Archive | February 2012

Broccoli chutney

Ever since I saw this recipe in a cookery show I so wanted to try it at home.

Broccoli – 1 bunch
Onion – 1 Medium-size
Tomato – 1 Medium-size
Urad dal – 1 spoon
Channa dal  – 1 spoon
Red chillies – 4 to 5 or according to taste
Curry leaves – 4 to 5 leaves
Lemon juice – 10 to 20 drops or according to taste
Salt – to taste

1. Saute Urad dal, Channa dal, Red chillies, Curry leaves in same order.
2. Add Onion and fry until onion is transluscent.
3. Add Tomato and continue frying until tomato blends well with Onion.
4. Add broccoli florets and fry until broccoli is fully cooked.
5. Allow the mixture to cool down and then blend coarsely with required salt.
6. Add lemon juice to the blended mix and the chutney is ready to serve.

This goes well with Idli/dosa. I have also used it as a bread spread 🙂

P.S:

1. You can also use tamarind pulp instead of lemon juice. If you plan to use tamarind pulp add few pinches of the pulp to the cooking ingredients.
2. You can also try different variations like adding shredded coconut to the cooking ingredients or tempering with mustard/urad dal.

 

School updates and a rant

Keeping up with the tradition the girl received the “Most caring/loving award” this year too 🙂

Read the 2011 story here. Its no way different this year.  She is still the girl who throws all sorts of tantrum at home, refuses to cleanup but gets the most caring, loving, best helper, cleaner, scrubber and what not award from school. I go back to square one with the same question again “Is it normal for kids to behave this way?” though this time after lot of thinking especially after my recent posts I confess that at my childhood days I was almost like her throwing all the tantrums to amma where as trying to be in good books of every other possible outsider.  So, I don’t blame her. The genes are playing at full swing.  But, I blame myself for a different reason.

She was awarded this certificate at school assembly on Friday along with the First Honors award she received for academics.  Did I tell you guys? She scored A+ grade in English and A grade in all other subjects for this quarter so she was eligible for First Honors. We received the report card few weeks back and were informed that the award will be distributed on last Friday at third grade assembly.  As any other proud parents we attended the assembly to see the girl receiving award and took some pictures and I left to work right after her class has been awarded. Blame it on my meeting that was later postponed to today 😦  Adi had received the Student of the Month award after we left. The first thing she asked when I picked her up in the evening was “Mommy why didn’t you stay back? why did you leave in the middle? You know I got another award today. I was looking around for you guys when I got the award”.  I felt terribly bad and cursed myself enough. The very thought of her searching around for us in the crowd while receiving the award added more fuel to the fire.  I slapped myself in front of her and ranted enough that at one stage she started consoling me.  I told her that I am not going to have my dinner as a punishment and she was very sweet to say “No amma. don’t do that other wise you will feel very hungry. You just skip the evening snack okay?” 😀

She declared Friday as her lucky day as she got two awards, her name was selected in the lucky draw that happens at her class every Friday (the one in which she was expecting her name to be drawn for past few months) and had an impromptu play date with her swimming mate. Separate post to follow on the play date.

Over weekend we made her first formal project requested by school. A poster about Augusta Savage.  In order to honor the African American history month each kid at Adi’s class was assigned and asked to make a poster of an African-American woman who had struggled and excelled in their career.  We googled researched about Augusta Savage and made this poster over the weekend. For the records I drew lines in poster for Adi to write neatly.  She wrote the letters with pencil and then traced it with black pen. Still we scraped the first poster as she didn’t leave enough space between words and made few spelling mistakes (though she copied the sentences from my rough work). We bought the poster sheets on Saturday. Started the project on Saturday evening and finished on Sunday evening with all shouting and whining. I mean she whines that her hands are paining and asks for a minimum half hour break for every two lines.  How am I expected to react? I succumbed/screamed/lectured depending on my state of mind.  Thinking about it now I HATE myself for all that shouting and the recent post by SnS filled me with more guilt.  This is not to offend you SnS. I definitely need some clarity in this topic and totally appreciate the effort you have taken to address it so well in your post.

