All posts by Mom and Ideas

Lunch box ideas for preschoolers / snack break ideas for school kids

DAY 1 Snack Box Idea (check both images to see what I packed and what came back) 😇

June 22nd was Mishika’s first day of school! They have one snack break and no need to mention that I was worried if she would eat anything at all. But she surprised me when she came home with an empty tiffin box and said she loved everything! So I am very happy for the first day. Thankfully, she finishes her tiffin every single day and it’s been over a month now 🙂

Scroll till the end for a video on 12 days of tiffin ideas.

I will keep sharing her daily lunch box / snack box ideas for every parent like me who is confused about what to pack everyday!

Let me know if you would like to see more tiffin ideas for school kids and I will continue this series. I will also share what she ate and what came back so we know what works and when and how!

Wish this nervous and excited first-time-school-going-kid-mom luck 😊

In the box:

1. Homemade pancakes with jaggery
2. Cashew nuts
3. Roasted salt and pepper phool makhane / fox nuts
4. Kishmish / raisins

So I am very happy for the first day. Thankfully, she finishes her tiffin every single day and it’s been over a month now 🙂

I will keep sharing her daily lunch box / snack box ideas for every parent like me who is confused about what to pack everyday!

Let me know if you would like to see more tiffin ideas for school kids and I will continue this series. I will also share what she ate and what came back so we know what works and when and how!

Wish this nervous and excited first-time-school-going-kid-mom luck 😊

In the box:

1. Homemade pancakes with jaggery
2. Cashew nuts
3. Roasted salt and pepper phool makhane / fox nuts
4. Kishmish / raisins

12 days of tiffin ideas

Following your passion after a long break post childbirth is possible: Deepa Anand – Mom Interview

I spoke to Deepa Anand, an artist mom who shares about her journey as a mom and an artist. Check out her Instagram page @deepa_artwork to see her amazing nature-inspired paintings.

Tell us something about yourself

I am an abstract artist and a mom to a 10-year-old boy. I create abstract paintings, mostly using acrylic paints. Recently, I have started making natural colours that can be used for painting. I also organise workshops like mud play for kids as well as grown-ups. It brings us so much closer to nature and it is kind of meditative. You can say that I am all about the love for nature.

How did you manage career and motherhood?

Honestly, I struggled a lot and ended up taking a long break that was not my initial plan. It took me years to strike a balance but I had to prioritise. Every mom’s circumstances, health, struggles and support system are different and I believe no one should compare moms. For me, it was not quite possible to manage full-time work while raising my kid in his early years.

Tell us about your journey to motherhood and beyond!

I studied art, came to Mumbai for post graduation in Fine Arts and then started working as a web designer for some time. However, deep inside I knew paintings were my true calling.

I left my job when I was eight months pregnant because my workplace did not offer maternity leave. At that point, I was certain that I will start working again once my baby turned one. But, I ended up being at home for three years. I just wanted to be with my child in his early years but also missed working at the same time.

It was a tough phase and I eventually started working part time. I picked a job that was close to my house. I would drop my kid to playgroup, rush to work, rush back to pick him in time and go home. I was perpetually running all the time, it was insanely exhausting with all the household work as well. I used to earn well when I worked full time but the compromised pay of this job was highly unsatisfying. I kept feeling I deserve better, much better.

Eventually, when my kid was seven years old, I stopped working part time as well. I guess it just wasn’t meant for me. I wanted to focus on him rather than doing a job that neither paid me well, nor seemed interesting anymore. The painter in me kept nudging me to paint instead. My husband also encouraged me and supported me in pursuing my passion.

So did you start painting and exhibitions immediately?

I did start practicing my painting skills initially. I also started networking among artists and taking advice from them. I also visited several art galleries. It didn’t take much time then to stock up on my art supplies. The good thing was that I had the liberty to paint as per my convenience and from my home or studio. This way, I could be with my child and give him sufficient time while also focusing on my passion while he was in school.

So we can say that you gradually ‘brushed’ away your mom-guilt!

