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Monday, December 31, 2012

Year End Notes

2012 has been a fun filled ride both at work and in personal life.

Right from the word go it was a busy year on the work front. I list out work first because this part worked out very beneficial for me across the board. Most important was I got to go to Europe. (yay!),. yes I am shallow that way. Finally working in this industry I got to go to Paris and also Germany, albeit a small village but still. 

Even as I say so myself, I did manage to pass the test in the (old-new) job and I don't hesitate to add that I hope I successfully proved my worth and was able to make a difference. 

We managed to finally utilize our Club Mahindra membership and had a fun filled drive to Goa. Yes, manzil se acche lagne lage raaste!! The drive was part of the entire fun.

I also started what I call my greatest dream of all. I joined my kids in learning the keyboard. Even if I am not greatly successful, I only hope that my kids will show greatness in it.

Talking of classes, we finally enrolled kids into cricket and drawing classes as well so that our weekends are packed but the routine has helped me run my household and weekend much more smoothly than ever before.

Health came up as my biggest focus and the toughest challenge. No matter what the weight refuses to come down and as a way of lifestyle we have switched to salad lunches on weekend afternoons, I have started carrying my own salad lunch and gymming with great gusto. We have decided not to focus on food hereafter and have greatly cut down on outside food unless needed. 

Here is wishing you all a happy and healthy 2013

Overheard at a Coffee Shop


The mellow sunshine peeked out from behind the grey clouds. It was perfect weather for a cup of hot, frothy coffee with a sprinkling of chocolate vermicelli. So that is exactly where the feet went – to the neighbourhood Barista and as the innermost cockles of the heart were being warmed by the much sought after coffee, the sun emerged, looking for all its worth like a large serving of sunny-side-up.
And then something happened to add to the enjoyment of the moment. A little girls voice piped up with certain questions.
Sitting at the next table, with a large sandwich in front of her, the little girl, her hair in braids, wearing a polka dotted frock and buckled shoes with socks couldn’t have been more than 5 years old. She was bent on quizzing her father, who sat in front of her, distractedly reading the paper and trying to make sure his daughter ate her sandwich at the same time. Here is their conversation, paraphrased, of course.
“Papa,” asked the little one. “Why does mummy shout so much?”
“That’s because you dropped your milk all over the floor, beti, don’t feel bad,” said Papa.
“No, I know, that’s why she shouted. But she shouts at me a lot.”
There’s a silence while Papa tried to think of a suitable response. She pipes up again, in the meantime.
“She never shouts at Bhai, though. She only shouts at me. He tore my dress last week and she blamed me. She sometimes shouts at you too, I’ve noticed.”
“Bhai is much smaller than you, darling, that is why Ma doesn’t shout at him. He won’t understand. Because he is so very naughty, that is why Ma is tired all the time and I think that is why she gets angry easily. You must not let it hurt you,” replied Papa.
“Maybe Ma does not love me as much as she loves Bhai,” sulked a petulant little girl.
“You are very special my darling, you are our first child! How can you say that?”
“How do you know?”
“She told me, she tells me that every day. That you are such a good girl, you do your homework, you look after Bhai and you listen to us.”
The voice was full of happiness.
“Yes really. Now finish your sandwich and we will go home.”
“Do you know, that day, I saw how Dadi gave Bhai two big rasgullas from the pot Mona Aunty brought that day. She had one and did not offer Ma. Bhai had two, Ma did not even eat one. Why didn’t Dadi give Ma? I have seen she is angry with Ma often. Does she love her too? Like Ma loves me but she is angry with me?
“Nani is never angry or mean to Ma like Dadi is. Why is that? Nani also loves Ma but she is never angry with her.”
“You talk too much, finish your sandwich and let’s go,” said a flustered father, unable to explain the dynamics between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law and why a wife who is constantly burdened with work and a naughty toddler would be irritable all the time.
“Can we take some apple cake back for Ma? She likes sweet things, and this will make her less angry. I won’t give it to Dadi but, she didn’t let Ma eat the rasgulla that day.”
“Ok, ok. What a little chatterbox you are...come, let’s go pack cake for your Ma and then we have to run home.”
The little girl skipped out, holding her father’s hand – snug in the knowledge that she can do something, however small a gesture, to soothe her mother’s wrath. The lukewarm coffee tasted a bit sweeter in her wake.
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Monday, December 24, 2012

Feedback from School

This PTM meeting, the feedback from school was not very great.
While the academics part was good, the class participation was not so great.

The teachers insisted that I have not been spending enough time with the children and that is evident.

They have not been studying their home notes which is why the class participation is not there.

Tejas had made a card for his teacher who was leaving school. The contents were-

Mam, I cannot read home notes because my mother is in office.

While one part of me wanted to take a picture for facebook, the rational side of me stopped just in time else the teacher would think I am extremely shameless. 

I had been moping around the entire day and confided to my friends on this and Dotmom dear wrote a wonderful mail to me which made me feel immediately better.

I quote an edited version and I am going to hold these lines close to my heart so that I can read and draw courage from it every time guilt strikes me. 

