Happy 18th

Welcome to the adulthood kannamma! I am writing this letter a day late and with this I am discontinuing writing birthday letters to you. As you have moved out now, I won’t get to know everything about your life anymore, I will only know what you chose to share with me so I figure there may not be much to recollect in your future birthday letters

You have been away from us for 4 months and I see you have changed a lot in this short period. You have lost weight, almost 15 pounds, attribute it to the every day walks within campus and less snacks! And now even at home you eat very less portions and watch your junk in take which is a big pleasant surprise for me as I have seen you surviving with junk for all 3 meals while at home.

You have formed your opinions around matters, you have a point of view and your judgement around incidents and situations are interesting to observe. All I can say is don’t get too judgmental as that takes away the joy of life. Remember to laugh out loud and you don’t have to over analyze every conversation or situation. Learn to be happy from within and enjoy the journey of life. Do not lose sight of small joys in life as those are your energy sources to tap into when you feel low!

You are doing great in college, wrapped up first semester (technically second) with straight As, getting yourself known to the professors, forming your safe circle of friends (two of them were kind enough to mail you thoughtful birthday gifts), signing up for opportunities and setting yourself up for next phase. I can’t be more proud of how independent you have become in this space dear. This is a big relief to me!

You set a high bar of expectation with almost everything. Its not easy to convince you into something that you don’t like! Keep your bar lower in some cases to make it a better experience of life. You are conservative in spending which is a good sign but remember to spend for your loved ones and those who deserve. Money will come and go but relationships are to stay for life!

The role has switched seamlessly at home. Gone are the days Appa drove you and LHB for store runs. Now, you and LHB make indulging store trips once he is back from school. You love spending time with him and keep him inclusive when you want to do something fun. You call him “bestie” 🙂 and the dotting little brother obeys all of Akka’s orders.

You are a well matured, thoughtful, diplomatic, structured, mannered young lady who takes calculative risks! I want to tell you that its absolutely okay to “break the rules” sometimes. “Live and let live”

I adore the way you call me as “dee” especially when you have to condition me on something..

Yesterday, I woke you up with our tradition of “Treasure hunt”, then we visited community garden to get master gardener elderly couples blessings, then a quick visit to temple, then you spent the afternoon with your friends at a park, then we drove to NYC for dinner. I wanted to do something special to welcome you into adulthood. We visited Rise NY attraction and then had dinner at Vatan, vegetarian restaurant. Food thali is unlimited and good for our taste buds. It worked well as you are a chaat lover. By the time, we returned home it was past midnight!

LHB made this card for you. You are the pride of our family kannamma. Stay happy, Stay healthy. We are your team and will always always be on your side.

Amma ❤️❤️


Akka birthday surprise

Akka is coming home tomorrow for a loooong break and I wanted to finish off the birthday surprise visit post before she comes.

Continuation from this post

I suggested Akka to come and co sleep with LHB on Friday night so he will see her when he wakes up and it will be a big surprise. She denied and said she will be up and bright before LHB wakes up and will surprise him! Isn’t it fun to deny Amma’s suggestions? Anyways, as I suspected the plan didn’t go the way we wanted it to.

LHB woke up early, got curious about why Akka’s room is locked, roamed around the home, identified Akka’s shoes near door, duly questioned about it, drank milk, ate breakfast and agreed to go to basement to play for some time. We tried our best to keep him in basement until the doting Akka woke up, refreshed and came to the family room. She wrapped herself in a blanket lying down in couch and we called out for LHB to come and unwrap the present.  Phewww!! Then they hugged, pounced on each other and rest of the day was overloaded with family time. We ate banana leaf lunch at a local restaurant, watched Wakanda forever at the comfort of home (cuddling inside blankets in couch after a heavy lunch) and friends family made surprise visits in the evening.

Adi and I dozed off while watching the movie and later the day Adi shared a psychological fact that “a good siesta means you feel safe about the place and people around” and that she had a very good nap that afternoon 🙂 I had a good nap too cuddling her 🙂

Next morning, she left to college and I duly packed freshly made tomato thokku and rotis for her to savor later. It was a short trip but a must needed for everyone in the family! I am so glad she came home.

