The Scorpios

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Friday, February 29, 2008

Together We Shall Be

For the 1st 3 years of school as of now.
We were asked our preference whether we wanted them in separate classes, to counter any problems of one overshadowing the other.
Both K and I vehemently refused. They are dependent on each other's existence in the same room or same house and are strong personalities by their own right. But they definitely do not overshadow each other in any respect. As far as we are concerned they are individuals who are equal parts of the whole. We would like them to have a healthy, supportive atmosphere of togetherness, a fair competition and not tearing them apart and separating them for the sake of individual personality growth.
I am not saying they should sit next to each other in class but as long as they are in the same room in different corners, it's ok with me. One might say since twins share such a close bonding, it does not matter whether they are a few benches apart or a few classes apart. But I object to the motive of putting them in separate classes. I believe that they can flourish together or apart but it is more beautiful to see them flourish together. I want them to enjoy the benefit of having your sibling share the same classroom. Call it sentimental on our part, call it irrational or call it logical, we want them together. We want to observe them together in the same classroom for pre school and re evaluate the needs after that. Incase the two do not flourish in togetherness, we will have to give them a chance apart.
To an outsider, they may be twins, similar in manerisms, behaviour, likes- dislikes, but as a mother, I know that they are different in all the above. They might fight for the same toy or book from time to time, but their tastes and preferences seem to be different at this stage. I expect their talents and aptitude to be different too. I want them to benefit out of each other's strengths not compete for dominance.
If one can and the other cannot, I want the able one to support and pull the other one in. Not laugh at him and gloat at his own success. I am all for fair competition but not without sharing and caring. It is not about the best man winning but about together we can do better.
I told the counsellor I will check with the ped as per her advice and I will also check the net. But I know that I can judge best despite what the net says or what the doc advices.
Touch Wood!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Free Thinking vs Lateral Thinking

Me- Ojas, What is this? Ojas- I

Me-No, A, What is this?

Ojas- Q

Me- No, V, What is this?
Ojas- F

Me- No, M, What is this?
Ojas- Green!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Etiquette That Has Apparently Not Been Learnt

  1. Before you visit my home, especially on weekends, ensure you call me and drop an obvious hint so that the kids are not caught in their birthday suit running around the house, or the husband in his shortest shorts or the Lady of the house in her filthiest nightgown with a broom in one hand and a messy house the subject of her muse because the maid is on a long leave. So that the lady is not scrambling to get a few snacks & drinks in order to be the model host. So that the family is not forced to give up or delay a dinner invitation or a movie plan on your account. So that you don't meet the locked door and need to call me back from wherever I am at the moment because I dare not upset you.
  2. When you stay with me, ensure you do not pack your shoes inside my cupboard for fear of misplacing them. I have a working shoe rack that you can use.
  3. When you use my spare cupboard, don't leave behind the stale smell of all the oils and powders and balms that you have spilled on the fresh paint without bothering to use a lining paper on it. The stains and muck you leave behind is also irksome for your information.
  4. I absolutely forbid you to leave your stinking clothes within my olfactory zone, which is unfortunately very long range. You could wash them, use the washing machine or pack them in your bag or use the laundry bag, but not the chair or the bed or the cupboard.
  5. Please do not finish the supplies and happen to forget to inform me for replenishing them. It sort of irks me if I open the veggie rack for my once in a while cooking and find a stock-out of the essentials of Bihari cooking- potato, onion.
  6. You don't live here but doesn't mean you can leave the taps dripping (it's not your water I know) and the lights on in whichever room you go (you don't pay my bills so you will never know).
  7. Don't even think about hanging your chaddis in my room for fan drying. I am not a great fan of handling other's undies and neither do I relish the episodes of them falling on my head.
  8. If you want my car, ask me, not my husband, don't try to use him to influence my decision.
  9. The dustbin is outside. You could use them for the diapers - your's and your child's. Or atleast ask me before you leave it under the basin for me to find out later.
  10. Refrain from using my & hubby's coffee mugs for your morning coffee. I am kind of sentimental about them.
  11. Don't leave your toothbrush in direct contact with mine. I wouldn't french kiss you anyday so why should my toothbrush do the same with yours. Why don't you use the guest bathroom for displaying your toothbrush? Why my private bathroom?
  12. Try not to occupy the toilet when I am in a great rush to go to work- the guest toilet is there for you to use, remember.
  13. Please don't occupy my kitchen during weekend mornings. I like my chicken exactly how I cook and I like my kitchen neat before I step in to cook for the day.
  14. Don't stand on my head and wait till I get up to quickly occupy that favourite spot of yours on my sofa. There is plenty of space in my house.
  15. You are free to watch any program on TV as long as it is not angsty for my kids. Also, if I am watching something and get up for a moment to stir the curry in the kitchen, it is good manners not to quickly, fatak se, change channels just because the TV is not in my line of vision. I kind of find it uncomfortable to change it back to my channel because you are the guest.
  16. I will call for extra packets of milk or tea or whatever brand of snack you prefer for yourself. Don't try to say sorry because I need to do that on your account. I want to genuinely make your stay comfortable. Don't undermine my efforts by trying to buy grocery stuff/ biscuits on the sly. I really thought Goodday was better than Marie during tea time and would have gladly bought the Marie for your tea!
  17. I really want to take you for shopping or dinner. Don't vehementaly refuse to go or fight to pay for the dinner. Return the favour to me when I visit you, instead of acting as if it is a big trouble taking someone for shopping.
  18. Don't gift me exactly similar stuff that I gifted you when I visited. Kind of looks tit for tat, no favours kept, paying for board & lodging. If I happen to pay for something that is not too expensive while we were shopping, don't try to pay me back. I can afford a little bit of money.
  19. Don't wake up at 12.00 pm according to the time in your time zone. Especially in a small house, the room you are using may need to be accessed by the household.
  20. I don't always like to baby sit.

