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Happiness is

Late night time spent with daughter listening to favorite music and making crafts. We are making valentine cards for LHB’s classmates and Adi’s friends. This is the time I introduce her to my favorite tamil songs and I am glad she is willing to listen to them. Moments like these are magical when I treat her as my best companion with whom I can share my likes.

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So, as we were making the cards, I requested her to be extra careful with the cards made for LHB’s five girl buddies. This is the first time he is sharing hand made cards and I want my charming boy to give the best impression to the girls at his class. I know I sound crazy. I didn’t stop there. I also told her as how this day is seen during my school days, how the boys wait for this day to express their interest to girls, how girls shy away et all.

Then, she asked “Has anyone given you a card Amma?” I wanted to be honest to her and said  “Not really as somehow I had never been in that list of attractive girls”. Then we continued with the topic about her school. She said the boys at her school are scared to express. Boys oh boys!!!

I see myself getting into the next stage of parenting with Adi as she is soon going to enter teen officially. I am trying to be honest with her sharing my thoughts about all topics hoping her to reciprocate the same. This next stage of parenting is very tricky that doesn’t involve much of physical effort but it needs mutual trust and openness between the relationship. I want Adi to treat me as one of her best companion with whom she can share almost everything with no inhibition. This is my first step towards that journey. Treating her as my companion and keep myself honest with her.

Like the other day she was mad at me for some trivial thing and I bursted out to her in private. I told her that “I am going through a lot at that moment that is beyond her imagination and the last last thing I would need at that moment is for my kids to be mad at me” and walked away. I could see her understand the situation and be kind to me.

I don’t know if this is the right way of parenting but I know that I want to keep our relationship mutually strong and honest with lots of talk. Talking is very essential for any relationship. 

 

All is well

All is well that ends well. Thank you all my dear readers who have made me feel better via your comments to my previous post. The home was set clean before I reached by the clan and the evening was well spent with quality time with kids.

This year I didn’t find it difficult to churn out posts for blogathon as I know its coming, I know I have to be part of it and prepared myself ahead with drafts just title as fodder. I added them whenever I felt that the incident is blog worthy and the wordpress app in my phone helped with this approach. Infact I have couple of more posts sitting on my draft. I might bug you all with it in coming days.

Unlike past years, I didn’t write it advance and schedule. I wrote the post every day. It helped me to relive those happy moments.  Also, somehow this year I didn’t feel the pressure as much as past years. I enjoyed the whole process and was slightly confident, it could have been due to my drafts.

So, how did I fit in time every day for blogging when I was not able to do it in other months? January was luckily an easier month at work, so I sneaked now and then to write and read posts in between work. Also, I utilized the one hour long train journey to read and write. I have mastered the art of talking over phone to loved ones and read posts 🙂 Work is getting tougher as I am typing this so I am glad the timing worked just perfect.

I am behind by a week in replying to the comments on my posts and clearing my reader. Will get to them slowly as I am sure the reader will see downside from tomorrow 😉

Kudos to all who have completed, attempted and be part of this lovely yearly tradition. It felt great to connect with you all in this yearly reunion. Thanks to Maya and RM for initiating it this year.

See you all next year dearies. Stay happy!!

Weekend – Part 2

Part 1

***rant alert***

When I returned home, the house (living room – first sight as you enter) was at its worst state and kids were watching TV.  I had plans to sit with LHB in the evening to study but my mood was completely off once I looked at the situation at home. It did not help at all when LHB was saying “Appa is watching TV all day”. He did laundry but the state of home got on to my nerves instantly. I didn’t react, took hot shower, went about doing my work, took pain killers for muscle cramps and retired to bed. I was too tired to even talk. I had to clear the kitchen before cook aunty came and she also decided to give me hard time yesterday asking me to clean this, cut that et all.