Yes, of course! It took me a lot of time to strike a work-life balance and follow my true calling, but I am here now. I think life teaches you a lot with the challenges it throws at you.

What tips would you like to give to moms who took a break from their career but are just not able to restart even after a few years?

See, I restarted my career after a gap of some three to four years. Before that I worked part time as well. I had never thought that I would take a break like that. It somehow led me to what I should have always done – painting! I would like to say that don’t lose hope if things are not going as per your initial plan. Keep the spark alive. If and when you think it is possible for you based on your personal circumstances, give it a try again! Don’t worry thinking if you could ever work again, that is if you wish to resume working. It might take a few months or years, but stay positive.

Remember to:

  1. Never give up
  2. Follow your dreams
  3. Start networking
  4. Start writing your goals (be it work or personal)

If you had a full-fledged career before having a child and don’t wish to start working again, that is okay too. You are a good mom raising a wonderful person, that is what matters the most!

Such an inspiring story, right? Personally, I haven’t been able to give more time to income based work since the birth of my child and was worried if and when I will be able to get back on track. Her story does make me feel better, hopeful and motivated! How about you?

You can check out her paintings on her Instagram page @deepa_artwork and for enquiries about paintings, commission work or workshops, email her on deepaanand.artist@gmail.com

Travelling with a Toddler: Diaper changing tips in crowded outdoors

Do you struggle to CHANGE DIAPERS when you are in CROWDED OUTDOORS without your car and no visible restroom in vicinity? Well, let me tell you what helped us in a crowded Mumbai area.

So as we know, there are not many clean public restrooms here in Mumbai where a woman can comfortably pee, let alone change her kid’s diapers!

We went to Mumbai’s Byculla Zoo (Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan And Zoo) yesterday and decided to take public transport🚇🚍 instead of our car. All was fine until the super humidity in afternoon (it finally rained last evening) and sweating resulted in excessive water intake. Well, we had to change her sweat soaked clothes and diaper (before it was too late).

For those who are being judgemental and wondering why my 3.5 years old daughter is out in diapers, please visit the washrooms / public toilets in Mumbai and tell me how can you make your child sit there.

The wet and stinky floors of the zoo washrooms were definitely not an option. There was no time to head to a mall (the obvious choice for a little cleaner restroom). And that’s when this mom’s brain came to action. We found a small but clean restaurant nearby that had a little family area kinda partition. Don’t judge me, a mom needs to do what she needs to do! Since it was non-peak hour, it didn’t have customers. We ordered some tea and all and requested the manager if we could change her clothes and diaper in the area behind the partition. He obliged and I felt we met an angel! Thankfully, my kid is a little older now so the change could be managed with her standing. We had a disposal bag handy, we remember to always leave with that though I now realize I should always carry a dupatta or large scarf so that I can use it to create a covered area when we go in little crowded outdoors. I still have no idea what I would have done if she had done the bigger business!

So if you are stuck in a crowded area and must change the baby’s diaper in privacy, try this:
1. Carry all the necessary changing things including a few disposal bags and wipes.
2. Carry a large dupatta / sheet so that if need be you can just make a covered area to change in privacy.
3. Restaurant is definitely not a good choice for diaper change but whatever works in emergency.
4. If you can wait, just take a cab and head to the nearest mall.
5. Hope / pray that the authorities will soon create child-friendly public restrooms 🚻 If you are someone who can bring about this change or are a celebrity, please help make our city a comfortable place for kids.
Moms and dads in this situation, don’t panic, you’ll always find a solution!

Please share to help other parents in similar situation.

Central Park in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai: Good idea for kids

Central Park Kharghar Timing: 6 am – 9 am and 5 pm – 8 pm

When there was an announcement of opening a Central Park in Navi Mumbai, a little over a decade ago, I was very glad. I didn’t have a kid back then but I knew that when I become a mom it would be a great idea to take my kid there every once in a while. After all, we really have very few open and nature-touch large spaces in Mumbai that we can visit for a day.

