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Nilavum Naanum (Moon and Me)

Title inspired from the tamil movie (Abhiyum Naanum).

Writing about my two close connection with moon.

Today is no moon day (Ammavasya). I have added the tradition of cooking white pumpkin sambar and raw banana fry for every Ammavasai and offer it to my FIL before we break fast for the day. This is a tradition followed by families back home where family elders have passed away. I love this tradition as it gives me the space and time to reconnect with FIL and remember him.

In 15 days, it will be full moon day (Pournami). I have added the tradition of performing Satyanarayana pooja on this day. I fast all day, cook kesari sweet in the evening, read Satyanarayana stories, perform pooja, step out to see the beauty of full moon and then break my fast. This is a tradition followed by Amma ever since I remember so I wanted to take it over from her. I love this tradition as it gives me the space and time to travel back to my childhood and reconnect with Amma. LHB is my carrier to share the prasadam with neighbors and he mostly accompanies me in finding the beauty. There are days when she decides to play hide and seek and hide behind the clouds. LHB helps me to find her.

Kids are well aware of these two days now and it gives me some inner peace to at least have a cadence in place to pray together as a family twice a month. At the same time, it gives me a chance to rekindle my memories about the two people in my kutti circle that I love, admire and respect the most. They both are my pillar of strength and support.

P.S. Today has been a fairly good day. LHB leveled up in his academics and Adi cracked a test with flying colors that she has been preparing like a monster for past few days. She was up till 2am taking notes for this test. LHB’s level up is just the beginning and we have a rough journey ahead. I hope we both will cross the bridge in one piece!! Wish him and me good luck please!

Doesn’t this call for celebration? So, we made a store trip at 9pm in the night, bought Oreo ice cream cake roll and the trio finished the whole pack **rolls eyes** I have saved my share for tomorrow. Do you think I will get to eat my share in peace tomorrow? I highly doubt **rolls eyes heavily**

Mother’s day 2020

Started with this post yesterday but dozed off before I could publish. So please adjust and read it like its published yesterday πŸ™‚

I woke up before the kids, walked around the home, had my coffee in peace, made few phone calls and then it happened!

LHB woke up and freaked out as last night he ordered me to stay in bed all day today. He made me go back to bed and stay there for next two hours until breakfast was ready. While Akka was busy in the kitchen, LHB was busy walking between bedroom and kitchen to make sure I am not stepping out of the bed. I was bed locked. Thankfully, I was allowed to speak over the phone so had a looong chat with my friend. He said I can even watch TV if I am bored BUT I was not allowed to step out of the bed.

After two hours, I was blindfolded, taken to the table and presented with an elaborate spread.

Dosas
Scrambled eggs
Buttered bread
Leftover capsicum chutney
All sorts of sauces/jams/pickles
Masala chai in a travel mug
Hot water in flask

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Adi made all of them with no help and the little boy helped to set the table. I was surprised and proud. We relished the brunch and then I was allowed to carry on with weekend kitchen chores.

Next 4 hours was spent in kitchen with songs in the background. It has been a while I listened to songs and the songs lifted up my mood. I decided to make mango kara kuzhambu. Just the thought made my mouth watery and I could literally taste the kuzhambu even before it was ready.

In the next 4 hours, with songs playing in the background thik thai kitchen* dished out

Idli batter
Onion tomato chutney
Mango drumstick kara kuzhambu
Brinjal fry
White rice
Appalam/Fryms
Ground and refilled all spice powder – pepper powder, jira powder and saunf powder

We had dinner in formal dining room and I dressed up for dinner πŸ™‚ Looking at me, LHB also dressed up and surprised us by eating dinner all by himself like he made a plate for himself and ate with hands.

*thik thai kitchen – LHB named our kitchen as thik thai kitchen as apparently he believes that his mom loves Bharathanatyam form of dance.

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He forgot to give me the cards and made up during bedtime.

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Small joys

I had Kohls store gift card so decided to treat LHB with a little something for his birthday that is just 3 days away which is very unusual as you know the aftermath if you take a kid to a store not knowing what to buy.

We went to the shop today afternoon, he choose few spring jackets from clearance section and we went to fitting room to try.

I handed him the jackets one by one to try and see this t-shirt in between the 2nd and 3rd jacket. I did not pick it and have no idea about how it landed in the pile. Maybe it was there in the rack and I picked it along with other jackets or maybe it was left behind in the fitting room by someone else.

But think of the odds of us visiting a cloth store few days before birthday to get something for the birthday and this shirt magically landing on your hand! He is turning 7. Isn’t it magical? Small joys of life πŸ™‚

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Food connection

Today’s lunch box for kids:

Ladies finger fry rolled in roti and clementines. I am happy to have started packing lunch for LHB too from this school year. This journey started in 2010 when Adi started her kindergarten and continuing for a decade now, it will continue for another decade till LHB graduates school. Nothing can make me more happier than seeing an empty lunch box. It is an everyday discussion during bedtime about the lunch option for next day and I make up my mind about what to cook the next day morning. Somedays, I also do some prep work in the night like cutting veggies or soaking pulses.

