Sunday, July 31, 2011

Two Cats, a Cockatoo and a Question

The question is how much do you love your pets? I heard three stories about pets and their owners recently.

 A friend of ours owns two cats – Singa and Pura. They moved to Dubai 6 months back from Shanghai. Just before the move Singa was diagnosed with diabetes. He had to be kept under observation at a vet hospital for couple of weeks. After a short stint in hospital Singa was united with Pura in Dubai. Just like us humans once diabetes is detected Singa will now need a life long supply of insulin shots. The whole rehabilitation has cost our friend a small fortune.  But none of these matter for Richard because Singa is his family.

We heard this story from a friend – A story of his friend’s cat. Whilst he was away on a vacation, the cat who was left behind at home with a cat-sitter, died.  On hearing the news, he asked the cat to be kept in a vet morgue until he came back from holidays. On his return, he organised a memorial service inviting his friends and family. He wept when he said goodbye with a heavy heart. It felt perfectly natural for him as he was mourning the death of a family member.   

Another of our friend’s friend had a cockatoo. He asked his driver to keep an eye on the pet whilst he was away on vacation. The driver regularly went to feed the bird, but one day he found the cockatoo curled in one corner of the cage. He rushed the bird to the nearest vet. The doctor had a thorough examination and administered a dose of medication. On his way back, the cockatoo died. The driver retold the story to owner on his return.  On hearing the time and money he spent on the bird’s treatment the owner quipped, “I could have bought 6 cockatoos for the amount you spent on treating the dying bird”.

I am reminded of the MasterCard advertisement.

Diabetes treatment for a cat – AED 30,000
Morgue expenses at the vets – AED 17,000
Medication for a dying cockatoo – AED 100
Treating pets like your family – PRICELESS 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ant-e Depressants Part 2 - The Happy Ending

I feel I am constantly at war. War against the Pachycondyla verenae community. For people like me who are not very zoologically inclined that is scientific name for Ants. Okay I googled that out to create an impact!

I tried all that stuff I wrote in one of my previous posts. However none of that worked. I was then suggested to try white cement. So I went to ACE Hardware store to buy some of that. I was determined to leave no stone unturned. Bit by bit I sealed all the tiny cracks to ensure zero intrusion.

It worked for about 48 hours and before the train of little monsters returned. I almost gave up on home remedies and was about to go for the nuclear option that is calling in the pest control folks. And then I woke up on Friday to witness the ants invading our bread basket. I had to take whole thing and keep it in the balcony for some solar therapy. By evening they had colonised the basket and had half a slice turn into a mountain of crumbs. I managed to rescue my basket and left the loaf for my enemies. It’s been lying there for 2 days and the stock is getting depleted progressively. And amazing thing is I can’t find a single ant inside my house even after leaving an opened packet of cream biscuits overnight. No prizes for guessing where all of the ants went.

It all makes great sense to me now – give ants their dues and they’ll leave you in peace. It turns out that this isn’t anything new. For generations women in South India drew ‘Kolam’ - a design that is drawn using rice powder in front of the home, a decoration to signify prosperity. Decoration was not the sole purpose of a Kolam. They used to be drawn in coarse rice flour, so that the ants don't have to work so hard for a meal.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Buffet lunch - a starters review

Two hours of weekly grocery shopping at Lulu and we were really tired. We decided to make a quick stop at food court to grab something to eat. We have seen this place before but had never tried it; we made sudden change in the plan and went to Peppermill. So in my gym clothes (nah! not after a workout) I headed to have lunch with my partners in crime – Rakesh, Saju and Smera.

We are warmly greeted by the lady at the entrance who offered to take us to the table. Just as you get in Peppermill you are amazed by the lush interiors. The lady gives us a quick tour to the place and tells us about the restaurant concept.

Then we are shown a big peppermill – a REALLY BIG peppermill. Must be about 15 ft high and one that really worked. Apparently it’s the largest in the world and they are awaiting certification from Guinness world record.

We tried the buffet that had a decent spread. Chicken tikka was juicy and delightful and clearly highlight of the meal. The Paneer Ajwain Tikka was a let down for me.

I started this post planning to write a review, but I am not in the mood to finish as we have a movie to watch. Take my word it's worth a shot to go to Peppermill. I’d give a 7 on 10.

Oh yah! Forgot to mention the chocolate cake and the pumpkin halwa were heavenly.

At Lulu Hypermarket Al-Barsha - Contact no: 04-3549166

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reading Next: Alex's adventures in the Numberland

Remember the time when you used to remember phone numbers by-heart. We used to find unique patterns and rhythms to help us retrieve the digits when we needed them. Double-two three-two six-eight-seven – automatic grouping of seemingly disparate numbers translating them into a phrase that has a 'ring' to it.