SnS – I can’t agree more with your point and would love to implement it but how is the million dollar question as one size doesn’t fit for all. Doesn’t our reaction depends on the opposite party’s action or the history we hold with that person. No one would like to shout at first sight or rather at first incident. I believe that shouting happens only when you get frustrated and give up on the other person though I totally agree that this is not the right solution. Shouting happens when you feel helpless. Shouting happens when you feel trapped. This is just my two cents based on my personal experience. I am basically not that shouting type but sometimes I feel that I am forced to raise my voice otherwise I have he fear of not being heard. I am clueless on how to handle these situations. I don’t mean to hurt you or anyone else here. Hope you understand.

Alright where was I oh yeah the poster, it is done and ready to go to School this Wednesday.

 

Another interesting thing I did this weekend is to revisit the photo collections. Adi’s class teacher had asked for 6 to 7 pictures of her milestones to create timeline.  After a long time I browsed all the pictures from the day she landed on this earth to till day to gather those 6 to 7 pictures. It took almost two hours but was totally worth it.  Her first day, first walk, first tonsure, first bike, first day of school, first snow, Adi in pattu pavadai (silk skirt), in halloween costume, birthday snaps of every year.. A trip down the memory lane filled with mixed feeling and emotions especially when I saw my mama (amma’s brother who passed away few years back when I was at US)  on one of the picture…

 

 

Thanks a ton

My dear blog friends,

Thank you all so much for those positive comments on my previous post. It helped me to recuperate faster and get back on my shoes. Friday evening when Adi came to pick me up from office she didn’t remember anything about that mad morning. She was behaving usual telling me she has a surprise for me at home and wish I like it :). The long weekend that followed helped me to patch up our relationship. I took her for a birthday party, we played games, danced, read books together and just relaxed at home on all three days. She drew couple of pictures for me. I prepared her favorite yellow beans kuzhambu (lilva beans curry with tamarind paste as base) on Sunday for lunch and gave her all the free time she needed.

This has been happenning for a while now though I blogged about it only last week. I see that the issue is to do too much stuff in less time every weekday evening. We reach home at 6pm and by 9pm we should be done with her snack/TV/homework/dinner/play/pee/poop/brush. Even if one task slips I go mad. One day she wants to watch more TV, other day she doesn’t like the dinner and takes longer time to eat, other day her appa returns early and they play for more time, other day she has too much homework to finish. Which one can I compromise here? And if I rush her to do the stuff she gets mad at me :(. The “you-have-to-eat-by-your-own” mommy in me have even started feeding her dinner as she is doing her homework. If she doesn’t hit the bed by 9pm that means we cannot read a book and she cannot sleep by 9:30pm. My initial plan was to make her go to bed by 8:30pm and read book for half hour but that was tedious is the least to say. If you backtrack to hit bed by 8:30 I have to feed her by 7:30 that means I should finish my cooking before 7:30 which never happens 😦 I am not that type to pester her always but do I really have an option here?

Someday’s as I check her folder I pray that she should have less homework. I know it sounds crazy but how else can I buy in time? I am clueless.

Anyways two days back while I was reading a book for her I casually told her that she is getting mad at me often these days and that makes me feel sad. She rebelled that I also get mad at her and we promised each other to behave better and we are in good terms now 😀 😀 Phewww

One thing for sure is its time to take my parenting skills to next level. Is there any book on “how-to-deal-with-a-7-8-yr-old”? Any direction is much appreciated.

Your comments made me realize the fact that I myself have tortured amma enough in my days. She is the person I have troubled the most in my life. The table has turned and now I am on the receiving end.  Life has come to a full circle. I should learn (quickly) to accept it happily (is there any other way out?). After all if not me who else can bear all her anger and madness? Come on darling pour it on me. Here is a zen mommy all ready to tackle it now 🙂

Thanks again for all your lovely comments. I am blessed to have you all in my life.