Of course, I became a mom after eight years of the launch of Central Park and Covid arrived around the time my kid started walking without the need to hold hands. So, our visit to the huge park for her to play was further delayed. And I don’t know if it was the same for you but we never managed to reach any place with our pram-baby without being terribly late. When she was a baby, we literally got late every single time we decided to reach Central Park, a 25-minute drive from our place. Feeding, changing, packing her stuff and my fibromyalgia flare-ups with all that always resulted in one of the following:

1. We reached there just half an hour before the closing time.
2. She fell asleep just a few minutes before we reached.
3. She needed to be fed / diaper changed just before we were about to leave pretty late.
4. I was miserably slow in packing for her (still am)… I still can’t figure out why but maybe because I am worried that I should not forget anything important at home.

Anyway, so last evening we managed to reach Kharghar Central Park the moment it opens in the evening – 5 pm? How? Well, we ended up having a late lunch in a restaurant in Kharghar, near the Central Park. Then we had some tea and voila… We were there in time 😆 TIP: If you tend to reach late to places, aim to reach much early, way too early 🤣

Exploring Nature

To our suprise, the Central Park was buzzing with kids and families within 15 minutes of its opening time. I read that it is spread across 290 acres… really huge space! We directly headed to the kids play area before it could get more crowded. Oh, the number of slides, swings and all are amazing! I have never seen so many slides together in a park or playground. There are many trees and well maintained grass so you can sit in the shade for long.

Kharghar Central Park: Kids Play Area

The constant sound of kids all around us made us feel so good as since Covid we didn’t get to hear lots of kids playing together, giggling, running and enjoying their childhood the way they should – playing in the open with many kids around.

Tips for Central Park visit with little children:

1. Carry enough drinking water.
2. If your kid still wears diaper, carry an extra set with disposal bag so you don’t have to go to the parking lot again.
3. Carry some snacks but please do not throw empty packets and empty bottles on the ground.
4. Carry a sheet to sit and keep your stuff if they feel ticklish on grass.
5. Click pictures, you’ll love to look at them years later.
6. Carry a ball, hoola goop, badminton set, frisbee, etc. to play with your kids.
7. If your kids have longer hair, it’s a good idea to tie them in a pony or pigtails so the wind doesn’t result in knots and they don’t have to adjust the hair coming on their face all the time with the wind.
8. Comfortable footwear makes all the difference. Also, encourage them to walk bare feet on grass, mud and sand.

I’ll share more about places to visit with kids in and around Navi Mumbai and Mumbai in the upcoming posts. Remember to subscribe to momandideas.com and follow us on Instagram – @momandideas

Aamras Recipe / Mango Pulp Recipe Video

Here’s my Aamras Recipe (Mango pulp/puree that can be used as a dessert or accompaniment) for all the Mango Lovers!
Perfect for kids too!

Aamras is a popular mango recipe in India during the mango season. If you can get Alphonso mangoes for the same, it will give the best results.

This is my version of the recipe and my kid loves it. I use malai/fresh cream from the boiled milk of the day but you can skip it if you are lactose intolerant or on your weight loss journey.

I skip using sugar / jaggery / honey or any other sweetener and blend it for a couple of minutes only.

The richness and super creamy nature of this recipe comes from the quality of mangoes used and the malai / fresh cream. As I mentioned earlier, you can skip it though.

Remember that the quantity reduces after blending and removing the seed. So if you think that 2 mangoes would be enough for you, just double the count 🙂 as it is too yummy and you will need more! I used 2 mangoes here and regretted the quantity as three of us were planning to eat, we all just got a few spoonfuls 😆

Aamras Recipe Ingredients (adjust the proportion of everything based on the quantity of mangoes used):
2 medium size Alphonso Mangoes / Haapus Aam
Pinch of cardamom seeds / powder
2 tbsp malai / fresh cream from boiled milk / a tbsp of milk

Aamras Recipe Steps:

Soak ripe mangoes in water & refrigerate for a few hours.
Peel, cut and add in a blender.
Add fresh cream / malai (ideally from boiled milk of the day).
Add green cardamom / cardamom (elaichi) powder.
Blend till you get a smooth and creamy consistency (watch the video below for reference).
The yummiest & smoothest Aamras / Mango Pulp is ready! 🥭🥭🥭 Enjoy with rotis, puris ot just relish a bowlful of this goodness!

