Archive | January 2012

Riddle time

The girl is now bitten by riddle bug. “Yaan petra inbam peruga ivayagam” (The happiness I receive let this world also receive).

Come on come on people squeeze your mind once in lifetime ūüėČ

1. Why did the chicken cross the kitchen?

2. What will a dog say when it sees the top of the house?

3. What is the only fish that comes out in the night?

Edited to add one more:

4. What is similar between a fish and a coin?

More to follow as the little girl blesses me with more.. ūüôā

P.S: I scored 0/4.

Edited to add answers:

1. Because the bird said To-eat To-eat (tweet tweet)
2. Roof Roof
3. Star fish
4. Both has a head and a tail

Wowww RM you topped the list with 3/4 followed by ME with 2/4.. ¬†Congratulations ladies ūüôā ūüôā

Paneer Poori

On Saturday I was busy kneading the atta dough and grating paneer to make paneer parathas for dinner and Adi asked her standard question.

Amma what’s for dinner? I proudly replied as “paneer parathas” as I don’t make stuffed parathas that often. The girl thought for a while and challenged me if I can turn them into Paneer poori. What an Idea Sirji? Something that never hit my dumb mind. ¬†I have neither tried this before nor googled about it. ¬†So, decided to just go for it. ¬†Surprisingly they came out pretty decent for the first try and it was a hit with Adi. what more do a mother need than seeing the child’s plate empty?

Here is the¬†recipe¬† if you are interested and you don’t know about this already. ¬†Honestly I never knew such a dish exists till I googled today out of curiosity so please to ignore all the zest in this post ūüėČ You know that feeling don’t you? when you figure out something of your own and it turns out to be good ūüėÄ ūüėÄ

1. Knead the atta. I have tried different ways in the past to make the chapathi soft like kneading with milk, warm water but nothing worked. The trick is to sprinkle water all over, gently spread the water around until the water is absorbed by all parts of flour making small lumps here and there and then knead them together for longer time. ¬†Keep kneading the dough for at least 5 or 10 minutes and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. ¬†I have learned this trick from different people and its working for me. ¬†My chapathi’s are softer than before I mean the texture is not like papad anymore :). ¬†For the records on most of the days our lunch dabba is packed with chapathi and vegetable/greens/pulses for the side.

2. Grate Paneer and add spices as required. I have added a pinch of turmeric powder, chilli powder, cumin seeds and salt. You can as well add finely chopped green chillies, coriander leaves, chat masala or anything of your family’s like. Mix them well and let it sit for few minutes.

3. Take a small ball of dough, roll is to a little bigger than one rupee coin size.

4. Place the stuffing in the middle, close the dough on all sides, make it like a pouch and seal all edges. (the pic below was taken while making paratha’s so please ignore the jumbo size in pic). ¬†Keep the stuffing dry and place the sealed side on top while rolling to avoid the stuffing from peeping out. ¬†Another tip is to generously dip the dough in atta flour so the surface will not be sticky.

5. Roll the dough to poori size and let it rest for few minutes.


6. Now, its time to deep fry the rolled stuffed dough in oil. To my surprise the poori’s puffed up instantly ūüôā

Tada Paneer poori is ready.

As Adi wiped off the last traces in her plate I asked for her verdict. ¬†She replied with **shrugging her shoulders** ¬†as ¬†“It was good mommy anyways it was my idea and you just used my idea”. ¬†Will I ever ask for her verdict again?

Parents who need special mention

In the month of December I hosted a guest at home for a month. ¬†She is my¬†colleague’s younger sister. ¬†Her visit to the US of A was to attend interviews for pursuing Masters in medicine from this land. ¬†I am not aware of the technical details about the entire process but from what I have heard from my colleague is that she is trying for the past two to three years. ¬†She had cleared 2 to 3 levels of written exams one of that spanning for 18 hours (9 hours per day with 30 minutes break) and now in the last stage of attending interviews with the colleges/hospitals. ¬†This is her second year attending interviews. She is done with all interviews for this year and the results will be declared in another two months. ¬†Before I proceed further I will take a moment to pray for the best to happen to her this year.