Edited to add: For the smile

Adi says “I wish I don’t poop soon. why so? I wish all that yummy stuff I ate stays in my tummy for longer time.  That that person that that worry 🙂

Cheers,
Ani

Do I deserve this?

One evening I saw this note near bedroom door and the door was locked with the girl inside. All this because I asked her to write few extra lines.

And today she is at home with her appa. Her school is closed today and the cashew nut enthu cutlet in me volunteered to work from home but she replied with a strict NO.  She added “I want appa to work from home” just to break my already broken heart into million pieces.

She thinks I exist only to make her drink milk, eat vegetables, do homework, wash face in the evening, brush teeth in the night et all..

Her frequent questions to me…

why does everything has to happen in your way?

will I ever get my free time? (especially when she just enjoyed all the free time and I ask her to write)

why should I listen to you always? why can’t you listen to me today? (Just to clarify listening to her means letting her watch more TV)

Don’t say anything now. I know what you are going to say.  (When I call her name out to drink milk or do homework)

and she has bestowed me with the names as evil mommy, mean mommy and what not..

All these in spite of having ample only free times on weekend, watching half hour of TV every evening,  amma reading book to her at bedtime, buying her reward for all petty things (okayyy may be petty for me but not for her), spending quality time with her by making crafts or playing games.

where am I lagging? I am not denying the fact that there are “you are the best mommy”, “I love you sooo much” moments too but somehow today the negative force is dominating my mind.

The last words I heard from her today before leaving to work is “Go away…”  because I gave her a glass of milk to drink after breakfast :(.

Hearty crafts

Our entries for this month artsy craftsy challenge.  Adi wanted to make valentine’s day card for her classmates. So, there we spent a good amount of three hours on Sunday making these cards. We made around 20+ cards and goodie bag with caryons, markers and candies for each kid.  The cards and goodie bags are going to school tomorrow. I have warned her to not to spill the beans today. Who knows she might tell her friends like “Guys I have a surprise for tomorrow but its not a card or goodie bag”.  Yep she is of that type 🙂

Inspired from here

pink/purple for girls, blue/yellow for boys and green/pink for teachers 🙂

goodie bags

 

Edited to add : Paper mache heart made at art class in school for this Valentine’s day – Came home last evening

Also, linking in the heart crafts we made in the past

Love bookmark – made during Star student week

2011 Valentine’s card – made at school

2010 Valentine’s card – hearty hands

Friends – Part 2

Part 1

*Long post alert again. Please read at leisure.

I missed to mention about my higher secondary school friend in the previous post. Hey P if you are reading this sorry di.  Slap me tight when we meet ok?. Even in my short stint of two years at the new school I managed to get a best friend 😀 .. May be I was obsessed with this best friend mania on those days. I needed a best friend always who will wait for you near school gate, who will look for you in the crowd, who will cheer you up when you score low, who will bring record books home when you are sick, who will make sure you are not bullied, who will….  Okay where was I yes about P. We were sharing the same bench with 3 other girls and I was sitting at the corner and she was sitting in the middle. She was active in sports and leaves classes in the middle for practice sessions. That means every time she has to go out I have to get up to give way to her or she will step on the back side of the bench to get out.  This annoyed me to no end and we had a tiff down the lane. I don’t remember how the table turned but we became the bestest friends. Parting away with great pain and exchanging 4 to 5 pages of letters during college days.  She writes about the silly jokes her hostel mates crack and I write about my daily happenings.  I still have those letters in my safe aka amma’s home :).  She is the one who helped me on the initial days at US finding a room, engaging me on weekends, taking me out with her friends and all that. She is expecting her first baby anytime now. Wish her good luck people.

And then happened college.  I have more to write about college friends but for the benefit of my readers (what you are not bored yet? then go and read Part 1 again) I will fast forward to next phase.