Watch the video below for the best aamras recipe. Let me know in comments if you try it or share your version.

Best Aamras Recipe Video

If the mangoes you have bought aren’t sweet, only then add jaggery powder/sugar/honey as per your liking. Else, with ripe and sweet mangoes you won’t need these!

A-Z Challenge, my superhero story and catching up

This is a quick one. So I completed the A-Z challenge in April! Thank you all for showing all the love to my posts and the superheroes story. With all the encouragement, I am keen to convert the story into a proper book/series with more details and interesting twists and turns.

Meanwhile, I am yet to catch up with all of your posts that I missed towards the end of the challenge. Certain unavoidable things, extra work and dental issues came up in the last week of April and I struggled to complete the A-Z challenge. But I definitely intend to read as much as possible, especially the ones who commented on my posts. My reflections post too is pending and I guess I missed the deadline. I just renewed my WordPress membership and I will catch up from 17th May. I will also list the blogs I loved during the challenge and the nice things people said in the next post. Gotta rush now but I owed it to you to let you know why I missed reading a few of your posts. See you around soon!

Earth Citizens

TITLE: I AM FROM EARTH.

A dangerous virus arrived on earth.
Many many years after human evolution.
Just a virus, without any education, ideology or a long process of evolution.
Didn’t discriminate on the basis of anything.
It treated everyone equally, regardless of:
Country
Religion
Gender
Age
Colour
Caste
Financial status
Education
Language
And kinda ruled our lives for two years.

Meanwhile, all humans came together.
Regardless of:
Country
Religion
Gender
Age
Colour
Caste
Financial status
Education
Language
They made it weaker together.
Finally, it is weaker, maybe.

And now humans are focussing again on what makes them weaker as a species by fighting in the name of:
Country
Religion
Gender
Age
Colour
Caste
Financial status
Education
Language

Weird creatures we are. Very weird. Maybe we affected / infected the virus so much that it started having different prominent variants in different places.

Why do we need a calamity to stand together. Why do we need to fight? Let people be. Let us be EARTH CITIZENS while respecting everyone’s individual beliefs, culture and language preferences.

#justahumanbeing #iamfromearth

Z for Zzz and its connection with sleep

For those who were reading my fiction about One Minuters: I am glad to share that I ended the story (for now) in the previous post. Frankly, I wanted to treat myself with an easy post on Z. Coming up with so many Z words to start every sentence of the last chapter (as per my tough theme for the fiction) was difficult given that the chapter demanded pace 😊 This is my 26th and last post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge).
Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:
A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ XY ➡ Z

Zzz…

I am so tempted to end the Z post just like this! I think I have earned myself some Zs after the fiction that I ended yesterday with the Y post. We all participants have earned a break, right?

By the way, did you know how Zzz became synonymous with sleep?

Well, it used to be tough for comic book and comic strip artists to indicate sleep. So someone came up with the onomatopoeic representation of snoring by using Zzz. Though personally I feel that snoring sounds more like krhhhh rather than zzzzzzz 😜 As I write this, my 3-year-old is napping beside me and snoring like krhhhh krhhh! Funny coincidence, isn’t it?

Anyway, over the years, Zzz became so common that people started using the idiom “to catch some Zs” for saying “to get some sleep”.

That’s about it! Won’t make this last post of the month long as we all are clearly exhausted and deserve a relaxed Zzz-full weekend.

I am very thankful to my WhatsApp gal gang who kept motivating me and my family and friends who appreciated my work. Super thankful to the organisers of the annual A-Z challenge for all their hardwork and for keeping the spirit of blogging alive.

