Categories
Incidents

A little secret

A secret that even I wasn’t aware of, until this evening.

I took sonny out for a small walk, with my lovely co-sis and her son. A simple visit to the shoe-shop. And I couldn’t handle it! I just couldn’t.

The roads were TERRIBLY busy. Swarms of crowds everywhere. Incessant traffic. And the awfully sultry weather. Sonny  and I are so used to pushing around his pram that walking – under these circumstances – was an ordeal.

And just as we finished our expedition, a stray dog came up to us. Yeah, he really did, and kept circling us for a few minutes. I was dumb-struck. Because I didn’t KNOW what to say! Must I say ‘Shush…go away’ or must I say ‘Shoo..po po (meaning Go!), or must I throw a stone? Must I carry my little boy? Or must I just pray!! I seriously didn’t know.

Because its been 4 years since I saw a stray animal! Or since I walked on a one-foot-high footpath, that wasn’t even continuous along the side of the road.

Coming home to Chennai is like coming home to Chaos. The same ubiquitous organized chaos, in which I have spent all my life.

And I realised, that unfortunately, in the last 4 years, I’ve become a stranger in my own hometown!

 

P.S: Which is why I am on a tiny blog break. Life is just tooooooooooo busy out here!

Categories
Awards Health n Fitness Humour

Beauty for the Beasts

Whether people call you Beauty or the Beast, and irrespective of your colour, age and proportions, here are some very simple, generic tips to look great and feel wonderful, day after day.

 

Rule # 1 – Early to bed…

First things first – Wake up at the first ring of the alarm clock. Sit up straight, and stretch out your right hand. Slam the alarm down, and GO BACK TO BED. There is nothing more refreshing than a good night’s sleep. Sleep as long as you can…or until someone rings your door bell, or your child cries, or your MIL bangs the door. Never ever sacrifice on your sleep!

 

Rule # 2 – Eyes that intoxicate!

Slice a fresh cucumber into thin rings. Lean back on a comfortable lounge; grab an I-Pod. When you are ready to begin, add some salt and pepper. (Eh? Why are you staring?) Add some salt and pepper to the cucumber rings and pop them into your mouth one at a time. Close your eyes and relish every bite.

 

Rule # 3 – Facial Ritual

Take equal portions of melon, banana and pear. Chop into cubes, add a pinch of sugar and salt, and run it in the mixer. Have you got a nice concoction of a lovely pastel shade? Now take a deep breath, and drink it, sip by sip. Yummmmy! Feeling radiant already?

 

Rule # 4 – Hair Care!

Take 1 egg for short hair, and 2 eggs for long hair. Crack the egg(s) gently on the side of a bowl. Add some oil and a tiny pinch of lemon. Whisk until it becomes frothy. Wash your hair like you would normally do. When your hair is still damp, get ready for the eggs ritual. Quickly chop some onions and tomatoes, add to the eggs, and spread it onto a hot pan. Once fully cooked, enjoy a hearty breakfast of egg-burji or omelette or however you like it. You walk out of your door, confident and happy, ready to take on the world!

 

Rule # 5 – Diet and the dreaded E-word

Watch your diet. Eat EXACTLY one dry chapati with salad. Before and after meals 😉 Just kidding. I intensely dislike people advising you to restrict your food intake to one roti or 2 small idlis. That’s rubbish. Eat what you like, in moderation. For what is life devoid of ice-creams and drinks. But absolutely no escape from that dreaded E-word. The only lifeboat for a happy foodie. Walk to work, climb stairs, or just imitate your toddler, if you have one (or feel free to borrow mine)! You just have to Exercise.

So, you see, these are the daily rituals will keep you stress-free and happy!

And that, my friends, is the key to everlasting beauty.

Categories
MommySpeak Thought and Reason

TACKLING YOUR TODDLER

Tips from a part-time disaster also known as ‘Mum’

Do you really think you can tackle your toddler ? Forget it! You can’t, I can’t, nobody can!