That makes me feel better! Catheritic

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Learning & Unlearning

Getting Ready for the New Ballgame... ...Of Learning
The school admissions are done with yesterday. The process was short and sweet and the counsellor accomodative and a patient listener. The positive in the approach being the advice to not put the kids back in the diaper even if they are on the road to being trained but not yet fully done. They have well trained ayahs who will take care. They are open to be given a list of "Our baby's talk" so that they may follow what the child is trying to communicate and be alert to the kid's wishes. Ojas informed the admission officer in a very intimidating tone -"school" pointing outside th office. They did not display any of their skills of colours. The staff actually thought the kids are very well behaved and not at all naughty. They wore their new striped T-shirts & jeans and the teacher commented that they were smartly dressed. Ojas enjoyed sliding down the highest slide, climbing on his own. Tejas was hesitant and was happy with the merry-go-round. They loved the sand pit and enjoyd seeing the cocodile, goosie, fish sculptures in the water area. The school has atleast 20 pairs of twins and 2 sets of triplets. They could start a multiples club at this rate.

We celebrated with coffee & sandwiches at Coffee Day and a dinner at Copper Chimmney with the kids playing smart dining with napkin on the knees and cutlery and all, even using the finger bowl in the end.

Copper Chimmney is becoming my favourite haunt after it has been modernised. Large spacious seating, prompt and courteous service and easy on the wallet prices. Love the Kabab platter that comes with 10 pieces at Rs 375.

Since office was bunked in honour of the admissions, Mom & I also took a 2 hour trip to Kalsakshetra Foundation craft fair. Good rang of stuff especiallyin dress material, bags, not too many decorative stuff though. Page 3 variety crowd of hip old ladies were seen in abundance. I picked up a leather back from Calcutta stall and will go back for more stuff one of these days- pottery, more bags, dress material - gurjari/ kalamkari etc. This is on till this weekend

Unlearnings for the week

  • No Bottle given last 5 days since it has "lizard" in it and so it's spoilt. They have been hidden from their view and the kids have actually reconciled to that fact and are not asking for it unless they are desparate. Since the milk consumption has come down as they don't like Kaash duddu (milk in a glass), it has resulted in heavy constipation.
  • Ojas & Tejas have finally understood that their chest is not supposed to be called "Duddu". They pointed at their selves and said "chest" which my sis failed to understand. Tejas chipped in- "duddu" softly to make her comprehend what he is saying and then loudly said "Chest, chest"
    When Tejas is angry and I ask him "is this chest?", he says "no duddu" in revenge.
  • They have since the last few days not crying when I am going to office- they say chip, chokate and say bye to me.
  • The Iron is "Garam" not to be touched but Ojas tests the dress being ironed.
  • If I tell Tejas "no sleeping, only crying" he promptly falls asleep in defiance.