Happy 10th

Dear Chellam,

This is how Amma call you these days! You are truly my chellam as you exactly know how to melt my heart ❤️We woke up today morning around same time, I was the first one to wish you and we scrolled through random pictures and videos from last 10 years and started the day with a hearty laugh recollecting those moments. This time, 10 years back you were ready to be taken out of my tummy! But end of the day you declared; Appa’s wish was the best as he wished you at the store right after handing over the cake to you!

I re-read your previous year birthday letters and you are still on the same track with all your traits growing slow but strong and steady. We have brought back study/activity chart system based on your demand and now you kind of have an idea about how to spend your evenings. I help you little lesser with your homework and you are semi-independent now! I measure your growth with Tamil learnings. Last year, I had to sit next to you to make you write every letter and now I still sit next to you and only guide you. If I underline a sentence, you can copy it yourself my semi-independent boy!

You don’t want to continue Tamil class and Amma’s persuasion is still working! I do a guilt trip talk in lines of
“Dude it’s your mother tongue, saying no to mother tongue is like saying no to your mother and I know you are not that kind, and you succumb.”

You did tryout for soccer travel team and didn’t get through. You are going to continue with rec soccer and try for travel in next seasons!

You signed up to play Guitar in upcoming talent show and very dedicated to this practice. This is a proof of your dedication to anything you put your heart into! You played Guitar at last year talent show as well!

Your wittiness is at its best state, you have very good sense of snapping with witty responses at the least expected time to instantly change the mood of the situation.

You miss Akka terribly and adjusting to the new life without her. She is home today just for you, and this is the best gift as you called it. It melts my heart to see the two of you bond since today morning!

You have developed a taste for Chinese food and now Appa and you get it more often. Sesame chicken and fried rice is your favorite.

You are continuing with cub scout, and it is getting competitive starting this year. You have an amazing den leader and your team secured 2nd place in Klondike competition with your den leader’s guidance.

It’s very hard to make you upset. You just go with the flow, adapt and bounce back very quick. This makes it very easy to work with you da!

You are equally understandable and annoying. If you need something, you will keep repeating it until I do and not give me space to respond.

It’s very hard for you to wait or have patience. We are working on this!

This Diwali, we both dressed up and went around the town to distribute sweets to your friends and my friends. You are my best companion da and you are still at this age to fully believe anything that Appa or I tell you. You validate yourself with us!

I can have a conversation and convince you to do something. I love our morning hugs and you are generous in your own ways!

You are my reflection da. The family always make fun of us when you display some of my not so cool traits. They go like “we wonder where he got this from”, and I brim with pride 🙂 I often say in a proud tone “en inam ada nee” (rough translation – you are my blood) even if your act is mischievous!

You have learned to brush your hair with gel, and I love you for doing that. I had to help and remind you the first few days when we started this routine, and you are pro at it now!

You are still going strong with brushing teeth at the night. Now, we team up to use the mouth wash at night! It’s fun to swish swash together!

I can still keep going and will stop here. I wish you loads of happiness and good health da.

Loads of ❤️,

Big Friday

The day I have been preparing myself for is finally here. Today is a mixed day with multiple streams demanding my attention.

Day started with preparation for my father-in-law’s 4th year anniversary ritual. We call it Thithi. I wanted to prepare an elaborate spread of south Indian meal, so the prep work started at 5am in the morning after a nice hot shower. Priest came home at 9am and the rituals went on till noon. Here is the platter I offered to my father-in-law today.

Left to right:

  • Moong dal payasam
  • Raw banana fry
  • Cabbage poriyal
  • Chayote kootu
  • Mango pachadi
  • Urad dal vada
  • Appalam
  • Lime pickle
  • White rice
  • White pumpkin sambar
  • Tomato rasam
  • Curd

Mid-morning, I had my 2022-year review meeting at work, and it was aligned to what I expected. I was happy as I am getting better at self-analyzing and not live in some illusional state. It seems like I am on the right path at work. I love my current job and hope to keep up with the momentum and continue to learn!