So what do we poor parents do, to minimize the impact of taking our children out? Here are some tips.

1- Clothing overcomes loathing!
Make sure your child’s clothing is suitable. By suitable, I do not mean, just suitable for the occasion. Focus on ‘suitable to weather conditions’. In my early days as a Mum, my baby used to drive me crazy by crying incessantly on any outings! At first I thought he hated his pram. Then I thought he just wanted to stay indoors. I finally realised he was just feeling too cold for comfort, because his jacket wasn’t good enough. We got him a really good jacket (yes, its worth investing some money in that quarter!) and he has not cried ever since! Wait a minute, don’t get the wrong idea. I meant, he hasn’t cried for feeling cold or uncomfortable, since then. There have been other reasons though 😉 And if its really hot, allow the children to dress the way they like..even if it is to a bare minimum. Kids can be really cool, you know!

2- Food defines the mood!
My friends say this isn’t the right thing to do. But I still do it. Because it keeps my child happy. And that is a HUGE stress-buster for me, as it is for any parent. I always carry a mini-snack of my child’s favourite things – some raisins, juice/water, biscuits/crisps. Children are not tyrants, though they often seem to be. They just get bored. I mean, how would you like to be taken around your dad’s office or a musem full of abstract art (assuming ofcourse, that you have no specific interest in either)? You would feel bored, right? Claustrophobic too, at times. That’s just the way children feel when we take them out to places that do not cater to their interest. So I bribe my child with a mini snack to keep him in good humour while I do my little errands.

Another key factor is to feed your child well before you leave the house, so that he/she is in a relatively good frame of mind. And I do not mean, stuff your child with food. Simply make sure he/she isn’t hungry, or this could aggravate a bad mood or tantrum.

3- Short or what?
As far as possible, ensure that your outings are short. Keep it to the minimum. In my experience, anything that lasts more than two hours is tiresome. But that is entirely subjective. A more energetic parent than myself would probably last for more than just a couple of hours. You are the best judge. You know your child, yourself and the situation. So try keeping your outings to the tolerable average duration. And if it is indeed going to be longer than that, then fortify yourself ! Also try doing one thing at a time. For example, a trip to the Library could be restricted to just that, or at worst, top it up with a visit to the supermarket. Try not to juggle too many balls all at once.

4- Trauma with Tantrums
You are at the mall. You see a child kicking and screaming. Crying inconsolably! And you suddenly realise everybody is staring. Because that child is yours. Huh! What a nightmare it is for us parents. To see every other child walking/playing around quietly, while the apple of your eye brings the roof down. Here are Three Ds.

– DISTRACT – Try distracting your child with something he/she likes. He/she is probably distraught at you not buying that expensive toy. Try to distract by showing something else that is equally interesting. Some books, puzzles or other toys, may be? Or just a quick trip to the Cafe, to grab a fruit or something that will soothe your child, and yourself too.

– DEVISE – Devise alternate means to calm your child. If possible, find out what it is that he/she wants, and if it is reasonable, and if you think its a reasonable request, then indulge your child. If not, then explore other options, like promising him/her a play-date with the best friend! That almost always works for me!

– DISTANCE – He he! If nothing at all works, and your child is in the midst of a full-blown tantrum, pretend you don’t know him/her 😉 Just kidding. Distance yourselves from the crowd. Might just help calm the nerves. Atleast, it won’t cause you further embarassment!

5- Relax and Rejoice
That’s the only way to handle things and people, I guess. Relax because it cannot get worse, and rejoice because like they say ‘This too shall pass’!

Categories
Humour Incidents

A TV Star @ Penny Bazaar

Yay! I’m a TV Star. Here’s how….

—————————————–

I could hardly get any sleep last night.

Today was the 125th Anniversary of Marks & Spencers, and to mark the occasion, they launched a 3-day Penny Bazaar!

