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Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year 2010

The highlight of the year has been the home makeover where in we gave ourselves a lot of creative width. From repainting to weeding out unnecessary stuff (including some totally unnecessary kaminey people too- but then that is altogether another post!) and buying new furniture.
It has been fun and perhaps we are not yet done. There is only so much you can do with a 2 bedroom home and how much ever space you want to create, it still falls short and you end up stuffing things under the bed or in various corners. Anyway, the husband has discovered a new passion- painting and now I have paintings that suit me on my walls rather than the usual politically correct paintings.
Still a long way to go before the home starts looking immaculate in true sense!
The kids moved to senior kg and I am amazed at their transition over this period in terms of their abilities in reading, puzzles and even doing tough stuff like Kalaeidoscope puzzle or board games- they do the Mamma proud! They are still my babies but they look so grown up now, especially after the arrival of the Donut- another highlight of the year. They have been very gentle with the baby and are totally big brother like.
On a personal level, I have read a lot of books this year- many genres especially Hindu mythology and Indian authors.
I have still a long way to go but one can read only so many books when you are fussy about the authors / genres.
I also joined the gym and while I still have a long way to go and the weight seems to be stuck at a plateaue, I am confident that I can persevere and do it, more so because I am not doing it as a chore. The day I cannot, I do not force myself inside the gym.
The cooking has improved. I could do a few dinners/ lunches at home without feeling stressed about them and even tried out a few variations in my usual recipes.
The next year promises to be much much better. I can sense it. Happy 2011!

PS- With this- I do 31 posts this December- a self challenge- my monthly best so far!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Of Christmas and other parties

Truly, a Christmas month.
This time, the husband was deputed to put up the tree- the idea being to do it with the kids.

But he did it in the silence of the night and the next morning, I woke up to the "lovely" surprise.
My tree was shoved inside my prized flower vase which houses my prized glass flowers. The string lights were set and connected. Of course the husband wouldn't dream of looking for the base of the tree in the ornament box, and he couldn't deign to ask me. He claimed this was innovation and I couldn't bring myself to agree to that sentiment and promptly set up the tree, the right way this time.
We first celebrated Christmas with the little Donut.

The tree was piled with gifts and all- Ben 10 toys, tiny pajamas, chips, lollypops, gems.
The second level was with the neighbours. We had a Christmas party at my home and the tree was loaded with gifts for all children and even adults who came over.
The kids got cute christmas activity books - customised from the internet and a cool glow in the dark sticks from Aunty S, Jenga bricks, Uno cards and assorted stationery from aunty R and chocolates from aunty V.
We called a cook who effortlessly served us seemingly unlimited snacks from my kitchen. It was such a luxury, one could easily get used to it in a couple of hours. Imagine having a trained cook at your disposal!
The third was the Mad one coming over. Suffice to say, the highlight was that the kids bonded well, the brat said my parathas are very soft (probably the reason being that his mother was there helping me with the parathas!), the OA loved the chicken curry- even though the husband said that he must have been drunk to be able to praise your cooking and the kids were caught discussing with each other after they left-
Tejas, did you like the bean?
The rest like how we chatted late into the night is expected, so too insignificant to be brought up in this post.
We rather I loved the lovely illustrated Christmas book that the kids gave my kids!
The fourth was the boo coming over with the kids. Antu is a mass of curls, totally a doll and Ashu is the elder one to the boot. You can catch her giving the look at her Mom when Antu does something silly!
So evident is the mom & daughter bonding that I had to touch wood to prevent the jealous vein that was showing up in me from casting evil eyes! And I forgot to take the all important photographs.
Before she came, I was telling the kids about Switzerland- the snow peaked mountains and the chocolates. So they were waiting patiently for the chocolates that boo would bring! And they were not disappointed!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winter in Chennai

Finally a winter worth it's salt. I love Chennai winters. They are so comfortably cool without restricting you in anyway. And since I look horribly fat in sweaters, I would rather not wear them.
But this December, the combined effects of the assorted depressions and the late NE monsoon caused a general nip in the air. Not upto North India standards buit definitely good enough to warant wearing of woolies by the kids playing outside and jackets and the lovely rajasthani bundis I got them last year.
I also took my shawl to work on 2 days, even though I just decorated the chair back with it. But it was a nice feeling, just carrying the shawl!
Here are the kids in their winter best in Chennai- jackets, hooded T shirts and shoes and socks


So Tejas was all set to distribute lollypops to his friends. He dioscovered he had 3 lollypops and 5 friends.
Tejas- Mamma, what to do?
Mamma- err, ahem, no idea?
Tejas- ok! Take this lollypop R, and you share it with your twin S..... proceeds to divide the 3 lollypops among 5 kids- 2 sets of twins and 1 individual!
Brilliant eh?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Womens even or Mens yet again?

And old post (22nd June) which I never published wonder why.....
Something like this happened in my household also

I had made samosas at home and the next day the husband made himself a samosa chaat meal.
Me (from office)- did you keep the balance samosas in the fridge

Husband- no. I gave it to the dog and the dog ate it and died.

Emotional Blackmail

Whenever I am annoyed with the kids and not talking to them.
Mamma, tum khali Donut se Khush hota hai, hum se khush nahin hota hai
(Mamma you are only pleased with the Donut, you are never pleased with us)

Monday, December 27, 2010


Me- Mamma is going to get a new laptop
Tejas- why?
Me- Because Mamma has been a good girl
Tejas- ever the suspicious one- is everyone getting it?
Me- Err, No, only Mamma
(It doesn't hurt to lie a bit for the greater good, does it?)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Spiritual Gurus - Then and Now

I have been reading many versions of our epics for some time.
There is one thing which I noticed about the spiritual Gurus.
Many of the revered ones were not so revere-able in their prime.

