Archive | January 2019

Car and FIL

If you ask me to pick the top most thing that connects me with my FIL, it is our car. My Alto that I took along with me when I joined his family.

I have been driving car since my college days and quite comfortable with Indian driving style. As a matter of fact, I feel more connected with driving at India than in US. A colleague was so shocked with this statement that he says every time he sees me he can only think of driving as I am the first one to chose Indian driving over US driving.

I love changing gears and to move the car in second gear. Driving in busy streets gives me that adrenaline rush. I love bring a chauffeur to extended family when they visit us. Dropping and picking up from bus stands and train stations. I love driving Amma to T.Nagar. I love adjusting the front passenger seat for her. Knowing all this, my family gifted this car for my marriage so its easy for me to move around in Chennai after marriage.

I have been actively using the car for the first two years but then life happened and we moved to US. My FIL who doesn’t know how to drive until then, learned to drive just to keep the car under condition. He maintains it all through the year so I can use it during my India visit. He does full service to the car and keeps it ready right before I land at India.

He has a pillow on the driver seat and reminds me every time to use it as we both are short and according to him the pillow will help to have better clarity of the sides. He comes near the driver side when I start the car and gives me instructions every single time, reminds me of all the pits and holes in neighborhood, how to avoid it and how to stay focused while driving.

He would clean the exteriors and keep it ready if he knows I am going to take the car out. He has followed this routine every single day when I was taking the car to work for few months during the short stint at India in 2013. He would remind me duly about fuel refill. He will keep track of the kilometer details.

After they moved to our hometown, my parents started using the car for important occasions and yesterday Amma was saying how he always hand over the car with the fuel tank fully filled.

All this by a man, who has never used the car for his own needs, not even once. He is happy and content with his TVS XL Super for local needs and takes bus or train to travel out of town.

The car was parked opposite to our home for past one week and we decided to sell it soon as that is the most sensible thing to do in current situation.

I took it out yesterday to run some errands. It was only when I started driving. I realized that this car is an emotion to me. And my mama has only made this emotion very deep with his care and actions. I just couldn’t hold back my tears while driving yesterday recollecting all the details I have written in this post. The emotion hit me hard. My car is my pride.

Thanks to you mama, wherever you are to help me own this pride for 15 long years.

I will miss this Alto guy and my mama whom I have known for 15 years and who have only given their best to me!!

I never imagined in my distant dream to part them forever in 2019! My India trip will never be the same!

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My FIL

Old post about him – https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/f-i-l/

Every single word in that old post holds good even now. He has only exceeded himself over the years.

A man who has lived his life to the fullest and even planned his end without troubling anyone around.

To me, he is a man of action, a man of few words, a keen observer of other’s needs and a man to refill from hand soap to surf excel to vegetables to snacks corner at home.

In the past one week, we have turned the home upside down looking for pen, tape, rubber band, rope, scissors and all other sundry items which would have magically landed in our hand when he was there!

I do believe that we are surrounded by his soul. Where else would he go leaving behind the land he purchased, the home he constructed couple of years ago and the beautiful garden he has grown surrounding the home. We could feel him around. His voice calling out for Adi and LHB is lingering in my ears all day! This home will never be complete without him.

His room has become the office room for me and M. His shirts are still in the hanger staring at us. I am using his TVS bike to run local errands. Every time I take the bike out, I hear him saying, come to a full stop and look to your left and right before crossing the main road.

I will write more about him in the coming days!!

May your soul rest in peace mama. You are in our thoughts and we feel you in every nook and corner of this home.

 

 

Loss

Lost my father in law today. One of the very few that I respect very much. My pillar of support and strength in all possible ways he could. I have already written about him in this blog long back. On our way to India.

Craft day and vegetable lasagna

Morning went to LHB’s school for the craft time. We made snow man and it was the perfect day to do this craft as it was snowing outside! He was a proud boy, helping his friends to make the craft and I was his assistant 🙂

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For dinner, Adi made vegetable lasagna. This girl will even eat the paper if the word cheese is written on it!!

