Thursday, 17 December 2015

Phir ek Baar.......

Back to school. I've joined Abi's school as a teacher. But I'm not teaching his class. We both go to school together at 8:00 am and come back together 12:30 pm. I don't meet him in between. He wonders where I vanish after dropping him in his class.

My joining school  has definitely helped all of us.The morning scene  has changed for good. First and foremost Abi does not feel bad to get up early in the morning now. He knows naani is accompanying him in going  through the same pain/agony! So he does not say that he doesn't want to go to school anymore. What a relief! (keeping my fingers crossed that things stay this way!). Initially he used to drag me to his classroom and insist I too sit with him. But once I made him understand that he will sit in his class and I'll sit in my class,  he is fine with we sitting in our respective classes. This makes me happy on the one hand that he is so understanding and on the other hand it makes me feel sad that he is quickly growing out of his childhood.Time just flies...

As for my part, I have mixed feelings. Firstly, I'm happy to be back in school doing what I love doing after a 3 long years' hiatus. However, here things are slightly different from what one experiences in city schools. The background of the children is rural and most of them are first generation learners. It is a challenge for any teacher. Before joining the school I thought I'll get to meet and talk to people and have some friends. But it is not so, for whatever reasons. I find the teachers are also different here compared to city teachers. When I'm free I do not see any other teacher sitting in the staff room. Lunch is in the classroom with children. I'm yet to see teachers sitting and talking about the latest fashion or anything for that matter as I've seen in Delhi (mind you, I'm in a private school)! Everyone seems to be ever busy with their work here. I wonder how is it  even possible? So I hardly get to meet and talk to any of them except Abi's teachers. And my time table is also such that I get free by the time Abi gets free.

But all in all, it is a great new feeling to be packing off to school hand in hand with my little grandson :)





Monday, 7 December 2015

EPITOME OF SMARTNESS

     We took admission for Abi in a nearby school so that he can reach school in time without travelling much (given all the early morning drama he creates to avoid going to school). The timings are 07:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m. I had requested the Principal to excuse Abi in case he comes late to school, explaining the morning scene at home, even though I would try to be punctual. He assured me that they are very liberal with nursery class children and are not very particular about timings for these tiny tots for dropping and picking up after school. I could send him a little late and take him home by noon or so. That relieved my tension. 

     A few days back, as Abi entered the school premises, the morning assembly was just getting over. His PTI Sir saw him and told him to come to school on time.  Bhaiya who goes to drop him came and told me this. So the next morning I woke up Abhi reminding him of what the PTI Sir had told him. You wont believe the repartee this 3 and a half year old gave - hold your breath! "Maine sir ko batadiya tha ki main aaunga hi nahin (I told sir that I will not come to school at all)". I was speechless. After pulling myself together, some how managed to pack him off to school in time. After reaching school, he went to meet the PTI sir and told him, " dekho...aaj main time se aa gaya". Now, isn't he the epitome of smartness?


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

PASSION CONTINUES....

      Back with a bang from a long holiday. All masti is over for both of us, that's me and Abi. He has been admitted to a new school in Cl-Nursery. Needless to mention that he is not at all happy going to school. Its a battle every morning:- waking him up, brushing/bathing, drinking milk and wearing the UNIFORM (he hates it). Once he is in the vehicle and away from our vision he is fine (or so we have been told).Everyday he decides who will come to school to pick him up whether its naanu or naani. If we do not follow it, the battle starts in the vehicle itself while returning. So much so for going to school.  The worst part is doing the written home-work... but I will save that story for some other time.

    I actually began this write up to show how much Abi likes to colour. But we elders always like to complain first about children. So first thing first. It was a Saturday afternoon. All three of us Abi, his mother and me were sitting and playing when his mother thought of donning her painting cap. After a lot of yeses and no's, she  decided to paint a lamp shade. So we took out one old worn-out table lamp shade and decided to make a painted cloth shade for it. After the stitching part was over she was about to start the painting, when Abi jumped over the paints and brushes screaming that he wanted to do it! So we let him play for some time and when he had fully drenched himself in the colours, we let him put his hand prints on the cloth to take his hand impression. 

   Surprisingly, a simple fun filled activity turned out to be so beautiful and the best part was watching Abi enjoying himself so much! His mother covered the lamp shade with it and now he proudly shows it off to everyone saying that has made this shade - one should see the sparkle in his eyes!


Thursday, 26 November 2015

Russian Salad

Russian salad is the most favourite one in our home, even Abi likes it (of course without the veggies). How I learnt this is an interesting story which goes back to some 30 plus years. I have published the story elsewhere in my blog. Those were the days when technology was alien to us. We used to learn from each other  in person (not many were willing least the uniqueness/importance of the person goes) or from some magazines. At times, professionals were called to our ladies meet to take classes. This salad I learnt (rather got the recipe) in one such classes. Its only much later I mastered it. I am sending this to BM#58,under 'salads' theme, week 4 Day 3.To know what else is cooking under this, lets Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#58

Ingredients      
  • Mayonnaise: 3 tablespoons (I used homemade mayonnaise)
  • Potato: 1 no
  • carrots: 1 no
  • Peas: 2 tablespoons
  • Apple: 1 small
  • Tinned pineapple slice: 1 no
  • Fresh cream:2 tablespoons
  • Sugar: 1/2 teaspoon
 Method
  • Make mayonnaise and keep it in the refrigerator to chill. 
  • Peel, cut and cook all  the vegetables and let them cool. 
  • Now cut the apple (cut it just before mixing to avoid discolouring of the apple)
  • Take the cream in a bowl,add sugar and beat it slowly till it becomes thick (avoid over beating). Pour it into the bowl of mayonnaise and mix well.
  • Now add the vegetables, chopped pineapple, apple to the mayonnaise and mix them well.
  • Serve chilled with french bread or dinner rolls. 