Valmiki- the author of Ramayana was a hunter turned robber, an outlaw forced to rob to enable him to feed his family. When his family refused to be a party to the punishment of his sins, he decided enough was enough and became a hermit spending the rest of his days in austerities. He was revived by Narada who removed the Valmik- the ant hills from his body and therefore Ratnakar came to be known as Valmiki.

Vishwamitra- The first Sage- Brahmarishi Vishwamitra was a king known for his short temper and lust to possess stuff like the Kamdhenu cow for which he resorted to great violence. Ultimately he went the austere penance route to be able to become more powerful than Vashishtha muni whose cow he wanted to possess. During his penance the Menaka incidence happened!

Durvasa- the sage born out of Shiva's anger was impossible to live with. One one hand, he was deeply feared for his curses and on the other hand famous for his wonderful boons- Kunti who served him and took care of his unreasonable needs was granted the famous boons.

Shukracharya- A totally grey character. Very well learned, he had the knowledge of Sanjeevani mantra - that which revives the dead. He is known to suffer from jealousy with his brother, deep rooted misplaced anger against Vishnu and going over to the dark side- the side of the asuras.

Narad- The wise immortal sage was known as the perpetual strife maker, travelling freely between the 3 worlds. He was the one who persuaded the sons of Daksha to not propogate, and thereby angered, Daksha cursed him to be a wanderer.

There may be more, but these are some of the most famous ones.
That was about Then- and a then that was very very long time ago.

But what about Now?
The difference is that the notoreity happens after becoming a guru.
Without taking names, we do know of the recent and not so recent scandals that the spiritual guides are linked with. Some of them cannot travel abroad because of cases going against them. They are supposed to live a life of so called austerity but more often than not, their comforts are well taken care of. Sections of homes reserved for the spiritual guides every time they visit their home or devotion that takes the form of reserving a chair or some furniture permanently for the Baba and decking it up with silk angavastra. In fact the sons were greatly amused that the chair wore a sari and if at all it was a baba where was the head.
Giant pictures of the spiritual guide adorn the walls of the entire home and even puja ghar. Bhakts massage the guru's feet and take care of all his comfort.

Totally opposite of the hands-off approach that was the embodiment of spiritual gurus in the ancient times.

Yes but one thing is still common- the gurus as master persuaders- we marketing/ sales people should obtain lessons from them.
While they do have the power of knowledge and people believe in the because that is what they have made up their mind to do but there is also this skill of persuading and influencing.
Watch a Baba Ramdev session- you will be compelled to do the pranayam that he encourages you to do. A true sales man!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The King Of Ayodhya

The Final book in the series by Ashok Banker.
Yup, much as I wouldn't like to do a spoiler- Ravan gets killed in this one. But some good parts have been eliminated- the one in which Rama sends Lakshman to collect the wisdom from Ravan as he was dying.
Even the mode of his death is different from what we know.
Vibhishan has joined Rama's forces but rather than participating, he seems to be meditating. I always thought he was the instrument of the victory.
The war is fantastically depicted- even though it is a bit too much and I was tempted to speed read or skip sections.
Kumbhkarna is killed by Hanuman in a fantasy war in the middle of the sea- not as per the version we have always known.
So go on, get the set for a new series awaits us
Slayer of Kansa- the first book is already in my hands!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Cycle of Shopoholic-ism Never Ends

Mini Shopaholic- the latest book in the series from Sophie Kinsella.
Minnie Brandon, shopaholic in the making has already started shopping online. While her mom struggles to live a frugal life in these recessionary times.
The Banker Brandon has given her a yardstick- wear all your clothes atleast 3 times until you buy yourself the next new dress.
So how does Becky manage to wriggle out of this situation?
Not only this, in these frugal times, she is planning a big surprise party for Luke Brandon and that is an open secret sort of secret. So how does she or does she manage to keep all this a secret?
And to top it all, is there some sort of good deed happening parallely as it happens in most of her stories?
Sssshhh I will not blurt out anything more.
Go on read this book. I warn you it is a little boring and predictable initially and Becky can be quite annoying for somewhat frugal people like me. But it catches up mid way and crosses the finish line in record pace.
I leave you to hunt this book while I am off to shop for a few more books.

this post has been scheduled 2 days ago so therefore, no I am not rushing off to shop at this time of the day!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Reward

Tejas- Why didn't you buy me lollipop
Me- Why didn't you call me and tell me
Tejas- Why didn't you dial for me?

Me- Ok let me call up the shop and ask him to send
Tejas- no you go and buy

So we went to buy and after our purchase
Tejas- मम्मा अब हम तुमको नहीं डांटेंगे(Mamma, now I will not scold you)
Now I will tell you I love you!

huh, as if I care

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Any Man Can Be a Father

It takes someone special to be a Dad.

I have seen many fathers but just not enough Dads.

There are very few Dads who are willing to take time off to just create moments with their kids.

But enough who believe that their job ends with that 1 tsp contribution.

Sorry to burst the bubble, the real work begins after that. Diapers, Vaccinations, Feeding Bottles, Toys, Clothes, Schooling, and all that is just what money can buy.

There are other things which no wealth in the world can buy for your child.

And strangely enough, children attach more worth to them rather than what the money is buying. Except of course in moments of extreme weakness that involve stuff like Ben 10.

Look around you. There will be fathers who are devoting time to their kids in teaching them the nitty gritty of cricket or chasing after a football and then there will be children whose fathers are too busy to play with the child who awaits patiently for his turn to play with someone else's Dad.

The other day I was dropping my kids to school. I was following a car which had a Dad who was very sweetly bending from time to time towards the little girl in the passenger seat and chatting merrily. Such a heart warming sight.

My son mentioned his friend cried loudly during the sports day. The reason being he could not see his parents in the audience.

There is a rare breed of Dads that can change diapers, wash bums and feed their kids with practiced ease. As a regular, not just for photo opportunity. A Dad whom I know - his little daughter would insist his Dad assist her in the bathroom- we marvelled at the Mom's training and were ready to take tuitions at her feet!