It is her choice to decide whether/where/how to do Masters but then what triggered me to write this post?  Her parents and the support they provide to her.  They are one of  those very few parents from India who support/encourage their girl child to go for higher studies at a foreign land that too in a field that is seldom known to them where they had to explore every single step.

They are not people from the high class with abundant money/assets flowing through generation, they are not¬†pseudo owners of any politician’s asset,¬†¬†they do not know anyone who can guide them through the path, they do not have a son who can support them (according to the so called Indian culture), they do not have any support system at USA, her father is the sole bread winner of the family but still they decided to shore up their daughter’s dream.¬†¬†Imagine a father who have earned only in Indian rupees all his lifetime and spending it in dollars for his daughter’s higher education. It is costing an arm and a leg to them. The air fare, stay, food, sundry and travel expenses to different places to attend interviews. She will not get any financial aid or stipend unless she gets selected in a college. It is only her parents who support her¬†both emotionally and¬†monetarily.

I have seen majority of Indian parents who sell their assets if needed or save money for their son’s higher education or daughter’s marriage. ¬†As the girl finishes her college and demands to¬†pursue¬†higher education most of the parents (at least south Indian AFAIK) response would be “we will first get you married ¬†and then its between you and your husband. That means if your husband agrees you can go ahead with anything that you wish)”. ¬†Among the parents who spend all the savings on the girl’s marriage my colleague’s parents who spend way beyond their limits for their daughter’s higher education are very rare to find. ¬†Don’t they deserve special mention and a big round of applause? ¬†May their hard work be paid off this year and let these special parents live a peaceful life.

 

Tag time – my posts in retrospect

I have been tagged by Scribby and even before I attempt I must admit that its going to be very difficult what with controversial post, popular post et al..

Anyways let me give it my best try

Rules:
1) Blogger is nominated to take part

2) Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog ‚Äď 1 link for each category. The links are:
‚ÄstYour most¬†beautiful¬†post

‚Äď Your most¬†popular¬†post

‚Äď Your most¬†controversial¬†post

‚Äď Your most¬†helpful¬†post

‚Äď A post whose¬†success surprised you

‚Äď A post you feel¬†didn‚Äôt get the attention¬†it deserved

‚Äď The post that you are most¬†proud¬†of

3) Blogger nominates up to 5 or more bloggers to take part.

4) These bloggers publish their 7 links and nominate another 5 more bloggers

5) And so it goes on!

Here is my list

beautiful post Рtake a break.. let me dig my archive and come back soon.  Okay here they are in no particular order

1. Letter to Adi on her last birthday – Happy 6th

2. A happy happy post – no better way to start the day

3. All of my just 4 smile series.. –¬†https://anisnest.wordpress.com/category/just4smile/¬†. This tag helped me to realize that the just4smile moments are becoming lesser and lesser as she is growing.. Sighhh.. Why do kids grow?

popular post РThanks to the stats..

Its Button crafts by comments and parota by WP search stats.

controversial¬†post – Pass. ¬†This blog mostly revolves around my daughter and her activities.. So, I don’t think I wrote any controversial post so far.. May be Adi will write something someday if she starts owning this space ūüėČ

helpful¬†post – Again there will be very few posts that will be helpful from this space. I have started this blog just to record the cute happenings and milestones of Adi’s life.. However, after deep digging I found few posts than can be claimed as helpful from my perspective

1. Pongal series РWhat better time than posting it now with Pongal coming up in next two days. I am missing Pongal celebration at my native big time.  So, there was a lame attempt last year to capture the details of my decade ago elaborate pongal celebrations.

Pongal – Part 1¬†, Part 2¬†and Part 3¬†– Can’t these posts be tagged as knowledge transfer to next gen?

