Donating Power Banks To Chennai

Source: Donating Power Banks To Chennai


Drat..Rats! Natural ways to repel rodents

courtesy: cartoonstock.comuThere’s no place like home. And there’s no place for rats in mine. My husband and I were in for a shock last night when we pulled open a wide, deep drawer in which we store our household linens. There were little black pellets scattered between sheets, towels and dish cloths. I recognised these pellets as rat poop because of a forgettable past encounter with a rat whom I had somehow managed to trap some years ago. Although I had been trembling like a leaf at the time,  the poor thing was clearly more petrified as we had stared at each other, as clearly I wasn’t the one suddenly filled with an urge to excrete profusely. Fast forward to the present. The fact that the pellets we spotted yesterday were dry suggested that the creature who produced them was not around. The discovery of course filled me with dread and melancholy. Our beautiful, clean, hygienic and nice-smelling home was unknowingly playing host to an invited guest whose name rhymes with cat (now that’s a furry creature I long to have and hold).


The initial shock eventually wore off and replacing it was a protective instinct: i felt like a lioness raring to protect her pride. I was not sure what I wanted to do but one thing was/is clear: I am not going to kill any rat. So began the search for a herbal, organic solutions, natural remedies and repellents- humane ways of addressing the problem. We will of course be getting one of those metal cage contraptions to attempt to trap the rascal and set him free somewhere far, far away. But in case the nasty bugger outsmarts us (I have seen many a rat cleverly dislodge the bait and flee before the trapdoor snaps), I am considering other methods


At least five people have suggested rat poison and/or glue pads. I am not judging these people but the technique when I say it  is not for me. I’m happy to report that an equal number of people suggestied some peaceful, humane solutions.

I thought I’d share some of these suggestions and household remedies for people like me who don’t want to kill rats no matter how eek-ed out and protective they are of their homes.

1. Peppermint oil:  Apparently rats loathe herbal aromas. So plant peppermint, spearmint and citronella plants around your home. If these are not available where you stay, peppermint oil works too. This can be found in most markets. Soak some cotton balls in the peppermint. Make sure that they are saturated. Place the cotton balls in areas where rats are likely to crawl. Replace the old cotton balls with cotton balls with fresh peppermint oil at least twice a week.

2. Napthalene balls: Rats don’t like the smell of these either. It’s not enough to put these in your cupboards, woollen-storage closets….these need to be replenished and replaced as napthalene balls shrink with time. Their potency diminishes when they shrink. So be alert and put fresh napthalene balls out. This is where I failed and Mr. Rat taught me a lesson the hard way.


3. Ammonia: Some websites are also suggesting ammonia. Mix one part ammonia with one part water. Soak old socks or a cloth in the ammonia and squeeze out the excess liquid. Place the cloth where the rats are likely to enter the home. Check the cloth at least once a week and replace if necessary. Personally, I don’t plan to try this one out as the slightest whiff of ammonia makes me feel nauseated.

4. Spices: Chilli peppers, cayene pepper, even tabasco sauce can drive these lil beasts away. Sprinking garlic powder and diced garlic cloves can also do the trick according to The pungency of garlic can make rats feel nauseated and send them running in the opposite direction (opposite from you, that is). But if the strong smell of garlic makes you feel sick, then clearly this option is not for you. Incidentally, garlic oil is also a cockroach-repellent.

5. Gizmos: My uncle recommended an ultrasonic device that emits high-frequency wave speeds that permanently ensure that rats stop recee-ing your home. This is mostly designed to protect cars, offices, server rooms and godowns. Here’s the link:


I’m going to try out the peppermint oil technique tomorrow. Fingers crossed. Keep an eye on this space.


My first blog post-marriage

Sass, sense, serendipity and now shaadi. I am returning to my blog after a nearly 4-month long hiatus. I got married to my friend less than 2 weeks ago. The paradigm shift, the move from Delhi to Gujarat, new blood, new energy…all egg me on to return to blogging. The past week in Gandhinagar, Gujarat’s quiet & peaceful capital city, has been wonderfully soothing. Soothing even as we unpacked our boxes, sorted out furniture, crockery & books.

Life has been good so far to his journalist who quit her job with an aggressive television news network to settle in a new city, start a new life. Here have been some of the highlights and key learning experiences of the past week.

  • Companionship: It’s one of the most divine feelings to wake up next to the one you love. We bond over our beverages of preference (his tea, mine coffee) before chores creep up on us.
  • Coffee: There’s nothing better than a good cup of coffee to begin your day. This stove-top european-style coffee maker which was a wedding gift from my aunt is an absolute delight. It brews us 2 steaming cups in under a minute. I’ve been in rhapsodies ever since I unpacked and began using it. The hunt for good filter coffee blends begins. For now, we’re using a Swedish blend from Gevalia (also gifted by the same aunt). It is positively divine. I’m afraid I will finish it off within the next 10 days. I’m told Cafe Coffee Day is the only place to go right now. Note to self: See if anyone sells filter coffee online and buy!
  • Crockery (tonnes of it) has left the husband speechless. I found him standing in one corner of the kitchen looking most dazed as I wrenched open the lid of yet another carton to pull out more ceramic mugs. He reckons we have enough crockery to last us a lifetime and enough to pass on to our descendents as well! He has now threatened to break 2 pieces of crockery whenever I am away from the house on work! humph….! I smell W.A.R!
  • Cooking: Being in my own kitchen has given me the chance to experiment. I’ve been trying out new recipes including tomato rasam and vegetable stew, from the cookbook my grandmother personally hand-wrote for me. It’s a real treasure trove of eat treats! The husband has pronounced me a good cook! *lights up with joy*