I find the husband extremely vigilant when we go to the movies. I may forget but he never forgets to take them to the toilet before entering the theatre. (May be because if during the movie the dreaded, adamant call of "susu" comes, it is his sacred duty to take them there).

And not to forget, it has been a long time duty of my Dad to play and lose against us in Ludo then and now against my kids.

And so I would say, a Dad can never cease to be a Dad! But Fathers some times never make it as a Dad!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Abhi se?

-Google karna shuru? That too on my phone?
-Taking random pictures from my phone? I hope they are not posting them on FB or Blogs
- Telling us to take them to a restaurant.
- Fighting with the Dad for the remote.
-Pouring out a glass of soda for themselves?
- Helping me bake a cake?
- Going off to friends' home without telling me?

Arre baba, abhi time hai. Do not grow up so fast.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Where Art Thou Oh God of Weight Loss?

Dear God of Weightloss,
I need to lose just 5 kgs by February.
I promise to do all that I wrote in my weight management posts 3 years ago.
I promise to eat my salads, reduce the carb intake and stop errr restrict eating outside.
I promise to buy a nice sexy gym outfit for myself instead of the dowdy oversized T shirts in black that I borrowed from the husband.
I am willing to not glare at the moron who screams my weight aloud for everyone to hear during the annual health check up or clobber the freak who calls me obese and circles the ideal body weight in the height/ weight/ age chart.
I have already stopped KFC & Potato Chips.
I sip water the entire day.
I walk when I talk on the phone.
I do 45 minutes of cardio every alternate day.
I park my car in the faraway parking lot every alternate week.
I do not take elevators..errr I live and work on ground floor but then that's not my fault.
I bend down to pick up fallen toys and play frisbee with the kids.
I walk up to speak to the colleauge even if it is just next cabin with a shared wall.

What more do you want me to do you heartless God?
Cut of my body parts like hair to reduce the weight?
Or tamper with the awful weighing scale in the gym that shows 2 kgs extra?
Or grow in height by a couple of feet to come to ideal weight according to my height?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sports Day

The morning dawned bright and clear and the kids were geared up for the sports day for which they had been practising with great excitement. The theme (I like that- having a theme for sports day) was helpers of the society. Each class selected a profession to represent- teachers, farmers, sports persons, doctors, bankers, fruit sellers, gardeners, courier boys and so on.
The Senior Kg event began with a spectacular dance on Jai Ho. Something they performed with amazing coordination. In the mass of 150 plus students, not a step seemed out of place and not a single child seemed to be the "joker of the pack" which is usually there in the "junior sections...huh"- like the one who removed his socks during a yoga session or the other who refused to skip the missed steps and continue out of step with others. Good for comic relief. The students get serious as they reach Sr Kg and looks like they are truly well deserved to be called seniors of the school!!!

There's Tejas waiting for his event to begin. He had been fretting the entire week as his relay team member seemed to be toos low for is taste and she was making every one "late". I told him to run with double speed because relay is all about team work, and one team member covering up for the other. They were pizza makers and they had to arrange 4 slices of a pizza on a tray and bring it to finish line.
That's Tejas standing with his team on the first position.
There's the Gold Medal on Tejas!
There's Ojas in the rightmost corner waiting for his race to begin- with a white "coat" and a bandage that has to be tied on hurt animals- they were the vet doctors.

There is Ojas tying a bandage on his teddy bear's limb- he was very systematic. Placed the bandage on the field, put the teddy 's lib on top of the bandage and began tying it. He had practiced a lot and would come first or second during the practice sessions in schools
He finished 4th and I liked the fact that the school gave away consolation medals also- yellow gold is what the kids said. And my baby Ojas says- Mamma, I won!
And one bonus pic- celebrity Mamma (err me ) was called to give away the medals to a section of junior kg students- err the one who never won any medal in any sport event!!! But that doesn't matter because these things skip a generation!

Blame Game

Tejas to Nani- Humko kuch do tum.. Gimme something
Nani- what do you want?
Tejas- something. helpfully holds out a glass.
Nani - juice?
Tejas- nooooooo
Mamma asks Nani on the phone- are you having tea? He means tea and he will not say because I am on the phone.
Nani- yu want tea
Tejas- head nodding

Mamma- Why did yu drink tea
Tejas- tumhara hi Mamma humko diya- your mother gave me tea!

Why do I get a strange feeling that I am the one to be blamed?

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Visit to the Gym

Ojas & Tejas have a long time ambition- to make big muscles and draw tattoo on them. The drawing part is easy- a marker pen will do- because the tatoos that they got in some snacks caused Tejas a small reaction.
Now for the tough part- building muscles.
The husband took the kids to the gym a couple of weeks ago. The hidden agenda was to get them into the steam so that they get relief from cough/ cold.
For a good part of an hour, the kids had fun bouncing and walking at 0.8 speed on the treadmill. Sitting on hubby's lap while he was rowing and then politely told him- I have had enough Dadda, now I will do on my own. They even tried lifting the 2.5 lb dumb bells and honestly felt that their muscles have grown a bit.
The grand finale was the steam. 3 men in chaddis walked proudly into the steam room. Out rushed 2 chaddies buddies and the third one followed them. He managed to drag Tejas inside the steam room and contain him there for 2 minutes. And then he peeped out to look for Ojas.
Within that span of 2 minutes Ojas had changed into his street clothes and was standing there saying- I am wearing my clothes. Now I cannot go for steam.
So that was the last visit to the gym. Subsequent visits have never ever happened.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Learning Science

Check out the books at These are story book style science books which make learning science concepts very simple, through pictures, mind maps and stories.
Amber learns about seasons starts with learning about air and thereon an understanding of how seasons happen.
How do sea animals breathe?
What is moving air called?
How do you know air exists at all?
We cannot even see the air.
Find out by reading this exciting book!
Amber and the Vanishing drop is about water - the uses of water, the life forms within water and even understanding simple aspects like how a puddle forms. 2 drops of water Co & Jo residing in the puddle explain to Amber the squirrel that they in fact come from different sources - one from the nearby lake and one from the large Pacific ocean. How do they manage to become a part of a piddly puddle? I leave it to you to find out.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Foodie or Greedy?

