Saturday, November 14, 2015

Better after taste

What Vodka is for Russians, Chai is for Indians. Chai can easily be termed as our National drink. I am sure there won’t be any upheaval on this front but it’s much more than a beverage for us Indians. I too am Chai enthusiast but I have to confess that I am a late bloomer. I didn’t even know how to make a good cup of Chai, though that is something that I have mastered now. Like how I was passed on this craze by my mother-in-law, I managed to pass it on to my husband too. 

Most days when hubby is back from work and Smera has retired for the day we usually sit down together have our cup of Chai. It is like a ritual for us and this is when I get to tell him all about the notorious things the little one has been up to and exchange notes on work.
After a lot of experimentation I have finally landed with my own formula and I thought it was really good, until we went to a friend’s place recently. She made us the best Masala Chai that we have had in a long time and it was so good that even a week after, we were still talking about it. In fact the hubby asked me to check with the friend for her recipe. I left it at that, while he went to freshen up after a tiring day at work. Just as usual I put on a pot for ourselves and we sat down to discuss some work-related stuff. As he took first sip, he smiled and asked

Hubby: is this the new recipe for Chai from your friend?
Me: No, it is just the usual one
Hubby: But it tastes really different, quite nice!

So I take the cup from him and smell it, then I take a sip and I couldn’t spot any difference. “No it’s just the same! What is different?” I asked him. Hubby takes the cup the back and then says nothing, lost in his thoughts he goes back to his notes. Then suddenly he shouts, “I know it is not the tea, it is KP Namboodari toothpaste that I used now”.

For those who don’t know KP Namboordari is a herbal toothpaste. Essentially, a tube full of mashed up popular Indian spices like pepper, cloves, cardamom. According to my husband, it is an Ayurvedic concoction that has cavity protection and tooth cleansing properties. 

I can not vouch for those tall claims, but this product has left a better after taste in my hubby’s mouth.  Whoever said Ayurvedic products do not have side effects!

P.S.- We as a family are quite crazy, it's not just my husband, even my baby sister had come up with something equally ridiculous a while back. You can read here on her experiment with Chai

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Logical Princess

My daughter suffers from the ‘princess syndrome’! A desire to look, act and dress up like a princess all the time. I am sure it is the same case with many other parents who too have daughters at home and unintentionally must have inflicted this upon themselves. Even I am guilty of this, it all happened quite suddenly though for me. What had started with reading fairy tales, promoted to watching movies then further moved on to pretend playing and now has reached new levels – personification!

With Smera’s birthday around the corner, we decided to go for her birthday shopping yesterday and she would just not settle for anything less than a princess dress, sparkling shoes and a matching tiara to go with. I am told that it’s not just her, girls her, girls are age are naturally bitten by the princess bug. Last year it was the Frozen craze and this time it’s the Cinderella mania!

After we came back home from the not so productive shopping trip we all sat down to eat lunch, just then she goes back to the Cinderella conversation:

Smera: Mamma you know Cinderella’s mom tells her to have courage and be kind, when she is about to die.
Me: Yes, that’s how real princesses are supposed to be.
Smera: Let’s play after lunch you can be the step mother.
Me: Why? I am so nice to you!
Smera: But you are always asking me to tidy up and do all the work. Daddy can be the Prince, I will be fairy godmother with this magic wand and Abdu Haq uncle (my houseboy) can be the Cinderella!
Me: (Looking flabbergasted) How come Abdu Haq gets to be Cinderella and me the wicked stepmother?
Smera: Because you always ask him to do the dishes and mop the floor just like the stepmother in the story!

Now with that logic I couldn’t come up with something smart to answer back, so I decided to use my ultimate weapon, the puppy face. She instantly changed me to fairy godmother and she took upon the Cinderella part. Daddy continued to be Prince, which is always constant and so we played happily ever after.

Moral of the story is that if you cannot beat the child’s logic then play along, because their reasoning is really nothing but giving their intelligence a form! After all imagination is the spark to the endless possibilities in our thoughts.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Win some, lose some

Just as I was thinking of my next post, little Smera walks in with a grumpy face back from school. The expression was self-explanatory that her day at school was not very exciting. So I got started my interrogation, to better understand why her mood was off.