P.S:  The quantity of vegetables and fruits  can be of your choice.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Mixed salad with toasted seeds and a mint dressing



   Last winter, my daughter's senior was to come home for lunch. She informed me at the last moment and I had very little time to prepare an elaborate menu. The good thing was that our kitchen garden was in full bloom at that time. So to add some colour to the table and a slightly filling side, I randomly threw available vegetables together. This was also the time when flaxseed was a new found obsession in our household, given its numerous health benefits. So I used it too. 

   The gentleman really liked the salad and so, even though I didnt pay much attention to details while I was creating the salad, I tried making it again a few times to create a more tasty and healthy snack/dish. The final outcome, which we all relished is the one I am sharing here. Fellow bloggers are putting up some gorgeous dishes on their blogs, all of which can be checked out at the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#58.

Ingredients:
  • Cooked Rajma (red beans) : 2 tablespoons
  • Shredded red & white cabbage: 1/4 cup
  • Boiled & julienned beetroot:1/4 cup
  • Chopped cucumber:1/4 cup
  • Grated carrot:1/4 cup
  • Coarsely ground flax seeds: 2 teaspoons
  • Roasted, coarsely ground til / sesame  seeds: 1 teaspoon

Dressing
  • Til (sesame) oil: 2 teaspoons
  • Lime juice: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt, pepper & oregano to taste
  • mint leaves - 5 to 6 torn by hand
Method
  • Prepare the dressing by whisking the  dressing ingredients together nicely.
  • Put all the vegetables in a large bowl except the beetroot.
  • Pour the dressing over the vegetables. Mix lightly. 
  • Just before serving, add the beetroot, ground flax and til seeds to the vegetables. Give it a good toss.
  • To garnish, you can sprinkle a few whole roasted til seeds on top. 
  • Serve immediately. 

Couldnt resist adding another photo - it was a beautiful sunny winter afternoon here and setting this snack up in our little rose garden for pictures was the highlight of the day:)

Down memory lane : culinary hits and misses

      Russian Salad: the name instantly brings a smile on my face. Even now I laugh at myself for when I think back to my younger days. It was in 1982, still learning to cook. We were in Pune at that time. We used have 'cooking demo' in the ladies club. I attended one such meet where we were taught 'Russian Salad'. With full confidence in myself, armed with  printed paper (no laptop)  recipe and the drive to impress hubby dear, (it was only 3 yrs of marriage) I started making it. One of our very good family friends had dropped in that very day. I was very happy with the idea of showing off my newly acquired culinary skill to him also as he knew me from the time of my marriage and that I didn't know  much about cooking.

     Right at dinner time I told my hubby that I made continental dinner (I wanted to surprise him). Now I can imagine what must have gone through his mind at that time.  As I served the dinner, both men appeared kind of too surprised  to say anything about the food. I thought they were really enjoying it. After dinner, with a cup of coffee in hand as we all sat in the drawing room I anxiously asked them what they thought about my Russian Salad. My hubby reserved his comments for later, but our guest, a true well wisher, hinted politely choosing the words very carefully so as to not hurt me, that it was no where near what one called Russian Salad. I was devastated. But never mind, he said to encourage me, one day I will definitely make the Russian Salad.

     Years went by. In 1986, he happened to visit Delhi and we were also there (beauty of Army life,you keep meeting somewhere or other). Needless to say, we made him stay with us and I had an opportunity to show my improved culinary skills to him again. I once again subjected him to my surprise continental dinner, of course with Russian Salad. Again both men were quiet. But this time I was not at all jittery. And till today he can't stop praising the Russian Salad I made that night! 

     Writing about this has inspired me to share this recipe with everyone. I will do that in my next post.
Golden memories

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Moong Sprout Salad

   After all the creamy and cheesy pastas, this simple yet healthy salad is a good change especially for people in their 50's like me. This particular salad is so tasty that my daughter who's otherwise not into sprouts at all, enjoyed it so much! So I thought of sharing it with all of you. In fact we did not even wait till mealtime to have this salad.  It can be served as evening snack as it is quite filling. I have used it as a filling for canopy with a little less dressing than what I've mentioned here. This salad is my entry to BM#58, week 4 Day 1 under 'salads'. Let's  Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#58 


Ingredients

  • Moong sprout: 1 cup (Indian)
  • Grated carrot: 1 no
  • Deseeded, chopped tomato: 1 no
  • Chopped cucumber: 1 small 
  • Crumbled paneer: 2 tablespoons
Dressing
  • Olive oil: 2 teaspoon
  • Lime juice:1 teaspoon
  • Salt:to taste
  • Sugar: 1/4 teaspoon
  • Chopped basil leaves: 3 nos
Method
  • Pour just enough water to cover the sprouted moong, add a little salt and boil it for four to five minutes. Leave it aside to cool.
  • Prepare the dressing by whisking all the dressing ingredients together.
  • In a mixing bowl, add the cooked moong and the vegetables and the paneer. Pour the dressing over them. Give it a nice toss.
  • Serve warm or cold as a side dish or as a sunday morning brunch.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Pasta in green sauce



Like most children Abi also does not like eating vegetables - especially leafy ones! So I keep trying to camouflage the greens and accordingly, modify recipes. In the process I made this green sauce to go with Abi's favourite pasta. A rich, healthy and comforting pasta dish which one can enjoy with a book on a lazy wintry afternoon as well! This is my entry to the BM#58 under Pasta for kids, week 3 day 3. For many more mouthwatering dishes check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#58