One extremely cynical-about-India person I know who has left desh long ago to live abroad once said in so many and more words- In India one thing is very obnoxious- people are always talking about food.
I reserved my thoughts to myself at that point of time but personally I felt that such people who comment on "Indians and our Indianess" are perfect assholes and are hiding within themselves a deeper secret self of being extremely greedy towards food and feel a certain entitlment towards home made food just because they have come from abroad- food that they do not get abroad because there is no concerned Indian aunty running behind them discussing what breakfast lunch or dinner they will want to eat.
Yes, food defines Indians in so many different ways - the lovely map that I got from the net is just one way of saying that Indian cuisine is not just about curry! We celebrate with food. Every festival has a distinct mix of dishes that need to be made. We show care with food- we send across a box of stuff to neighbours on any ordinary day and a box of special stuff during festivals. Indian hospitality begins and ends with food. People who come home are loaded with snacks and are not allowed to leave without having dinner.

I have always loved food (and sadly, it shows!). But love for food apart, I am not the greedy types.
Allow me to explain the differences between foodies and greedies.
1. Foodies love to share down to the last morsel, the Greedy ones hate sharing, err down to the last morsel- A foodie may look like a greedy grabbing the last bit of food off the plate but what distinguishes them from the greedy is that before doing that they will always ask if you want because they do not mind sharing. In fact they like to spread the joy. Because they love community building of people who enjoy the same food. The greedy will never ask. Just keep eating without asking if you want a bit. Because they dread it that you might actually say yes and they will lose a morsel that could have gone into their stomach.

2. Foodies love to plan meals- breakfast, lunch, dinner, tiffin boxes are the highlights of their day. There is a fine way to distinguish between the foodies and the greedies. The greedy ones do not plan meals and all. They just watch out for leftovers, or treats that have been bought in the last purchase and sporadically plan their next meal or lunch box which consist of those leftovers or treats- obviously if you blatantly say give me all that is left over- no one else will want to eat that.

3. Foodies love to take photos of food. Because food is also aesthetics. Food is used to communicate. Food is communication. Food can become an entire blog post. A great part of my salary comes from food. So obviously, I have to take lots and lots of pictures of the source of my salary.
The greedy ones may be just afraid that their food may run away so they take those snaps.

4. The foodies love to eat and so do the greedies but there is a subtle difference in their approach. Let me illustrate. Lets say I bought a box of cashew sweets to serve my house guests. Suppose I offer to pack some for my houseguest to take home since there is a lot of it, they will eagerly and gladly accept. But if I offer the same to a greedy, they will vehementally refuse then strategise the entire night and the next morning, when everyone is fast asleep, they will pack almost the entire box of sweets for themselves and not even have the courtsey to inform the host.
And suppose, they do agree to take a pack when offered, the greedies will pack the choicest pieces from the chicken curry and leave only the gravy behind for the host, whereas a foodie will take a good mix and leave enough for the host because foodies believe in sharing/ spreading the joy.

5. Foodies and Greedies both love food but Foodies will proclaim their love. Greedies will always say- I don't eat sweets, or I don't eat mithai because they don't want people to suspect that the person who ate up the entire ice cream on the sly are the greedy in their midst.

6. Foodies call you home for dinner/ lunch because they genuinely want to feed you. Greedies call you out of guilt- just to do a return favour so that they do not have the cosmic debt in their accounts.

7. Foodies will ask you to bring their favourite food for them. Greedies will also do the same. The difference is that foodies will also get a treat bag of your favourite food for you and the greedies will never do that. Just demand. Demand with a sense of entitlement.

So are you a foodie or a greedy or you are the ones who eat only to survive?
Believe me, I had plenty of friends of the last kind who were benchmarks for my mom in my growing up years.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Akshaya Patra

No child in India shall be Deprived of Education Because of Hunger.
Indiblogger initiative to blog about Akshay Patra is as follows
Your blog can help feed 50 children now.
Read about The Akshaya Patra foundation here.
Blog about their cause and urge your readers to support it. Give them the link to make a donation online.
Submit your post on IndiVine.
For every valid blog post, Akshaya Patra will be able to feed 50 children.
The contest
2 winners chosen by Akshaya Patra will be flown to Jaipur on an all expense paid weekend trip, where you get to visit the kitchens where the food is made, and do other touristy stuff.
The winners will be announced on the 15th of Jan, 2011.
Each winner can bring along a friend/spouse/special someone/parent/sibling/dog.

Progress Report

Somehow it feels that the kids' progress report is as good as the parents' progress report.
Because the work we are doing with the kids at home gets reflected in their actions in the school also.
The focus was more on overall assessment in behavioural and skill terms rather than academic terms.
The specific things the teachers told about the kids this time were-

Tejas- He is doing very well and he is the first child in class who can distribute the books by reading the names of the students on his own. His grasp of concepts in a holistic manner is excellent and he is very good in understanding what he as to do during sports. He has made special friends and loves to sit with them and he loves snack time (that is a surprise to me) and loves the little treats that I add like cashews / chocolate in his snack box. And he is extremely uncomfortable when Ojas drops him inside the class!

Ojas- A marked improvement in terms of not talking about Tejas in class and not day dreaming. He has picked up in his reading - which I have also noticed at home. Now he voluntarily picks up the books and reads aloud and is getting better and better in it. His grasp of concepts and intelligence is high. He is still developing his skills in handling scissors which I am not surprised, as he is ambidextrous- part lefty which I explained to the teacher- so that she is a little more alert when he uses left hand to cut with scissors that are meant for right handed people.