Me: How was your day?                              
Smera: Not good!

Me: Why not?
Smera: I was not the super reader in the class today.
Me: That’s alright, you were super reader yesterday and you will have chance to try again tomorrow.
Smera: But Hannan was the super reader and I did not like that. The whole class clapped for her, even I did but very slowly.
Me: Hmm and why is that?
Smera: Just because I was feeling angry in my heart!
I was glad that I got the little one to talk about it. By the end of the day Smera felt a lot better after talking it out, but this incident really was meant to be a good lesson in her learning curve. These little incidents teach children that they aren’t always just meant to win. They would have to put it their best effort and the best effort would eventually get to shine. 

While Hannan got to taste success, Smera got to taste competition and which in my understanding was also a good lesson to learn. Every lesson that Smera learns, gives us also a revision in old lessons learnt and which is why something that I read a while ago made perfect sense to me today. Let our children know that is absolutely alright to come second or even fail for that matter, but what is more important is that we are there to help them when they do fall.

“It may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” - Maya Angelou 

Parenting is such a wonderful experience, lets you re-learn, re-inspire yourself almost everyday. I guess this is how we become more experienced and hopefully wiser in life!! 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Don't give up now

We all have that one person in our lives who is a constant source of inspiration to our lives. For me it is someone who embodies the ‘never give up’ philosophy most brilliantly in her life – My mother!  Mom has been my inspiration right from the very beginning. There is something about her that makes everyone just fall in love with her. She is beautiful, energetic, intelligent and a constant learner! Thinking of mum gives me this warm, fuzzy feeling just like how one would feel while having a big bowl of soup on a cold wintery night.

From the time she remembers, she always wanted to be a Doctor instead ended up being an Air hostess. She was always a topper in her class, even though math was a huge task for her but that never stopped her from acing the class. But somewhere she never gave up on her aspiration and just recently she has concluded her studies and has become a certified Doctor in Alternate Medicine.  What makes it even more special is the fact that along with her long working hours, endless household chores and a recurrent shoulder condition she has managed the doctorate degree.

Learning something new has always been her first love! It has partially to do with the fact that she didn’t have the luxury of going to med school. She moved to Delhi right after her 12th exam got herself enrolled in the evening college for and during the day she would work. But once she cleared her graduation, she landed up herself with a job at Indian Airlines as an Air hostess. Life got busy but learning never stopped, while working she did her Masters in history and even cleared a few papers while studying for MBA. Even though should couldn’t complete it then, she did try to give her best.  

In a few more years she retires from her long innings at the airlines, but she has already found something to new to keep herself busy with in her retirement. She plans on further learning yoga which would come in handy with naturopathy and ayurvedic line of medicine. It is this perseverance what inspires my life. Whenever I am stuck, I would go back to thinking what would mum have done and just that thought helps me get through tough tasks easily.

Her life story is inspirational and if there is one thing you can take away from her is - you don’t really need to compromise on your dream even if it takes time.

P.S. - And it goes without saying none of this would have been possible without daddy's support. He has always been a silent support in her life and so when she graduated he was the first one to announce about her success. 

P.P.S. - I love you !! 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Been a while

I know it has been a while since I have been here. Initially it was time constraints that kept me away, juggling between work and home. Later was hit by the writer’s block. At the beginning of the year I had promised myself to make more time for my blog but unfortunately that has not worked out well, however on the brighter side of things the year is yet to get over and I hope I can do all the justice over next three months. 

And while I was away I did some take time out to go home and enjoy Mother Nature at it's best. Surrendering yourself completely to the beauty of nature is still by far the best way to re-inspire oneself.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Caught red handed

My husband loves a challenge. It was only to be expected that he would come up with something remarkable when I teased him over his drawing skills. The hubby instead of reading the Cinderalla, drew an illustration of the story for little Smera to colour. The illustration was good, but the horse with the pumpkin coach looked more a dog. This comment did not go down well with him. As for me it was just a statement, I said it and moved on other things, while hubby continued to brood. So he decided to set the records straight. This morning he picked up one of the "how to draw anything" book and started drawing a horse. And this is what it eventually looked like at the end.

Quite a horse isn't it? 