Ingredients:
  • Pasta : 100 gms
  • Spinach : 12 to 15 leaves
  • Butter : 1 tablespoon
  • Mushroom : 100 gms
  • Onion : 1 no
  • All purpose flour : 1 to 1 and a half tablespoon
  • Milk : 100 ml
  • Salt & pepper : to taste


Method:

  • Cook pasta as per the instructions.
  • Cook spinach with salt and puree most of it keeping aside some to mix with pasta.
  • Heat butter in a pan add chopped onions till it is translucent then add the sliced mushroom.Saute them till its cooked and light brown in colour.
  • Mix flour with milk and pour into the mushroom stirring all the while. Let it cook till it becomes a little thick and the flour is cooked. 
  • Add the spinach puree, mix and cook for a minute or two. Add seasoning to your taste
  • Serve warm sprinkled with cheese on top.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Pasta with red sauce































Ingredients:
  •  Pasta: 100 gms
  • Tomatoes: 3 or 4 nos
  • Carrot: 1 no
  • Garlic chopped: 1 teaspoon
  • Onion chopped: 2 nos
  • Basil leaves: 4or5
  • Salt & pepper : To taste
  • Oil / butter: 1 teaspoon
  • Cream with sugar: as required (optional) 
Method:

  • Prepare the pasta as per the given instructions.
  • Microwave (boil) the tomatoes and chopped carrot (with water)  for 10 minutes. Puree them once they become cool (use the leftover water).
  • Heat the oil in a pan, add garlic and fry for a minute. Do not brown them. Add the onion and saute till its translucent.
  • Add the puree and cook till it becomes slightly thick. Add the basil leaves, salt and pepper. 
  • Add the pasta, mix them together nicely and switch off the gas.
  • Serve with cream with or without sugar separately. Alternatively, you can mix the cream in the sauce before serving.     


I am sending this post also for Blogging Marathon #58. I am happy to state that I experimented with this traditional red sauce by adding carrots to make it more healthy for Abi and it worked! For lots of exciting other recipes check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#58.




Tuesday, 17 November 2015

PASTA IN CHEESE SAUCE

                                               
 I was in fact, looking forward to joining this BM given that the topic is "Kids' Delight" - Pastas for Kids! My 3 and a half years old grandson loves pasta but only without any vegetables in it. We kept telling him that if he wants "power" like "chhota bheem" he has to eat vegetables with pasta. So now, after a lot of persuasion, he has started eating his vegetables with pasta. This is one of the dinners he eats without much fuss!

This one is posted for BM#58 under the theme "Kid's Delight - Pastas for Kids". Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#58

Ingredients:
  • Pasta: 150 gms
  • Vegetables of your choice ( I used cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, cabbage )
  • Paneer
For the sauce:
  • Maida/ all purpose flour: 2 tablespoons
  • butter: 2 tablespoons
  • chopped onion: 1 small
  • milk: 350 ml (approx)
  • grated cheese: as desired (I used 3 tablespoons)
  • salt, white pepper & oregano: to taste 
                                                                                                                              Method
  • Cook the pasta as per instructions given on the packet
  • Boil all the vegetables and keep aside. 
  • Crumble the paneer
  • Heat a heavy bottomed kadai and add butter. Once it starts melting, lower the heat and add the chopped onions and saute till translucent
  • Now add the maida and fry for a minute or two on low heat till maida is cooked. Switch off the gas and add milk slowly, stirring all the while so that no lumps are formed.
  • Put it back on heat and cook on slow fire till it becomes thick.
  • Add cheese, salt, pepper and oregano and mix. 
  • Add the boiled vegetables and crumbled paneer. Give it a thorough mix and switch off the gas.
  • Serve with bread or a cup of your favourite soup !







Sunday, 25 October 2015

Tamil Nadu Travel Series: The In-famous Tirunelveli Halwa

  
   Everybody knows the meaning of 'halwa' in Hindi. But in Tamil, it has another sarcastic meaning also - 'to cheat'. For example, I say, 'ennakku halwa koduthittan' means, someone has cheated me (meeti churi chubana). Now imagine someone giving you 'halwa' while buying the real halwa!!! Tirunelveli halwa is very famous all over the country. All South Indians would vouch for it. During our trip, Tirunelveli was our last place of sightseeing. We visited Nellaiappar Temple while keeping our ears and eyes wide open after the horrific experience at Suseendram.The temple there is so beautiful and breathtaking.

      After worshipping the deities there, we went around looking for a reliable shop from where we can buy the famous Tirunelveli halwa. Most of them directed us to a particular shop which was nearby (I'm forgetting the name of the shop). So we went there and the shopkeeper gave us 3 or 4 varieties of halwa to taste. We selected the ones we wanted to buy and ordered 7 kgs of halwa in all.  We could not see the box/vessel in which the halwa was kept but the weighing machine was out for us to see. The packet in which he put the halwa was also not transparent. At that time we didn't have any doubt about  the quality as we had already tasted it or about the quantity as we could see the weighing machine per se. It was all packed nicely in attractive gift boxes. All of us went home happily with the satisfaction of buying  authentic Tirunelveli halwa.