The main plan for the day is Akka’s surprise visit. LHB will go to Tamil school in the evening, Akka will arrive home when he is gone, she will settle down and lock herself in her room before LHB returns. LHB comes home, takes shower and goes to bed. Tomorrow morning, Akka will wake him up as a surprise. Perfect plan, right?

It was perfect until Tamil school declared today is online class due to very low windy chill temperature. Now, LHB will be home all evening and Akka will walk in when he is around! Mommy brain switched to Plan B. LHB was moved to basement to take his class. He was convinced as he can play video games with his friends right after the class as Xbox is setup in basement. Perfect plan, right?

It was perfect until Appa called me to wish LHB for his birthday. IT turned into a video call and Appa asked LHB if he knows the surprise about Akka. My heart skipped a beat and Amma tried to change the topic! I grabbed the phone, changed the topic and cut the call. Now, suspicious LHB wanted to go upstairs for some reason! I knew exactly what he will do. He will go to Akka’s room for a quick check! Thankfully, M diverted him to have dinner and the little boy had dinner and went back to basement to play Xbox. While LHB was having dinner I went upstairs and quietly shifted Akka to a different room, the forbidden room that we hardly use! She stayed there for a while and shifted back to her room once LHB went to basement. Mommy brain reached “shhabbaaaa” mode by now!

After his game, when he came upstairs, I managed to guide LHB to our bedroom and start bedtime routine. He took shower, settled in bed besides me and reading as I type this! I am not allowing him to step out of the room anymore and watching him like an eagle! I am done for the day. Hope the surprise works as planned tomorrow morning.

Akka update:
She came home, took shower, ate food (she tasted all the dishes I cooked today and said it’s all equally good). M and I were right next to her starting at her as she was taking every bite, the scene was funny! She was running around like a kid lost in candy land looking at all the food varieties on the kitchen table, inside refrigerator and in food pantry! She ate a hearty meal and now settled in her room catching up on work. She wants to finish all work today so tomorrow will be family day!

I guess LHB’s birthday letter will be delayed this year! With Akka being at home, I want to spend every minute with her so screen time will be less tomorrow. Let’s see!

11th year of Blogathon

Done and dusted 🙂 Can’t believe the 11th year has come to a wrap! This year was not very challenging for me and I didn’t hit writer block, didn’t experience “what if I cannot post today” anxiety, didn’t bank on drafts and didn’t go crazy about fodders. This year went with a flow and it was a very different experience from previous years when I hit panic button every other day and plan ahead! I didn’t even think ahead about what to write. It’s usually like I will open the blog, think for few minutes and write about what comes to my mind!

I think, I wrote about all that I wanted to record in this blog about 2022 and very happy about it. I enjoyed the mutual connection with fellow bloggers and it has become a habit to check for new comments as first thing and last thing in a day 🙂 Talk about small joys 🙂

Thanks to below bloggers who made this a fun journey. I don’t think I would have continued to write if everyone dropped out! Sadly, we did have lot of drop outs this year and I sincerely hope/wish they all will come back next year. Its very hard to let go of this tradition 😞 😞


More than words




I will write about this Friday and the weekend happenings for my lovely readers. Of course, a birthday letter for LHB that’s coming up soon! Request you all to write once in a while too.

Tharani darling – Never say this is last blogathon. We will come back next year with a bang and all our friends will join in too. Nambikkai nam thumbikkai (rough translation – we live by hope)

Wishing you all a very very happy and healthy 2023. Much love 💕

Perseverance-kutti story

Scene – NY subway station on New year’s eve we went to see ball drop

I always have a metro card in my purse, just that it never gets used so the metro card I had on that day was expired in 2021 but had some balance. The officer at ticker counter gave me an envelope and said I have to mail the expired card to main office and they will mail me back a new card with balance loaded in it.

M and Adi gave me this look of “just trash the card” and they gave me another big look when I saved the expired card and the envelope. They were like “are you seriously going to follow up on this? The look also said you are never going to get the new card!!