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Winter storm is approaching and Monday is a holiday so next 3 days will be mostly spent indoors. Hope to catch up on my reader and take some rest!!

Happy weekend to you all!

Mixed emotion day

Happy:

  • Day started in gym at 5am. Happy to break the break and restart the routine.
  • Work – changes are around the corner and its moving as expected.
  • Chat – Had a nice chat with a friend after a long time.
  • LHB – We pre cut some shapes and collected all supplies needs for tomorrow’s craft session. Spent almost 2 hours with LHB in the evening with undivided attention.
  • Adi was not upset with me in the evening and we are back to normal (read the reason in angry part)
  • Wait game was over with one of Adi’s thing as she finally cracked it today (code word: thingy mobob). Don’t ask me what it is.
  • LHB watching tamil kuthu songs in the evening and dancing along. He didn’t ask for kids shows and happily settled with watching songs. Guess that’s my gene in action 🙂
  • It is past 10pm, kitchen sink is overflowing but here I am drafting this post. On usual evenings I don’t touch my laptop after coming back home and would have dozed off by now. I love this blog and writing here makes me truly happy.

Angry:

  • Adi woke very late in spite of numerous wake up calls and missed the school bus. I lost my cool when she came back home and said I can’t drop her today. That she has to wait till all of us get ready and step out. We will drop her on the way to LHB’s school and that means she will miss first 2 periods and have to get late pass at school. I seriously wanted to teach her a lesson today but M took over the situation and dropped her at school on time. I thought she will be mad at me for that five minutes of non stop shouting I did in the name of gyan. I felt very bad for my act during the day. I could have very well passed down the same message in a lower tone. Wish I can do better with my resolution for this year!!

Sad:

  • My work friend’s friend passed away today due to cancer. I packed some pongal for my friend and we were about to meet during lunch time. She texted the news to me while I was approaching office and said she is going to take the day off. So, I went straight to her desk and she was totally broken. We went to the rest room and she cried it out loud for a solid five minutes when I gave her a tight long hug! I gave the food boxes, accompanied her till lobby and requested her to stay with some friend’s who can comfort her. She couldn’t get over it as it all happened too fast and the friend died in a different state. She has written a letter to her dying friend and about to mail it today.  She said the friend was more like a mother to her! I just told her I couldn’t hug her enough and kept checking on her for rest of the day.
  • LHB got a note from school that he is finding it difficult to understand a math concept. I am trying but don’t think I am helping him enough. He runs to another room the minute I say study time. Any amount of cajoling or pampering is not working! How do I make this boy do his homework? Adi says I just have to wait with patience and he will voluntarily start doing all his work the day he realizes the importance of it! I sincerely hope this realization reaches him sooner than later!

Disgust:

  • Some people at work just exist to annoy you with their narrow mind and negative attitude. Its disgusting when they sugar coat words in front of you and bad mouth about you behind your back!! Sighh!!!!

Fear:

  • The change our family expects in this summer engulfs me with unknown fear. Change is good but this one I am still not sure if I should feel happy or sad about it.  I experience extreme mixed emotions about this change with one day being happy about it, another day feeling proud, another day filled with fear. Today was the fear day!!

Good night to all!

Star of the week

LHB is the start of the week. He has been waiting for his turn since the beginning of the year.

Monday – we shared the details about his favorites.
Favorite color – Golden
Favorite story – Power rangers
Favorite food – French fries (I suggested cone dosa and he said his school friends doesn’t know about tamil food) Apparently dosa has become tamil food to him 🙂
Favorite animal – Elephant
He wants to be a Vet when he grows up

Tuesday – Shared pictures. He took pictures taken with his friends, grandparents and family. They will be displayed in the class for this week.