Happy that the horse looked so beautiful, he asked little to Smera to show me the picture and then he asked Smera to use her imagination and colour the picture. But the little one had some other plans. So she went ahead and did some scribbling on the sheet instead of colouring it. Later during the day when my post lunch cleaning session was in progress, I chucked away all the loose sheets into the dustbin. Unfortunately I trashed the hubby’s horse sketch also, but then I didn’t think of it as a big deal.

As things are meant to be, trouble was staring into my face when hubby got back from work. He asked Smera to show the horse she was given to colour and little innocent child was running around the place searching for the sheet. I pretended as if I didn’t know anything and continued to look busy. After few minutes little Smera came in looking disappointed and asks, “Mamma have you seen the horse painting?” To which I quickly replied “No”, but the hubby caught the lying look on my face and went straight to the dustbin and after what he saw there, he looked very crossed with me. In fact was he so angry that he took the picture below to keep it as a record for future fights. 

I don’t think he will be forgiving anytime soon. However I am really glad for one thing, this time he got my birthday gift well in advance, hence the chances of him penalizing me on the gift part are ZERO J

Friday, June 12, 2015

Can aromatic food can make you feel depressed?

I am feeling really homesick today. Usually when I feel homesick, it’s primarily either I am missing home or home-cooked food. And today it is home-cooked food that I am really craving for. Whether it is summer or winters, I am perpetually hungry and worst part is I do not like my own cooking even a bit! It is not that I am bad at cooking! Honestly my food is no match mum’s magic or Kaipunyam as we would say in Malayalam.

To make matters worse, just this morning I was feeling miserable thinking how far I am from home, have been away from home for over a decade and just then I smell something really fragrant being cooked in my neighbour’s house. It looks like they have invited friends over and I am suspecting they are up to cooking and eating something scrumptious. My living room and kitchen is filled with aroma over-flowing from their kitchen into ours. I am sure you can imagine how it must be adding on to my grief.

All that aroma is making super-nostalgic and hungry simultaneously. I know I am sounding really absurd but that's how emotional I have got all thanks to my neighbour. Food makes me feel real good because it reminds me of my childhood. But when I am deprived of mum’s food it feels more like being tranquilised with misery, which have a powerful, mood-altering influence on me.

Such misery can stoop me to unbelievably low levels of irrationality, for instance I am currently wondering if I could just call the police and ask them to arrest my neighbours for enticing me. That’s a far-fetched idea and I know the law wouldn't even have a provision for such a thing. However I am sure of one thing, the constitution would have been much different if I were entrusted with the law making responsibilities. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Good ideas gone bad

Every child loves their mother for the food she cooks! Food is an irreplaceable connection between the mother and child that starts right from the womb. I am not planning a philosophical post on motherhood. Rather this post is all about challenges that mums like me face everyday with our mediocre cooking skills. By the end of this post I will be able to unload the heaviness on my heart, which I have been carrying around for the last few days. Beware this is post is going to take a melodramatic twist, so prepare yourself!

To start with I am not a great cook but I like try new things for my little one. I want her to eat healthy and nourishing food. Not just for her, I believe every child deserves it. I try to incorporate all elements of balanced food into her meal everyday.  Most mornings and nights are spent thinking what to make for the little one. And on a recent afternoon I made some rice along with her favourite chicken curry and carrot pachadi, a bit of carbs, proteins and good old veggies all packed in one meal.

Now who in the right mind would like a spicy chicken curry with a sweet and sour carrot pachadi? Carrot pachadi is wonderful of combination of freshly grated carrot, gently mixed with beaten yogurt that is tempered with mustard, onions, curry leaves and green chilies. At least that is what I was thinking until Smera took one bite and declared it “YUCK”! I was heart broken. This was the first time ever in 4.5 years that the little one had called something that I made for her as – yuck. I mean there have things that she has not appreciated before, particularly when it involves veggies but her reaction had never been so harsh. So I chucked away the entire thing and spent the rest of the day brooding over it!

After a day or two, a great idea popped in my head. To make something yet again with carrot that would win her heart this time and heal my wounded heart. So it was going to be carrot and it had to be something sweet. So I decided to pull out the trump card – Carrot halwa also known as Gajar ka halwa! So I spent Thursday afternoon, preparing carrot halwa while she was at school. I put in all the best ingredients and an extra dose of love too. To be honest the halwa’s idea initially came up for hubby’s cousin but then it seemed perfect for the both of them.