I was so excited, and decided to queue up at the nearest big outlet (25 mins by train) first thing in the morning. If you have read my earlier posts, you will know how much I love waking early 😉 But today was different. I set the alarm to 6 am, but woke up by 5:30!! And I was out of the house by 7:20 am!! Hurried to the station, and for a change, managed to catch the train (the next one wasn’t for another 10 minutes :-)) I grabbed a nice seat by the window, and opened my book (Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘Interpretor of Maladies’). Two stops down the line, the train itself stopped. Signal-failure (GOK what it means!!) at the station ahead, and the train was not going to move forward , but backward, all the way it came!!

With not much of a choice, I got out, and walked through to the closest main Tube station. As I swiped my travel card, the damn machine beeped as loudly as it could, indicating that I did not have enough credit. So I topped up my card, and finally managed to get into the train!

It was peak-time already. People were piling in. I stationed myself in a nice comfy corner of the compartment, thinking nobody could jostle me. And guess what? Every time the train halted at a station, the person standing next to me (i.e., not in the corner like me) got a place to sit. So I stood all the bloo** way to central London. Remind me to thank Jhumpa for her book, please!

After about 20 minutes, I finally reached Marble Arch station. There were more than 2 exits. And I am so bad at directions, that any direction that I normally choose, is certainly the wrong one!! Anyway, this time, I did choose right. Still wondering how! So I walked out into the beautiful sunshine and reached the flagship M&S store @ Oxford street in about 5 minutes. At the intersection of roads, I was flanked by girls. A young one to my left. And a really old one to my right. I chose to ask the girl to my left, if that was the correct route indeed. Didn’t quite expect the old hag to say much.

And yes, when I finally reached the M&S store, there were about 150 people already queued up there!! I mean, didn’t they have any work to do? Did they sleep there all night? Anyway, I joined the queue too. Blondes in green M&S T-shirts distributed colourful flags, badges and candies. Reporters (oh yeah!) kept taking shots of everybody. And while I delved into my novel, the woman right ahead of me was interviewed by a daily! And the old hag whom I’d ignored at the crossing now stood right behind me, and was also giving an interview! I was left waving the flags, cheering them on!

So then, the store opened by 9 am, and they let people in one by one. That half hour was an excruciating wait. A wait made memorable by eager anticipation of what we would finally buy for a penny! Just as my turn came, the lady with the huge pram shoved her way through the crowd. And then it was the turn of the lady in the wheelchair. And we finally squeezed in.

And guess what they sold at a penny each?

Mug, Knicker, Tea-towel, beach-ball, crappy earrings/chain set, bracelet…etc.

I mean, I wasn’t expecing gold-plated jewellery, but I did expect a decent variety in the accessories division atleast!

So, this is what I landed with in the end:-

A nice mug, with M&S 125 years printed on it. Really liked this.

A frisbee (well, nobody was taking it, and I was sure sonny would like it)

A silly little earrings/chain set (hope my sis is not reading this, as I am planning to gift it off to her ;-))

A decent looking bracelet (with the foll. trinkets on it: a penny (ofcourse), a little pearl and a crown (obviously a tiny little one)).

And another tiny little cream leather coin purse (which I will give to my Mum, as she is the inspiration behind me being a shopaholic!)

I returned home , tired with the excitement of the morning. When I made my expenses list…I was kind of shocked to see the following:-

ITEM  PRICE (GBP)
—————————
Train-fare 4.00
Charity  0.20
Clothing 5.00
Grocery  7.81
Penny-Bazaar 0.05
===========================
TOTAL  17.06
===========================

I guess this is what people call ‘Penny wise….pound …. ‘ ahem.. the less said the better 🙂

Btw, this is the link to the video on cyberspace. In the first 3 seconds, the camera rolls over the queue of hopeful shoppers. Do watch out for the lady in pink. Carrying a backpack (huh…like I was expecting to fill it up!), and reading a book. I know… I know…its not even 0.05 second of me on TV, but still. I can proudly say, ‘Been there, Done that’ 😉

And that little blob in white is me, myself and others.

article-1185000-05070D0C000005DC-8_468x616

A special thanks to hubby, who took half a day off from work, so I could focus on the all important penny-shopping !