     Next day, after  reaching home we took out the halwa to distribute to others. Oh my goodness! What I saw gave me a shock. I could not believe my eyes. While the authentic one we tasted literally melted in our mouths, this one tasted like rubber -  neither we could swallow it nor spit it but could only keep chewing it! It was so different in taste, look, colour and texture.  At first I thought maybe that's just the box I kept with me but when I asked my sister and one of our friends, I realised that the entire 7 kgs was fake halwa. Everyone realised what a fool we became at these cheaters' hand. I have travelled to many places and done a lot of shopping also. But this kind of cheating never happened with me. The lesson learnt is.... beware the 'halwa givers' of Tirunelveli!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Tamil Nadu Travel Series - MASTERY OVER THE LANGUAGE

    My relatives back home keep advising (nagging) me on how and why it is important to teach Tamil to Abi. I myself wanted him to learn the language and he too was trying to speak. But still there was always this little bit of doubt whether he will remember or not because of his surroundings. Much to everyone's delight, the long summer vacation in our village has really helped Abi master the language. 

What is most amazing is he can not only speak Tamil so fluently but also translate most of the words to Hindi when required and vice versa!  When my father was here, Abi was playing the interpreter between him and other local staff. It was such a pleasure watching him play that role so perfectly! But sitting here, I didnt have an opportunity to put other relatives' doubt at rest.

During this Tamil Nadu visit he has impressed everyone he met by speaking in Tamil. Living out of our State, I rarely get to attend family functions but this time we had an opportunity to attend my cousin's son's marriage.  I remember attending the same cousin's wedding with my daughter when she was 3 yrs old - now for his son's wedding I attended with my daughter's son!! Its here that Abi had a chance to meet most of our relatives. The tiny tot instantly impressed everybody with his language skill. In fact, people there have given him a certificate that he not only speaks Tamil well but also speaks  it better than his mother.

Of course I too got some appreciation for not letting him forget our roots :) 


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Tamil Nadu Travel Series - FALLING INTO THE PIT WITH OPEN EYES

     It was a Friday when we landed in Kanyakumari. After experiencing the beautiful sunrise at the confluence of three oceans, we bathed at TRIVENI SANGAMAM.  Next on our itinerary was the abode of Thanumalayan temple at Suseendram which is about 14 KM from Kanyakumari.
This is the only shrine dedicated to TRINITY and also an imposing figure of ANJANEYA which is carved out of single block of granite. While there are many beautiful things to describe about this temple, today I am limiting myself to these to two deities  only because I want to share a different experience with you all here.

     We reached the temple around 10:00 a.m and there was not much crowd. As we entered the main entrance,  two pandits standing there started explaining the history of the temple and the importance of the deities there. They went on to say that placing a 'tulsi mala' to the main deity and a 'Paan ka patta' mala to Anjaneya would be very auspicious for our family. We felt very nice as we thought we were getting to know about the temple practices from the most authentic sources and also discussed amongst ourselves as to why important temples in other places dont follow this. So we bought both the malas  (which was sold by those two pandits there itself) and moved ahead. Initially we were mildly surprised to see the attention being given to us by successive pandits for as we walked forward, we were coaxed into buying a 'deepak thali' for the Navagrahas (here you will find the Navagrahas on the roof and not down below like in other places).

We still had the paan ka patta mala to offer to the giant Anjaneya. So we moved closer to him, but yet another pandit popped out from a corner saying NO, you simply cannot offer the mala to the God without 'panneer kudam' (kewra water) and butter!!! Even before we could understand what was happening, the 'panneer kudam' was in our hand with the butter sitting pretty on the kudam (pot) and of course, everything came with a price! By this time all our enthusiasm and devotion was over and we wanted to get away as soon as possible without creating any scene. So, we quickly paid the amount and were about to join the queue. Alas! there is a separate entry for those with kudum in hand and a special charge to be paid for that!!!

 By then  my father had lost all his patience (we had been trying to pacify him to be quiet, not wanting to create a scene) and confronted those people. On seeing him so furious, the  person who was charging for the kudum vanished from the scene and another pandit quickly took the panneer kudum and butter to offer to the God.The panneer kudum which is suppose to be filled with kewra water was just plain water and that too went back to the seller without being used, to be sold to another unsuspecting devotee - RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR EYES! The whole thing happened in a jiffy, that we did not even get a chance to say no to anything.

By the time we came out of this ordeal, we forgot about the devotion and beauty of that place. We simply felt as if we have escaped from some robbers, PHEW!!! What a relief it was to be out of there!

P.S:
The temple is so very beautiful. If ever one plans to go to Kanyakumari, it is a MUST VISIT PLACE, even if you are not a 'theist'. It is treasure house of sculptures. Just BEWARE  of the day time robbers.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Abi's maiden stage appearance!

     Can not remember how I missed out on sharing Abi's first appearance on stage last September when he was in Play school. It should have its place in my blog long ago. But never mind the delay. Here it is...

    It was his school Annual Function. He was selected (or so we thought) for a group dance. When I was told about this I was very happy but at the same time I was very sceptical about him. So I warned  his class teacher about how he does not like to be "taught" anything. Also he was very shy to do anything in front of outsiders (he is improving now). I told her that she need not hesitate to drop him if he does not perform as per the requirement. But she seemed very confident and convinced me that Abi is doing very well during the practice sessions. She even showed me the video of children practising the song and I saw Abi doing the steps like all other children. At home we tried to make him dance without much success.

     On the D-Day, he was to wear his dress from home except for some accessories and reach the venue some 3 hours prior to the function. It was in the afternoon (he was not used going out in the afternoon, usually it was his sleeping time). The programme started at 6:00pm. We were there waiting eagerly for Abi's song. Their turn came around 7:00pm. We tried to spot him on the stage, but as all the tiny tots looked the same, we couldn't make Abi out.. When we finally did, can you guess where?....IN HIS TEACHER'S LAP! The song started playing, some children started dancing and some started crying, but they were all at least standing on the stage - all except Abi! His teacher tried to put him down  on the stage and dance, but he did not budge and only wailed louder! After the song got over we went and picked him up from his teacher and he was so relieved to see us there (I suppose the teacher too!). 