And, I lost my cool today morning when I saw a bunch of wires and some more items sitting at the pooja counter top. They are there for past 4 days waiting to be sorted out by M which is driving me nuts every time I see them but I didn’t lose my temper until today morning. I don’t know if its just me but when the house is not clean it has a direct deep impact on the state of my mind and the family doesn’t seem to care about it at all. I hate to see Adi sitting amidst that clumsy environment and watch TV with a “I don’t bother” attitude. CLEANING HOME is not a one time thing or a weekend chore or just my task. IT HAS TO BE AN EVERYDAY CHORE BY EVERYONE IN THE FAMILY SAME AS HOW WE EAT 3 MEALS A DAY. I mean I understand that LHB is at this prime age to make a mess right after we clean up but can’t the rest of the clan just do cleanup after him periodically to keep the home tidy? Enough said!! (sorry about the caps. I have still not got back to my normal state yet!!)

So, today morning when I had to offer to God and pray and saw all those wires at the counter top I lost my cool and exploded. I hate to judge but I don’t care what the 3 of them did during my absence, I texted him while leaving from the friend’s place and it is an one hour drive. Couldn’t he be little considerate of me and tidy up the home and wires in that one hour? Is it a demanding ask? That one hour of his effort would have aided me to spend more quality time with kids last evening and have started this week on a happy note. I was grumpy last evening and it is continuing. I was shouting in front of Adi and I am sure all this is only painting a bad picture to her. I dread to even think in lines of the impact of this to kids. I am only getting distant with them as much as I want to be close to them. Just imagine me walking around grumpy during the limited time I get to spend with them? They are clearly not getting the best of me when I am so much pre-occupied with things like this. Sigh!!!

I wanted to work from home today as these muscle cramps didn’t get any better but given the state of home (mostly living room) I have to clean it all before I start the day.  I can’t do the cleaning with current grumpy state so I just literally dragged myself to work. Don’t know what is in store for rest of this week!!!!

It doesn’t feel good to almost end blogathon with this big rant!!!!!! I am extremely sorry folks!!!

Weekend – Part 1

On Friday after indulging myself with all items from my “not to eat” list, I ended the day with international buffet dinner at LHB’s school. Can it get any better? We attended “International family fun night” at his school and got to see various performances like African dance with drums, Bollywood fusion, Irish dance. The boy was all game to join the stage whenever audience were invited to dance along. He made few moves following the crowd and it was hilarious to watch him shake and move.

On Saturday, we left home in the morning to go meet our old neighbors. For those who follow my blog for few years would know our family christmas tradition of visiting our old neighbors (4 now 3 amazing old sisters). We couldn’t get time to meet that worked for both of us during holidays so met them this weekend. Adi was super excited to see them. LHB was all shy. They were amazed at seeing the kids grow so fast. It was a short 30 minutes visit and we exchanged gifts This time I got them a jewelry box with engraving of “happy holidays” and kids name on it.

Then we headed to a birthday party at an inflatable jumping spot. Kids had good time at the party, I sneaked to jump/slide a little too. LHB unusually was fussing to eat the pizza and threw up later. Adi felt sick too. They were fine later.

After reaching home, I did a quick clean up, made things ready for the family and set off alone to friend’s home. His wife is leaving to India this week and she needed help with the packing. Original plan was for all 4 of us to go but she suggested not to bring kids as the house had things all over the place. She mainly needed help with sorting out the kitchen so it made sense for me to go. I bought dinner and took Tea for us. Once reached, we had the tea and started straight with the cleaning. We did not stop until 1am, then went to bed and resumed packing next day morning. It was around 2pm next day and we were only half done. I didn’t have a choice but to return home as I had to call the cook aunty for this week. I felt incomplete leaving her at that state but at least we were done with the kitchen and discarding donation, recycle and garage bags. Reached home in the evening, M did a quick grocery run, got the aunty home and rest of the day was spent in getting ready for this work week.

Alert: Looking at the length of the post I split it as 2 parts. I am posting part 2 in few minutes and that is going to be a huge rant!!!!

Gongura chutney

This dish has become my favorite in recent times and repeating at our household every other week. This is a recipe from my cook aunty.