Other Stuff

  • If Nani tries to force feed Tejas- he says 'No-fighting'
  • If Mamma smacks them they say- Haa, Adi! and laugh with each other at her expense. They repeat the offence to check if the "adi" is repeated.
  • They need shorts with pockets to carry their tiny cars.
  • They like to play with dudderband (rubberband)

Joined at the hip, the last photo with their much loved Baatuu (bottle). Morning baatu, you are being missed a lot (but good riddance, inspite of the service you have rendered)

And we show off our "chests" in our private pool in our private garden.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Factual Fiction - Shop Lifter Gets Away with a Shopping Basket

Unintentionally off course!
Close to mid night at a mall in Serrangoon Singapore.
The lady finishes her shopping and carries the billed good(ie)s in the shopping basket.
She spots a cab crossing the entry of the mall and rushes out blindly and unthinking and gets inside the cab mentioning the hotel name all in a single breath. Cabs at that hour is difficult to find unless you stand for atleast 20 minutes or more or walk the street lugging all the heavy shopping with you or call for one which may again take another 20 minutes minimum. So lucky if one passes right in front of your nose and it will be a damn to miss it.
A few minutes pass and the lady screams- oops I have the store basket with me by mistake, let's go back to drop it.
The cab driver refuses to turn saying it is not worth getting back.
The lady is too ashamed to leave it behind in the hotel and wanted to avoid questions by the "foreign" hotel staff. All that filmy fear of doing anything illegal in a foreign land, passport getting conficated and the works.
She packs up the basket of goodies inside her spacious airbag specially brought to take back all the mindless shopping she does in any city she visits.
She comes back home and today the basket serves her well for storing toys and...

PS- Meanwhile, if the store owner is reading this, I am sorry it was unintentional and I am always ready to give it back if you want it, but I 'd rather not since it is coming of great use to us.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Virtual = Reality

What is height of commitment to the blog?
Taking off from work to meet a blog friend.
Believe it or not, we just did it.
Sue, ArtNavy with Anushka & Self met up at Coffee Day yesterday evening.
As I walked up to the restaurant I saw a girl sitting by herself deeply engrossed in her book. I almost went up to ask her are you Sue?
But got sudden jitters as what if she is not. And there she looked younger than what I had thought her to be and even the hair she claimed she had cut looked long enough, I took the easy way out of calling her mom to check what she has worn. Her description matched with what I was seeing and I got the courage to walk up and make the aquaintence just as she herself looked up.
Art joined later and I was pleasantly surprised that Anush remebered me well. The young lady enjoyed her Frappe along with us and Sue & I marvelled on how good it is to have a daughter as a companion and how boys are designed to be nasty.
We talked of books, our work, our blogs, our husband and even bird flu and how it affected we chicken eating public...
One thing about meeting a blog friend is that you have a lot of background about the person and you can take off from any point just as you would with a long time friend.
The blog and motherhood is such a grand unifying force that it overrides everything else that is not common among blog colleauges- be it work, education, family, age group, attitude to life etc.
An hour and some more spent well!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

First Time Diaper Free

We were in Pondy over the weekend.
The first diaper free trip. Bravely we set out on Friday night without diapers and just half an hour later Tejas announced- Kakka (Potty). We perched their potty on the Honda City boot and sat him on that. He refused to even pee in that- he was a bit alarmed at the buses and trucks passing by. Either he managed to control or it was just gas and he could not differentiate between the two. Anyway, we put a diaper for him but 1.5 hours later in Pondy it was still clean.
Saturday & Sunday we did 2 outings for more than 2 hours and did not use the diaper.
Since we are not used to that, we forgot to take thm to a toilet. Right near the white town, Ojas announce -Sussi (pee). Now hubby was not very keen to let him go on the road, civic sense and all. He used his ingenuity to fit a polythene bag at the source and whistled to Ojas. The smart chap peed in the polythene bag (which originally contained hot breads chicken bun). As luck would have it, it started to leak and hubby caught it in his hand, by the time I could manage to roll the window down.
So we had to do roadside - drain peeing typical Indian style for Tejas.
That night we did on the rocky beach. It would look strange if we entered these good restaurants with toilets just for the sake of going to the toilet.
Back home to Chennai was diaper free with Tejas declaring Kakka at regular intervals and giving us a scare & Ojas insisted on play acting and talking to himself- Do kakka until we diverted them and asked them to recite A,B,C,D.
We did not have even a single susu-chaddi/ accident the entire weekend.
"Keeping my fingers crossed"

Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy Feet with a Shoe Fetish

I love shoes. And so does hubby. This is one of the many things I can never have enough of. And I have precision parameters while buying. The heels have to be of just the right height and shape and not nailed separately to the sole. The fit has to be such that the little toe does not jut out from the sides. The shape should be among my approved types. The colours cannot to be such that they don't go with most of my clothes. The material cannot be such that may wear out too soon like suede or the plastic ones that give off too much of heat.

