Archive | November 2012

Tiger mom

Am I one? The very thought of it is killing me but what can I do when I have to

1. Make her practice pattu once precisely b/w 6 to 6:30pm on Tuesday’s before leaving for the class? She reaches home from school at 6pm and have to leave for the pattu class at 6:30pm.  Her teacher complained that she is not doing well with swarams off late so I had to make her spend some extra time everyday to get back on track. After all, she cannot get it all correct on one single day and it takes few practice sessions to remember them.

2. Make sure that she finishes off her milk in the morning before leaving to school.

3. Say “NO NO” to maggie and other junkies often. Of course the agreement is to have maggie once a month for a weekend breakfast but this girl asks me for maggie every Saturday morning and gets cross with me if say no. Similarly agreements have been made mutually for other junkies like chocolates, chips et all and the same story happens.

4. Make her correct those mistakes and spellings on homework repeatedly until she gets it correct.

5. Fix her screening time to minimal on days she has other stuffs to do. Please to note I don’t say NO, the time is just reduced from the usual allowance.

6. When I say NO to playing “Tic Tac Toe” (her recent addiction) until she wins or when I HAVE to make the move in a way that she wins. Is this fair? When she does this I go singing “not fair! not fair! not fair!” and there the girl gets cross with me.

Often heard golden words from her these days are “Amma you are being so mean to me”.

She is temporarily sleeping in her room with her Appa and I am terribly terribly missing her.  She still reads the bedtime stories with me but my heart aches when I see the girl giving me good night hugs/kisses and leaves the room. Now, who has to be trained to sleep alone. her or yours truly? Sigh!!!

I want to be in her good books and at the same time want to keep up with my responsibility ALWAYS. I go mad if she chooses anyone else over me, even her Appa for that matter.  Talk about being possessive. I know I am not supposed to be like this. Just venting out. This is may be one of my weakness. Please don’t judge.

Motherhood is tough! very tough!!!!!!!!!!



A bunch of us bloggers have noticed that you have listed our blogs and have been copying our entire posts on to your site for which we neither signed up nor gave explicit permission. Hence, we would appreciate if you could stop doing that and take our blogs off your site ASAP.

Consider this a gentle reminder from our end..for now !!! 

We may not be so gentle the next time, for this is a serious issue of copyright violation..

-All of us!

Mama’s house

The house that had lived the life of four generations has been demolished last week. It was built by my maternal grandpa in the year 1955, a year before amma was born. Amma has close connection with this house as she always says “we both are of same age”. During those years it was the only multi-story house in our village that was popularly known as “Maadi veedu” and amma has a pet name as “Maadi aathaa”.  Her throat choked as she was passing on the message to me last week and I couldn’t refrain myself from shedding those tears as I traveled back my memory lane in association with the house.

For my cousins and myself it was “Mama’s house” as it was amma’s brother who took the lead role of the family after my maternal grandpa. Mama got married at an early age and his first daughter was of same age as mama/amma’s younger sister. So, amma, chithi (amma’s younger sister), atthachi’s (mama’s daughters – 3 of them) and athaan’s (mama’s sons – 2 of them) all grew up together under the supervision of grandpa, grandma, mama and mami. Though amma is supposed to be “atthai” (father’s sister) for mama’s children they all still call her as “akka” (big sister) because of the closeness developed by growing under the same roof that is this house.

I have spent all my summer from the day I remember (kinder or first grade?) until I joined college at this house.  Tickets will be booked even before annual exam dates are published and letters will be exchanged between cousins as when each one is planning to arrive the destination that is this house.

This house had witnessed more than 10 marriages, 20 childbirth stories and 4 major deaths.  Amma’s marriage was the first to happen in this house in 1971 with “Thanthai Periyar” as the chief guest. The first thing anyone who enters this house will notice is the big big frames with amma’s marriage pictures posted on every frame.