Overall, both of them enjoy doing their homework. I don't even have to tell them to do it. Even before I reach home on Thursdays, most of the home work is done except the handwriting pages which they hate doing.

I guess, they are now ready to bring themselves up on their own!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Even Peeves the Poltergist is Less Annoying Than...

- Those who constantly tell dirty jokes at lunch table- I had no clue about the Nityanand Episode or even a movie called Sindhu Samavali- but the way it had been discussed at my lunch table, scene by scene as shown on TV or word by word as published in teh papers, I feel as if I have watched all the leaked uncensored CDs of Nityanand episode.
My solution- Just give a sarcy look around to another lady colleague and say- see I told you he will discuss this ha ha ha....

- Those who send huge forwards that had already done its rounds a decade or so earlier, especially on the office network. My IT department once send a sarcastic mail to one such forward- for what official purpose have you set up a return receipt for this forward! I sent a silent cheer in his direction!
My solution- just ignore and definitely delete as it clogs the mailbox. Sometimes I just mention that this was an old one- some 10 years earlier I had read it.

- Ladies who involve themselves in the fights of kids. The kids forget about it in moments but the mothers- their fights continue because even if you do not want to involve yourself at some point you have to step in when the said mother is abusing your son- telling him bloody fool or shoving him even if there is a chance that my son is at fault.
My solution- is usually to call both kids and ask both of them to apologise. I don't usually involve myself with the parent unless it gets too much. I normally keep a check on what happened in the playground on a daily basis.

- People who ping me on chat again & again throughout the day- just because I am online doesn't mean I am in a mood to talk to you. Ok we did a hi hello in the morning. Why are you again doing the same hi in the afternoon. Can't we just exist in the cyberspace but not disturb the other person who might be seriously working on a blog post.
My solution- ignore when it happens second time in a day.

- Those morons who send Personal mails on my office id- When you know my personal e mail id why the F are you writing to me on my official id? That too mails that are entirely personal in nature?
-My solution- block the person. I don't mix business and pleasure or rather even "un" pleasure. I explicitly tell people to mail to my personal id if they are not my colleagues. And I am not a fan of asking official mails to come to personal id especially because if you have a mail address that reads something like itching....ufff you will know how it feels to share it with office people!
- People who come on a group forum only to seek solutions for themselves but never be around to even listen forget respond to other people's problems.
My solution- resist the temptation to respond to the frantic help requests.

- Ladies who seek you out in a group tour only to ask where the toilet is- as if we are appointed toilet sensors. Or to join your group because they see you are a prospective "helper" for shopping in a strange city
- My solution- let the said lady tag along and then lose her in the crowded shops. And do not tell her of your discovery- the secret location of the additional toilet 3 floors up!! Let her stand in queue for the common toilet and tell her you don't want to "go"

So what are your pet peeves?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Of Demons & Super Heroes

I thought I would religiously update the reviews of all the books of Ramayan series by Ashok Banker. But I got so tied up with the books that I just didn't want to invest energies in thinking about a review. But then what is the purpose of reading a book and then not blogging about it!!
So here goes a quick one.
So I have read
Demons of Chitrakoot
Covers the circumstances of Rama's exile, their struggles with the demons in Chitrakoot and the parallel story of Lanka and the circumstances in which Ravan is brought back to Lanka. In a true filmy style he is in a prehistoric version of coma which is something new to me- I have never come across such episode in all my understanding of Ramayan.
Armies of Hanuman
How can a book not be dedicated to the key force in Rama's army? Hanuman is introduced in this book- the Hanuman who is yet unaware of his great powers. We come to know who is going to be Valmiki much later. Supranakha manages to revive Ravan using Rama's blood (now where have we read that before? Hint hint- Harry potter & he who must not be named- he gets revived using Haryy's blood!!!) Bali is introduced here and we come to know that Bali tried to lure Rama by saying he knows the secret of Ravan's death. Political! In this book, Rama doesn't kill Bali while Sugreev & Bali are duelling but confronts him and kills him.
We come to know about the phenomenolly sorcerous powers of the Pushpak

The Bridge of Rama
The bridge building starts in this bok. The skills of the architect Nala is employed here - pure architectural skills not the other explanation that I liked to believe
There were many hermits living on a riverbank in cottages. While young, Nala & Nila entered these hermitages; while the sages were immersed in deep meditation, seizing the holy icons they used to cast them into the waters of the river. The sages were enraged at this sacrilege and they cast a curse on them, in this manner. 'Boys! May all things that you throw on water never sink; may they float instead. And, may they remain just where you have thrown them, even if the waters flow fast in floods.'
Hanuman our (original) Superhero's potent energy is unlocked and he leaps across the ocean and burns the city of Lanka.

And so, I am on the last book now- The King of Ayodhya- I could give you a sneak previews because impatient as even I have skimmed through many pages. But I will hold back till I have read the entire book

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Punning Again

Ojas- Yashpal's hand broke
Tejas- Yashpaal?
Yash milk?
Paal= Milk in Tamil

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dastakar Exhibition at Kalakshetra

Is Back. The last one happend in Jan 2010. So we get 2 exhibitions this year and I don't know why it makes me so happy! Needless to mention, I had been waiting for January so that I could go there but then all of a sudden it was upon us and all thoughts of visiting it had to be put off due to the ceaseless cyclone rain.
Tuesday, I managed to go there.

I asked the kids before leaving-
Do you want to go to the exhibition or play here itself.
Now such a question is guaranteed to give an answer that looks like- we want to play here.
I was tempted to add some vile description of an exhibition but the kids took the bait easily.

So Mom & I rushed to Kalakshetra since we were already 4 days late and all the good stuff would have been sold and parked as close as possible to the entrance so that we could gain early entry advantage - every second counts when you have to get into the shops.