Stay tuned for more interesting posts on momandideas.com and who knows The One Minuters might surprise you again!

PS I am really keen to know what you think about my fiction (B to Y posts). So I would appreciate if you could drop your honest comments below. Should I extend the story with greater details and convert it into a book?

Y for Yearning for the end of The Command

You need to join The One Minuters now,” The Voice spoke into Beth’s ears.

You both catch up, I need to go out for a while,” Beth told Keith and Quincy.

Yoghurt – mango flavoured, X-Men comics and Ben-Ten stickers, I know you are going out to get those for me, right?,” Keith counted the things Beth had promised to get for him a few weeks ago.

Yes, of course! And the comics were not in the list!” Beth pretended to be normal though she was very worried.

Yet again, all the One Minuters assembled.

You see, Tim seems nervous now so I would need you to visit his memory a little while ago. Just let him decide to take a walk on the beach after passing through the X-amine frame so that he doesn’t hear that the lock was lodged in his duodenum,” A Minute assigned the task to Holly knowing that a worried Tim could be an ideal host for The Command.

Yesterday, I managed to scatter the particles of that key in the geostationary orbit, should I do the same with the lock? But how do I get it out of his system, won’t he bleed?” Beth asked A Minute.

Young woman, we can’t have the lock and the key in the same orbit. You might have to go farther in space and scattering the lock into a thousand pieces means there would require a lot of energy. It’s risky. We need another idea!” A Minute looked at the others.

Yeah, I’ve got one. Dev, could you convert that lock into the tiniest possible water drop and then transform it into water vapour? It’s already noon and quite hot, we can light a fire below the drop and take no chances! What do you say?” Evelyn was glad that she could do more than just making people fall asleep. 

Yes, I can do that. But how to get that lock out from Tim’s body?”

You know, I can gaze at the X mark made on him strongly enough so as to extract it but pulling it out would mean cuts and blood, we don’t have a surgeon amongst us,” Beth was worried about Tim.

You humans think too much. Leave it to me, I’ll heal Tim. Now hurry up with this brilliant plan before Tim feels the pressure to, you know, do the thing you do in the mornings to remove unnecessary things from your digestive system. We don’t want to reach that stage!” A Minute tried to be funny to make the One Minuters feel at ease.

Yuck!” they all uttered in unison after which A Minute stretched a second long enough for the team to complete the task while Evelyn ensured that Tim stayed deep asleep.

Yearning to put an end to The Command, the team gave its hundred percent: Beth gazed at the X mark on Tim’s skin, the lock popped out making a deep cut on his body, Dev focussed and transformed it into the tiniest possible droplet, then raised it high in the air, Holly had ignited a piece of wood to serve as torch that she held right under the droplet before it fell and in to time it transformed into water vapour and disappeared in the air!

Yes, we did it! We did it!” the One Minuters started jumping and hugging with joy until they realised that Tim must be bleeding.

You did it guys!” Tim joined them without any blood or injury mark on his body and they all looked at A Minute!

Young humans, don’t look surprised! What is that saying that you all have? A stitch in time saves nine! What do you think the Time is doing in that proverb! And by the way, it was originally – ’A stitch by time made everything fine’. Long story, I’ll tell you some other day!” A Minute started laughing and so did everyone else.

The story endsfor now! Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence (paragraph in case of long conversations) of this chapter of the story with the letter Y (I have managed to do the same from the B letter post)! This is my 25th post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story.
Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:
A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ XY ➡ Z

Thank you for reading and encouraging me to write better and often!

X for Xylophone, Xerosis and X-amine

Xylophone musical toys can be really irritating when kids play them non-stop just making noise and not music.

eXcept for the morning after the victory over The Command when Keith’s noisy music made everyone feel better knowing that he was safe and just being a child.

X-Men are so cool Ma! Did you know there is an army of superheroes? I watched the movie with dad and mom, but mom forwarded some scenes. She said I am too small to watch so much fighting. I will be seven now, can I watch the full movie now?” Keith was too excited to share everything with Quincy; he had no previous memory of her as she had left when he was just two years old, but Beth and Rohit always spoke to him about how much she loved him and that one day she would be back.