Categories
Awards

Friendship- the Best award of all times!

I started blogging so I could keep my brains in working condition. I had NO inkling that I would make such wonderful friends in Blogosphere!

Every time I do something, or see something interesting, the first thing I can think of is to put it up here for you to read!!

I am so glad when you read my posts and leave such wonderfully kind words.

I am equally glad when you point out the yucky templates I sometimes choose 😉

But most of all, I am so glad that we are friends!!

If we do ever meet some day, in the real world, I don’t think we would be ‘strangers meeting for the first time’.

Dhiman has awarded me with this lovely Friendship Blogger award. Just two months into blogging, and Dmanji is already making waves in cyber world!! Cheers to that!!

Blogger Friendship Award

And I would like to hereby pass on the award to my dear friends and readers.

To dear friends who faithfully spoil me with compliments on my work:-
Solilo
Ally
Rekz
Barath (see, I even got a blogging-bro!)
Piper
Little Pixie
Usha
Supriya
Roopsie
Ganga

 To my friendly neighbour, who brings a lot of Life into real-life !
Sanyash

And my soul sister from cyberspace
Urmi

And to the other brave male champions out here…
Salil

Yuva
PRG

And a Toast to my latest friends in cyberspace:
Mystic Margarita

Mon

Oorja
Indyeah
Tikuli
Spamwarrior
And to these really brilliant writers, whose work I read and then shrink into a shell :-)))
Shankari

Quirky Indian

Roopa

 

(OMG, that linking business just took me AGES, half a packet of tortilla chips and half a bottle of cider!!!)

Without your encouragement, I realise I really am nothing at all. So thank you, guys and girls, for being my friends.

(P.S: If I have missed out anyone, kindly refer to my blogroll and collect your award :-))

Edited to add:

Thank you Mon and Roshmi for passing the award back to me… I am now doubly blessed 🙂

Categories
Food and recipe Humour

Topping the Topic @ Helium

Girls and Guys,

I am thrilled that my post ‘How to make the perfect Mother’s Day brunch’ has topped the list of articles written under the topic by the same title @ Helium. Do check out: http://www.helium.com/items/1446487-mothers-day-brunch-recipe-humour  to read the entire article. (Please do ignore the similarities to my Art of Making Chapatis and Simple Steps to making Semiya Payasam).

The thing with Helium is, members rate articles themselves, so the situation is always fluid. However, at this point in time…well, for the last half hour almost, people have liked my article the most. And I am so thrilled about it. Did I say that earlier? Sorry.. but I really am excited.

And once again, thanks for always encouraging and motivating me to write on!

Cheers..

Categories
Thought and Reason

Health and Fitness – Tips to feel fantastic!

–          First things first – I want you to wake up at the first ring of the alarm clock. Sit up straight, and stretch out your right hand. Slam the alarm down, and GO BACK TO BED. There is nothing more refreshing than a good night’s sleep. Sleep as long as you can. Until someone rings your door bell, or your child cries, or your MIL bangs the door. Whatever it is, do not sacrifice on your sleep.

 

–          Your facial ritual – Talking of fruit masks, don’t pay a dime in the parlours. This is what you do: Take equal portions of melon, banana and pear. Chop into decent sized pieces, add a pinch of sugar and salt, and run it in the mixer. Have you got a nice concoction of a lovely pastel shade? Now take a deep breath, and drink it in a single shot. Yummmmy! Feeling better already?

 

–          Choice of clothes – This is extremely important. You have to dress well. Because people are watching! So pick up the shirt that is easiest to iron, press it well. It is crucial that you do not ignore the final crease that the damn iron leaves on your neatly pressed shirt. Re-do that bit for sure, and you’ll feel confident. See, you really start by taking on the iron-box first to start with.