The theme for the year is Akshara- the script and there is lovely calligraphy work done by various states on various medium like cloth, pottery, cushion covers etc. I would have loved to pick every one of them but I have serious lack of space in my home.

I loved a huge with gods embroidered on it on a cloth backing.
Like a true blue blogger, I wanted to carry my camera and take lots of pictures. But shopping tops blogging at any point of time so I didn't. But I urge you to go here and see all the pictures you want. It covers the entire exhibition beautifully.

I picked up a lovely kurta from the Bengal stall, a pair of Haryanvi chappals with mirror work & embroidery, colourful metal bangles, a set of coasters & 3 trays (Mom's gift), Jute placemats. Not many but I guess there is only so much you can buy when there is no manouvering space in your home even.
The exhibition is on till 13th for those who might want to go.
And perhaps I could go again and check out the dress materials- look at them statewise and select what is missing from my wardrobe. No no, I am just going to look.

Or shall I pick up the blocks - for the sake of art- even if I am never going to print my own cloth. Perhaps I will just take the contact details of the stall owner. That way, even if I do not buy anything, I have an option of contacting him and buying later. Believe me, it gives you a lot of security- just knowing that you have the leads on where to buy something.
What about the lovely watermelon coasters I was drooling at or the rajasthani mirror work coasters - nah, I am not going to spend Rs 450 on coasters. The watermelon ones would have been over by now- and what of the ones that I have already bought? At this rate, I will have to buy new sofas & tables to accomodate all the coasters I want to buy

Clocks- lovely artistic clocks and my current clock has packed up- lemme give an honest shot at getting it repaired because I really really love the clock. And it matches with my wall.
I may just peek into the Delhi kurta stall- They were Rs 750 a piece and I turned my nose down at them but then the designs.. the designs. I also have to collect the shop owner's address so that I have a destination in mind for lovely clothes when the need arises.
Junk jewels- Nah, not my type but I could still see if I can begin to use them. After all the bead necklace that Mamma Mia Me a Mamma gave me (see the kurta pic above) looks great on this kurta.
May be I will take the kids this time- when there is a puppet show on. I am sure they will appreciate it and not even look at the wooden toy stalls all over the place beckoning them.
I need to check whether there are lipstick cases in the Shantiniketan Leather stall and perhaps a huge travel size handbag. Because despite having atleast 50 handbags I still do not have a decent travel handbag.
And while I am at it, spring cleaning is in order to make space for the "hawai and real purchases" I have done.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

7 Year Itch

Has Begun. And yes of course I collected a lot of wishes by posting about it on facebook! (; strategy!)
Apart from calls and wishes from friends and relatives, I got 2 funny wishes

1st funny wish
Me- you know what is tomorrow?
Tejas- Yes, your Happy Diwali
Me- No it is Happy anniversary
Ojas- what is it?
Me- Mamma & Dadda got married on this day.
Ojas- Where was I
Me- you were not there
Ojas- I am not your friend (seriously, is he on FB?)
Me- you were in my tummy (well before you raise questions- they were born 2 years after the wedding)
Ojas- will there be toys during the wedding
Me- Ahem ahem..

2nd Funny wish
Happy Wednesday!
I thought because it happened to be a Wednesday but then I realized it was Happy Wedding Anniversary!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Melting Pot

Says Tejas on seeing his loosies

My Potty has melted

Monday, December 06, 2010

Signs of a Facebook Addict

I joined facebook very reluctantly. First it was for the sake of the many games like jumble or pathwords. I would open facebook just for playing the games. My friend list was very limited. And very restricted and private as I was not sure I could carry on so why add friends just for the sake of it. Second reason was to look at all the photos the family was posting which I was unable to view.
When I started realising the fun people were having interacting on this site and I started getting hooked on to it. Slowly the friend list went on an inclusive growth stage- so I added relatives, blog friends, school friends, college friends.... and so on until now I have a good number of friends though not really impressive.
Until sometime ago I thought facebook was for social networking. But now I observe it serves many a larger purpose.
So after a long hiatus- here is my notorious "list post" coming up.
1. Trumpet Blowing- happy about something? want to tell the world in general what you have achieved? Just post it on Fb and you will have a number of "likes" and "great work" and all raising your general happiness levels
2. Feel Good Factor Enhancer- Is it your birthday or any other special day- the automatic birthday indicator to your friends serve a great purpose- they will have friends rushing to wish you in advance so that they do not forget on the d day. So if people live on different time zones, in effect you celebrate your birthday from day -1 to day 0 to day +1.
and even if you suspect that people may miss wishing you- just start posting leading status messages- like, the hubby has already bought my gift or like the children made me a birthday card .... so on and so forth and people will be prompted to wish you
3. Support System- are you pissed off with something or someone? Are you going through a bad phase? Just post on fb and people will come in hordes to offer their sympathies or even bad mouth the objective of your anger with equal or more intensity
4. Annoyed? Do you want to indicate your annoyance? You could post something scathing and hope the person intended for reads it or you could subtly delete the person from your friend list. It is the ultimate insult to be deleted from the friend list and it is a parampara jo orkut ke zamane se chali aa rahi hai!
4. Paranoid?- suddenly you think that some of your friends might post something bad on your wall. Spill your dirty secrets while you are asleep (which means not online)? Give gaalis? Or take your pictures and morph them into something ugly and post it all over the net? But you are scared to "unfriend" them? Or worse, you want to secretly keep tabs on the going ons in their life but do not want to allow them to post anything on your wall?
Simple. Just restrict access to your wall, photos and all but cunningly keep them on your friend list thereby maintaining a one way communication controlled by you. And if the "almost unfriended friend" is just an idle gazer on fb and is not really comunicating with you, then even better- they needn't even know about your restrictions.