2. Jack-o-lantern – There are umpteen tutorials online but again my small attempt to explain step by step procedure to make simple Jack-o-lanters.

3. Oh wait how about my school lunch menu page.  Its a little old though. Will update it soon with more ideas.

A post whose success surprised you РIts button craft again. I never thought it will win the artsy craftsy challenge that month.

A post you feel¬†didn‚Äôt get the attention¬†it deserved – Pass again.. Honestly I don’t think any of my post deserves attention. Its just a personal blog and I hardly discuss social issues or general topics in this blog..

The post that you are most¬†proud¬†of ¬†– Ah this is easy.. All posts under the category “at her best” are my proud rather show off posts ūüôā

Now, its passing on time.. With most of you already tagged I would like to pass on the tag to below six people.  Please take this if you are not tagged already

1. Summerscript

2. Lampanditslight

3. ambulisamma

4. AT

5. RS

6. Vidya

Pittsburg puraanam ‚Äď Part 2

Part 1 is here

So, we left the place and as I was fiddling with the GPS ¬†I found that there is a gas station in 5.7 miles from our point. ¬†We thought it would be better to fill the fuel before taking another chance and followed the GPS route. Car headlight was the only light we could see around. M was driving with much care so that we all and our car doesn’t have to do an angapradhakshinam (rolling on the ground) ¬†on the steeper side of the road. After around 2 miles the savior we owned aka GPS instructed us to take a right turn. ¬†The right was taken but just driving 0.2 miles was enough to realize that it was an unpaved road. The car started to show its discomfort. Even the second gear didn’t help. ¬†We had to make a decision whether to proceed further to reach the nearest gas station or return back to the planned route and take the risk of running out of gas again before reaching the next gas station.

The only thought I had was what if that nearest gas station is closed? We would end up wasting the precious gas offered by the kind man. He promised us that the fuel will be sufficient to reach the gas station¬†en route. ¬†We cannot take a wrong decision again. So decided to trust his words, take a U-turn and continue in the planned route. ¬†But, we couldn’t take a U-turn there. As I said before it was unpaved narrow road with steep on the other side. So, I got down the car and gave directions to drive in reverse gear until we reached a place where there was little chance to take a U-turn. ¬†I was literally shouting my lungs out as “turn the wheels left, no no no right, now turn right slightly, yeah yeah keep the wheels steady, slow, slow, slow down, left left” as I was walking down the road facing backwards. ¬†In between I also attended nature’s emergency call shamelessly on the road side. ¬†Now please don’t stare at me or make fun of me as the father and daughter duo did. You understand the emergency of nature’s call don’t you?.. RM – I feel R would understand me better after all her susu stories.. Then, M took the much awaited U-turn and we reached the main road from where we took the initial right. It would have definitely taken M at least 20 to 30 microscopic turns to take that U-turn. ¬†Continued our journey towards Pitts and as indicated by the kind man we hit a gas station in 20 miles with no further obstacle. ¬†I was happy to see other cars on the road. I was happy to witness another human other than the three of us. I was happy to see snacks and freshly baked goodies in the gas station store. ¬†I was happy to see the gas station open. Yes I was looking for reasons to be happy. ¬†My heart resumed back to normal beat. You know that moment when your heart feels light and the mental peace after a turmoil. I felt it. We relished the snacks and baked items and continued with the journey. Adi was a cutie pie all this time just watching and not bothering us even with one single question. I am sure she would have had a million questions in her head. After all she is a question rani no?.. ¬†Rest of the trip was all pleasant :)..¬†Reached Pitts at around 7:45pm. ¬†Had a quick visit to Shirdi Sai baba temple near our Hotel, had a la carte dinner at¬†Chinese restaurant¬†and called it a day.