 

–          As the day proceeds, you are bogged down by work and politics and meetings and conferences. The tip to survive all this is: stock up on tiny chocolate bars, fruits, milkshakes and stuff that you enjoy! Everytime you feel stressed, pick a bar, take a walk. If you want to not gain weight, just hand over the bar to someone you think is equally stressed. You lose weight, and you win friends. Two birds with one stone, right?

 

–          When the clock strikes 5 or 6 or whatever time it is that you are supposed to leave office, make sure you shut down your computer immediately and make a RUN! For your bus or car or whatever is the mode of your transport. Run like you are running for your life. You are guaranteed to save atleast 20 minutes that way. You can use the time to read a book, or soak in the tub, or cook, or even better, shop!! Or simply do nothing!! (I remember the good ol’ days when I had a career! My asst. would send me an email at the dot of 5. Impressed, I would go out of my room to discuss the data with her. But she would be nowhere in sight! She was probably already half way down to the station!! How she managed to send that email and immediately shut down her comp and disappear – all within a matter of 60 seconds, is a complete miracle to me, even till this date!!).

 

–          On your way back home, make sure you have either some music or a book. Without either of these, it’s a pure waste of travel time. Utilise the time to relax and unwind.

 

–          Again, when you reach home, RUN to the loo, and freshen up real quick. Now grab a big mug of coffee or juice or whatever you like and energise yourself. Ignore your child asking for a toy, or MIL asking you to chop some veggies. This is YOUR time.

 

–          Now that you are refreshed, do dedicate the next couple of hours to home sweet home. I am sure everybody missed you dearly while you were away at work. Playing with the kiddo might be a great stress-buster. Working with MIL might just charge you up. Store all that energy to lash out at your competitors at the work place or elsewhere. If not, there’s always the unsuspecting hubby who returns home at the end of day 😉

 

–          Ok dinner time. Eat well, but not heavy. Have a balanced diet of carbs (rice/pasta/chapatti/etc) and proteins (lentils/dhal/eggs/etc). Try to not eat sweet stuff, or you will end with more cavities than teeth in your old age!

 

–          Drink. Water, or cider, or whatever you like. Just to keep the fizz in life.

 

–          Try to get the MIL to put the kid to sleep, so you can enjoy a romantic late night movie 😉

 

–          Sleep when you can’t keep your eyes open anymore. And have a good long night’s sleep.

Categories
Humour Incidents

Mommy Talk

You know? You know you are a full-time mum, when you report the foll. to a friend.

‘Hey, I took sonny cycling yesterday. Guess whom we bumped into? Mrs.A and Mrs.B. They were playing in the garden.’

Friend to whom this is being reported, smirks. And lets it go. She is a mum too!

Categories
Short story

Lips unsealed (Short story)

Groups of ill-paid chauffeurs gossiped over a smoke. None of them paid attention to the car in the darkest corner. Nobody cared, really. It was just another car. Tinted glasses, fully rolled up.

From the rear seat came muffled sounds. Floundering hands, unsure of their next move. A young couple, in their early twenties. Half-children, half-adult. Clandestine visits to the local video store had resulted in them getting to watch several tapes that read ‘Tom and Jerry’ but which were more than just a cat vs. mouse tale. They had a vague idea of how lips were to be used. Lips that parted feverishly, lips that burned. Lips – old, but still amateur. It was no wonder, considering that ‘boys from good families’ would never dream of even looking at a woman, let alone kiss her!

As the boy finally moved to the driver’s seat, the girl whispered nervously ‘Are you sure?’

‘Don’t worry… they absolutely adore you!’, replied the boy, giving her a final kiss on her full lips. She smiled. They drove over to the old quarter of the city, where his family lived.

‘Our lord has finally arrived!’, a frail-looking woman taunted as he walked through the rusty iron gate, and splashed his face with cold water drawn from the well. He didn’t reply, but gave her a quick hug instead. ‘Hungry, Amma!’ he muttered. The girl joined her palms and bowed her bead, in a gesture of greeting. ‘Welcome home, dear daughter’, the older woman replied.