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And I suddenly got this urge today to make my all time favorite puli kuzhambu with drumstick, potatoes and mochai (lilva beans). This is one of Adi’s favorite too and somehow it has been ages I made it. So, made it today and Adi was super excited to see the kuzhambu and fryums on the table when she got back from school. She kept repeating “Today is her best day”.

She kept visiting the table all evening to scoop the kuzhambu with fryums and pop it in. We went down my memory lane about how I did the same at my grandma’s home where I spent all my summer. I would make frequent visits to my grandma’s kitchen to steal the potatoes from kuzhambu and come lunch time my cousins would hardly get any potatoes πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ I can see myself in Adi today with this action.

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Food can make everyone happy and I am so glad to have established this connection with kids.

Just for laugh:
LHB’s tidbit: Akka, stop complaining! You will be done with school in 2 years!!! Do you know how many more years school do I have? We calculated and its 11 more years *Adi and I bursted out laughing* and both of us said in unison that we would give anything to go back to elementary school. Actually, Adi said elementary school and I said any school or even college is fine with me.

Holiday gifts

LHB is all about giving and I love this nature he possesses. Mind you he doesn’t giveaway things he own. He wants to save everything for memory and takes a dozen pictures everyday for memory (I exactly know who passed down this gene to him. Let’s not talk about that πŸ˜‰ ). I think I already wrote here about how he wanted to keep the torn Nike shoe that doesn’t fit anymore. For remembrance is the right word but he says “for memory” and I am sticking with that.

For holidays, he bought thoughtful gifts for each of us and gave gifts to all his teachers. I gave him about 6 gifts to give to his main teachers. But, he wanted one for the school security Mr.B, for the music teacher he meets once in few weeks, for his gym teacher, bus driver and the high school assistant in his class. I gave him 3 more and said he has to decide whom to give. His fingers were not enough when we counted the teachers he wanted to give gift πŸ™‚

I opened the gift he bought for me the same day and wore it right away. But, he told me I am supposed to take it only on the day of Christmas. So, took it back from me, packed it carefully and put it under the tree.

He bought mood changing pendant for me (It really changes color, I don’t know how it works), a big marker for Akka and a coffee mug for Appa and a rattle snake for himself. OMG the little brain has overworked to buy thoughtful gift for each of us. What more can I ask for?

I wear the pendant and show off to him just to see the pride in his face πŸ™‚

 

Thanksgiving – 2019

Better late than never has become the motto of this blog. Recording Thanksgiving 2019 in my very own little space for posterity sake.

A friend family spent thanksgiving with us. They stayed with us for a night and we cooked a storm for thanksgiving spread. The friend wanted to try turkey roast but we settled on chicken. It didn’t come out perfect, not everyone liked it but I would say it turned out decent enough for first attempt.

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From left to right:

Lasagna (I burned it little in broil mode) – Adi’s and friend’s daughters made this
Corn muffin
Baked cauliflower in white sauce
Challah bread – Adi brushed the bread with garlic/butter and baked it
Mutton fry
Biriyani (leftover)
Chicken roast pan dripping gravy
White rice
Whole chicken roast
Rasam
Moong dal Kosambari (garnished with pomegranate)
Ghee rice
Stuffing mix with onions and celery

We started cooking the feast at about 1pm after a heavy breakfast and had dinner at 6:30pm. Each of us shared what we are thankful for before the meal and had a great chat at the table.

I am thankful for too many things to count. Family’s good health, kids, safety, friends, job, extended family and many more. It is a wonderful life and let’s be thankful for all that is offered to us every single day.

Happy thanksgiving to all my readers!

 

It has to get better-2

Read this before reading this post

Unfolding next day:

5:30am – A call from other side of the world woke me up at 5:30am. Looking at the name, I could guess the news. It was my cousin’s husband and he got placed in a suitable job. He has been searching for a suitable job for few months now. All I told him was “Irundha ponnu-kku etha mappillai” (Its a popular saying in Tamil. Rough translation – Best bridegroom for a long awaited bride)

6:00am – A message from my friend that her cousin is showing good signs of improvement and she will fully recover with few months of care. We all were very much worried as her eyesight was affected. The word “fully recover” put my mind in peace.

9:00am – Breakfast with two VP women leaders at work along with other women co-workers. It was a great session to hear about their journey and no better way to start the day.

10:00am – Had 1-1 with my leader and he shared the news about my annual rating and plans for 2020. A satisfactory discussion overall.