So in the evening after dinner when I gave her carrot halwa, she took first bite and thankfully didn't say “yuck” however she did go on to make the dirtiest face ever.  If that wasn't enough the hubby gave her the permission to spit it out too. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Me and my holiday confessions

Ah back from my wonderful vacation and suddenly everything is beginning to look lovelier. That’s what a good holiday is really meant to do, leave you with warm fuzzy memories and a smile isn't it? On my way back home, I spent most of my travel in thinking of this post. Pondering what is it about Paris and Rome that I could write that has not been written or said before.  Well everything has been pretty much said and written, but the memories we made were new, fresh and here to stay with us for the rest of our lives.

While I must admit the trip was far away from what I was anticipating and here's how it all happened:

  1. Paris was really cold: the initial choice of destination was Hong Kong, which is what we should have stuck to considering it was really cold in Paris. The idea was to enjoy the Disney holiday in a pleasant weather, rather than in hot and humid one. However the weather in Paris towards the end of March is still far away from being pleasant. It was rainy and cold at 5 degree Celsius and the hubby left no stone upturned to make me feel guilty!
  1. McDonalds was our saviour in this trip too! It’s not like we were in China but we had little Smera with us and nothing better could have come to our rescue! A dose of McDonalds happy meal made the little one extremely happy. Though I must confess the French desserts at the local patisseries too worked like wonders.
  1. We had not taken a holiday in 2 years and had almost forgotten how na├»ve tourists frequently get taken for a ride. Case in point was our first day in Rome – our first stop was Vatican – to recharge our batteries before the long wait to get to San Peitro, we decided to get something light to eat. We asked the waiter for his recommendation and that is where we exactly went wrong. The lunch was neither light on the stomach nor on the wallet. A total rip off, but on a positive note I still got a very appetizing picture for keepsake!   
  1. Even if you are not a history or an art enthusiast, the city of Rome will turn you into one for sure. Everyone knows that St. Basilica and Sistine Chapel are strikingly beautiful, but the spectacular work of art enchanted even our little Smera and the story behind the art and history made her appreciate the Easter celebration even more this year.
  1. This was officially the first trip where we spent most of the time soaking ourselves in holiday fun rather than clicking picture! And now when friends and family ask us to share the holiday fun, I have no pictures to share! All I have is a few 
  1. Also I must admit the French were nice, much nicer than my previous trip but the Italians stole my heart! I particularly thought that the Italians people were a happier bunch than any place I have ever been. Especially the random people we met walking on the streets, in fact I loved it so much that I could actually imagine myself living in Rome

And the holiday came to an end with little Smera singing “let it go” in full throttle, while watching the movie on our way back home in the middle of the night! Go bless all those passengers who were sitting around for having the courage to bear her through that night! 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Silly Saturdays: Daddy's beautician at work.

We always talk about the busy and industrious moms, who work day in and out. 365 days a year. However the daddies of the world are equally incredible! No one talks of their hard work. Call them breadwinners, head of the family or finance minister (as I do) they too are equally integral part of the family.

I have been instilling the virtue of hard work on to my little one, by holding up her daddy as an example. Thus this weekend when we were all home, Smera decided to take matters in her hands, I mean on daddy’s foot. Drawing inspiration from mummy’s visit to the beautician’s her artistic skills were woken up. Without wasting anytime out came the nail polish in ElePhantastic Pink. With an amazing dexterity to match an accomplished painter, she covered both the toes in no time.

But there was a catch, the daddy was asleep when all this was happening, so he was in for a real shock when got up see the color pop pink on his toes. And to his bad luck there was no nail polish remover at home. I somehow managed to convince him forget it and anyway no one was going to know as he always wear shoes and socks.

Life wouldn't have been so interesting if all his problems were to end there. Shortly after this incident was forgotten about, few friends dropped for tea. After a few minutes in the discussing the day’s match suddenly everyone’s gaze shifted on to hubby’s shiny toes. The rest of the evening was spent laughing at daddy’s new pedicured toe nails and Smera accepting accepting booking from her aunts for their next pedicure appointments. 
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