality avoiding individuals whose conscience dies by the day. You will also find a bunch of soul dead, people in there who pep up and inspire these weak individuals.
When you take a deep breath and think, we are the best of creatures on earth, we are intellectually above every living organism on the planet. And if the animals are able to strive to solve their day to day problems and hustle; then why do we underestimate ourselves? I have observed the self-proclaimed ‘helpless’ and come to a conclusion that helplessness is a choice. A choice you make when you just don’t want to do anything, at the same time not take responsibility. Helplessness is a weak person’s way of gaining sympathy in situations where they know the guilt is killing them, an instant gratification from other humans is important for survival. Helplessness is a phenomenon those who are faithless feel, because they restrict their power to either themselves, their physical/mental capacity, or to that of the other human beings around them. If you’re an adult you’re not helpless, you’re merely trying to pacify yourself and probably create an excuse that will be universally accepted by other naïve/stupid people around you.

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If you want to test such people, give them ideas to help themselves, offer them opportunities to get out of their ‘helpless’ situation and see if they’re willing to put in any effort or just dismiss your ideas all together. The helplessness may also stem from hypocrisy. You will be able to identify it all, just takes a small conversation. I look at helplessness as a disease that makes you weaker spiritually, mentally and even physically. It eats you up, and leaves you in a state of despair. And I refuse to ever regard myself as helpless, no matter how tough life gets, no matter how difficult it seems to get out of a sticky situation, and I get the inspiration from that by having faith in a higher power, a God that doesn’t abandon its creatures. The more power we hand over to others, the weaker we feel. Hand over your troubles to your lord, He will guide you and help you. Stay focused on the truth and acting right. A person who is in a constant struggle to get out of a mess and seeking justice is never helpless, the strength only increases, and the truth about others becomes clear.
I pity and feel sorry for those who take pride in their helplessness. I feel happy that I am not one of them; I am glad that I have faith that makes me believe in my potential- potential whose extent I am unaware of, but am mindful of its existence. It’s sad, to  be the best of creatures on earth, and live it like the worst of creatures. I refuse to belittle myself with the helpless tag.

What 2016 taught me

It’s different this time, I started off the year with certain goals in mind and while they flew out the window the only realization I have left with me is to not be stupid again.
I have learned quite a few life lessons this year I will share the top three only….The beauty of life lessons is that they don’t necessarily need to come from your own life, being observant of others helps tremendously. So let’s get into it..
Lesson 1. Having faith is everything. There have been real lows in my life this year, and I continue to be in some of them still. But every time I felt lost, and confused the only hope came from having faith. I used to lose hope very quickly, and it takes a lot to get my spirits up. But not anymore, now I have figured out that when I see a cloud of hopelessness come toward me, I just skip the steps of sadness, and misery and hop on to what saves me, ie faith. Having faith in God helps you because He is the most powerful, so while the humans of the world can try to snatch away your happiness with their actions and intentions, you need not worry because they aren’t all powerful! And a regular dose of exploring faith, and just the mercy of Allah can help you stay on the track of positivity. It is important to be sane to be able to deal with hardships. And being calm in the storm is the key to success.
Lesson 2- No one deserves trust and respect unless they prove it. We will hear 10000 versions of opinions about a person from different people, but there’s no guarantee you will have the same holy experience. In fact human beings do a great job at hiding their true self, it’s a talent. Animals have more honesty in that respect, so there’s absolutely no need to have blind trust in anyone unless they have proved to your satisfaction that they are worthy of it. Have positive thoughts and opinions about everyone, innocent until proven guilty. But don’t be stupid and naïve enough to put your trust in someone’s hands just based on words.

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Lesson 3. There are good people in the world. There are. And if you’re lucky enough to attract any of them be super grateful and honest with them. Because you being chosen for another good human being is a blessing for yourself. Trust that your goodness can help others, and bring positivity into the life of another human being. Relationships have to be built on mutual love, trust and respect. Not taking anyone for granted is very important; it’s the only way to build and grow the positive circle around you.
Life is about growing; I have been observant of the people around me this year and noticed that those who don’t grow tend to never do justice to their purpose of existence. And I refuse to be one of those. Sometimes the best role model for you will be you and your own experiences. Respect is very difficult to attain, and sadly some people just don’t know how to handle it while they have it, and lose it all in their ego and high headedness. Our purpose in life is simple, it was never meant to be complicated, the sooner we figure it out the more productive we will be and hopefully die attaining it.