I think this unhealthy love for shoes runs in the family. Go to any shopping mall, my Dad will find his way into a shoe store. I have seen him polishing and shining his and our shoes with the utmost care, every day, since as far back as I can remember. Sis is the same, she always picks up the most hip and stylish sandals till date, right from our younger days. I remember coming back home crying if anyone stepped on my polished white canvas shoes in school (as if it can never get cleaned again).

We pass this love for shoes to Ojas & Tejas. Their eyes brighten with pleasure at th sight of their shoes, probably because shoes mean an outing. I proudly present their shoe collections purchased from both standard and bargain stores. You will see below the proof that bargain stores offer more in terms of variety and style.

Their 1st good shoes were from Canada bought when they were around 5 months old. They are cloth shoes in the shape of mice complete with furry nose and a tail. The photograph taken the day they turnd 6 months does not show the entire shoes. Maybe I need to take it out from storage and post it again at a later date.

The top right corner displays the shoes upto 2 years, including some that spillover to current.

The blue-black canvas shoes with reflectors are from Canada again. another favourite for sheer comfort and looks. Infact I lov canvas shoes. In my days there used to be lovely prints - black & white checks, chocolate browns, reds, lovely bright colours. I found some good canvas ones for older kids in Bata recently.

2nd row from back, the rightmost pair is a Bubblegummer picked up for Rs 60 from Bata sale. I could find only a single pair and the fight for ownership continues till date with both using one each as a compromise inside the home.

3rd row- left most pairs- the pink & the orange ones were Kittens- gift from their mausi for their first birthday. Kittens collection is extremely limited for the price we pay - Rs 500 or so and somehow they outgrew them very fast.

The yellow pairs are from Bata, we lost 1 near a temple and I never used the other pair to its fullest after that. The quality was not too great either with the elastic fibre coming off.

The purple ones are from Liberty- for rough use and also for using within home when trying to get them used to the idea of slippers at home. They have an elastic band at the back and they have learnt to pull it under the sole to hold it in place, slip the foot inside and pull back the elastic in place. They call this pair -chappa, (chappal), whereas th rest are shoes.

The 1st row from front, the red and yellow ones are the next pair from Kittens bought when they were around 1.5 years along with the grey ones from Liberty. Both pairs have served them well.

The latest collection is displayed at the bottom of the page.

Last row- red and black canvas shoes were bought from a local store for Rs 50.

The blue & red shoes were gift from Tatta-Paati for the 2nd birthday from Liberty. They have more or less decided that the blue one is for Ojas & the red on for Tejas. They expertly pull back the tongue of the shoe and slip thir feet in.

2nd row, lftmost- the black & yello one is a favourite of mine, though not so much of the kids. Bought them for around Rs 175 from the same local store. Cool for the money I spent more so becaue 6 months would be the shelf life of any shoe for kids at growing stage, regardless of how much money I spend on them.

The red & white ones have a zip running in the front - again bought from the local store for around Rs 150.

Front row- the black shoes are bought from Metro for around Rs 700/- last month. Stylish, smart and hip, we all lov them. The first tim I realized that Ojas' shoe size has become bigger than Tejas'. The sales guy pointed out to me that in certain the shoes, the difference would be more pronounced.

The sandals in the centre are purchased from the local store for around Rs150- another much liked pair by the twins. Used almost on a daily basis.

While I scout stores to pick up a good design or a good bargain, the non-negotiable items on my checklist for buying shoes are the following-

Comfort- check the material and softness of the sole. If the sole springs back, it is fine else I shoot it down. The hard soles may cause a lot of pain to the kids while they run around and play.

Shape- Lot of space in the front so that the toes don't stick to the front and cramp the feet. Open toed ones are preferrd because I can see when they outgrow them.

Velcro- of good quality. Laces are good as they keep the shoes on tightly, but one doesn't find too many shoes with laces anymore. Buckles must not pierce the skin at any point.

Hard edges- that may rub against the skin or grip the skin tightly.

Shoe Bites- I check for the same after the first few wears and also at regular intervals. Tejas is quit prone to shoe bites, so I need to either put socks or let him wear somthing else.