For this weekend, she came today evening and my grocery list for this week included Gongura just so that I can kill two birds with one stone. Can relish the chutney for next week and can get away with the post today 🙂

To grind: (fistful of each)
Red chillies
Coriander seeds
Chana dal
Urad dal
Jeera

For tadka:
Mustard
Urad dal (split)
Channa dal
Curry leaves
Jeera

Onion – 1
Tomato (optional) – 1/2
Garlic – 4-5 pods
Gongura leaves – 1 bunch

Method:
1. Remove gongura leaves from its stem and wash it thoroughly.

2. Saute the items under “To grind” and then grind them coarsely.

3. Saute onion in a separate pan until it turns translucent, then add tomato, garlic and gongura leaves one by one. Continue to saute until they all are cooked.

4. Add the items from #2 to the mixer with already ground items and do a quick pulse. Don’t make it like a paste. The consistency should be as shown in the final picture. It is ok if few onion pieces are not ground well. In tamil they say “onnum renduma araichikko” (Translation: Grind coarsely. Its ok if some ingredients are not ground like a paste)

5. Do tadka with the items given under “For tadka” list.

Yummilicious gongura chutney it ready to be served with rice/roti or as bread spread or to eat as it is.

And my small attempt for a food photography 🙂

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2016 pictures – part 2

Life is at its crazy best right now. I will write a weekend post later. For the lack of time, resorting to picture post toay.

2016 in pictures.. Would be fun to see this after few years!!

Idli molaga podi

Second post on same day!!!! I had to write this so please excuse

Idli molaga podi aka gun powder mixed with gingly oil

Idli molaga podi smeared evenly on all sides of Idli – slurppp

Idli molaga podi smeared on dosa – slurppp

Idli molaga podi smeared on roti  – slurppp

Idli molaga podi smeared on whole wheat bread – slurppp (that’s what I am eating right now!!)

Basically Idli molaga podi mixed with gingly oil smeared on anything – slurppp

Appadiyae kuda sapidalam (you can eat it by itself too)

Oops I am on this less/no carb diet!!!!

I don’t get it. Why should God create human, why should man invent all this sinfully delicious delicacies, why should those delicacies make human put on weight why? why? why? Surprisingly these deep thinking questions surface only when I am salivating for these delicacies. Not helping at all!!!!

Since morning I am binge eating exclusively items from my “not-to-eat” list 😦 😦 Choose a bad day to work from home!!!

Eating part is almost done now the guilt is waiting around the corner to come and attack me in full force ***crying loud***

 

Chai for cancer

During summer when I was alone here, I had a chance to attend this amazing event called “Chai for cancer” arranged by a blog friend. I never got a chance to meet this multi talented lady before though we are living in reachable distance for few years. Like it has been the case with any bloggers meet, I didn’t feel strange meeting her for the first time. It felt like meeting a good old friend after many many years.

She has arranged for a social awareness event at her backyard, I was invited via FB and I instantly accepted the invitation as I didn’t have to plan anything. I was staying alone and it was on a weekend. An evening very well spent with chai, chats and songs is all I can say. Connecting with like minded people, listening to the mind blowing performance by the girl dealing with cancer, her mother by her side. There was so much positivity in the air.

It took me few days to get back to normal thoughts after attending this event. I mean what do I crib about in daily life? Isn’t that all nothing compared to what the girl is dealing with? If she could look at life with so much of a positive attitude why can’t I? It was an evening that taught me a lesson in a different way!

Kudos to the friend, her husband, her sister and all her family members who have arranged for this event. I don’t know if I can publish specific details here so keeping it general. But, you can read more about this initiative here – chaiforcancer.

 

India trip – Kids return

Late August, when I was alone in US, I get a call from India at 1am. It was M on the other side. He asks me “Does Adi have 2 passport or 3 passport?”. It took some time for me to realize that it is not dream and by this time he repeated the question at least 10 times. I was just responding with a weak “what?, what?” until I got my senses. Then, I mumbled it is 3.