Pregnancy Tag

It’s been long since I did a tag. In fact only did one! Hehe Pregnancy tags are always fun to read and well here I answer questions from my first ever pregnancy tag:

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1. How many months are you?

6
2. Family’s Reaction?

Pleasantly surprised!
3. Do you know the sex?

In India no options there….I wish I could know, I think it helps with mental prep, not to mention shopping. I had a strong gut feeling with Batool that it was a girl but this time that’s missing. Praying for a healthy baby regardless of gender.

4. What did you want?

I secretly want a girl, but having a boy would be good exposure to variety 😉

5. Do you want more?

Considering that pregnancies take a toll on my body I do not wish to. However, not going to get any procedures done for steralisation.

6. Biggest craving?

Chicken shawarmas…OMG!

7. Best part of being pregnant?

The ever growing pampering from the hubby…..baby movements….the growing belly….

8. Worst part of being pregnant?

Restricted movement….and Hormones injections….

9. Names picked out?

Yes! For both genders, the husband and I are super prepared!
10. Who will be with you during labor?

Probably my mother or husband, don’t know what the hospital policy on that is as yet. I don’t mind the idea of just doing it solo.
11. Birth plan?

Trusting my doctor since this is a high risk pregnancy and a birth plan would most probably be useless!
12. Will you film it?

No
13. Natural or Medicated?

Natural…all the way….fingers crossed….I didn’t take an epidural last time and don’t want to as well.
14. Scared about labor?

Not scared, as I have been through it twice…but I guess with deliveries each is different…Anxiety is natural isn’t it!
15. What do you look forward to after pregnancy? Being able to go out and meet people and walk, and lie on my tummy and jump…..movement basically….
16. Breastfeed?

100% I wasn’t able to feed Batool as long as I wanted to, always had to express and feed her. I am hoping I would be able to experience breast feeding in all its glory…and for two years….
17. Plan to work or be a stay at home mom?

I have already put outside work on hold. I am a freelancer and a student. I am looking at not joining any committed work schedule for min 2 years for the baby…That may just increase to 4 who knows?! But I don’t consider work or anything along those lines priority when there’s a gift of a child in your life. I may mostly put my education on hold even though I am studying through distance mode. However I don’t wish to have any added stress/responsibilities, the baby deserves my 100%.
18. Will you make your own baby food?

Yes most definitely. I have already been getting excited about various ideas and pinteresting away…
19. Do you have nursery ideas/themes?

I am freaked out about SIDS. And research shows that the first year is crucial and co-sleeping is the best, apart from being practical as a breastfeeding mother. I plan to keep the baby in the same room and co-sleep for the first year for sure.

The OBGYN search stress in Hyderabad pt.2/2

Welcome back to the last few pointers for tips and tricks on finding a good OBGYN. You can check out part one here if you haven’t already/ to refresh your memory. So let’s get cracking…

5. Doctors who don’t give you time aren’t worth it- Trust me. I have been to Fernanadez, and I really do not understand what I paid for in the consultation. I do not doubt the doctors credentials or experience, because I hardly spoke to her for 5 minutes. She was too busy running around, patient hopping. Practo gave me good information about her, but what’s the point in paying 500 for a consultation, all to end up meeting a student doctor? I was appalled also because I have a high risk pregnancy and was recommended by my OBGYN to continue treatment there as they are more “equipped”. I had only one appointment and that was enough trauma to ever go back or even recommend it to anyone. A lesson I learned while at Fernandez is that doctors have now mastered the art of drama. Money making depends on how many patients can be admitted in “emergency”, and for procedures that are truly not required, taking advantage of the patients vulnerable condition. I am not anti-making money, doctors work hard to educate themselves and climb up the career ladder, but making money through means of manipulation in any field is not tolerable to me. Apart from the fact that your own hard earned money is used in such unnecessary procedures, it’s the anxiety that you didn’t ask for that takes a toll on you.