X-Men are my favourite superheroes too! But your mom is right, you need to grow up a little bit to watch the entire movie. Ma and mom will always be in the same team you know, so don’t try to act smart and convince me to allow you to do something that she doesn’t allow!” Quincy was happy to lead a normal life again with Keith and the family.

X-Women… you two are X-Women teaming up against me! Maybe you were gone all these years doing superhero things! Are there more superheroes in your team? Tell me, tell me now!” Keith advanced towards Quincy posing as Wolverine while everyone around laughed.

eXcuse me! Maybe we are a huge team, but superheroes never reveal their secrets! Right Quincy?” Beth was glad that they were all together and Keith had no idea about all the real superhero stuff that happened over the past few days.

eXtra intake of the COASTED (Carrots, Oats, Almonds, Spinach, Turmeric, Eggs and Dates) diet in the morning had re-energised the One Minuters and everyone, except Beth, had left for a deserted beach before Keith woke up.

Xerosis curtis happens due to epidermal water loss and it is making Tim’s skin dry and flaky. Since he had swallowed the tiny bubble form of The Command when it was most powerful, it might be depriving him of body fluids. We have a special examination process, like your X-rays, to detect if The Command still exists in Tim’s body. If so, it needs to be extracted before it’s too late,” A Minute was concerned about Tim as his skin was changing rapidly.

X-amine, a glowing rectangular large frame-like structure appeared in front of them and Tim was asked to pass through it.

X-amine showed results instantly within its frame: a tiny translucent lock was blinking like a yellow light in Tim’s duodenum.

X was marked on the exact spot on Tim’s body as instructed by The Voice and it was decided to call Beth – they needed her gaze again!

The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence (paragraph in case of long conversations) of this chapter of the story with the letter X but in 3 instances I used eX instead coz it has the same sound as X and there weren’t enough X words that fit my story (I have managed to do the same from the B letter post)! This is my 24th post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story.
Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:
A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Z

W for Watch out!

With A Minute and The Voice gone, the One Minuters felt helpless as The Command was about to trap Keith in that bubble shaped box. 

When A Minute took Quincy to the happiest day of her life – the day when she became a mom, The Voice delivered Tim’s message about taking her to a dark area so that her shadow disappears. 

Wait, what?” A Minute was so busy keeping Quincy happy with her memories that she did not notice what was happening in the present. 

Without wasting a millisecond, she made Quincy travel to the night after Keith’s birth. 

When baby Keith was unable to sleep that night, Quincy had held him in her arms, switched off all the lights and had hummed some songs; she had continued humming for long even after the baby fell asleep as she felt truly happy and at peace. 

With Quincy in that absolutely happy moment in her past, and with no possibility of her shadow in the dark, The Command’s bubble over Keith started getting wobbly in the present. 

Whoa, it worked!” Holly pointed to show that the shadow had disappeared. 

Wise enough to not waste any time, Dev focussed and transformed the bubble and its lid part into a tiny lock and a key. 

While Tim swallowed the lock bit, Beth, who could move anything with her gaze and even borrow the powers of other One Minuters, had another idea for the key part. 

Who can question the power of a mother when it comes to the safety of her kid! 

Whoosh… suddenly the key was pushed in the direction of the sky, out of the earth’s atmosphere and into the geostationary orbit 35,785 kms (22,236 miles) above Earth’s Equator.

With the key shaped tiny bubble in the orbit, Beth used the power of Dev to transform it into a thousand scattered particles that would just stay in the orbit like debris. 

Watch out!” A Minute suddenly landed in the room with Quincy, “The Voice just told us that The Command is gone! We had to wait to return until we were certain that The Command was nowhere around else it would have taken Quincy and her shadow as hosts again.”