     The teacher said he refused to wear anything on his head or hands and no make-up  We noticed that the other children were wearing some head gear and ribbons on their hands. He was so petrified to see so many children that too some crying, some sleeping and too many people around him. Only during the course of the event  we came to know that all the children of the school participate in the annual function, somewhat compulsory (600+).  So the tiny tots item was somewhere in the middle. The long hours of waiting and seeing the sea of people in an unknown environment caught Abi off guard. I wonder what will he do now, if he participates?  All of us had a hearty laugh seeing Abi on the STAGE! Good thing is we captured it all on video and will tease him with it when he grows up!


Saturday, 12 September 2015

MADNESS AT ITS BEST!

     Once in a blue moon my daughter gets this bout for creating something new especially when she falls sick!. Last week as she lay in bed on doctors advise, I saw her tearing the pages of a magazine. I touched her forehead to see the temperature as it touched  103 on and off. She gave me a nice broad smile when I asked her, is everything fine? 'I'm so bored maa', she said, still continued tearing the pages. I noticed the torn pages were mostly ads and were colourful. So I understood that she is up to something, so I let her tear more pages and together we started folding them in a particular way (she taught me how to fold). Then she placed them in such a way (weaving) that it looked like woven thatch. Finally she applied some glue to finish the edges. When she finished it, I could not believe that it was small tray/plate to hold weightless things. A smaller one can be used as coasters.  It really is one of the ' BEST OUT OF WASTE ' items. Not to forget, it lifted up my daughter's spirit. Me,the proud mother is displaying it for all you to see it.


Thursday, 10 September 2015

Tamil Nadu Travel Series -The Long Trip Home

Kanyakumari Sunrise

It has been a couple of months since I blogged.  When I opened my blog and the last published post's date stared at me did I realise how much time has gone by. Much has gone down the river in the meanwhile. Abi and I had gone home (south) for the summer vacation much against his mother's will (against the long duration only - 35 days). I too felt it was too long for the child to stay away from his mother and I remembered last when he was away from his mother and he saw her on the net while chatting he cried so much. But somehow the tickets worked out to be available only at a  35 days gap. So this time we decided that he will not see or hear his mother, only she will see and hear him. I promised his mother that the day he cries for his mother, I'll catch the next flight and bring him back to her.Thankfully he did not give me any problem and we enjoyed our full holiday without having to break it halfway. Such an angel!

Barring some eye problem towards the end, he thoroughly enjoyed his stay with his great grand parents and other relatives. We travelled to many cities down south like Tuticorin, Tiruchendur, Kanyakumari,Suseendram, Kutralam and Thirunelveli. Abi enjoyed the trip so much and not once let us feel that a small kid is travelling with us. In fact, Abi only added to our enjoyment. Its unbelievable to see how much energy these little kids have in them. During this trip I realised that children are power packed and we do not let them use that energy to their satisfaction. So in turn they trouble us by behaving crankily. The lesson learnt is travel more and that too with kids. HAPPY JOURNEY....!  

TRIBUTE TO THE UNDEMANDING SOUL

Note: This post is belated by about 3 months. After writing it, I got busy with so many new activities that I forgot to post it! 

Abi seems to have learnt the first lesson on 'adjustment'. Slowly things are falling in their place and all of us are getting used to our new environment. Due to the on going chaos in the house and preparing to go 'home', I forgot about making Abi's favourite 'murukku'. After keeping his appointments with his new friends - the rabbits and various birds out in the garden -, Abi came to me and said, "Naani Abikku murukku kudukkave illai"(meaning, naani you didn't give murukku to Abi). I was taken aback with his sudden demand of asking something to eat (except the chocolates). So I had to make it.

This 'murukku' has a special place in our life.These snacks are not only very tasty, they also have some emotional value attached to them. It goes back to some 20 or 25 years. Those days not many ready made snacks were available in the market. Mostly they were made at home. Whenever we went home to my parents' house (once in a year) 'murukku' was made for us to eat and also to carry back with us. The making of these snacks were an event in itself as it involved a lot of work (grinding was done manually) and was made in bulk. As we would be busy with our packing, last minute visits to people and visitors at home, we hardly helped my mom in the preparation.

 We had a lady who was working for my mother. She was there ever since my mother got  newly married.It was not like a master-servant relationship.It was something so different that  we do not get to experience these days. She was like a mother to all three of us (me and my siblings), very dedicated and loyal.The task of sending off me and my hubby with 'goodies' was entrusted with her. It became a ritual that every time I went back from our holiday, these snacks and other items were made without fail. Even when she became old she would insist on making them. She was a  specialist at hand-made murukku.

 As they say all good thing come to an end, she left us one day about 3 years back. After that we stopped the ritual of making them on my return from home - after a long run of over 30 years.. Though I started making them myself now, I miss what our dear 'Arukkani amma' used to make. Some time back my brother had come to my daughter's place for the first time to Bundi. I packed some murukku for him for the train journey back home and for my parents. It was the first time these snacks were made at my place and sent to my parents. I felt so nice and proud. Life has come full circle. I wish dear 'Arukkani 'was here to taste the murukkus made by me. By making them myself, I want to say "thank you" to her. I know she's very proud of me.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Learning to adjust


It's been awhile since we came to the new city and are still settling down. We elders are busy unpacking and getting some repair work done, while my daughter is busy with  her work and VVIP's visits, Abi seems to be lost in this utter confusion going around him. He has become more irritable and his eating habit has hit the rock bottom.Before leaving Bundi, he was very excited and went around telling people"naan vere oorukku pohiren" (we are going to a new place). He even helped in packing by bringing anything and everything he could lay his tiny hands on to pack! But after reaching here, he isnt liking it one bit..