Wednesday – Read a favorite story. I had to hunt down for a power ranger book but couldn’t find it in any library. Finally, a friend and his daughter came to rescue. They got me some marvel story books from the library closer to their home. Thanks to the friend for dropping the books last night. I read stories about Iron man and Hulk to his class today morning. I love these story reading sessions. LHB sat on my lap when I was reading and the proud on his face. Priceless!!

Thursday – Take favorite toy. He has a big list of stuffed animals to take with him tomorrow.

Friday – Craft day. We have to do a craft with the class. I am happy the teacher sorted out the craft details. All I have to do is take the supplies she requested for and show up 🙂

 

Happy pongal-2019

அணைவருக்கும் இனிய பொங்கல் திருநாள் நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்!

Happy pongal to all my lovely readers!

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My 3 hours of labor:
Sweet pongal – check
Ven pongal – check
7 kari kootu – check
Mini medu vada (I tried normal vada but the batter consistency was messed up and I couldn’t make the donut hole so made then as mini vada’s)

New additions this year – banana leaf, sugarcane and breaking of whole coconut while praying. Usually, head of the family does coconut breaking and we wait to drink the coconut water.

Started with preparation around 6pm after work and we prayed only around 9pm. I forgot to do the rangoli!!! My head spins by just looking at the after storm kitchen!! It has to wait till tomorrow.

Just when I sat down, Adi asked if I can test her on vocabulary. The only academic help that I do to her is to question her on synonyms and antonyms for vocabulary test. It will mostly be like a rapid fire round. I have to say the synonym/antonym and she has to say the original word! We make a note of all the wrong ones and she uses that list for revision before the test. Glad to be of some help to her!

MY eyelids are refusing to stay open but how can I miss to post!

//Copying below from last year’s pongal post. Guess I will copy this every year as every single word in this will hold true forever and ever

Pongal brings back so much of childhood memories. I am glad to have recorded it all in this blog. My paternal grandpa, my village, home full of elders, relatives visiting every other minute, coffee/tea boiling non stop, pongal cooking in front yard on new mud pot with turmeric plant wrapped around it, mango leaves thoranam, chithappas, periyappas, anna, akka, mama, maami.

Paal pongiyachaaa?? heard one thousand times in this day, endless eating of farm cut fresh sugarcane. I am glad to have experienced and lived a rich childhood.

Once again, a very happy pongal to you all !!

Water stall

One day LHB was asking us for lego watch and we did the usual reply. We will get it when we need to get it. So, the little boy declared he will buy it for himself and we didn’t take it very serious. After some time he asked if I want water, forced a cup of water in my hand and said one dollar Amma. Apparently he emptied a WHOLE case of bottled water into the cooler and started selling water to everyone at home to save money for the lego watch. And I don’t even remember when that cooler was washed last!! Yikesss. I was happy as I got suspicious and didn’t sip that water.

Kids and their little mind!! From then on, we never leave him unattended for more than 10 minutes as who knows what damage will he do!!

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Health and food

I had my annual physical checkup last week and is 4 pounds up from last year. Except for being over weight all other numbers are fine.

Losing weight has been a struggle for more than 3 years now. I am trying but the biggest problem is two things – being consistent and watching portions! I am sure I can do much better with weight management if I get these two under control.

Exercise – I am still continuing with 5am team training at least twice a week and sweat out in cardio on those days. But, I am not consistent. I go for one week and skip for two weeks **shameless I know**. It is no mean fat to get out of bed at 4:30am especially when it gets late to go to bed the previous night! It has been almost two years since I started this routine but still struggling like as if this is my first week in gym. My trainers even make fun of me!! But, I tell myself I would have shot up by more than 10 pounds by now if I was not doing this the least. I am not doing great but I am not going to stop either.

Food – You name a diet, I have tried it. Paleo, Keto but again not consistent. I try for a while, then get bored and give up. I have watched calories intake using apps. I have counted steps.I had calorie counting buddy. I had gym buddy. I have colleagues who warn me when there are leftovers kept at pantry. Still I am failing..

