Friday, 20 February 2015

Language woes

A click of the setting sun along a highway
   Abi is trying to speak in Tamil. We try to speak to him in Tamil though it is in minority. Turn around and he sees only Hindi (rather HADOTI) speaking people around him.So Hindi comes to him fluently, but he is catching up Tamil also very easily and quickly.The whole process of teaching him an important language/mother tongue (important because our people in south do not speak Hindi) reminds me of my own learning of Hindi.

   My husband was posted in J&K when we got married. I did not know Hindi at all, not even a single word. So it was very difficult for me to communicate with helping staff. My husband would be off on duty for long hours. Though we were dining in the mess, i still needed to speak quite a lot with the staff. We had a very obedient, sincere and loyal helper. But the only problem was he would not speak any other language other than Hindi or Punjabi. Very quickly we had developed some kind of understanding with the help of sign language. Somehow things were going smoothly till that wonderful day!
   I had soaked some clothes in a bucket in the morning. After my hubby left for office, I asked my helper to keep a bucket of water on the stove for my bath as it was winter (we were staying in a temporary accommodation hence no geyser). God knows what he understood, he went and put the same bucket for heating in which I had soaked my clothes including my hubby's uniform! After about 30-40 minutes I went to check whether the water was ready or not. Alas! I was horrified to see my clothes getting boiled with almost no water! Some clothes including his uniform were burnt and could not be used. I still have a saree of mine as a memory of that incident. Though I lost some of my clothes it taught me a lesson..I resolved to learn Hindi at the earliest. Meanwhile my husband had gone for a month long training and when he came back he was shocked to hear me speak in fluent Hindi! Today everyone including my hubby say that I speak Hindi better than him.

So with the same resolve, I want Abi to learn Tamil and speak it better than me! I am sure he will, for he is a quick learner.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Today's harvest!

Today me and Abi had a field day. Since it was a holiday for him, he too enjoyed playing/working in the kitchen garden especially plucking "tammas"(tomatoes). Though he does not like any veg, some how he likes to eat raw "tamma" once in a while, that too garden fresh, chemical free "tammas". I'm glad something he eats without forcing. The "tammas" were so fresh that I was tempted to make this yummy chutney. So we went ahead and made it. Abi helped me in cutting them without the knife. It turned out so tasty that I thought of sharing it.
Above: ginger & chillies;
Below: chopped tomatoes, curry leaves
& ground ginger & chillies

Here comes the recipe.

Tangy tomato chutney


1.Tomatoes: 1 kg
2.Ginger: 100gms
3.Green chillies: 50 gms
4.Haldi powder: 1teaspoon 
5.Sugar: 1 teaspoon
6.Salt: To taste
7.Oil: 100gms
8.Mustard seeds: 1 1/2 teaspoon
9.A few curry leaves


1.Wash and chop the tomatoes.

2.Grind the ginger and green chillies together in a mixer without adding any water.

3. Heat oil in a sufficiently big kadai.Add mustard seeds.After it crackles, add curry leaves, fry for a few seconds then add the ginger-chilli paste. Saute for 2-3 minutes.

4.Add the tomatoes,salt and haldi. Mix them nicely. Cover and cook it for 15 minutes or till the tomatoes are well cooked, stirring occasionally.

5.Add sugar, cook for a few more minutes till the oil starts leaving the sides.

6.Cool and store it in a clean jar.

7.You can keep it outside for 15-20 days or store it in the fridge.

8.If you want to store like pickle, then add more oil while cooking so that it covers the chutney like in pickle.

9.It goes very well with plain rice & dal or puri/paranthas.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Neighbours Indeed

   How time has changed.. Or is it the people? It is difficult to answer. For the past few years (till 2012) we lived in flats.There were 6 flats on a floor. But we  hardly got time to talk to each other. Everybody seem to be running late for something or the other, barely able to have an exchange of pleasantries as we bump by each other. I felt as if I'm the only one without much to do even though I was working. This reminded me of an incident that happened some 30 years back.