Sunrise ramblings

I woke up at 6 this morning and managed to catch the sun rise. What a thrill! This is ironic because I am always up at 3am for my 4am shift at work,  (Safe to call it the red-eye shift for obvious reasons…) a shift i’ve been on for the good part of almost 3 years and have never looked out at the rising sun even though my office is located in one of those uber modern, all-glass buildings. All because work beckons and there’s the first news bulletin of the day to broadcast. Not surprisingly, it’s called the Sunrise show.

Sunrise easily wins my vote for the most beautiful time of the day. What’s not to like- the silence, the purity, the clarity, you can see, smell, hear and feel unhindered. My mother told me that watching a sunrise everyday for a full year without fail boosts one’s immunity 100%. This is an extension of the same logic of making a baby absorb sunlight, the free-est, most abundant source of Vitamin D.

Sunrises will always remind me of my father…it was a ritual of sorts when I was little up until the age of 5 or 6 when he’d wake me up, utter 2 words ‘Sooyoo polloyaan?’ (let’s watch the sunrise) as he carried me to the window, we’d watch the sun rise over Mumbai’s skyline…the placid Arabian sea on one side, the sun rising on the other. We watched the sunrise together this wintry morning… Don’t you just love constants…

Remembering a Forgettable Teacher

It’s my first September 5th since I started volunteering as a teacher.  And as I remember all the teachers who’ve taught me down the years, I can’t help but dwell on the one teacher who never liked me. Miss Mews was my first teacher and I was in her kindergarten class at one of Bombay’s most snobbish schools.

Miss Mews had remarked to my eager parents during what was their first ever PTA interaction: Your daughter is a talkative little grandmother, her head is in the clouds, her arithmetic is poor and she just won’t colour inside the lines. Sadly, it didn’t quite have the desired effect she was hoping on my folks. To them her review meant their kid was normal and this woman was just bizarre to expect anything more from a 4 year old.  I was oblivious to the way my teacher felt about me and didn’t suffer any long-term trauma from being in Miss Mews classroom for a whole year as my head was thankfully in the clouds.

When I look at myself today I’m the still the girl that Miss Mews disapproved of …a classic case of verbal diarrhoea,  daydreaming most of the time,  agrees to disagree with mathematics… my colouring has improved slightly though…I wear my ‘i’m not messy, i’m creative’ badge with pride…and that’s why I can never forget her. Wonder what became of Miss Mews.  Couldn’t help but think of her today as it’s Teachers’ Day.  Don’t know where she is and whether she’s still teaching.  But wherever she is I wish her well…and hope she didn’t go through an entire generation of  children, scarring them with her overcritical views. I hope she learnt to appreciate each child the way God made them.

In my own experience, Miss Mews belongs to a minority. Most others in the teaching profession are aware of the influence they wield on their students and are humbled by it. I was  blessed with some great teachers at school, college and then university, men and women who taught from their hearts, opened my mind. Most of my friends are teachers or are on their way to becoming teachers. I have the greatest respect for them.

The teaching bug bit me too earlier this year. Had the chance to teach Spoken English to 12 girls at an NGO, it was the most gratifying feeling, something no paycheque can equal. Can’t wait to do it again. I think the experience turns out to be even better when the teacher keeps herself open to learning and un-learning as well. Sadly, Miss Mews  missed that class.

The Big Plunge

3 years of mulling over turning a blogger, balancing the pros and cons of putting myself ‘out there’  and here I am taking the bold plunge.  Boy, ain’t I impulsive! Done with the procrastination and ready to write, vent, share…be.

I really owe this blog to a few incidents, experiences and people, both real and fictional, that struck a chord with me. Like my grandmother who is bravely battling cancer. Like the anti-corruption movement that’s growing, mutating before our eyes here in India. The giddy nervousness I feel at the thought of baking bread at home from scratch. The blog takes inspiration from the film Julia and Julie (a must watch for every compulsive foodie and wannabe blogger…I’m sure the internet owes alot of the food blogs doing the rounds to that film). Needless to say, the title of this blog takes off from one of my all-time favourite films ‘Serendipity’.

Serendipity [ser-uhn-dip-i-tee]
1. an aptitude or faculty for making desirable, fortunate discoveries by accident
2. good luck; fortune

This blog will touch on a lil bit of all the themes that inspired it – good food, good living…things I take heart in. Starting with a blog on one of the surest ways to reduce the risk of breast cancer….that’s coming up next.