The house where the whole clan gets together every April/May for the “Chithirai Thiruvizha

the time when all the son-in-laws gets to spend time together

the time when sleepless nights are spent on playing cards/pallankuzhi/paramapadham and chatting under moonlight at front porch

the time when ladies spend most time at kitchen dishing out sweets after sweets

the time when the house is filled with minimum 10 kids anytime running around

the time when mama terribly misses his siesta because of our noises that we deliberately make to disturb him

the time when we fight by rolling on the ground

the time when we give hard time to elders by not letting them to be at peace for more than 10 minutes

the time when each meal is served like in marriages, that type where we all sit in a long row and polish off the food served in banana leaf complaining about that extra laddu in the next leaf

the time when countless live fishes, chickens and goats are slaughtered (sorry veggies)

the time when we we enjoyed the kuchi ice every afternoon (the seller will make those extra horns when he comes near mama’s home to alert us much to our elder’s irritation. I remember trading some old bottles/iron rods with him for the kuchi ice and pal ice)

the time when we (mind you girls only) all used to bath together in the open space at the pump set at mama’s paddy field

the time with skirmishes (what else do you expect when more than 20 people live under the same roof for more than 2-3 days). Thank you RM, for the word 😉

the time when we fought for pillows/bed sheets at night time

the time when we slept over each other with 10 in a row

the time we have watched overnight stage dramas like “Harichandra mayana kaandam”, “Valli thurmanam”.. The dramas used to start at around 10pm and end at the crack of dawn

the time when we have enjoyed those special attentions at temple as amma’s family were the primary caretaker of the temple.

the time when we all assemble at the TV room along with people from neighborhood to watch Friday “oliyum oliyum” or Sunday evening movie. If I remember correct, on those days it was only mama’s house that had television and phone connection in the whole village. As direct grand kids of the house we had always demanded for the privileged seats while watching TV. On Sunday evening, neighbors used to visit mama’s house half an hour before the movie starts to secure their places. The house will look like a mini theater with chairs/benches and floors filled with elders and kids.

The list is endless…

This is the house where I spent most of my time though Appa’s house was just on the adjacent street. I used to just visit Appa’s house once in 2 days for a very minimal time to mark my attendance to paternal grandpa. He loves to have breakfast with me so that’s all I gave to him. Visit him in the morning before my cousins wake up, have breakfast with him and then spring back to mama’s house even before hands are dried. It was the liveliness and some magic of mama’s house that pulled me I believe though sometimes in retrospect I feel that paternal grandpa deserved better from me. why didn’t he make atthai’s, periappa’s and chithappa’s for me? Appa was the only son so I always pacified myself by blaming it on grandpa for not staying there. tell me where would you prefer to stay? a place with 2 or 3 oldies or a place with 10 lively kids?

This house had always been a home away from home for my cousins and myself. Apart from my home, mama’s house was the only other place where I have stayed back for longer time. I feel that it was my cousins and myself that had the most wonderful time in this house but I am sure every member of the family would have a story associated with this house irrespective of their age now.

Sorry for the long post. Its very difficult to compress the story of a 50+ year old house in a single post. There is so much more to say but I will stop here otherwise the post will never reach an end. Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of this magnificent house but let me try my best to explain the details

As you enter there will be a horizontally long thinnai (visitor’s room) followed by minnu veedu (TV room), followed by naadu veedu that has a small grilled open space in the roof for sunlight, followed by adupaadi (kitchen) with a big mutham in the middle. Mutham is a space in the middle of kitchen with iron grills on the top.  this is the space where ladies wash dishes and use for other kitchen cleaning works. It would be an awesome feel to sit around this mutham when it rains as the rain water pours through those iron grills. Beyond kitchen, there was a big backyard with all sorts of vegetable/flowery plants and bathroom (again mama’s house was the first in the village to build a bathroom much to our relief). There was no vertical partition at any room, the rooms were built one after the other so if you look from the front porch you can see the backyard door all the way at the back.  One of my favorite spot at the house was the Unjal (Swing) at minnu veedu that was fixed only when we visit, rest of the days they were tied up to the uthiram (Ceiling). From, minnu veedu stairs were built inside the house to reach second floor where there was two more rooms and an open verandah (from this verandah you can see the front porch and street),  these rooms were always allocated to the newly married of the house 🙂 . At the back of the open space of second floor there was an other flight of stairs to reach the mottai maadi (open terrace) at third floor. This is where we hide most of the times while playing hide and seek or this is where we come to have private talks. There is no doubt that the house has a magnanimous look from the street view.