With the adoption of mobile phones, we lost that ability somewhere along the way. Those of us who have lost our phone will vouch for the pain of loosing the contacts more than the cost of the phone.

Thinking about it, it is not just the mobile phone that has taken magic of numbers away from us – calculators, computers, spreadsheets have all played a bigger role in making us number-dumb.

I should confess I am no math buff, but was really fascinated recently when Saju picked up this book on numbers – ‘Alex’s Adventures in the Numberland’. I asked him to share some interesting stories from the book ….

1.      How the invention of zero by ancients Indians revolutionized maths
2.      An Amazonian tribe only capable of counting to 5
3.      Another tribe who could count upto 33 – however numbers 31,32 and 33 are traditionally only counted by men (clue: they use body parts to count)

Sounds like a lot of fun and I have bookmarked it as my next read.

Here is a short video on the book by the author. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My experiments with Smera – Part 2

My little one is now trying to stand up and walk. I am sure it’s not an easy task but she keeps trying all day long. In a week she has already mastered the technique to stand up holding onto the furniture. Now the trouble is she is yet to learn to sit down. So she would stand up until help arrives.

She has had quite a few falls and a number of close ones. I guess this is all part of her growing up. As a mother it is difficult to see her fall but then I can’t be over-protecting as well- she’d need to stand on her two feet eventually.  

I have been thinking about ways to soften the impact when she falls. Her diaper takes care of any blow to her bum. But I have been most worried about her hitting the head on the floor. I have tried number things but none of them seem to really click with her.

I have tried to put her in the cot for her to play, but she refuses to stay in. Then we went and bought soft play rubber mats. Smera in the beginning loved it and used play on it all the time but now she sits everywhere else apart from sitting on it.

Saju reckons that we should make her wear a helmet … let me sleep over it ! Goodnight.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Quirky Collections

Sharp, Sticky and Slim. That sums up the collection our family's some of the most treasured collections. Okay before your imagination go wild, let me clarify - they are Lapel Pins, Rough Magnets and Hotel Room Cards.

We started collecting them some 5 years back. Pin collection is my personal favourite and I started it during 2006 Asian Games - I have vivid memories of walking upto the famous athletes asking for lapel pins. Some were nice who would gift them at the first instance, some others needed a bit of persuasion and a third group would be willing to trade. Saju manages the Magnet and Hotel Key Card collection, the later I think is quite unique ( I will save the details of that for another day).

Amazing thing about these collections are that each of them have a story to tell. We have walked for miles in search of some, others have been gifted to us by some of our dear friends.  The latest addition t our pin collection is a hard rock cafe pin from Tokyo that Bambie gifted us.

As per my last count the size of our pins collection is about 200 - what this means is that i have the luxury of grouping them by themes. Here is the list

1. Hard Rock Cafe collection
2. Sports
3. Brands 
4. Fighter jets

I am hopeful of taking my collection to a thousand pins. Saju is not allowed to come back home without a pin whenever he travels - he is not complaining though as he considers lucky to have a wife who demands pins rather than diamonds. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

My experiments with Smera – Part 1

Imagine you being on vacation long away from home. It’s been few days of sight seeing and experiencing local culture & taste. You are starting to feel homesick what would you miss the most? If you are like me you would say – home-cooked food.

So how do we get attached to these comfort foods? You may say you grew up enjoying them. My mum was in town over the weekend and we decided to do a small experiment. She cooked a traditional Malayali lunch for Smera. It was a simple affair with paripu (dal), pachadi and rice with papadum on the side. The lunch was served in an authentic Malayali way was served on a banana leaf.   

To our surprise Smera who is normally a fussy eater really relished what was served to her. Not only she had a proper filling lunch, she was ready for a second helping when I sat down to eat. It’s like she has been programmed to like naadan malalyali food.

Obviously there is scope for further research for anyone who is interested in pursuing this line of thinking. For now I am absolutely convinced that our likes and dislikes on food are hard-wired into our brains at birth. 

Mr. Extra Large Lungs

I have missed the last 2 days on my 30 Day Challenge to blog. I will not give any excuses not writing but instead I am back with a vengeance. Here is the first one for the day:

Let me introduce Mr. Exrta Large lungs. It happened on Saturday we finally dragged ourselves to the doctors for the routine health checkup. This is testament to our national obsession not to let go anything that is free – even if it means shedding some blood.

I was already angry due my 12 hr fast for this test. To make matters worst we were running late. We were quickly whisked through to run the regular tests – ECG, blood pressure, X-ray and a series of blood tests.