Dinner today was an extravagant affair. Different varieties of rice, dhal, coconut-garnished vegetables. A feast in honour of the girl who was to be daughter-in-law. Relatives of various shapes, sizes and age had been invited. They introduced themselves. She smiled, trying hard to remember their unfamiliar names. At dinner, he sat beside her, licking his lips as he relished his favourite dishes.

When he had gulped down the last sip of sweetened milk, it left a moustache of white cream. ‘Look at your future husband! Twenty-five years old and still such a child!’, they teased. She blushed. The evening regaled with laughter and fun! By the end of the evening, she actually relaxed a little, and enjoyed the teasing smiles and affectionate innuendoes from the older women of her future husband.

Soon, it was time for him to take her back home. ‘Girls coming from good families’ didn’t venture out this late at night, they emphasised.

They took a detour through an abandoned road. It suited them just fine. An hour later, he took her to her home. As she tossed about in her bed that night, unable to sleep with excitement, she ran her soft fingers over her cracked lips. She blushed, as her body tingled with excitement. She thanked her stars, that her mother, with eyes like a vulture, had not noticed anything unusual about her that evening.

Back in the car, the boy tuned in to his favourite radio station, and set the volume as loud as he could. He was so much in love. He was happy too, that his family had accepted the girl of his choice. Under normal circumstances, a boy of an upper-caste family marrying into a family that was not Brahmin, would have caused an outrage. Luckily for him, his parents accepted the girl without any visible animosity!

By the time he returned home, the lights were all out. Not wanting to wake up the sleeping family, he walked around the dusty path to the back door. He was surprised to notice an open window in one of the bedrooms. Silvery moonbeams cast long shadows, and carried out the soft sound of late-night whispers.

‘These women!’ he thought, and smiled to himself. ‘They seem so excited about my wedding! Chattering away at this late hour!!’ He discreetly edged towards the open window.

‘You are a fool!’, he heard an angry voice.

‘Hush!’ came the reply.

‘A bloody fool. Had I been in your place, I would have never allowed that lower-caste girl into the family!’

‘I am helpless’

‘Disgraceful! He wants to marry into those, whose impure names are never ever uttered by the same lips that chant our sacred texts!’

‘What to do? He just announced unceremoniously that he had DECIDED to marry this girl! We had no choice!’

‘Stupid woman. People of our caste do not allow untouchables into our house even! And here, we have that little vixen taking over our lives!’

He stared in disbelief. The evening had gone off so beautifully. They had all been so excited, and so happy. But behind all that, the unspoken truth was being unravelled.

He peeped into the window, and squinted until his eyes could see the shadows. A woman sat on a coir mat, her head in her palm, as if she had lost everything. In the light from the candle, her eyes seemed swollen, with crying. She covered her mouth with the edge of her crumpled cotton sari, as if she had lost everything, and had nothing left to say!

As he slowly recognized the shadow of his mother, his lips parted in shock. His mouth went dry. He desperately needed to get away. But he couldn’t move a step. He felt numb. A silent tear rolled down his cheek, and disappeared into the dust.

‘How could you…. Amma !!!’ he sighed, and walked back towards his car. After all that he had heard, he could not face his family, not just yet.

As he tiredly walked out into the night, he felt nothing but the relentless throbbing of his swollen lips.

 

Categories
Incidents

Biggest ever compliment

Since I bombard you with my various rants, I thought I must share something happy too 🙂

It was quite windy, but I wanted to take sonny cycling, for atleast 10 minutes while before the sun set for the day. So I got him ready first, put him on his trike and snapped the seat belt into place. As I got ready myself and was about to wear on my shoes, he suddenly looked at me, and said ‘You’re the coolest, Amma’ !

I am sure he has no clue of what it means. He must have just seen something on TV.

Still, this undoubtedly, and most most certainly, is the biggest ever compliment of my life!! I am so grateful!! Thank you, Rishi baby.