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6. Go with the baby daddy- A mans view on things makes a lot of difference when you’re already hormonal. The beauty of being pregnant is in the irrationality of it all. We women can’t deny it, no matter how independent you are. The morning sickness, cravings, mood swings all make it difficult to even pay attention sometimes. Get the baby daddy involved. Make the decisions together upon discussion later, but let him be present, ask the questions on his mind, it’s his baby too, and he has to take care of you. Here I would also recommend to go to hospitals that allow you to have your partner with you. Be it in scans or consultations. Sometimes there will be too many patients going in and out and they may want to restrict entry of males for privacy reasons, but request the doctor that you want him to be present when discussing your condition, you may be asked to wait for some time, but it will be worth it.
7. Second opinions are your right- Don’t be afraid to take second opinions on the minutest of things. Advice in India will come from all directions, and if your doctor doesn’t seem convincing enough, take a second opinion in the same nursing home or hospital, or another. It may initially lead to confusion, which is fair enough, but eventually you will know you made a decision after hustling. Also note, doctors who get offended if patients have taken a second opinion are not worth your time, they don’t care about you, they merely care about themselves and their ego. Granted they may have accumulated decades of experience, but you haven’t! and they have no right to dictate your considerations. In the end it’s your body, your pregnancy and your baby.
8. Check out the facilities- Not just the room, the pediatric facilities at the hospital/nursing home as well. You can go around to the NICU or the pediatric unit to find out about the same, don’t hesitate in building information. I have done it, at so many hospitals, and you will be grateful and happy in the end. You owe it to your baby.
9. Read documents- I was surprised that Fernandez asked me to sign an acknowledgement that my doctor may not be available for consultations, delivery, complications etc. And me having a high risk pregnancy was taken aback by that. Maybe this won’t be such an issue in a normal pregnancy. However it’s important to know the timings of your doctor and when she would be available. Apart from emergencies there may be arise a need to take an appointment prior to the date set, and in those cases it’s even more crucial to be able to meet your OBGYN and not someone else. They may be qualified, but they’re not the doctor you’re consulting.
10. Expensive and popular hospitals are good- A belief most of us have, but may not be true. Yes they may be cleaner, with a better ambiance, well dressed staff, a polite reception person but trust me not all are what they seem to be projecting. Delivery and several OBGYN procedures have been performed since centuries, you are most likely to end up paying close to a fortune for the ABC of gyneac procedures. You can call other hospitals near you to find out about their charges just over the phone. It’s obvious that a big hospital has more payments to make in terms of salaries, and upkeep of the vicinity, all of that is added to each and every procedure. You may sometimes find that scans and procedural tests are cheaper at reputed diagnostic centers. Simply confirm with your hospital if they accept that particular diagnostic centers reports, and if not, what reason do they have. Based on the confidence of the response from the person, and other signs go ahead with the diagnostic center, the doctor won’t send you back for them. Trust that these diagnostic centers aren’t running a game, and you have the right to be a sound consumer who has the right to be money savvy. Save up for the delivery and other big procedures, and get tests and or scans done at a diagnostic center near you. A trick while speaking to the concerned person at the hospital is to tell them you’re staying very far away, and travelling isn’t possible, with the morning sickness etc. their tone will completely change. The people who sit in the pathology department aren’t trained to be money suckers! They know how simple a test or scan is. Two things may happen, either they will tell you which diagnostic center to go, or be clear that the prescribed test/scan is complex and requires to be done at the hospital. You can have this discussion over the phone or in person, I have tried both. In person both you and your partner can be present, but stay calm, and listen. You don’t want to sound like you’ve already made up your mind.

Being friendly with the staff always helps. The nurses that check your BP and weight, the reception staff even the dayaas. They all work hard, and don’t earn their fair share of income most of the time. Being friendly with them can also help in gathering inside information, or just simply getting some extra emotional support. Trust me in pregnancy you will want all the emotional support you want. I would also advice to not break any hospital rules by bribing anyone or giving money. Your kindness should be sufficient, have trust in the human being you are. Making a person smile on a hectic work day will do wonders for their self-esteem than a note. Get them a box of sweets as a display of gratitude, that would be better.

Have you liked any of these tips? Do you have any you want to share? Leave them in the comments below and spread sanity!

🙂