Wonderful… you all have been very brave and clever in handling The Command! You have lost too much energy and will fall unconscious soon. We have had Rohit prepare COASTED booster pouches for each of you, go get some super nutrition right away.” The Voice was proud of them. 

Woman, you can stop singing now, you must be exhausted ensuring that everyone in the vicinity is asleep,” A Minute finally told Evelyn what she had been waiting to hear! 

Wait… So is it all over? Is The Command gone for good? Are the kids safe now?” Evelyn, like all others, had too many questions.

Well, yes and no. Tim has consumed The Command’s lock bit at its peak phase, so we do need to examine him, but that can wait for a day. Please eat well and rest,” A Minute ended up stressing out the One Minuters instead of making them feel better. 

The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence (paragraph in case of long conversations) of this chapter of the story with the letter W (I have managed to do the same from the B letter post)! This is my 23rd post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story.
Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:
A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Z

V for Valour is not always enough

Vibrations resulting from The Command’s presence at the farmhouse were getting stronger but before the neighbours could notice anything, Evelyn used her superpower – She started singing to make everyone fall asleep. 

Vicious evil power, The Command, had taken the form of a large box-shaped bubble and was floating right above Keith who was deep asleep thanks to Evelyn; it clearly intended to trap Keith and carry him away.

Various attempts by Dev to make the bubble change its shape or size failed and after every attempt, Holly got into his head, travelled a few minutes into his past and made him try something else; this way, no time was practically wasted. 

Viewing everything closely and waiting for the bubble to get small so that he could swallow it, Tim noticed Quincy’s shadow, the current host for The Command, on the wall and got an idea. 

Voice, The Voice, are you around?” he cried. 

Vigilant, as always, The Voice confirmed his presence and asked how he could help. 

Virtually everything has been tried here but nothing is working because the shadow is still here. What if, while A Minute is time travelling with Quincy to all her happy memories, she picks the ones in which there is barely any light to cast her shadow? You know like at nights when she sang lullabies to Keith with the lights off or some other happy time when a shadow was not possible. Can you convey this message to A Minute? Maybe we can defeat The Command when the shadow disappears from here!”

Very brilliant idea, on my way,” The Voice was heard exclaiming after which they couldn’t hear him as he possibly left to find A Minute. 

Valiant One Minuters continued trying in vain and suddenly the box-shaped bubble opened its lid and started lifting Keith to lock him inside; it had grown stronger as it sensed them being worried and weak. 

The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence (paragraph in case of long conversations) of this chapter of the story with the letter V (I have managed to do the same from the B letter post)! This is my 22nd post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story.
Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:
A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Z

U for Unsafe at home

Underestimating anyone, especially an enemy, is never a good idea. 

Untrustworthy and evil, The Command had fooled the One Minuters into leaving Keith unsafe at home

Unexpectedly though, Quincy’s tears had flown onto the playground making a smiley face symbol as a cue. 

Until that moment, Beth had believed that keeping Keith happy at all times was the best way to save him as The Command fed on anxiety, fear and sorrow; but after seeing the smiley symbol she realised that her assumption was wrong. 

Utter mistake! We got it all wrong! As of now, Quincy is the host for The Command and it feeds on her fear and sorrow. It is not Keith who we need to keep happy all the time, it should be Quincy. If she is happy, content and relaxed, The Command just cannot survive, or at least it could become weak. But how do you make a mom feel happy when her kid’s life is in danger and an evil power is using her to do the worst?” Beth sounded confident, yet scared. 

Understood! I have an idea. Let’s trick The Command then. All of you go to the farmhouse and try to keep The Command and Quincy’s shadow away from Keith. Meanwhile, I will try to take Quincy back in time, to each of her happy moments. I won’t give her a break to think about all this and be upset even for a second. As of now, The Command is busy trying to use only the shadow and it won’t notice that Quincy is missing. If Quincy is happy for long, The Command will not be able to feed off her sorrow, let alone her shadow!” A Minute dropped everyone at the farmhouse and headed back to Quincy in a millisecond. 