Me being me, filled up the form and mailed expired card. After a month, I received the new card with balance loaded 🙂 It was worth it not for the balance but for the effort and perseverance. I follow this with almost everything I pursue in my life. Never leave any stone unturned has been my mantra as I truly believe in miracle and surprises! We are majorly what we believe in!!

Now, I have set reminder to renew the card before next expiry date! Learning from mistakes and actioning on them is also equally critical 🙂

Today’s update:

Today was office day as I had in person meetings. It was a mixed day as I had to deliver some not so good news, welcome a new member and have strategy talks, all in a day. I am on bus right now returning home with goodies. LHB is waiting for me 😁 Today he gets burger, fries and some desserts.

I loved the morning quiet time yesterday so much that I might soon repeat it to get some heads down work done. Now, I partly understand MTW’s state of mind about waking up early 🙂 Maybe once or twice a week is doable right? Right!!!

4 more days for Akka to come 💃💃 3rd Feb is a big day with multiple commitments and I hope 4th Feb to be an easy quiet day. Friday will definitely be a storm before the calm on Saturday I am preparing my mind ahead to handle this Friday!

Seven on Sunday

  • I experienced the benefit of waking up early today. I woke up around 5:30am, kept rolling in bed until 6:30am in the hope to go back to snooze land and gave up. Benefit – I was able to finish a work that I was struggling to do for past 2 months. It required dedicated heads down time to gather my thoughts and today was the day. I had quiet, undivided focus time from 7 to 9am and got the work done! It’s a draft version and I am super happy about taking the first step! However, this doesn’t mean I will continue this pattern, morning sleep is too precious to give up that easily 🙂
  • Adi pointed out something about how we do casual conversation. When M and I talk, we add a gibberish word to the actual word “coffee keefee”, “bus-u gis-u”, “fork-u geer-ku”. After this, we started observing around friend’s circle to realize that most of the adults use this pattern 🙂 It’s funny to observe others talk this way and point out 🙂
  • I signed up to make cardboard “parai/drums” for the boys to use as prop in Tamil school Pongal dance performance.
  • Packed cold cut chicken sandwich for LHB yesterday as we had to pack brown bag lunch for the scout event, and it was super hit. He asked me to pack it for school lunch once a week.
  • I have taken the first step to pursue something in coming years. It’s a multi-year serious commitment that requires lot and lot of time and effort. It’s the thought “If not now, then never” that pushed me to sign up! Wish me luck please!
  • We have taken the first step to add Island at kitchen and exhaust hood to gas range. This has been in the plan for a long time and finally happening. This means I will get dedicated closed space for my trash separation, and I am super excited about it. I gave tough requirements to the cabinet store guy who helped to design Island space/cabinets and he tried to match most of my requirements 🙂 Hope it will all come together well!
  • Prepared Sunday style lunch today after a long time. Egg biriyani and raita for LHB, Mutton kuzhambu and Mutton soup for Appa as he is still recovering from cold!

TedX talks

I started the post to write about Saboteur vs Sage. To gather writing inputs I rewatched the video I am sharing below and realized its better for you all to watch this video than reading my version of explaining this concept. And I also realized that I can generalize this post to include other TedX talks that I enjoyed watching and started practicing the concept in my life. These concepts might be hard to follow and trust me it gives so much inner peace once we practice it enough to feel the positive changes within us! I feel more calmer these days. I still deal with my share of anxiety and bad days. The frequency have come down a lot!

Know your inner saboteurs

Own Your Behaviours, Master Your Communication, Determine Your Success

I love TedX talks and watch at least one every week. Thanks to Youtube for not giving me a chance and keep sending recommendations my way.

I really encourage you all to take some time to watch above videos and internalize the concept.