The house that can easily fit in minimum 50 people anytime is now housing only my maami and have started to give up on its infrastructure for past few months. Walls started to crack and small creatures were creeping in during winter. After so many months of discussion and postponement a decision was finally made by mama’s sons to demolish this grand witness of four generation. It pricks my heart to realize that I am not going to see this house anymore. Amma will definitely have a hard copy of the house at least in her marriage picture collections. On my next visit to India, I must get that picture from her and save it as a soft copy for posterity.

May god give all the strength and courage to my maami who strongly refused to move with her children and chose to continue her life alone in the same place of that legendary house.

This is my small tribute to the house that has played a major part in making my childhood as beautiful as possible and that taught me the value of relationships.

Help please !!!!!

Published on 11/14

The girl is getting smarter. She suspects that we are the real people behind Santa and have decided to check it this time. She has three things in mind but is not revealing the details to us. She wants to find out if Santa brings it or not..

Usually if we talk to her for 5 minutes we can make her spill the beans but now no trick is working. We are trying different techniques for past few days but all in vain. All she says is a strict “NO !!!!! I am not telling you guys Let me see if Santa brings it this time” 😦

Can you guys please help me with a way to find out the items on her mind?

ETA On 11/15

ME  – I owe you a Christmas gift. Your idea worked. Thanks much. Over to the conversation that happened on the bus while we were returning from school last evening

Self: You know pappa. My colleague told me today that her daughter told her about what she wants from Santa.
Curious Adi: What does she want?
Self: Shrugging my shoulder.. I can’t tell you. Its her secret.
Curious Adi: Okay fine. I will tell you what I have asked for. But, don’t tell this to Appa.
Curious Self: Okay I pinky promise not to tell appa. tell me.. tell me.. (Straightening myself and bending closer to her).
Reluctant Adi: Come closer. Its a secret. Don’t tell Appa okay? I have asked for A and B.
Self: Oh okay but where do you get them?
Adi: I don’t know. I saw it in TV. But, now that I told you I know I am going to get it.
Self: But, you haven’t told Appa and I promise again not to tell him. Its just between you and me okay?
Adi: Okay!!!! don’t even think about fooling me Amma. I am going to be awake all night on Christmas eve to make sure you don’t wrap my gifts. Don’t even think about sneaking when I fall asleep. I will hug you tight. And don’t even think about placing that big teddy bear at your place. I will easily find it out even if I am asleep as your skin is softer than the teddy bear. Remember, don’t even think about fooling me…  How much can a little brain think in a split of a second? She doesn’t want to be fooled…

I was going Awwwww on the softy skin thingie (he he he.. unexpected compliment on something that’s not true. Mind you I am not thinking in terms of growing bigger with fatty muscles hanging generously all over the body that makes my kid feel that I am softer than teddy bear) and at the same time feeling bad for tricking her.

Anyways, I strongly believe that this is the last year the girl will partially believe Santa. So, let it be.  We have also decided to get her the surprise third gift – the grey long sleeve pullover with beeeeg pink heart that we didn’t buy during recent purchase as it was above our budget.  Adi mistook that I bought it and had that puppy sad face for few minutes when she couldn’t find it in the shopping bag after reaching home.  She doesn’t remember it now but I do.. Hope the store still has stock. **fingers crossed**

That reminds me of something else. One day as I was saying “fingers crossed” for something the girl snapped back as “You know amma the crossing fingers really doesn’t work always. I think its just a myth”. So, from that day on we stopped crossing fingers. I am glad that the girl  questions about what she does where as I still follow so many myths in day to day life just because my amma said so or did so… Time to learn from her…

Thanks again ME and three cheers to the power of blog world !!!!!!!

Happy Diwali 2012

Wishing one and all a very happy and safe Diwali. Enjoy the festival of lights.

This is our platter for this year. Except for the laddu and mysore pa everything else is home made. My contribution is very little to the platter this year 😉

I was more happy with the way the Idli’s turned out especially in winter the batter never ferments good for me.