And then happened the first job. We joined the company in mass. A group of 45 campus recruited freshers from different colleges at Tamil Nadu. We tagged our group as “JET” (June Eighteenth Team) as our joining date was 18th June. Yeah we were brilliant and our brain was acting over smart on those days :). HR was kind enough to create a group email alias (actually to ease his job) for our group that helped us to plan all our outings, get-together, wish people on their birthday just to get treat from them, share jokes, inspirational quotes and what not. We used the email alias as an effective communication medium. The 7 girls in the group christened ourselves as BAASMAS – a name formed with first letter of every girl’s name and enjoyed our girls-only times to the fullest. We shared our lunch at that tiny dining room behind the office and visited each other’s house frequently. This is the gang that introduced me to the world of Maggi.  When amma had to travel to attend unavoidable functions at native I preferred to stay back at the girl’s house who were sharing accommodation at an apartment right next to office and that’s when we relished different varieties of Maggi.  These two girls were proudly called as “Nobel neighbors” by our company folks 🙂 We talked, talked and talked about everything under the sky for next 3 years until two girls got married and moved out of town and I changed my job. Just to mention one of the quietest girl from our gang is no more. She doesn’t deserve this is all I can say.  We still follow the tradition of emailing the group wishing on special occasion including our anniversary, kid’s birthday and the thread continues for next two days with current happenings from all ends. Touch wood I am still in touch with this gang.

With this gang not being enough I was also blessed with an awesome team in my first job. A team of around 10 members. We named ourselves as “thillalangadis” (naughties) 🙂 You see we were all after naming those days :). We planned our share of outings, team lunches, dinners et all. Those were double dhamaka days for me with my team on one side and JET on the other side and of course with ex-college mates meeting now and then to keep up with the promises made during the teary farewell.

And then happened the second job (current one) where I didn’t develop an intimate relationship with anyone but there are few friends I made on the go at every project and we are still in touch. We had long lunch hours, tea breaks, long walk post lunch and do what? Talk, talk and talk. My thirst for talk never ended. Once a friend is always a friend to me.

And then happened the exile to US of A. It took a while for me to adjust to the new life style and make friends. I didn’t make any friends at work as my work time was limited. I preferred to take lunch at desk so more time can be saved.  These are the days I started blog hopping as there was no one around to have a lively talk.

And then around three years ago when Adi was going to a daycare I made friend with Adi’s classmate mom K. We agreed to meet at the train station every evening and walk together to the daycare that was 10 minutes away, pickup kids and walk back together as her home is on the way to my home. What did we do while walking? You should know by this time 😉  Some days we even stop at the signal near her home, chat for a while until one of kid gets cranky and then proceed on our directions. This continued for almost two years.

And then happened Adi’s new school. She joined this school for Kindergarten and I was back to my early US days. Had very few (read as none) people to talk to on daily basis. I report to work between 8 to 8:30am, bury my head on computer until 11am, take a short coffee break with colleagues for 10 minutes, bury head again on computer till noon, re-heat and eat lunch at desk, bury head again on computer till late afternoon, leave at sharp 4:50pm (one can hardly see me at desk by 4:51pm) to go pickup Adi and reach home to start with evening chores.

And then happened the lunch group.  I am now sharing lunch with this group at cafeteria. It feels good to be part of a gang again where we have all common talks.  And then I started sharing the evening train journey with this colleague from lunch group. Little did I realize until that time that I was missing this one on one conversation with a friend or an acquaintance so much.  I realized that ten minutes conversation during train journey recharges me one hundred percent to carry out my evening errands. I am now happy that I found that sort of a person to share my day. I have adjusted my return time on few days to 4:55pm to travel with her :). That additional 5 minutes is worth the kind of inner happiness I feel end of day :).  The happiness that has been missing unknown for few years and realized only after it has been regained. That happiness was the trigger of this post.  I have failed miserably in trying to talk less.  Bottom line I have to admit my love to talk and love for friendship. I can talk over phone for hours. I still get into my shell now and then but talking has always been the best stress reliever for me. No not with any stranger though. It has to be a relationship developed over a period of time with like minded person.  Don’t worry I am not that kind to keep talking if you are not ready to listen.  It has to be mutual. So, need not worry about meeting me next time ok? 😉

Weekend special

Note: All veggie eaters out there please feel free to skip this post.

