Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Last week, we stopped at the stationery aisle in the grocery store. I figured the boys would love something new to scribble on. My older one chose a coloring book and the younger one chose a pack of glitter tubes. While the little guy is mostly a star wars and construction person, sometimes he loves to immerse himself in colors and textures.

We get home and he decides that the glitter had to be put to work right away. We take out paper and he spends the next hour at the dining table drawing out his imagination with glitter. At…

It was spring vacation and the kids were excited about a trip out of town. A mom friend lived there, and I reached out to her to check her availability to meet. We were planning to move farther away and I knew there was little or no chance of coming back. In effect, this would be a hello and goodbye.

“Would you have time to visit us?” asked my mom friend.

As our schedule became clearer, I realized that we would be a 10-minute drive away from her. However, traffic and other vagaries of life in bustling cities meant we…

Photo by Victor Santos from Pexels

I am a brown-skinned Indian American. Race or racism has been something we don’t really speak about. It simmers under the skin, known but ignored, present but unseen.

Growing up in India as a relatively darker skinned girl, the color of my skin brought me many sleepless nights. I decided that if I couldn’t stand out in a good way because of how I looked, I needed to channel it into my work. I won essay writing and drawing competitions and excelled academically.

A feeling of belonging was a welcome relief when I moved to southern India for college. A…

My son’s Valentine’s day treat bag

It is Valentine’s day. My son is bursting from excitement as I pick him up from school. He is holding a white paper bag with a red paper heart on it. Without looking I know the reason for the exuberance. He is on a sugar high and can’t wait to share the treats with his little brother.

In a span of thirty minutes, there are two energetic boys fighting over heart-shaped candy while I am calculating the amount of plastic his class of 20 would be throwing away.

Imagine the plastic every class in the country is throwing away on…

Photo by Jasmine Wallace Carter from Pexels

My first grader came home from school and confidently announced, “Girls cannot do construction jobs.”

“Why is that?” I queried, wondering how, at six years he was already demarcating professions by gender.

“Girls are not strong and tall. You need to be really strong for construction.” came the reply.

As parents, my husband and I had been careful to avoid stereotyping roles by gender. We both cooked and cleaned at home. We had never pointed out to the boys that they couldn’t buy pink toys or play with dolls. My son had simply been processing, and reacting to the information…

Photo by Josh Willink from Pexels

Gender Equality is Goal 5 of the SDG 2030 Agenda.

“Women have a critical role to play in all of the SDGs, with many targets specifically recognizing women’s equality and empowerment as both the objective, and as part of the solution. Goal 5 is known as the stand-alone gender goal because it is dedicated to achieving these ends.”

- Women and Sustainable Development Goals, UN Women

This in itself, is an indicator that the world is finally recognizing that sustainable development is impossible without giving girls and women equitable resources.

Even in the developed world, gender equality is an issue…

Photo by BBH Singapore on Unsplash
Photo by BBH Singapore on Unsplash

“Good! You are taking both. I was hoping they would stay together”, commented the sweet-looking lady.

I smiled and walked away with my arms full. On a bright sunny afternoon at a high-end consignment store, I had found a pair of beautiful lamps. It was mere coincidence that I needed two.

The lady, who turned out to be the store manager, had instead made me feel like I was doing much more than indulging in some retail therapy. Yes, I was saving money. I was also conscious of giving something a second lease of life and keeping it out of the landfill.

Boxes were stacked in every room. Everyone was looking for things, all the time. Cries of ‘Mommy, where is my yellow dump truck/Lightning McQueen book/fire truck shirt/orange sandals’ rang in my ears.

Where do I even begin? I wondered, as a wave of anxiety washed over me.

A fortnight ago, on a surprisingly warm spring afternoon, we had stepped into a one-way flight to Boise, Idaho. We had packed up 6 years’ worth of living in nondescript cardboard boxes and bid adieu to the small network we had cultivated over the years. …

Photo by from Pexels

The day-long conference our volunteer team is putting together is less than three months away. Nothing, I mean, absolutely nothing has been done yet. No sessions have been planned and no speakers have been shortlisted. The volunteer in-charge of this is AWOL. Over the last couple months, she has been extremely sporadic and now she is no longer responding to emails. Unless someone does something in the next few days, the event will be shelved.

Finally, the head of the volunteer team rolls up his sleeves. He ‘fires’ the non-responding volunteer, gets everyone else together and creates action items and…

Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash

The smell of leather was alluring.

Bag after beautiful bag stared at me, tempting me to reach out and hold them. Do I go for the textured leather cross body strap bag or the white satchel bag with silver buckles? How about the black polished leather one? It would go with practically any outfit. On the other hand, the red and white bucket bag with the slender strap would make a real statement. After humming and hawing, I finally chose a beige one that was just my style. Functional, comfortable yet with a touch of class.

I had just been promoted and I was celebrating. I…

Lavanya Seetamraju

Strategic communications. Non profits. Sustainable living. Living more with less. Living green with kids

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