31st Jan – Woke up around 7am, had the complimentary breakfast offered at hotel and reached Sri Venkateswara temple at 9:15 am. ¬†It was a serene place and Perumal was happily residing at top of a mountain. Did I mention we have crossed 4 different tunnels on the way to cross 4 mountains. This is the first time I am travelling through a tunnel to cross a mountain like as if you penetrate through the mountain. ¬†Can a mountain’s base be this long? I mean we were driving through each tunnel for at least 4 or 5 minutes. ¬†Attended Satyanarayana pooja at the temple, packed the prasadams and left the premises around 11:30 am. ¬†Next, we went to¬†Pittsburgh¬†zoo and aquarium. ¬†We witnessed lion, lioness, tigers, giraffe, African elephant, polar bear and all those usual zoo creatures. ¬†Adi had a whale of time running around and not budging to pose for the pictures. ¬†Then, we had lunch and headed towards Carnegie science center but they were closing early on that day so skipped it for the day and drove to the next local attraction¬†Duquesne Incline. This attraction featured an inclined cable car round trip to a mountain top. ¬†It was nice to see the aerial view of the town from mountain top. Then, we relaxed at hotel room for a while and went to Shirdi Sai baba temple¬†around 8pm to attend new year eve bhajan. This was not a planned one. ¬†The bhajan went on till 12am. Then, then distributed sweets, cut cakes and¬†bursted¬†crackers. The first time in my life I am celebrating New year outside home. ¬†It was a great was the least to say. Adi loved bursting crackers ūüôā They made arrangements for kids to watch Home Alone when parents attended the bhajan’s in peace. So thoughtful of them. Then, we reached the hotel around 1:30am and hit the sack.

1st Jan – Woke up around 7am. Had breakfast at hotel and visited Sri Venkateswara temple again to attend Ganesha abhishekam followed by Swarna pushpa archana. Then, drove to Carnegie science center, spent around 3 to 4 hours there experimenting with Science and also explored the interiors of a Submarine.¬†¬†Adi had loads of questions as always as how this works and how that works.. Wrapped up around 5pm and headed back towards home. I drove on the way back to give a break to M. ¬†Since I am an occasional driver at US of A, ¬†M was sitting next and correcting me every other minute to stick to the lane , leave enough space between cars, apply brakes while turning et all.. He didn’t even let me switch on the audio player ūüė¶ ¬†I had no choice but to listen to him gritting my teeth all the way ūüė¶ We just took one fuel break in between and reached home around 11pm. ¬†Thankfully there was not much traffic on the road and Adi spent most of the return travel in Snoozeland (RM – this is the word I often read in your weekend posts :))

Leaving you all with some pictures

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Pittsburg puraanam* – Part 1

This trip takes the credit of  most unplanned trip we have done so far. We belong to the class who usually book their tickets and plan the hourly daily schedule of the trip at least a month ahead. But this trip was planned just two days before we left.  For the Friday morning travel we prepared a cheat sheet of attractions on Wednesday, booked hotel on Thursday and packed bags on Friday morning. Can you beat that?

Our plan was to leave home at 9am so we can reach the destination before dusk but we being the punctual family started our sojourn to Pitts around 11am ūüôā Our first halt was at Pennsylvania welcome center where I gathered few brochure’s of interesting places that led to the horrible experience of the trip :(.. Next halt was at a Service area mall where we gobbled up home packed food and strolled around the mall for a while (stretching and all that after long drive..). ¬†After few more hours of drive I noticed through the brochure’s that there is a Gravity Hill¬†(GH) on our way and M suggested that we visit that place as the day was still bright and we didn’t have any plans after reaching Pitts. We also thought this would be the best way to show Adi about how gravity works.

The exit was taken to go to GH and only after driving around 20 miles and couple of calls to visitor center we realized that we were driving in opposite direction ūüė¶ Took a U-turn and reached GH after half-hour drive. By this time it was dark blame it on the winter season as the darkness spreads around even before 5pm. ¬†It was pitch dark and no car/people in the vicinity. After all this what did we witness at GH? N.O.T.H.I.N.G. We tried placing car in neutral, pouring out some water but nothing happened ūüė¶ With much disappointment we left the place ¬†quicker just to find that we were running out of gas. ¬†It was dropping down so quick may be because of all the uphill drive.. ūüė¶ M soon declared that car will not move an inch beyond 4 or 5 miles.. All at a place where there is hardly a house for every 2 miles and that too didn’t have signs of people inside.