Today’s update:
LHB and I left home around 7:30am after packing breakfast, lunch, coffee, snack. juice, water bottles and other essentials. We would have packed the entire home if we were given a chance (this is the “just in case” in me speaking..). We reached the venue at 7:50am and stayed there till 2pm as the boys went through every station for competition. They did a bunch a things like building flag, tying different kind of knots, using compass to find direction, using Semaphore to decode a message, sled racing. It was an interesting day. Weather was too cold and we managed with jackets and hats! We couldn’t stay back for award ceremony as LHB had another class. LHB’s team (Dragon patrols as they called themselves) won 2nd place in overall 🙂 Thanks to the den leader Mr.T who put in tremendous efforts to train the troop. He will have a good night sleep today 🙂 LHB and I are going to play some board game after I publish this post and then its story/sleep time.

Five on Friday

  • As I type this, LHB is super upset with me as I have asked him to pack his bag for tomorrow’s all day scout event. We have to leave home at 7:10am after packing breakfast and lunch and be out all day. He has to practice a few skills and pack his bag with essentials and the boy is on sulk/sigh mode! And this is the last thing I want to deal with on a Friday night when I am yet to clear my work emails for the day and catch up on few other stuff before I call it a day!!!
  • I have turned on the single functioning adult mode as M called in sick. I am telling you only men can call in sick at home! He is sick with terrible cold so the last thing I want him to do is accompany LHB tomorrow for tomorrow’s event where we will get exposed to cold winter weather all day! Hope he recovers soon!
  • Fridays in recent times at work has become a “catch all” day with some meetings from the week gets moved to Friday due to conflicts or double booking! This makes Friday busier than other workdays 😭😭 I was chewing gum while attending one of the meeting and guess what I did (see the picture below) LHB was super impressed, he asked me to reach him and when I made fuss, he asked me do it when he is around so he can pop it 🙂
  • I ate samosa chaat and wrapped it up with masala chai today evening and man it was lip-smacking good 🤤🤤
  • Yesterday at workplace, in the morning before 10am a colleague said I look very tired, like how I would look after a long day and in the afternoon around 3pm another colleague asked if I lost weight and complimented saying now, I look fresher, and my face has a glow effect!! Now who do I believe? 🤯🤯 Few others randomly commented that I lost weight which I did and it’s still learning in progress! Right now, I am at that phase when I give up every time, I try to lose weight! This has been the cycle for past 7-8 years, and I am so tempted to give up this time too but no I am more committed to break the cycle this time. Let’s see 🤞
  • I am writing an extra point because I can never stop with where I want to stop. I always want to walk that extra mile be it cooking food quantity – I always cook for double the people, buying gifts – I always buy more than one, I say Five on Friday but write more than five points, I always walk for 61 or 62 minutes when I intend to walk for 1 hour. I always give a little extra money – If Adi asked for 5 dollars, I would give her 7 dollars, just in case you know… This phrase “Just in case” plays a huge role in my life with anything and everything. Sigh!!!
  • Ok I do have more points to write and I will stop here and may be write them tomorrow under “Six on Saturday”

Have a great weekend everyone.. Stay safe, Stay healthy!


I give suggestion to my mentees that they should always have a book by their bedside and plan to read 10 minutes every night. Just 10 minutes, not a minute more, not a minute less!! Doable right? Make it an everyday habit and they would be pleasantly surprised by end of a month or two about how much progress they have made with this habit! Some of them even followed it and shared positive feedback with me!

I wanted to follow myself and terribly failed at it! I even tried promising to LHB that I will read along with him when he reads before bedtime. He follows as its part of his school homework but I am not 😦

In 2022, I managed to read “Lean In” by “Sheryl Sandberg” and listened to few audio books that I don’t even remember the title now!! 2021 was definitely a better year when it comes to reading!!

I have a book by my bedside now and waiting for blogathon to end so I can start reading!! excuse! excuse! excuse!

I do have all the right intention to make bedtime reading as a habit.. Just waiting for the stars to align 😁 Hope it happens soon 🤞 Let’s see how I fair in 2023!!

Do you all have any other suggestion to revive my reading habit?

I saw this at workplace today and immediately clicked. Today was my sanity aka office day. Had lot of interactions and was a productive day!

Had a good little chat with Akka in the evening. I was happy to hear her say she loves the campus. She is doing great and all I do is to keep reminding her to breathe.. 8 more days to go and Akka will be here ❤️