If a shoe has a style of doubtful comfort level, I reject it immediatley because the kids at this stage cannot express thier discomfort or pain. I buy shoes that are only obviously comfortable.

I reproduce word by word a comment on ehow here

I owe a chain of European Children's Shoe stores in USA and I am considered an expert on children's shoe fitting and buying. The ABC of a good first walker shoe is:

1. Buy shoes that are made out of natural leather. It is flexible and super soft.

2. Shoes for children have to have breathable leather innersoles. Their feet sweat twice as much as an adult.

3. A child's first shoes should be properly measured - 1/2 inch from the toes for a proper fit and movement.

Sonme useful links

Friday, February 15, 2008

Toying with Toys

I was not a very big fan of buying toys for kids. Books is my way of pleasing a child. After my kids were born, a lot of people gifted toys for them. There were cheap quality toys, expensive ones, educational ones, puzzles, modelling sets, dolls, vehicles and so on. I never saw any real use to it until I started looking at the literature they provided. These used to be a catalogue of other products and these catalogues harped on the educative nature of the toys.

That really set me thinking that toys are not just for playing without any learning, albeit they give a child a lot of room to play act and pretend and also induce arly knowledge of varoius things. For example one will teach kids this is a dog but not this is a dalmatian unless you hav a model of a dalmatian. A car could be a car or a mercedes depending upon the model you have. It is not that I want my children to rote learn whatever I tell them but it is a question of making the most of a mind that is always hungry for information and knowledge. I want to create memories via toys and send them to make believe world via play acting. Playing with toys in a way could become as educative as reading books.

I have recently picked up a set of animal model toys for Ojas & Tejas. I think it is one of the better toys that I have bought for them. I do a lot of stories around the toy animals for them and the excitement on their faces is worth watching. My mom picked a set of gas stove, cups, plates and vessels. They make endless cups of coff-fee & unlimited buffet of Duffa (dosa) for us on that. Mom also gave them miniature chakla-belan for their make belief rotis.

Off course puzzles have a special place in my heart for sheer reason that one needs to apply the mind to get it right and it keeps the kids occupied for some time as long as I applaud them at regular intervals.

Play doh is another personal favourite and so also is the building blocks. But Ojas & Tejas have not yet made full use of them, perhaps they are too young for such toys.

But anything that has wheels, be it etikoppa, metal, plastic, broken or in perfect working order, is a hit.

Football, soft ball, plastic ones, rubber ones, bouncing ones, a kid can never have enough of that too. My Dad had picked up one air filled one that has the alphabets with corresponding pictures on them. That proved to be a big success with both of them not only as a skill testing device but also because they could play the game of letting the air out and asking us to blow it to size again. (Rs 25 only at a China bazaar). Infact hubby had made it a practice to pick up souvenir football from each country he visited (and a flag for himself)

They used to have the mobile that you hang in the crib and wind up. There was a set of dalmatians and another one with butterfly and catterpillar. after they outgrew the mobile, I have saved the individual pieces of dogs and butterflies and those are still serving them well.

There is a bowling set my sis got for them. They take the bowling pins and carry them all over the house in the glass-less side tables.

They love their sand kit- truck and use it for loading their favourite color pencils or potatoes or sand.

They had a set of mugs that built into a tower. The tower never got built but the individual mugs are used well in their personal swimming pool.

Ojas loves his large size dalmatian soft toy (calls it Duggi) and Tejas loves anothr small brown dog and calls it Huggies (Duggi's companion in Pondicherry- will post pics of the 2 later).

From a hard-core toy-opposer, I have become an ardent toy-scouter. Always on the look out for anything interesting for them.

But given a chance, the type of toys my kids would play most willingly would be empty containers / cream bottles, their potty, pouring water from glass to bowl via a spoon, cheapest quality toys, broken parts of toys, the measuring cup of their medicines, straw, basically anything that is wierd or broken or does not qualify as a legitimate toy.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Factual Fiction- Hygiene

The group of Europeans and a solo Indian were arguing on whether wiping was more hygienic or washing. The Europeans claimed that wiping was better because it does not require one to get in direct contact with the shit.
Half an hour later.
Said the Indian- We are done with dinner, lets wipe the plates clean and put them away.
Exclaimed the Europeans- What? wipe them clean? We need to wash them clean.
Retorted the Indian- That's why we wash, not wipe.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