The food post published by ME recently was so inviting that I wanted to try that right away.  Right away in my case = the following weekend. So, I promptly added “Kasoori Methi” to the week’s Indian groceries list and couldn’t wait till Sunday to try out the dish.

Here is the outcome.  For recipe details please check ME’s post. I followed the steps to a T.  The dish turned out lip smacking.

For the side dish I prepared chicken drumsticks.  The preparation was simple. I just used the store bought chicken 65 masala powder and followed the instructions on the box.

1. Thoroughly clean the drumsticks and slit them at random places so the masala can seep inside.

2. Marinate the drumsticks with masala powder and curd.

3. Let it sit for one hour.

4. Bake in conventional oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  Have a check every 10 minutes and flip them around if needed. I did not brush any oil on the chicken and used aluminium foil to place the chicken pieces.

Happiness is

You have the sequel for the latest post drafted at the bottom of Part 1, you cut it (ctrl+x) to do a paste (ctrl+v) into notepad to publish it as separate post but then you forget to paste/save the content from clipboard and switch off the laptop at home at midnight realizing the blunder after the laptop is totally shutdown.  You switch on the laptop again hoping against the hope to check if the clipboard content will remain as such and try a (ctrl+v) all in vain. You go to bed with one part of brain distressed and another consoling self that its okay as the details were fresh in memory and after all they were your own words . The flow will be easy when you type them again.

You come to work the next day morning and do a ctrl+alt+del just to see the whole sequel in front of your eyes as you had left them as it is in word press edit post page. 😀 😀

To give you a background I started drafting the post in between work but then the whole post took a new turn and I decided to make the part I wrote at work as sequel and composed the Part 1 at home late night. As the post was close to my heart I stayed back late to publish it and before publishing I had cut the sequel part wrote at work off from the post to save it as Part 2 but as you know already I didn’t save it.

It feels like finding a lost friend. May be I will find the whereabouts of my best school friend soon.. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Friday has dawned good for me. Thank you Friday.. 🙂

Friends – Part 1

*Warning – Long post ahead about my friends and college days. Please read at your leisure time.

This post was drafted to talk about my “love to talk” but as I was half way through it took a whole new turn and I realized that the post spoke more about friends and the good old days spent with them so the title has been changed and I dedicate this post to all my good old friends.

In my school days I had a best friend from 6th grade. She was the topper of the class and I was an average student still we got along very well. It continued till end of 8th grade as in 9th grade the head mistress came to know about our friendship and placed us into different sections for the next two years :(  Still we continued to meet during breaks for a while and then gradually the friendship died as we moved to different schools for the higher secondary classes and choose different stream in college. I don’t know the whereabouts of her now. Hope I will trace her someday but I was happy to find some of my other school friends in FB recently. I was so glad to see them with their family and kids. The happiness in connecting with them again was boundless.

And then happened college. In college days I was always part of a gang of people. I had a handful of close friends fortunately with whom I still maintain the contacts. We can pick up our talk from where we left last time where the last time can easily be months or with someone even years before.  The gap doesn’t really matter as we recollect all our gang/private talks verbatim. My home was the center to assemble for all events be it group studies, project demo or a casual get together. Amma used to cook for all of us and serve us as we sit in a row on opposite direction. Most of the veggies in the process of cutting will be swallowed raw by my friends and they will be more interested to chat with amma though the group would have assembled in the name of group study. Every other weekend there will be at least two friends at my home. Even now when we talk their first Q would be how is Aunty?. There were days when I have picked up fight with them as they have to choose either me and amma as their friend and they tease me by choosing amma over me.  That would have described my amma’s nature to you :) We had a gala time together.