The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence (paragraph in case of long conversations) of this chapter of the story with the letter U (I have managed to do the same from the B letter post)! This is my 21st post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story.
Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:
A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡Y Z

T for Tricks and Tears

The One Minuters reached the university within a minute and The Command’s presence was obvious with a huge bubble floating over the playground. 

Together, they repeated the act they had done earlier at the Andheri stadium – Dev made the bubble as small as a pea, Beth moved it towards Tim who swallowed it and everything was calm again.

This triumph over The Command somehow felt rather easy and while the rest assumed that it was due to their intensive training, Beth wasn’t so certain. 

Take a look around, there’s no damage as such. Everything is in its place as if The Command didn’t intend to cause destruction here,” Beth knew something was amiss. 

That’s when everyone started carefully looking around the playground. 

The halogen lights cast shadows of all the trees and poles around when suddenly Evelyn noticed a woman hiding in the distance. 

To everyone’s surprise, while everything around her had shadows on the ground, hers was missing! 

The Voice was prompt in reacting, “That must be Quincy working on the bubble effect while her separated shadow, under The Command’s influence, must be near Keith. The Command is now using two hosts – Quincy as one and her shadow as another. We must rush.”

They were clearly tricked into leaving Keith with only Rohit at home. 

Then, just as they were about to be transported back home by A Minute, they noticed something very strange. 

Tears, streams of them, rolled down Quincy’s eyes, flowed on to the playground forming some symbols, as if she was trying to communicate something. 

Time seemed to have halted temporarily when Beth’s phone rang. 

Told you it might come for Keith, rush home… Now,” Rohit had never sounded so scared. 

The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence of this chapter of the story with the letter T (I have managed to do the same from the B letter post)! This is my 19th post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story.
Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:
A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ ST ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z

S for Shadow of a Mom

Slightly faint, but clearly a woman’s shadow was visible outside the window as Rohit and Beth rushed after hearing the wailing sound from Keith’s room.

Surprisingly, Keith was fast asleep and the wailing stopped.

Save my child please. Beth, only you can save him. The Command is coming for him. I shouldn’t have trusted it. It wants to leave my body and inhabit Keith’s nervous system, where it will influence his behaviour and make him do terrible things. Read all about parasites, you might figure out something. I must leave now,” Quincy had somehow managed to see her son and speak to Beth before disappearing yet again. 

Studies have proved that many parasites use more than one host organism and since they cannot survive without a host, they rely on their hosts themselves to facilitate transmission – Rohit discovered this fact after five minutes of using a search engine. 

Somehow, they had to figure out how The Command could be stopped from reaching Keith.

Suddenly, Beth remembered that The Voice had told them that the evil power fed on anxiety, fear and sorrow.

So if Keith stays happy all the time, maybe The Command couldn’t touch him. Let’s ensure that he doesn’t get upset about anything and stays relaxed at all times. Let’s even celebrate his birthday in advance, let him not even sense that there is a problem,” Beth had found a temporary solution.

Superb idea, let’s all try that. But have you ever come across a kid who is happy about everything all the time? It’s obvious for a child to get disappointed about something that might appear unimportant to us,” A Minute appeared in all her glory with a glowing neon arrow and it was even visible to Rohit.

Soon, The One Minuters arrived even though they were planning to come a couple of days later.

Seems like we need to rush to the University ground. Twitter is abuzz with tweets about weird vibrations in the local university campus. This time, let’s reach before the damage is done,” Dev was all charged up to stop The Command.

Stay here Beth, what if The Command comes for Keith while you are away?” Rohit was worried as he understood the gravity of the situation.

Sixty seconds, we will be back in just sixty seconds. I and The Voice will know if it comes here and we’ll be here in no time,” A Minute sounded confident.

Sadly enough, she had no idea that The Command could now be present at two places at the same time since it had separated Quincy’s shadow from her body and was using both as hosts simultaneously.

The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence of this chapter of the story with the letter S (I have managed to do the same from the B letter post)! This is my 18th post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story.
Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:
A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z