On Books I can't Enjoy

The last 2 months I forced myself to read a few books some, of which I had been wanting to read for a long while. Big names like Inheritence of Loss, Namesake and also a chance find Danielle Steele's Passions Promise.
I had to literally force myself to read them. There was no sense of excitement only curiosity on how it will end. I skipped sections, read the end first and then came back to where I had left. Infact I did not even manage to finish a quarter of the Inheritence of Loss. It is pending just for the sake of crossing it off my list of must reads.
Either they are really monotonous or brilliant and I am unable to appreciate them or they are not my type. Probably the last one, because, felicitations and all, they have been enjoying great reviews by a large section of the book reading public.
If one wants to just read about someones (not so extra-ordinary) life over double digit chapters, I agree they are well written from the language and continuity point of view. A story spanning across 2 generations capsuled into a book. But beyond that, I could see nothing. And it has been good enough to be made into a movie, which again I decided not to watch after a few scenes. Commonalities on all the 3 books / movie was that there was nothing gripping or page-turner for me. Purely a question of interest and choice.
I need a book to be exciting, something that keeps me guessing, makes me want to read the end but I stop myself so as not to spoil the fun, makes me want to reach the end and when I do reach the end, I sigh with a mix of contentment because it was a well written story and sorrow because the story is over. A book should make me want to know what next even after the last chapter has been read. My type of book is something which I want to read over and over again and still have my nose buried into it because it is still interesting despite multiple reads. I am the Jeffery Archer/ Sidney Sheldon/ O'Henry/ Somerset/ Maupassant types. May be not elite enough but I definitely look for a book that is fast paced, a 100m sprint in spirit but a marathon in length. I don't want to know about each and every mole on the protagonist's face neither the unneccesary details on the precise number of minutes he or she spent in the shower. Just enough for me to visualize the landscape and characters of the books. Beyond that, just get to the point, straight and fast.

What type of books make you tick?
Do you re-read books? Out of interest or for lack of a better rading material?
Am I the only dumb-ass to not like award-winning type books? Or there are some more of my kind out there?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Virtual is Reality

This is Ojas & Tejas reporting from ITW. Finally the Chennai Moms got their act together and made it possible for us blog heroes/ heroines to meet up with our other Virtual friends.
There was Kodi & Kodi's Mom Aunty, Anush & Artnavy aunty, S & Has to Be Me aunty and Us & Mom at the pot-luck-snack party at our place on 9th Feb. We are told Lavs Aunty missed the fun as she got unexpectedly tied up with something else.
For starters, Mom was completely hassled the entire day busy doing nothing except putting our toys away. Don't know why she bothered because we promptly scattered them all over the place again. Clearly our idea of creating an atmosphere for our friends did not match with Moms but we persisted. Normally she likes us to play in the garden and mess around in the sand, but that day when we scattered sand in the corridor and garden right after our bath, she went mental. We saw her sweeping the corridor in vain after that.
The party started with Anush and us and Kodi joined soon. Sad that S and Kodi missed each other by a few minutes. He was one older bhayia among all of us. We had a tough time guarding our toys and tricycle but we were ok with sharing the jigsaw puzzles. Forgive us, it will take some time for us to get used to sharing our stuff. Maybe next time we will be more civilized.
We know Anush well, and she looked extremely comfortable with the setting enjoying her snacks and puzzles. Kodi was a little shy, and stayed near his Mom on the tricycle observing keenly everything around him.
We freaked out on wafers, murukku, samosa, juice, corn-pineapple-cheese.
We will look forward to more of such parties to catch up with our peer group

Friday, February 08, 2008

For the Foodies

Here come mine and some food experts' opinion on these new products...

Hershey's Nourishing Milk Mix: Great expectations- hershey's name and all that but largely thumbs down in terms of taste- too bitter. Kids may like it bcause of the easy to squeeze into milk routine. Tastes good as a spread on biscuits or bread. Priced not so greatly at Rs 60 for 250g. Low on the value for money equation. Thumbs tending downwards.

Fantastic rice crackers: available in Niligitri's at Rs 95 a pack. Imported. Available in a range of flavours like barbecue, pizza, cheese etc. Light, crisp, 96% fat free (baked). Acquired taste. High on trip to mouth. Thumbs up. The production is a very lengthy process I am told.

Haldiram nimbu masala: definitely thumbs up. In trend with the lemon concept that is catching up in the Indian snack market- Bingo chatkila nimbu achar, Kurkure electric, and now this.

Haldiram punjabi tadka: Another thumbs up. An aaloo lacha based snack.