I fail to understand what he does not like here. It's more spacious, he has rabbits to keep him company. He enjoys feeding them and playing with them. He gets to see so many birds and their nests. He loves watching them drink water and fills their water pots every morning. But once inside the house, he clings on to me or naanu more than usual and says "yeh hamara ghar nahi hai, babu wala ghar me chalo" (this is not our house, let us go to our house. People in Bundi used to call him babu, hence babu wala house). I told him that a new aunty has come to that house and we can not go there any more to stay, The smart little angel that he is, he says let us go to that aunty's house. Maybe it is the new faces that are around him are making him alien to this place or maybe he is missing the familiar ones he is so used to playing with everyday.. 

In a week's time things will be settled and  the house will start looking familiar to him. May be then  he can relate to things and get used to the new set up. Hope he settles down soon and befriends the people around him. Even though my li'l one does not speak out about "adjustment", I can see it very clearly that he is finding it very difficult to "adjust" to the new environment and more so, letting go of his very first friends in Bundi.. but this is only the beginning.. hope he becomes strong enough to cope with the many such changes which he will face in future as well.



Tuesday, 26 May 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

26th May! 3 beautiful years have passed in a wink! Its thank you time for me - first to the Almighty, then my li'l angel, my daughter & dear SIL. I consider myself very lucky to have spent these three years with my loved ones. My own parents have hardly seen my daughter growing up, in fact very few grand parents get this opportunity. I've seen and grown with my darling from the day one (after all, I'm also a 3 year old grandmother!).  

I've witnessed every milestone / achievement of Abhi, be it crawling, teething, walking, cycling, running singing, dancing...... I've laughed and cried with him. The process of growing up with him has taught me to be more patient, to enjoy small little things in life which we normally take it for granted, to laugh with open heart, to forgive and forget unhappy moments quickly. To put it in a nutshell, he has taught me to LIVE life. I'm going to cherish these invaluable moments all my life. I pray and hope to ride this joyous ride with Abhi for ever.... HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY DARLING!

My birthday boys!!!! 

P.S: I forgot to mention that Abi and my husband share their birthdays! Here's a picture of them celebrating together!

Monday, 25 May 2015

Never ending wait has ended!

       Coming...coming.... and finally the list has come. We had been waiting for the transfer order of our daughter since long. On every weekend there was this rumour that the list was coming. Knowing the uncertain nature of the job, we did not even bother to open our luggage completely. We kept telling our near and dear ones to visit us before we leave Bundi for it is a beautiful place full of greenery (little known fact is that it is the veritable rice bowl of Rajasthan) and quaint historical structures though many of the old beautiful buildings are in a dilapidated condition..

         After some time it became a joke. We too stopped listening to such rumours and happily immersed our self in planning for summer season gardening. LO...! Suddenly on a Thursday night my daughter woke me up (I go to bed early) to inform me that she has been transferred. It took me a few minutes to understand  the word 'transfer' as I thought it may be one of those pranks she plays with me. Finally the word sunk in and all the excitement caught on with me. I kept asking her so many questions in between the numerous calls she was receiving about the new place.
        
           After the initial excitement died down, the thought of packing and shifting began to haunt me. I've been doing this for umpteen number of years now. I must say that there were times I used to enjoy these shiftings but with time, how I wished to settle down in one place after retiring. I guess age is catching up with me! But with my daughter in a transferable job like my husband, that is not to be. Soon we busied ourselves with packing. It is only when you have to pack up your entire household does one realise how smart or foolish you have been in shopping.. do not ask me which category we fall into!! The Himalayan task was completed  in a week and it was time to move on.
        
          The most difficult part was saying good bye to all. The thought of leaving the house and the people in our lives made me very sad. I'm going to miss all those people, the beautiful, colourful tiny flying visitors, the menace of monkeys, the chirping of different birds and the ever daring and running squirrels. Even though it is a part of one's job, it is really hard to move away from people (and place) whom you have considered as your own and to a new place to make it your own once again. It is an emotional drain out. With great difficulty all of us put up a very brave face to say bye to the loved ones in Bundi. We have reached our new destination and now the second part of the show begins. The unpacking.....!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Expression of love

     Expression of love. The feeling of missing someone. Abi is yet to learn the normal way of showing his love to us. He is on a beating spree and crying mode these days. I'm the easiest target for him. He cries at the drop of a hat. Hits me without any provocation. Loves to throwing things which shouldnt be thrown. Milk no, food no, only chocolates are welcome. If you give him one and he wants more, he will first eat the one in his hand and then start crying and say,"mujhe yeh wala nahin khana tha, woh dusra chahiye!" (I didnt want to eat this one, it is the other one that I want). He has somehow made up his mind that there is no way he will get more chocolates otherwise.

     Going to school is better than what it used to be. But he still tries his best to resist going. Just to surprise him, one day I went to pick him up after school. He was so surprised and happy to see me that he jumped into the car and hugged me and my joy knew no bound!.On our way back, I bought some chocolates, ice cream and biscuits for him. The next day I did not go to pick him up and he was so upset. As soon as he reached home and saw me, he hugged me tightly and cried saying,"naani ko gaadi me hona chahiye tha". It took me quite some time to pacify him!