I gorged up on all food during last summer India visit assuring myself that I am going to get back to rigorous schedule once I am back to US and lose all those extra pounds and more in next 2-3 months. Its been 7 months now and I have put on couple of pounds more instead of losing!! My doctor says eat in moderate. But how? For me, once I start eating I can’t stop until my tummy warns me about puking!! Literally!!

Thanks to Tharani for introducing me to Luke Coutinho. His videos are awesome and very inspiring. It talks about lifestyle changes. I love the way he ends each of his video with “Eat smart, move more, sleep right and breathe deep”. Two recent things that I am trying is to do intermittent fasting at least 2 times a week and substitute white rice with cauliflower rice to keep down the carbs intake. And stopped intake of sugar in direct form. Masala teas are gulped with no sugar.

That is my Saturday lunch mostly – Cauliflower rice and spinach dal. 100% guilt free food!

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Sustainable weight loss/management and lifsestyle changes are the two things that keep haunting me every single day but that one ladoo can break everything.

My mind refuses to think and conveniently says there is always tomorrow when I see that crossiant that too almond crossiant. But that tomorrow never comes *sob heavily*

Please share with me if you have any tips on being consistent and watching portions. I HAVE to bring my weight under control and move to maintenance mode before I hit the big age number which is approaching fast!!! Help me please!!!!

11-15-2018-Snow evening

The first snow this winter will remain in my mind for long time. You will know why by end of this post.

11-15-2018 – As the snow prediction was 1-2 inches, we went ahead with our usual routine. Around 2pm, weather was getting worse so I decided to leave early from work. The plan was to leave at 4pm and arrive home before 5:30pm. Add to that it was the first day of monthly special too. Cramps started and I just couldn’t wait to go home.

Everything was going great, I left at 4, reached second station on time and boarded 4:48 train that was surprisingly on time too. I got a window seat and happily settled down to browse social media. M was on his way to the station to pick me and I will be home by 5:30pm. Happy me!

Fast forward to 20 minutes..

The train stops in a station, I lift my head up to make sure I am just one station away and notice that the place/station looks unfamiliar. I take a closer look and check with the co-passenger . He says a station name I have never heard of before! Panic attack!! I have boarded a wrong line train and travelled around 20 minutes already. It is snowing heavily outside, cramps are killing me and there I am almost close to burst out.

The co-passenger suggested best option is to get off in the next main station, board the next train to origin station and then take the next train from origin to home. I did the same and reached home around 9:30pm. On the other end, M returned back to go pickup LHB as I boarded wrong train and was struck on road for almost 3 hours to reach LHB’s school that is just 10 minutes away from station. LHB was picked up at 8:30pm.

We called LHB’s school and they assured that kids are safe, eating snacks/watching movie and not to rush as they understand the situation and quite a few working parents are struck on their way. God bless those teachers who were on duty that day!

Adi returned home on time in school bus and was home alone and worried about us!

I had to wait for almost one hour in a tunnel to board the next train. The coldness made my feet and hand numb. Thankfully, I had a company. It was funny as there was another person who narrated the same reasons as me – got a window seat, browsing phone, looked up and there we were waiting in that cold weather to board the next train to origin station.

The good side is I met a neighbor after reaching origin station and he agreed to drop me home. Imagine the odds of seeing a neighbor in a heavily crowded station while all trains are delayed. I call these blessings. Otherwise, I have no idea how I would have reached home as Uber was not going through and M was stranded on the way to pickup LHB. An express train was changed into local after the crowd in platform started shouting in unison as “make it local, make it local” in a rhythmic way!

I don’t know if M could have picked me even if I boarded the right train. Maybe it is supposed to happen this way. God bless all the god souls who extended their helping hand that day!

P.S: We had a family movie night today and I started drafting this post at the beginning of movie. Movie is over and the clan is off to bed but I just didn’t want to leave this in draft. So, extended my time to publish this post. LHB is sitting next to me waiting to go to bed. Please excuse for any mistakes in this post.