Amul Sugarfree chocolate- Thumbs down. Packaging looks like a DVD cover in terms of looks & size. Open it and you find 8 tiny pieces totalling to 50g packed in a tray with a cellophene shrink wrap. The cellophene taste penetrates the chocolate and the poor diabetic fellow who is anyway starved for chocolates, ends up feeling cheated all the more at the meagre offering for Rs 40. Amul, you could hav done better than this.

Kissan Amaze Brain Food- Thumbs down on taste parameters. High expectations looking at the pack quality - They have spent well on the packs using higher density material. Score very low on the looks, aesthetics and th taste parameters. A kid may pick it up for the first time but may not have repeat purchases. A 3D is definitely better in price & taste

Frito Lay's 3D- Similar to Cadbury's Bytes but better mouthfeel and experience. The bite sized snack with lots of chocolate filling. Great product for kids and adults. But poor visibility & dispensing. Hidden among the haldiram's and local bhels. Difficult to locate unless you are looking for it. Definitely thumbs up in terms of taste.

Kurkure Extreme- Risky Chilly & Electric Nimbu - Mmmmm Seriously thoda zyaada! Great with a drink. Difficult for a single person to finish the pack as the flavours and spices are too pungent in the case of chilly and too sour in the case of lemon. But an experience worth risking. Thumbs up.

5 Star Fruit n Nut- You can't get it wrong with 5 star. It can get better only. A cross between a chocolate and a cereal bar but definitely much tastier and much more sinful. Yaay Thumbs up. But some prefer the 5-star crunchy of the "arrey" fame better. But like I said, you can't go wrong with the gooey, yummy 5 star.

Taj Dessert Tea- Th first of its kind in indulgence tea in India. Available in 3 flavours- read here for a lot of details & debate on the subject. Definitely an innovation but falls short of our expectations in the taste department. Neither meets the expectations of a tea drinker nor those of a dessert connossieur. Definitely not anyone's daily cup of tea, which is very habit led. Could be taken by those who want a break from the usual or those who dabble with milk and milk add ons. May become a category on its own depending upon how they make use of this new platform. Thumbs up for the concept. Thumbs down for the taste.

Lays Stax- Salsa Swing, Cajun Beats, Cheese Jalapeno Jive, Cream n Cheese Crave, Paprika Pizzaz & Salted Solo- Fabricated potato chips in a canister. At Rs 50 a pack it is definitely expensive but worth trying. Cajun & both the cheese are the clear favourites. Check out the dance themes for the names and the party pics on the can. Not very heavily advertised. Clearly thumbs up on taste and varianting parameters.

ITC Aashirwad Khaman Dhokla Mix- Thumbs Up especially for people like me who can never get the dhokla right. Easy to make just mix, steam and garnish. The leavening agent is separately included in the pack which needs to be mixed in the dough. At about Rs 30 / pack, it costs a little more than besan (gram flour) so definitely great value for money.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Tables Are Turned

Ojas/ Tejas- Bye Babies
Me/ Nani- No Ojas Daddy/ Tejas Daddy don't go
Ojas/ Tejas- Chukat (chocolate), Chips okay...

Me asking Ojas/ Tejas to give my mobile back to me
Ojas/ Tejas says Kaua, choo (crow choo) and hides the mobile under his bum

Scenario- Me trying to force feed Tejas
Ojas picks up the spoon, and tries to shove it into Tejas' mouth who turns his head away.
Ojas takes the spoon to the balcony and says Crow take (exactly how I do it)
Ojas comes back and tries to feed Tejas again

Tejas- Duddu (Milk)
Ojas- No duddu. Duddu finish
Tejas crying- duddu
Ojas- duddu? wait.
Ojas Opens the fridge and tries to give Tejas milk.

Me- Tejas give me chips
Tejas- no eshu's
keeps it away from me and says No touch, okay!