"Make it known to the teacher that you work and that you expect kids to do homework on their own. If you are not proud of who you are, your kids are not going to be proud. So stop feeling the guilt. You are an amazing mom and you have a career, not a job. Be proud of your accomplishments and stop apologizing to yourself, your sons and the world."

So as Dottie says, henceforth I am going to tell myself and the sons that-

"I am smart and I love my job and I am fortunate to have a good job that allows us to take vacations and will pay for your college. I work because my mind won't get any exercise at home."

It is amazing how these few sentences made me feel immensely better. While I do take the feedback and need to work together with the husband in focusing on their studies but I am not going to get that feeling of self doubt again. And neither am I going to compromise on work or extra curricular activities like the gym just because I need to study with the kids.

In class 2, I was matured enough to do my homework and knew that I had to study. I need to push that concept in the kids' mind that all is not fun and games once they are back from school.

I somehow feel that perhaps the old way of teaching and exams and homework made the students more responsible for their performance rather than the current style which makes home work a weekend thing and tests and exams never happen. There are only assessments. 

However, this is a choice that we have made and I need to make it work. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Cheer

From The Sweet Story.

The chocolates are delicious with little Christmas symbols iced on them. Tejas loved the socks.

And of course I went for the mistletoe.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cup Cakes

So here come the promised cup cakes. 3 eggs and 200g each of the cake ingredients make 18 cupcakes in these lovely silicone moulds.

The micro time was combi mode, medium power, 180C temperature and 4 minutes for a batch.

I leave the pics to speak .
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

IPad woes

So the husband has been very generous and has given me his old ipad.

Since he got a new one for himself, the kids rightly assumed the old one will not be taken to office and they searched all the likely hiding places for it.

So the story so far is that even I have not been able to use it because if I take it out, I will never be able to get it from them.

Since the end result is always me not being able to use it I have let status quo remain.
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All Set

With these lovely silicon cake moulds. Watch this space for cup cakes.
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Movie Watching with Kids Then and Now

Then- objectives were to eat popcorn, kurkure, chips, drink water, go to the loo and maybe watch movie sometimes on their seat and sometimes on our laps. They would also walk from one seat till the last as we would usually take an empty row for our family. They would sometimes shut their eyes and ears due to the noise.

Now- Objectives are

1. to watch movie and ask loud questions like what will happen in the end. We watched Life of Pi last week and I was plied with questions of this nature multiple times. Finally I said I don't know. Says Ojas- you have read the book, you should know.
Said Mamma- This is different from the book.
after a while...
Ojas- why did this happen
Me- because it is written in the book
Ojas- you only said the book and movie are different.

2. Eat popcorn, chips and the loudly ask for the hot dog which I did not give him for a bite. Continue asking for hot dog till the very end of the movie.

3. When I explain everything is acting not real, they say, But I am not afraid.

4. On seeing the lion and goat scene
Woh Mutton ban gaya?

5. ask random questions about other characters. What happened to the mother? 
I said - she is on a different boat.
Ojas- why didn't they show her
Me- because this is Pi's story
Ojas- why did they select Pi's story for movie and not teh Mother's 

6. Next day and till many days later, ask the name of the characters repeatedly.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Magical Number 9

The Anniversary lunch was done at Kabab Factory. Of course I had promised myself that I will not go there because it had become so exorbitant. But the weekend offer had a child free for every two adults and they were charging only half for the other child. Their half rate for children is usually a moving target. Some times they charge half sometimes they charge nothing until 8 years or sometimes they say pay for only one child. Which is why I always ask and then book. 
Anyway it was fun and the food was awesome as usual. 6 Kababs, 2 lamb, 2 chicken, a fish and a prawn apart from usual biriyani etc and a platter of desserts including interesting ones like kulfi and cashew kheer.

The sorbet was very popular with the kids and the anise flavoured afghani bread and the saffron flavoured bread was very popular with yours truly.
The lamb chops were a disappointment as they were only chops no lamb meat. 

Apart from that, a key board was purchased which has been untouched by the kids so far. I guess I will have to move my backside and get myself a teacher too. 

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

On Reading

I always say that God's worst and cruelest joke on me is that my kids do not really love books as much as I do. 

In all fairness to me, I have read to them at bedtime, I have surrounded them with books and they have shown a lot of interest in books atleast up to the age of 4.

As they grew older, the interest seemed to peter off at the same rate as i was adding books to their collection.

However, prompted by a TV cartoon, they got interested in Jack and the Beanstalk. Yes do not be horrified, they are not at all well versed with fairy tales or nursery rhymes. In fact I have never heard them tell a story or a fable nor have I ever heard them recite a nursery rhyme. They do not know nursery rhymes. Unless I count the "Hadde dillo dillo" they used to say in Junior KG for Hey Diddle Diddle.

Anyway, I digress.

After I read them Enid Blyton's wishing chair and half story of Jack and the Beanstalk, (they slept before I could finish it), I notice they are bringing me books to read at bedtime. Their major interest is to read space encyclopedia, Ocean etc otherwise. 

They saw me reading Life of Pi and immediately narrated the entire story from what they have gathered seeing the trailers during their TV watching. 

So the interest in watching Life of Pi is very high and since it is based on a book, I am also very happy about it. 

So what is the verdict on the Movie? The book is very good.