Sometime in 1983, when we were posted in Pune, we lived in flats. There were 4 houses in our block. All four of us became good friends over our daily routine of buying vegetables from a vendor who came almost every day in the morning. Our children were small and not school-going. So after packing our husbands off to office, we friends spend time chit-chatting after our purchasing. On one particular day, 3 of us were at it as usual when we smelt milk getting burnt somewhere. So engrossed  were we in our chatting session, we decided that the smell must be from the 4th neighbour who has not joined us that day and decided to catch up with her later. So saying, we left for our houses promising to meet in the evening. When I entered my house, there was a strong smell coming from my kitchen. I ran over there and Oh my god, i still can not forget the sight! MILK!!!! It was me who kept the milk on the stove and forgot all about it. I could not even identify the vessel I had kept on the stove, it was so black!

  Thankfully nothing serious had happened. Cut to today. We neighbours meet just in the elevator or in the neighbourhood morning store greeting each other by saying,"Hi.. running late or got to pick the child from the bus stop" or some such thing. So, I wonder what has changed,"the time or people" ?   
(not advising to burn milk either!)

Friday, 6 February 2015

End of the season

   Suddenly, winter is vanishing. The days are becoming very warm and the use of woollens is becoming difficult. My winter veggies seem to be shrinking and some are shedding their leaves in  my garden. Some patches are lying empty after the harvest, waiting to be ploughed / tilled / readied for the up coming season. 

   The summer has almost announced its arrival but I still had some urge to do knitting. So I thought I 'd make a half-sleeve sweater for Abi before I pack my knitting kit till the next season. Half-sleeve sweater because it has become too hot to hold the knitting yarn. With the help of the internet, I zeroed in on this design and lo! Its ready for my Abi!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Morning scene

   Every day is an amazing day with my li'l one.He keeps us in very good spirits with his innocent talks or activities. But today he sprang a surprise on me early in the morning in the bed itself. As usual, after I finished my routine work, I came to wake him up. With all the usual talk and play, I tried to make some noise with which to stir him out of bed. In a very matter of fact way, he said, "yeh awaz bandh karo"(stop this noise). Without realising what he is talking about, I asked which noise? Without even opening his eyes he said, "naani ki awaz bandh karo, sona hai" (stop nani's noise, I want to sleep). It took me a second to realise and I burst out laughing so loudly that others in the house came running to find out what had happened...!

   He hates going to school like many children.He does not mind getting up early but going to school... a big no. And he knows once he gets up nani will pack him off to school. Hence all the fuss. Here's a picture of him on a happy day playing cricket with his friend in our garden.

Abi is on the left with a bat in his hand
and that's him in school!

Monday, 2 February 2015

Quilted jacket for my daughter

This one is for my darling daughter. She is my motivator. She is the force behind me for whatever little I do other than mundane work. Be it knitting, gardening, stitching, cooking (she is a better cook than me) painting or any needle work for that matter, she keeps telling me there is no one like me on this earth.Usually children do not like "home made" things (my friends and colleagues say so). But mine is so different. She would proudly use/display the things that were made by me.Whether it was her birthday menu or parting gifts for her schoolmates, mamma had to make something. Even now she would love to do the same, but does not insist like she used to(she is married and has a son and I wish she has a daughter like mine). 

Can you imagine a teenager refusing to go to a parlour for her hair cut!!!!!!!! After trying out a few parlours she decided mom is the best hair dresser for her! I used to think she was being childish and for every child her parents are the best. But I learnt from others it is not so. I now realise the value of her words and appreciate her for her generosity. It is such a rare quality in today's world, that too in a family where one  member appreciating the other (unlike the usual ghar ki murgi dal baraabar syndrome!). I take her words more seriously now. This blog is also one such attempt.This piece is only a humble attempt to say "THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU" to my darling and not self praising. I consider myself very very lucky for being blessed with such a lovely daughter.

To show her my appreciation, I made this sleeveless jacket for her. She had been teasing me that I keep making things for my grandson and not for her! I wanted to give her a double surprise so I made it reversible and chose black colour as it goes with almost all shades of clothing.

One side

reverse side

Back side
This is called a quilted jacket, made with simple foam sandwiched between 2 layers of cotton cloth. I had some embroidered pieces of cloth leftover, so I used it for the pockets and the motif at the back. 

You bet she loved it!

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