We were paranoid is the least to say. We continued to drive few miles and noticed 2 to 3 houses at a place with beautiful Christmas¬†lighting decorations. We decided to stop and M knocked on two of the houses but there was no response. Then, we heard dog barking in next house and saw a man approaching us ¬†Or should I say God approaching us. ¬†He said “Oh man you guys ran out of gas at a wrong place. There is no gas station for next 20 miles and I don’t have any fuel to spare either” ūüė¶ As M was talking to him another man returned to his nearby home and he also said the same. ¬†As they were talking more and discussing about the options the man who spoke to us first said he has an old truck and will check if that has any fuel in the tank. He said “Its just your luck guys. If I have fuel in that old unused truck I can probably help you”.. Luckily he had and helped us to transfer the fuel to our car. ¬†And he said this fuel should be good enough to reach the next fuel station.. We thanked him enough and when M took out his purse to pay for the fuel all the man God said was “Help someone else.. Merry Christmas and a happy new year”. ¬†My eyes were welled up with his kindness. I couldn’t thank him enough.. Its only because of people like him the world is still surviving. I wish I can invite him to my home for a meal. I wish I can gift him with the precious thing in this world. I wish I can be friends with him and his family forever and ever. I wish I wish I wish… But all he asked me to do is “help the needy”.. I will definitely do it sooner or later.

This incident reminded me of this video doing its rounds in FB recently.. Soul touching isn’t it? How nice will it be if the world operates this way.. Now its my turn to pass on the helping hand…

 

 

The adventure didn’t end yet… To be continued…

* – puraanam refers to tale or story. Thanks to SnS as she quoted this word in last post’s comment.

Winter show and treat

I know I am late but need to record this in this space as a tradition.

2009 & before 

2010

Adi’s Winter recital happened on Dec 6th and the girl was rocking on the stage as usual. She was part of two performances and at the end her classmate’s dad came to us and said “you guys have a dancer in your family” ūüôā ūüôā Well I wanted to shout as my gene, my gene.. For those who are not aware I have learned Bharathanatyam for few years, did my Salangai poojai at Music academy, Mylapore when I was at my first job with few more kids (yes that’s the crazy part of me.. Imagine a working girl dancing with fellow 2nd,3rd,4th grader on stage). ¬†Given a chance I will go back to my dance lessons anytime.. I lovvvee them.. So do you agree its my gene? ūüėČ

Dance class performance

First grade class performance

For the records Adi still¬†believes¬†Santa. We convinced her that Santa used the same gift wrapper as we have at home just to confuse her. She was convinced more by the note left by Santa. He wrote that all in cursive and she strongly believes that we both don’t know to write in cursive. Reading the note she said “Now I know that its really Santa who gave these gifts because you guys cannot write like this”.. Whatever my trick worked ;).. Couple of times I told her “You see that’s why I bought you this gift and when I bit my tongue for saying it loud she innocently corrected me saying amma its not you its Santa who gave me the gifts” and I hurriedly replied with a big “yes, yes” nod. I must confess that I have a bigmouth.

She also asked Amma why didn’t you get any gift from Santa? Are you on his naughty list? What to say ūüė¶

We visited Pittsburgh perumal temple during the long New Year weekend.  It was 7 hours drive from home and we stayed at Pittsburgh for 2 days and did local sight seeing. The trip was great and adventurous with some unexpected pleasant and unpleasant twists and turns. Details coming up in next post..

And for the virtual treat here is a double layered strawberry flavored cake which I baked for Christmas.. Please to enjoy this until we meet in person for the bigger treat.

I assume this was the bite taken by you all ūüėÄ ūüėÄ ūüėÄ