So what are your FB lessons? Let's expand the list.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Singing to the Tune

The kids are yet to get their Shruti Box. I mean it has come to the shop and it just needs to come home. Meanwhile, I got them this cheap keyboard for meddling with.

Well, are they meddling or are they doing a medley who knows but as of now it is a very fun thing for all of them.

Tejas sings as I play

But Ojas wants to play as I sing!
Their current favourite song is yashomati mayia. More so because they visualize themselves as Little Krishna and all. I dread the day they will ask me to sing a Ben 10 song of such type.
Ojas can sing the first 4 lines on his own but the rest, he find them too complicated to remember.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Kaleidoscope Classic

A fun game that involves using 18 pieces of different shapes and sizes to be fit into patterns. I got this game 7 years ago and it has been most sparingly used and all of it in the first year of buying it. The intent has always been there but I dare not take it out in front of the kids. Well, not that I have lost anything. The website has archives of previous puzzles which I can access and solve at leisure. The website access comes with the kit purchased.
Recently I took this game out for the kids to play. Ojas has really taken to it and he has made atleast 2 patterns with minimum help from me.
This is the simplest pattern and I helped him with only 2 pieces.

and here's Tejas mastering Ludo.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Kids' Room

The kids are still not using their room but we are trying to make visible cues to make them realize it is their room.

Some of the work done so far...

The door to their room-

These plastic alphabets come with a 2 way tape behind. I picked them up from a home exhibition stall. They charge Rs 100 per name so someone like Saravanan Swaminathan or Chandra Shekhar Prasad will do a total paisa vasool!!

The kids stuck these themselves - that explains the curvaceous nature of the straight line!

Opposite to the door is their favourite Ben 10 welcoming everyone with a mean glare.Chota Bheem and friends painted on the wall by the husband. He has used glitter paints to emphasise certain things like Chutki's jewels or Dholu Bholu's turbans etc. They look really neat!Tigger on the wall painted by the husband, drawn by an enthu painter who simply wanted to draw something on the wall. The other side of the window has a lion drawn by the same painter and painted by husband. No prizes for guessing why there are lions and tigers here.

This one you already know- the wall at the head of the bed.

Since the last side remaining has the cupboards- the husband cannot paint anything else on that side. .....

The twin beds have a little history behind- it is the same that sis and I started using some 30 years ago. The parents sent it to us and here we have it set in the kids' room. So a nice piece of "heirloom" here. and I love it because the width is not a measly 2.5 feet that your get nowadays but more and the frame is not compressed wood.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Brotherly Support System

I was putting a dressing for another of Ojas' multiple wounds. Tejas gave a helping hand resulting in Ojas throwing a tantrum-
Only Mamma had to do ........bwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Tejas in a conciliatory tone- dekho, humko bhi choti laga hai. to kaun band aid lagaega? Tum hi na lagayega? (I have also got hurt. So who will put a band aid for me? you only will put )
Ojas proceeds to put a bandage on Tejas' non existent bruise and they sleep happily for that night atleast!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Library Books

The school gives library books every weekend.
This week since I was travelling, I couldn't read them to the kids.
This morning scene-
Me- Which library book is yours?
Tejas- Hum read nahin kiyaa hai. read karna thaa..
I was most tempted to say - read them in school.

But, it so happened that we speed read the books before leaving to school.
We really do not let schooling interfere with education!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Being Mother of Boys

Means to be prepared with facing daily cuts, nicks, hurt, falls, burns, wounds and all without wincing or flinching or crying.
From a mother of 9 month old twins who cried buckets when her baby fell off the bed (seriously, and that seems to be like something so minor especially when Tejas had the presence of mind to raise his head as he fell!) I have learnt to tackle a nose bleeding without dialling the doctor!
So Ojas, my poor baby has scored so many badges of honour within a short span of 2 months.
The boy who almost always prefers to ride pillion with Tejas on the cycle got his leg inside the spokes of the cycle during our Kodaikanal trip in October and ended up with a wound that is still not gone. Moral of the story- Let Ojas ride cycle with Tejas not his Dad.

Closer home, right before his birthday, he stumbled on a wayward stool and landed bump on his head earning a huge ball shaped swelling that lasted until the birthday.

And as his wound and bump was on the road to healing, he burnt himself. The Steam inhaler threw a jet of hot water straight on his chest and he has a huge eight shaped burn scar. A week of dressing and the wound has healed but the scar remains. He carries it like a badge of honour. But the brave boy that he is, the moment he came back from the hospital, he rushed out to play.
But his take home from the entire incident is - Mamma why did you cry when I got hurt? And he doesn't hesitate to relate this to all and sundry.
Ultimately he ended up stumbling and getting a huge rectangle wound on his legs.

Yesterday he was running- running as usual in the complex play area. A boy's foot came in the way and he fell face flat down. He came home crying and holding his nose. The nose was red and bruised reddish and his nosie came all bloody...

Sigh......I might just start greying now...
And well, while we are on the subject of hurts and wounds, all Mamma of 5 year olds- did you do the DPT, OPV booster shots?
We did last week- Tejas gave a few mighty kicks to the doctor and hit me too, Ojas cried and cried both for Tejas and himself and well, they did get icecreams at the end of it all so all is well even though both of them keep showing everyone the spot where the needle had pricked and use it as an excuse if they do not want to get up and fetch stuff for themselves .

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Me? Scary?

Do I look so scary that the traffic cop had to send me away from the scene to enable him to peacefully ask the husband for a bribe?
Btw, we did not break that red light.