We belong to that type of family who carry all their old passports too in hand for every travel. M was at the airport with kids to board the flight to US.

The flight is about to depart in two hours. Apparently, when he was trying to check-in the person at the counter noticed that Adi’s current passport was missing whereas he had the two old passport.

With the clock ticking, a series of events unfolded in next two hours and they boarded the flight before the door was about to close. M’s parents shifted to new home few days before his departure so there is no source of communication to reach his mother to check if passport is at home. He called his relative who luckily was at home that day to go home and check. His relative and MIL couldn’t find the keys to the bureau, then found it with FIL’s direction over phone and they found the passport kept in the bureau very safely.

I kept all passports in a small bag and gave it to him. How could he possibly take all from the bundle except Adi’s current passport? I felt the same when he didn’t bring my collection of sarees that I had neatly packed and kept inside his luggage **shaking head in disbelief**

The airport is around 1.5 hours drive from home. BIL and other relatives were kept as stand by at different check points when this relative started driving towards the airport. He was received at the airport gate by M, he literally grabbed the passport and flew to the counter to get boarding pass. And the air hostess and pilot were waiting with red carpet to welcome them so that they can close the door. It seems like Adi was scared that she thought M would board the flight with LHB leaving her behind. She is one scaredy cat.

While narrating the incident in person, M said he was not treated very well by the officials during this wait. They looked at him as some illegal guy and refused to give him access to communicate to outside world. Somehow he managed to gain their confidence and handled the situation.

Imagine my state of mind after that 1am call. I lost my sleep and the next 24 hours was spent restlessly until I saw the kids flesh and blood.

2016 India trip

Wowww is all I can say about last year’s India trip. It is one of the memorable trip that I will cherish forever. M and I took turns, had an overlap of one week and kept kids at India for 7 weeks last summer.

There were are lot of firsts in this trip. We landed at Trichy airport and went straight to my hometown Thanjavur. Sneaked out to chennai for 3 days in the first week with parents in tow and spent the rest of the 3.5 weeks at Thanjavur. It was the first time I got to spend extended time with my brother at parent’s home after about 15 years!!! We roamed around the city with 4 kids every other evening, watched Kabali night show with my father (he dozed off even before the title was over and promptly woke up for the climax!!). Driving in the small town at 1am after the movie was a different experience.

Visited my native village (it was a painful trip with most of my previous generation not there anymore) , toggled between the parents and in-laws constantly, went to a book fair in local, read Jayakanthan’s tamil novel “Sila nerangalil sila manidhargal”, spent most evening chatting with neighbors/relatives sitting in easy chair at front porch, visited local temples numerous times to attend all that pooja arranged by Amma. At some point Adi wakes up to ask “Are we eating non vegetarian for lunch today?” and gets very excited if we reply with “yes”. Her theory is then it means we are not going to any temple today!!! I warned Amma clearly to take it easy during future visits.

I travelled back alone and the next 3 weeks of living alone in US seemed like a year. WhatsApp and Skype kept me closer to kids though.

Some pictures:

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Birthday card for paternal thatha by Adi

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At Saravana bhavan

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Jetlag

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Sangeetha’s poori

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Sangeetha’s cone dosa

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All aboard upper sleeper berth to Chennai

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At Maya bro’s wedding reception

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Indoor playing

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Imaginary school bus with all amenities

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Brihadeeswarar temple – 10 mins away from home

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Hiding spot

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Getting ready for lunch

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Home grown veggies special lunch – banana flower poriyal, banana stem kootu, mango kuzhambu, keerai masiyal

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Cousins galatta

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Matching game with Nephew

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Yours truly in the middle

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I can do homework with eyes closed. I am talented yaa

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Look at that style! This pic has my other favorites too – tape recorder, cassette holder, sewing machine, beeg wooden box

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Mani mandapam

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Cousin bro’s second home. That’s the terrace

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Family deity temple pond

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Family deity temple. Glad to have found it after 12 years!

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Ready for Jallikattu?