     At first I thought the change in weather is the culprit. But as things didn't improve even after a few days my daughter and I had a long discussion and web searching session. That's when we understood the reason (or at least one of the reasons) for this behaviour. His 'naanu' has been away for a few days now and Abi seems to be missing his 'naanu' a lot and he does not know how to express that. Naanu loves to spoil him, especially when we are trying to restrict him from watching the rhymes on youtube or discipline him. Now, every few hours he enters naanu's room and I suppose feels his absence. Slowly I made him understand that naanu is out and he 'll be back soon. Then I made him speak to 'naanu' on the phone, which he did nicely for the first time (earlier he would keep the phone to his ears to listen but not speak). He told naanu,"Abi nannu  ko dhoond raha tha". After speaking to him Abi has calmed down a bit.. at least I'm not getting anymore thrashing! My cute l'il angel is waiting for his 'naanu' to come back.. it is so sad to see him miss someone he loves at this age when he can't even express himself properly... 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Colouring obsession

Abi is bubbling with too much energy and I'm unable to keep pace with him. The days are too long and too hot. So we are not able to do any outdoor activities. He gets bored with his toys very soon. Not that he ever plays with them - he only likes to break them. Its very difficult to make him sit in one place for more than five minutes. He does not like to be disciplined or guided to do anything. Two things he does like are playing in water and colouring. So we play in water at around noon and evenings we try to paint something.

 Since long we had been thinking of preserving his hands and feet prints. But some how it has been delayed a lot, so we finally decided to do that today. He could sit patiently  for not more than a few minutes and watch us mix the colour, being as restless as he is. We could barely manage to get his hands and legs imprinted on a paper and soon after he snatched the brush, dug out a whole lot of paints (he wanted minimum of two colours) and splashed the colours all over the place. He made a merry mess of everything around him - painted his face, hands, legs and not to mention his clothes! The paper which I gave him to paint was too small for him, so the floor became the canvas. He happily splashed colours all over the place. His joy was so infectious, we joined in too and started throwing colours at him! I wanted to remember and cherish this joyous moments, so I captured it in my lens. My little M F Husain in the making... 




Sunday, 26 April 2015

AM I GREEDY...?

The train was at 10:35 pm. We had done our packing and waited for our daughter to come back from the office. With a heavy heart, I explained to Abi that we will be out for a few days and he was not very happy about it. But we could not help it as our house was being vacated by our tenant and we had to go to Ggn to look for a new tenant. Also, this was our first experience with tenants after renovating the house according to our taste. We were not planning to rent it out ever, but circumstances lead us to do so a few years back.. I was very anxious to know about the condition of my house which we had let out as a fully furnished accommodation. 

By noon the programme fizzled out. Our daughter told us that she had to go out for 2 days for some urgent work. Abi was having cold and cough. She suggested we continue with our plan and that she will take Abi along with her (8 hrs journey by road and that too at night). We could not agree with her because of Abi's health and so my hubby went to Ggn and my daughter, to attend her work leaving me and Abi at home.

Our SIL, who had visited our house a while ago had already warned us to expect the worst, knowing how particular I'm about my things and cleanliness etc. He was more worried about me than the house, but I thought he was exaggerating. But after seeing the house personally, my hubby was shocked to say the least. Between the two of us, he is way more considerate and liberal, but even he was terribly depressed after stepping into our beloved house. The occupants had surpassed all limits, he said and was so relieved that I was not there to see its condition. 

I was thinking back to when we decided to rent it, how nicely we cleaned the house, washed the curtains, colour washed the walls, polished the both rooms before handing the house over to them, even though it was well maintained  and in very good condition.  My immediate neighbour would vouch for it. In fact, she was so surprised at the work we were getting done for our tenants and asked me "Are you giving it on rent or is your own relative coming here to stay?". I thought if I give a sparkling house to my tenant, they will keep it that way and reciprocate when they have to vacate. ALAS!! I wonder why people cannot keep a house neat and clean? Whether it is one's own house or rented, its you and your family living there. Am I expecting too much?

 For almost three decades I lived in govt quarters. Not once I thought that it is not my house and I should not take care of it. Whenever I had the opportunity to meet the new occupants of the govt house we were vacating, they always expressed their happiness for getting such a well maintained house. As I sit here and pour out my feelings, my hubby is getting all the cleaning job done there in Ggn. Also looking for a tenant who can take care of the house in which they are living. AM I GREEDY...? Why is it so difficult to find someone who can take care of their own dwelling?

PS: Before we renovated and moved into our house after the retirement a few years ago, we had another tenant (who had to move out because we were moving in). I'm ever grateful to them for taking care of my house.


Friday, 17 April 2015

Mora Sham Rootha...

How fast children grow! Abi too is growing fast and has started trying to assert his independence these days. "Naani bhi jayegi" used to be his mantra earlier whether it was time to go to feed the pigeons / parrots or taking chapati for Cookie (our pet dog) in the morning. He would not go unless and until I accompanied him at least for a short while. It was the same whether he had to go to school or go cycling or to play in the garden or even to go to bed. Of course, here I accept that I enjoyed every bit of  importance given to me by him.

Yesterday all of a sudden he decided to do things on his own. After his usual bubble bath and juice, he declared ,"Abi ka toh ninni time hai, Abi aappuaap soyega,  naani nahin ayegi" (this is sleeping time, Abi will sleep on his own, naani will not come). I was taken aback at this sudden change in him because getting to go to sleep has been one of the toughest jobs till today!