But the real highlight of the day was the PEF Test (Peak Expiratory Flow). The nurse gives us small pocket sized equipment with markings that indicate the lung capacity. We were asked to take a deep breathe and blow into the equipment. I try once and nurse looks unimpressed and asks me to repeat the test. The following two attempts also had similar readings.

Then came Mr. Extra Large Lungs to do his reading with usual competitive spirit. He took a deep breathe and blew into the instrument with a scale-busting result (as he would like boast about). The nurse appeared flabbergasted as recorded the reading in her file. It turns out his reading is 760 as against the normal reading of 640 for people of his age and height.

Mr. Extra Large Lungs has been seen sporting a proud grin ever since and has been broadcasting his feat to the whole world to my extreme annoyance.

But deep under I admire his dedication of getting up every morning and hitting the gym for the last 10 months. Now I know what he has been upto - working on expanding his lungs…

Friday, July 22, 2011

One of those days ....

It’s been a long and very tiring day and I am in no mood to write. I am reminded of a poem which I read as a kid by Robert Frost – Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep

So here is my blog for the day:

An eventful day started with Smera pulling my nose to wake me up. I check my watch and its time to pick up Amma from Sharjah. It’s unlike a Friday morning; everything seems to happen in hurry. Smera is fed, bathed and dressed up. I check the door and we hit the road – dropping Saju aka daddy on the way for his squash game and we carry on.  

Little did I know what were to happen in the next 2 hours. We have our friend staying with us who had an urgent appointment this morning. He wakes up to find himself home alone and locked in. He searches his bag for the spare key but that’s now misplaced!!

So he checks out possible escape routes and chooses to jump off the balcony. It shouldn’t have been that a tough job as we live on the ground floor. But our friend is no Tom Cruise and does a heavy landing on his heel.

By the time we got back, Saju was back from the squash game with a sprained back. While we are unpacking our dear friend comes back limping and tells us about morning adventure. I had a quick look at the heel and it didn’t look good. We decide to wait for a while and get on with our lunch preparations.

By lunchtime, our living room looked a bit like a war zone – Our friend with a swollen ankle, Saju with a sprained back and Smera crawling through the rubble of toys. Quick lunch and time for the hospital run. My suspicion was right our friend has a hairline fracture – he gets a cast and comes back home in crutches.

We decide to make a happing ending to the day by cooking some Thai food. Saju takes over the kitchen and makes a Thai Green Curry Chicken from scratch. I get to do the tasting and to my envy it actually tasted really good. So that’s dinner sorted I thought – only to find out that I am not allowed to have anything spicy due to the stitches in my mouth.

And I say to myself it is one of those days …..

Thursday, July 21, 2011

8 things I learnt from my 8 month old

Smera means the smiling one. The moment we saw her, the name felt just perfect for her. She has given our lives a new meaning. She is now 8 months old and it just feels like yesterday when we held her in our arms for the first time.

Teachers, Elders, Friends, Mentors, Experiences – I am sure you have a number of sources to thank for what you have learned through your life.

Have you thought about how much we can learn from babies? Everyday has been a new lesson learnt for me with Smera.

Here is a tribute to my young teacher - eight things I've learnt for my 8 month old:

  • Wake up with a smile
  • Try something new everyday
  • Don’t give up
  • It’s ok to cry
  • Eat small meals
  • Early to bed, early to rise
  • Be curious
  • Sleep like a baby 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Slip and Trip – What’s actually in your mind

Has it ever happened to you? An innocent slip of tongue – but on reflection actually sputtered out what you actually wanted to say. Let me give you a recent example.

A friend of mine was interviewing this guy and everything was going well until he asked “why do want this job?”

The candidate quickly responded “The most important reason is the position’s EARNING potential … sorry I meant LEARNING potential”.

I’ll leave it to your imagination to figure out how the rest of the interview went.

It turns out this is a widely recognized condition called Freudian Slip. Here is the Wikipedia definition - A Freudian slip, is an error in speech, memory, or physical action that is interpreted as occurring due to the interference of some unconscious ("dynamically repressed") wish, conflict, or train of thought.

Here are some classic examples:

I wish you were her. (I wish you were here)

‘I declare this Department of Cynical — er, I mean Clinical — Psychology open.’

I'm mad you're here. (I’m glad you’re here)

A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother

“OBAMA BIN LADEN DEAD”  (A Faux News Headline)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Life and times of Mr. M

I started my life on a slippery slope. I was an uninvited guest and my landlord mistook me as a trivial intruder. She tried her best to kick me out – pouring a potent mix of saline solution, poisoned me with a mystery gel and worst got me stabbed by paying professionals.

None of these tricks worked for her as I was no trivial intruder. Meanwhile I did my best to be a pain in the wrong place. I was enjoying my revenge by making sure she paid the price for all what she did. The thing that enjoyed the most was to impair her freedom of speech.