Adi had oil bath, wore her new pajamas, gobbled up the sweets and is now glued to the television. what more can one ask for on a festival day !!!!!



ETA: We got the fire crackers only today. She had so much fun burning those few mathappu’s.. 🙂

Sandy updates

Oops in the previous post I was also planning to update about Sandy’s impact on us but totally missed it.  Thanks to all who checked on us.  We started feeling the impact on Monday (10/29) morning. It was windy outside, very windy that the traffic lights were swaying crazily and lamp post did their part too.  The direct impact was on Monday night when we lost power. Luckily, we lost power late night so slept through the rest of the night as the weather was cool and manageable without heat.  The next 3 days were spent with no power, no heat again thanked our stars as we had gas and hot water. Managed chillness by wearing fleece inside home.

First day was spent with reading books, chatting, cooking and with a long siesta. Adi spent half of her day with the kids living in our apartment at their home.

Second day, M left to work promising to return in couple of hours but returned home after 10pm so it was just Adi and myself all day staring at each other not knowing what to do. Still we managed to do a lot. We woke up late, had late breakfast, cooked elaborately, took a stroll around neighborhood, spent time at neighbor’s (H patti) home, played board games, solved sudoku (did I say Adi can now solve the Easy ones within 10 minutes), read books, had candle light dinner and went to snoozeland (RM’s copyright word).

Third day, M’s workplace restored power so he resumed work as usual. I was not prepared to handle the girl all day by myself so spent the day at our friend’s place who got power the day before. Adi was happy to play with her schoolmates all day, I was happy chatting with the friend/hooked on to my laptop and our gadgets were happy as they were fed 100%.  I took all the food we prepared the previous day and we shared lunch. We came back home before it was getting dark as curfew was in place at our area from 7pm to 7am.  Just to let you know, these days it gets dark by 5pm. Winter is here and we are all set to cover ourselves with those extra layer of clothes before stepping out. Sighh. Its just starting and I am already cursing it. We still have so many more winter months to go.

Came back home, had evening snacks and started with cooking preparations. what else can we do? I took my own time to cut the veggies in candle light and Adi was glued to me as she was scared of the darkness around.  And then the miracle happened to be precise at 7:46pm. The moment that will stay in my memory forever and ever. That moment, we all were standing close to each other at Kitchen. Adi glued to me, myself sauteing something in the stove, M next to me looking for some snacks from the cupboard and suddenly it happened, the miracle. Power came back on and we were all teeth. Adi was jumping in joy non stop for more than 5 minutes. We felt like as if we got our life back. Our neighbors knocked on the door after some time and all we did was just laughing. None of us could stop smiling. Flashlights and candles were bid adieu and we were so thrilled for the rest of the day night. I returned the calls to all our friends who had called to check on us and invited us to their home. Then, went to bed for a warm sleep with heat on.

On Friday, everything returned to normal at least for us. Our adjacent street got power only last night, some people around neighborhood still don’t have power/gas/water, some of our friend’s house were flooded, public commutes (especially the tunnel train) are yet to operate fully, tunnel connecting NY/NJ is yet to be opened and shops doesn’t have the needed goods yet.  Adi’s school was reopened today after more than a week of closing.

Guess what tops the girl’s priority list now? Its electricity. We are getting ear full from her if we leave the light on at a room with nobody or leave the charger plugged to the plug point. “Don’t waste electricity” is her mantra now.

The city is still struggling to restore back to normal and here we are again hit by another Nor’easter. Hope this is not as bad as Sandy. Right now the weather is very bad outside.. snow/rain/wind all at the same time.  M is on his way to pick us up early. Hope tomorrow will dawn better for us.

ETA: A view from my office lobby. Took this pic as I was waiting for M at 4:45pm. The weather outside is terrible.

On a different note, last weekend we made these Diwali Diya’s at home. I have posted the instructions at IMC.

All is well

Thanks to all for your prayers, hugs and wishes. I owe you all an update on the uncertainties. Its resolved and I feel much more relieved now. I will soon write the details in a separate post.  I couldn’t imagine the consequences if it did not end the way it was supposed to. Thanks again friends. All your prayers and hugs helped me a lot through the tough phase.

Take care