Monday, November 22, 2010


AD gifted the kids the game Twister last year. We tried hard to play but the kids would not show much interest. This time someone else gifted the same game and this perhaps refreshed their memory.
Because, suddenly yesterday, Tejas said- I want to play that hands and legs game.
We got the box out, set the dial... and began playing together
and individually
Doing easy and tough twists that resulted in falling

and rolling all over the place.
Mamma is just happy that they can manage this game on their own- taking turns to call out 4 hands & leg positions.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Folk Tales on TV

I love this cartoon that comes on cartoon network- Krish Trish & Baltiboy (wish they had a name that was easy to remember as everytime I try telling anyone about this cartoon- I just blank out)
This is a series of well known folk tales set in different states of India - like the Monkey & croc story is set in andhra and the monkey & croc talk in very Andhra style hindi. It does tend to stereotype but then, that is the fun of it. I see Ojas & Tejas emulating the way the various characters in various state settings speak. I think it is all about getting comfortable with stereotyping even.
Well, what I like about it is that the stories of each state are set in the backdrop of the art form of that state- Madhubani of Bihar, Rajasthani painting of Rajasthan etc.
The program comes during "lunch time"on holidays or after breakfast on holidays- well which means I do not know but these are the usual times I have caught it on TV.
I wish there was a book or DVD of it. Would surely be a treasure

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Phonics Books

A series of phonics books by Shree Publishers focuses on word sounds and sight words. There are about 12 books that focus on various vowel and consonant individual and join sounds like ch, oa, u, e, a, i etc.
By sheer repetition, like most early reader books do, it makes the child start reading fluently in a few sessions.
The words are coloured differently and the index lists out whether they are sight words or phonics focus words.
I normally indicate to the kids what we are focusing on and make them aware of the join sounds before reading the book.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Games We are Trying to Play

We got many board games gifted during this birthday.
My first response was "yay! what fun. Now we all can play happily for ever".

The kids were intrigued, eager and what not and were begging to play games like chess and other non understandable games instead of the simple ludo, snake ladder.
Well I complied and notice how the focus shifts to "I". No one else (read The Husband) is really willing to break head over board games.
I would have backed out too but their is a larger plan here. The faster they learn to play, the faster they learn to occupy themselves with the games keeping each other busy.

So here's the status so far.

Tic - Tac - Toe
A nice large board with noughts and crosses in plastic.
They can honestly beat me in the game provided they are using the cross and provided I am being a little dumb. Tejas can play the game for as long as I can ask him to but Ojas plays only until he has conquered it. I find it is quite a simple and easy game to engage kids and it ends fast so no boredom here.
Click here for a mathematical tic tac toe with an extremely dumb computer who doesn't make a line even when the opportunity is presented. and anothe rone in which you can configure the number of squares in the board

Snake & Ladder
They do have some idea of the game- up the ladder, down the snake they keep reciting but they love getting bitten by the snake and climb down the ladder after climbing them. Naturally, we live on ground floor so that is years of training to come down if they ever go climbing up the staircase.
They love to cheat- place the dice in such a way that they can climb the ladder if they so wish.
and sometimes they play with their individual dice- simultaneously, like a race.

If they would stop placing the dice on 6, they could atleast play. They are more focused on getting a 6 and taking all the pieces out rather than actually playing. We will get there I am sure.

Chinese Checkers
A friend used to have this wooden board with perforations for pinning the pieces on the board. I used to love that. It was more satisfying to pin the pieces as we jump across rather than the flimsy plastic ones that are provided now. We have just started playing with not much of success. But then, it is only 16 days since we got the board.
Click here for an addictive chinese checker

This is the most challenging one more because I am quite basic in my understanding of the game.
I found this neat site that explains most of the theory and have good game examples for a person who is looking at just basic understanding.
What I am doing with the kids is explaining what each piece does and how each piece moves. Which are the 4 most important squares - and why they are in the centre- very much like their playground which is in the centre of the building. I have explained that the objective is to reach the other person's house as quickly as possible and if anyone is coming to their house they have to catch them. We have named the pieces and discussed how each piece moves and where each piece sits.
Yesterday we played a game with only pawns and we gained pieces as the pawns reached the other side.
I do not know how much they are going to understand but I am just fuelling the interest that was shown. If necessary coaches can teach but for now, I am not making it regimental.

I love word games. But scrabble is one game I have never played when I was younger. So anyway, I took this lovely scrabble for kids out for inaugaration and I found it had two sides- one with pre made grid and one has to just make the words as per the grid. The reverse side is a normal scrabble. We started fine but as soon as I got up to do something else, the kids had emptied the rack and filled up all the tiles and completed the grid. We turned the board and did the regular scrabble making words with kids selecting the tiles from the rack as per what words they wished to make. Well, House Rules!

Monday, November 15, 2010

It is really Time to Lose Weight

When the son (Tejas) says
Mamma tum bahut big hai. TV dikh raha nahin hain
This when I amnot even blocking his way but standing to his side

Friday, November 12, 2010

Who is Ganesh's Brother

Background Info
There are two helping hands in my building complex- Ramesh, Murugan

Dadda told the kids the story of Lord Ganesh and his brother Murugan on Ganesh Chaturthi day

Recently the kids were recalling the story.
So they were discussing.
Ganesh God and his brother who is called Ramesh....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dawaat Puja

They were supposed to write names of 7 Gods
Om Ganeshye Nama
Om Shivaye Nama
Om Saraswati Nama
Om Brahmaye Nama
Om (Little) Krishnaye Nama
Om Chota Bheem Nama
Om Ben 10 Nama

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Practising Art

The husband has taken to painting and is busy practising using the net as resource.
Well some of his work so far- they are not original ideas but he will get there one day I am sure.
Thanks to the original artists for the lovely ideas - these are just adorning my home- not serving commercial purpose- so there's the disclaimer.
The artist at work
My favourite- dedicated to me! Adorns the bedroom wall- if you ask who this is- the kids say Mamma!
The walls- painted with butterflies- stencilled on using cutouts. The cross stitch castle is my submission for craft in class 7and a lady

The dancing women are my favourite

on the living room wall

There are more, but only these are the ones that have been framed so far