Of late he has also developed a habit of dropping  things without any provocation. A few days ago, we had gone to one of our friend's house. We were all sitting at the dining table and discussing a painting. BANG! Suddenly we heard the sound of a crockery breaking. To our shock, it was Abi who dropped a quarter plate for no reason at all. We were so shocked and apologised to the host. Back home he did the same thing during dinner but luckily with a steel glass. I did  raise my voice and told him I'm cross with him as a punishment. He said 'sorry naani' and I forgot about it. Later on, his mother was explaining to him why he should not break things, how it can hurt him and mamma does not like it etc. She also said, if he does it again she will become Vidhushi's mother(friend's daughter) and not Abi's mother. He agreed that he will not do it again and said,"mamma chalo ninni karenge" Second shocker of the day! Usually I put him to bed or he would ask for both, mamma and naani.  Thinking that I'm indispensable, I asked him shall I come? Nahin! Yeh Abi ki naani nahin hai, Vidhushi ki naani hai - pat came the reply! I'm still wondering.. why did he say that? Mora Sham kyon rooth gaya? Or is it just a growing up phase?

Friday, 10 April 2015

NEVER ENDING SURPRISES

          We all say that children of today are too smart, sharp and intelligent than what we were at their age. Saying is one thing and seeing is (experiencing) another. It is simply amazing. Grand parents who are lucky to see their grand children grow would vouch for it. Abi never ceases to surprise us. He has to watch you doing something once carefully and within no time you will see him doing the very same thing! Most kids are like that I suppose?

          He is so computer savvy and at times it becomes very difficult to keep him away from it. Even before he started going to school his 'naanu' introduced him to computers (naanu spends all his time with his laptop) and Abi used to watch 'nursery rhymes'. Within a short span of time he learnt to switch on the laptop himself. At times there are 3 laptops in the house and the power buttons of them are at different places. Yet Abi knows how to switch on all of them without any body's help.

          Slowly he graduated to the level of entering the password (kept as asd for his convenience) and reaching the Desktop and then clicking the Google icon and opening a 'new tab' ! After the 'new tab' he needs our help. It becomes so difficult to say 'no' to him after all that he has done. He sure knows how to take advantage of that! Left to him, he can spend hours listening  and watching rhymes and stories on 'you tube'. We are trying to restrict that but it is way more difficult than we imagined.
     

 Today he added one more feather in his cap. We were watching a Tamil rhyme video. In that rhyme, he liked a word 'ada... appadiya?' (which means, is it so?) spoken by the dog. With out my help he moved the cursor to that particular place to listen to that word  repeatedly (rewind). Increasing the volume, enter and exit full screen and selecting a new video are not a big deal for him. He seems to have understood the meaning of the symbols. I do not even want to compare myself with him when I was of his age, in fact not even my daughter! Eagerly looking forward to more surprises. What next...?

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Abi's Maiden River Water Adventure

   
  It was one of those rare opportunities where we could all plan to go out as a family for a weekend outing and even though our daughter had to spend some part of this time with a few school children (as a part of her job), all of us were very excited. Of course Abi, more than all of us because he loves going out and keeps saying "Ghoomi ghoomi chalo"! 

  On seeing my excitement, my daughter warned me of the bad road and the long distance. Even though that disheartened a travel sickness prone me a little, I put up a brave face and we set off to Ramgarh Fort. This Fort is located in the midst of a wildlife sanctuary by the same name - Ramgarh Sanctuary. Most part of the journey was good, but some stretches were really bad.   
  After the initial jumping around from lap to lap, eventually Abi went off to sleep. I pulled through most part of the journey listening to Army life anecdotes of my hubby and son-in-law and anxiously looking out of the window for wild animals. We were told that once upon a time, this used to be the abode of numerous tigers, but now only 1 remains. Our hard luck we did not get to see him.

    But once we reached the Fort we could see the forest's greenery all around us and a serene river running by. It has a great view and an abundance of natural beauty which makes it an inviting place. Basically the "Fort" was a rest house, built for the kings and their troupe who would come here to hunt centuries back. Today it is a nice get away place for our fast and busy life. All the tiredness vanished in no time. Abi had carried his 'gulel' (catapult) with him and spent his time trying to 'shoo' away the monkeys there! He is quite well accomplished in this art now for we have them in our garden as well!  

   We didn't go trekking or looking for wildlife because time was short and decided to simply relax in the Fort. But en route we had to cross the river Mez which was close to the Fort. On our way back, all of us walked in the river where it is  not very deep.Walking bare feet in the river brought back lots of childhood memories. It was a treat we enjoyed whenever me and my siblings went to our farm and spent many days playing around in the fields and water courses..
  Abi was very scared to enter the water at first. Clinging to his dad and holding mama's hand, slowly they made him stand in the running river water and sprinkled some water on him.That's all he needed! After that he splashed water on everybody relentlessly! One could see the mischievousness in his eyes. His happiness knew no bounds and he wanted more of it. So we took off his clothes and dunked him in nice and proper! He happily bathed in the river and refused  to come out. The onlookers went berserk clicking his snaps.
 A trip to cherish!

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

PAPPU PASS HO GAYA!

   Pooooooooooohhhhhhh !!!!!!!!!!! Finally the result for the play group is declared today. I went with Abi to school to collect it. More than the result I was eager to see other parents and the class teacher, how happy and excited they are about their own achievement (not the children). Even though the school can not detain any child till class 8, all the parents were so anxious to see the result!

   I think the vacation did him good. Although he was refusing to go to school in the morning initially and I had to bribe him saying that we will go 'ghoomi ghoomi' (which means outing) after the visit to school which I fulfilled after collecting his performance certificate. Then when we reached his school, surprisingly, Abi took my hand and guided me to his class with great pride! As soon as I sat on the chair, he left me with his teachers and  went off to play with the toys there. May be he missed them,  for he had holidays for the past ten days.I could see some changes in him today but I'm keeping my fingers crossed as the school is reopening on 6th April.   Here is the great certificate! (with name of school, teachers, etc omitted)

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