Couple of weeks back she sought some expert help. It cost her some money but managed to blow my cover. The trouble didn’t end there for her – the expert got greedy and asked handsome ransom to take me down. Whilst she was working on this expert did a quick exit and I got another breather.

I could sense that she had enough of me and was determined to take me down. So it happened this morning when she hired another professional for the endgame. He came well-prepared with three of his side kicks. I didn’t get a good look at their faces as they wore masks – cowards!! Before I knew I was beaten down to the floor evicted out of the yard in a bloody encounter.

I am writing this from a cold dark laboratory – waiting my turn to be classified and tagged. My name is Mucocele. I used to live in Sangy’s mouth in the pretext of an unsuspecting blister. It took a month, a number failed attempts and some famous oral surgeons to take me down.

You can read more about me on -

Monday, July 18, 2011

Reading Now - Dictionary of Modern Humorous Quotations

I am currently reading the book of Modern Humorous Quotations by Fred Metcalf. A wonderful compilation of hilarious takes on life. Superb to outwit your opponent, it is the perfect tool to keep at bay the drama in any argument. The book will not let you down.

Here’s a quick peek:

“Marrying a man is like buying something you’ve been admiring for a long time in a shop window. You may love it when you get it home, but it doesn’t always go with everything else in the house.”
Jean Kerr, 1960

“Politicians are like diapers – they should be changed regularly and for the same reason.”

“You’re a genius! And the proof is that both common people and intellectuals find your work completely incoherent.”
Woody Allen, Bullets Over Broadway, Screenplay, 1994

“I’ve joined Alcoholics Anonymous. I still drink, but under a different name.”
Jerry Dennis

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ant-e Depressants

I wake up this morning to find my living intruded by black ants. I hate those tiny little monsters that can creep into the house with their entire community to take charge of the kitchen.

The big question is how to clean up? Smera loves putting everything in her mouth and with her crawling all over the house it becomes all the more difficult for me evict them without using any chemicals.

So here’s what I do- I first pull out my vacuum cleaner and boy it felt good! Then I google for home remedies and you’ll be surprised to see numerous ideas. Here is what I’ve short –listed so far:

  1. White vinegar
  2. Turmeric
  3. Ground coffee
  4. Talcum powder
  5. Citrus peels

I’ll let you know how it goes !! 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

ABC – a new perspective

Soon I will be teaching Smera A-Z. In an on-your-face world of branding that we live in I wouldn’t be surprised if her ABC’s sound something like this:
A - Aptamil – my formula milk
B - – Mamma’s online baby bible
C - Carters – Daddy got my first chic yellow dress from there
D - Del Monte – I love banana
E - Early Learning Centre – The truck, tortoise and the other toys are so much fun
F - Fenistil – My medicine
G - Google - gtalk – Lets me connect with my grandparents
H - Hipp – My favourite food (mamma says it’s organic so its got to be good)
I - IKEA – I’m confused – IKEA feels like my home or my home feels like IKEA
J - Johnson & Johnson – No more tears, need I say more
K - Kelloggs – My mealtime munchies
L - Lulu – It’s a win-win I get my fruits and mamma gets her veggies
M - Medala – My cocktail glass aka feeding bottle
N - Nestle Cerelac – My comfort food and mamma knows
O - Oasis Water – Helps me beat the heat
P - Pampers – Mamma’s life saver
Q - Quaker Oats – It’s an acquired taste I guess
R - RSA – Daddy’s Office
S - Sebamed – My night cream
T - Talking Tomcat – My BFF on IPad 2 (he can’t help talking back)
U – Umbro - I love spoiling Daddy’s sports T-shirts (usually with mango puree)
V - Vache qui rit – yummy cheese triangles – lucky me !
W - Welcare Ibn Battuta – Doctor who sits in a shopping mall
X -  X-box kinect – I will inherit this one day
Y - – they do good nursery rhymes
Z - Zara – I have my eyes set on this store!

The Beginning

Hello – I am Sangeeta Reghu Nair and I have finally decided to write. I have been pondering over this for the last three years. But laziness had got better of me all this while.

My blog will be about Motherhood, Humor, Life, Confessions, Toddlers, Dubai, Inspiration, Passion, Food, Books, 30 Day Challenges, Disaster/ Issues and People that I am passionate about. I also hope to l feature guest write-ups to make it more interactive. The idea is to interact with as many people as possible from diverse backgrounds to exchange ideas and life stories.
Before I sign-off a bit myself - I am a stay-at-home full-time mom. I live in Dubai with my husband Saju and my gorgeous baby girl Smera. You will read about them on my blog regularly.

Happy blogging !!!!!!!!!!!!!
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