They pick up a napkin and try to clean my nose like I do for them

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Bangle Fascination

Lad Bazaar in Hyderabad, Vishwanath Gali in Banaras, Patna Market and scores of random exhibitions have one thing in common- I have freaked out on bangles in all these places, be it for myself or for others.
There is something about the khanak or clanking of bangles that make one feel feminine, sexy and demure at one go. For those who don't do bangles, there are bracelets.
The love for bangles began a little late in the day for me. Until then I used to find bangles a bother and also a trifle old fashioned, behanji types. My convent school mind set was deep rooted and until a little before my wedding I was never inclined to wear them.
But I do remember being amazed by the possibilities in colors and patterns in bangles way back when we used to collect broken bits of bangles for our kaleidoscope or for an indoor game. My friend's mom's people were bangle traders in Ferozabad and she used to contribute the maximum broken bits!
But now, be it gold, pearl, lac, glass, metal, plastic, rubber, wood...shining, colourful, patterned, plain, enamelled, I have done them all. I take time in matching them with my attire and working out a good combination depending upon the color of the sari and the border/ pallu. That is one of the part about dressing up that I look forward to.
My most cherished bangles are the lac bangles or Lahathi that I wore for my wedding and a month onwards from then. Bright, maroon/ red, patterned with tiny glass work & metal, delicate and brittle, the handle with care variety. A slight pressure will have them crumbling in your hands. The black, white and gold ones that I bought at Hyderabad later complete the collection. I wear the broad ones mostly as borders to the other bangles and love them for the ethnic looks, the weighty feel and the base terracota-ish sound when they strike against each other. You will find a good variety of them in Rajasthan section of exhibition apart from Hyderabad and Patna and they will cost upwards from Rs 40 a set depending upon the thickness and the work.

My most used bangles are the collection of glass bangles with mirror & crystal/ stone work on them. They come in sets of 12 + 4 thin and broad bangles and I have them in all colours- red, blues, maroon, green, black, white, pinks... You name the color and if they make it, I have it. I have made my mom comb the markets in Ranchi for them and at Rs 18-20 a set, they are a steal. They go well with chiffon/ georgette saris and suits since they are extremely bright and flashy. The best part is being able to combine colors to match the various shades of the dress. They look like a cross between glass & lac and clink like heavy glass bangles.

My latest in glass include a set of 2 thick rounded kadas in dual pastel shades. The play of light lends the duality in the color and they cost about Rs 20. I am flicking it from Mom who bought them at Patna.

I picked up a variety of metal bangles with diamond mirror patterns and another type with lac decoration on metal and tiny hangings. These were the most unique colours like pastel pink, light purple, sparkling grey etc. If one would pick up all the interpretations of say purple- mauve- violet etc, they could combine them to form a unique look.

I have the range of girlish flexible metal bangles in pastel shades, thin, delicate looking array in endless numbers. Not as sophisticated as the glass or lac ones but combine them with the metal ones to upgrade the look.

The wooden bangles with myriad hues from the AP stall of handicrafts fair at Rs 10 per piece had me going crazy. I have used it rampantly and now my kids play with them.

Not to forget the hyderabad pearls and 1g gold polish bangles with gold mimicing designs - green/ white zircons & a lovely antique piece. The best part is they look like the real thing, cost like the imitation but don't tarnish like the imitation work. Go well with traditional saris.

Well, the point of this post. I had cleaned up my cupboard and had spend a happy hour sorting them out into different boxes with remembered pleasure. How enthusiastically I had picked them up at various places. I had been particular about matching bangles everytime I wore a sari until I became pregnant and the hands got swollen.
I have recently discovered that 2 out of the 3 men in my life have been complimenting my mom on her bangles (the new glass ones mentioned a few paragraphs away) as nice bengals. It rekindled my own love for bangles and I took them out and wore them just a few days back when I got a chance to wear a sari.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Factual Fiction- Remote

Didi has (child) locked the TV and hidden the remote.
So that I don't watch the match during study hour.
It must be hidden among her clothes. She thinks it is the safest place as it is the messiest.
Ah there it is. She didn't think that I would go looking for it!
3 hours of bliss until she gets back.
Must be careful to leave it at the same channel that she had left before locking.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Factual Fiction- Copy Paste

Another presentation to make. Global Trends this time.
Copy Paste & Mix n Match from the set of presentations that came from Europe should do the trick.
What the F&%k. Internal presentation is locked. Cannot be copied or saved as another file. Cannot be edited. And the other one is a pdf file.
Fine. Print Screen Paste & Crop will do the trick. Makes my job much easier.
Lady or Gentleman, don't even bother to protect your work. Anything on the computer screen can be copied and reproduced.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Great Laughter Challenge

They differ in not just looks but also in the way they express their joy. Tejas has a way of opening his mouth wide, with tongue visible clearly and Ojas has a controlled smile/ laugh/ grin more teeth driven. Each clip has a story of their own. Most of the pics have appeared in my posts sometime or the other. (Wanna Spot Them? Contest? Prize is to spend a day with the twins!!!)