Every semester one difficult subject will be kept aside for group study. That means around 5 to 7 of us will assemble at my home for 5 consecutive days and study one unit per day. Some will also stay back at home. There was a poor intelligent good scorer soul in our gang who is supposed to teach us that difficult subject. That means he has to study that subject ahead of us and be ready to teach us. When he will be shouting his lungs out at one room, a part of the group will sneak into the kitchen to help amma with cooking. And then when this good soul pretends to scold them they will say that its amma’s fault as the aroma from kitchen is naturally attracting them :)

Few of us always preferred to study at night. I need pin drop silence to concentrate. In other words if I study at day time I will get distracted easily and will take an half hour break for every 10 minutes to step out of the room and check what amma is doing or join her arattai (chit chat) with the aunty at next house or the lady who sells vegetables/flowers/fruits. So, I always preferred to study at night during study holidays. There will be no way to get distracted. Start at 8pm and study till 5am and then as the day dawns and people start moving around I will hit the bed to get up late afternoon for lunch. Then I will relax till 8pm and get into the next day’s schedule. Amma will store hot Tea in flask with cups next to the study table :) She also used to sit along with us and read magazines until she feels sleepy that’s around 12am or so.  If you thought all this is to get that gold medal my dear people you have mistaken. All this is not to get arrears. I told you already I was an average student but luckily I didn’t flunk even one subject and managed to get an aggregate of 70+% (almost close to distinction).

In third year the Industrial visit happened on my special day. To keep it even more special my parents suggested that I can share cakes instead of chocolates that year. The bus started from college with most of the hostel students and then the plan was to pickup day scholars on their way. I wore my new birthday dress (a green chudithar with chamki works) and appa dropped me at bus stop with 3 big boxes of pista flavored cake pieces from Mc.Rennett cake shop (one of the famous cake shops on those days).  As the bus reached my stop and I was stepping inside the whole bus started singing the “Happy Birthday” song. I was dumbstruck. I didn’t know how to react. I was shy and happy tears filled my eyes. Then cake distribution happened followed by fun, fun, fun and more fun. I was given a special treatment the whole day by boys and girls I knew and I didn’t know. Almost all of them greeted me with cards and roses. Some of them who didn’t know in advance bought cards on the way and gifted me :) . We visited beach in the afternoon after Industrial visit and played games. I was asked to go first on all games ;) Its my special day na. A day that I can never forget in my life. I came back home exhausted around 10pm with enough beach sand to build a house ;)  The cards are still safe with amma. She and only she knows the value of those hundreds of cards I received on my college days as she had witnessed every part of it and the emotions I carry for them.

In the final year we planned a trip to Ooty as there was no tour organized by our so-called strict college. The trip was planned only for girls (around ten of us) with two adults. My mom and friend’s dad accompanied us. It was a three day trip that’s still fresh in my memory. We pretended to have party every night by having coke in plastic glass and saying cheersss to match the cold weather at Ooty :)  On the way back to Chennai we made the public bus driver take a break as one of our friend had to attend nature’s call ;) . On the last semester every other weekend we were visiting each friend’s house. I have been to Vellore, Vizhupuram and Pondicherry. It was a big deal for me as on those days I had never traveled out with friends for more than a day. In last semester we organized girls only farewell party at a house shared by few girls. They preferred to rent and share a house outside college to have better access to outside world and also to have flexible timings for the project. As my home was closer to the rented house (15 minutes by bus) the girls used to stop by my home anytime they feel homesick. We christened ourselves as “galattagirls” 🙂

I had a best friend at college too and all staffs remembered our name only in unison :) . We usually address each other as loosu (“mad/mental case/paagal) and that holds true till date. :) . We have watched so many movies together ditching classes in the afternoon. I was a very obedient child so I used to call amma from the telephone booth near theater and inform her that we are going to watch a movie and will be home on time. Amma never objected. We were best pals in doing effective group study. Believe me. We can finish a subject with 5 vast units in 2 days if we study together.

Looks like there will be no end to college stories :) Its 11:30pm. Let me stop here and hit the sack with these happy memories.

To be continued…