12:00pm – Monthly all hands meeting and I was awarded for being culture conductor in my organization. Pleasant surprise and I got our mascot plush doll as a gift

2:00pm – Ate cheese cake a big slice for dessert after a scrumptious lunch.

After this I seriously started praying that the day should just end soon as I want to remember this day as a happy day!

5:15pm – Picked up LHB, fed him healthy dinner/boiled egg and dropped at his class. This made me happy as everything went as planned and we had fun time while doing all this.

6:15pm – Made masala chai for myself after many many months and had a good 30 minutes chat with M while kids were in their respective classes.

7:00pm – Picked up the kids and took them to cold stone ice cream shop to threat them for Children’s day. I had great time though Adi was constantly cribbing that this is not a good idea as she has to study for two tests. I kept embarrassing her at the store by repeatedly saying “Happy children’s day betas”. I call them “beta” when I am extremely happy πŸ™‚ LHB and I were hiding inside the store and surprised Adi when she entered. Small joys!!

9:00pm – Wrapped up kitchen and went to bed early in the fear of not jinxing the happy day!

Look at the difference in mood between two consecutive day. I had no idea about how these two days will unfold when the week started. So, if you are having a low day please stay strong and keep up for the table will turn very soon! I understand its easier said than done but trust me!

 

Blessed

Woke up on a lazy Sunday morning to see a text from my neighbor. She left french vanilla flavored coffee powder at my front porch just because I told her that is my favorite when we met last time.

Last night she surprised us with hot hot zucchinni pie and banana bread straight from her oven to my kitchen table.

Life is good and I am counting my blessings!!

Small joys

It is that time of the day when people run from all directions to the train station to catch train to head back home. I was climbing down the stairs in train station and a lady ran past me to catch the train that was about to close doors and leave in 5 secs. As she went past me, a metro train card and train monthly pass fell down from her bag. Another guy picked it up in a slow pace and the very moment I knew he is not going to make an attempt to find her to hand it over.

So, I quickly grabbed it from him, ran down the stairs, went past few doors to look out for the lady standing inside the train but I couldn’t find her. All this happened in that fraction of 5 secs and train doors were about to close. I took an educated guess as how far she could have gone and boarded the nearby cabin. Each cabin is long enough to have 3 doors so my guess was that she could not have gone past those 3 doors in 5 secs. Train started and my eyes were screening the cabin from one end to another to find the lady. I had only 3 minutes in hand to find her as I had to get down in next station. All I knew is she was short, wore a black dress and had short hair. I felt so bad holding more than 200 dollars worth pass in my hand and not able to find its owner. I was peeking through the crowd furiously and just 1 minute before I was about to get down I found the lady standing closer to the other side of second door. I was standing near the third door. With couple of quick excuse me’s I made my way to her, tapped on her back and gave the pass.

That moment, the relief I felt, the look on her face and her repeated thank you will be etched in my memory for a long time to come and will make me feel good and happy.

This incident balanced today to be a good day in spite of uncertainties at work. My manager announced her resignation today and I am yet to recover from that shock. I will miss a great leader for sure!!

Hopefully back

Finally, I chose to write this post over taking a nap during my 1.5 hours long bus commute. Because I thought getting this post out would make me feel much more better than taking a nap as I wanted to come back to this space for quite some time now.

There is so much happening in life now and the thought to share it with you all brushes through my mind every single day but the only way I can do that is by shortening my sleep time of the day. Unfortunately I can’t do that as I am not one of those blessed souls who can function normal with 5 or 6 hours of sleep. I need my 8 hours of dose or else I will end up yawning non stop in middle of work meetings!!!

We moved last week to a bigger home. Its 3 times bigger than current home with huge front yard, back yard and pool. That also comes with this humongous effort and attention it requires for initial setup and maintenance.Β  Add to that work has taken a whole new demanding level for both M and myself. Movers were coming in on a Friday morning and I had to be at work till 7:30pm the previous day. That demanding!!! M takes his daily calls as early as 530am and I end my calls as late as 8pm every other day. Most of the days are filled with back to back calls that needs attention for both of us.

I count my blessings in the form of parents. They are here to help us through this transition phase and stay with kids through this summer.

I took 3 days off after the move to set up kitchen, bathroom and clothes. Amma took over the kitchen (I can’t be more thankful to her), M is working on handling all exterior needs (lawn maintenance, pool setup, electrical needs and the list is endless) , Appa to the best of his ability handles LHB and his constant tantrums (they go for walk, play chess and ride bike around the neighborhood) and Adi is having her own busy schedule for this summer. We all are doing our best. “Team work dream work” is in full swing at our household now.

My one way commute to work is 2 hours if all my stars are aligned. Today the train to reach bus station was suspended and I am still on my way back. Today’s evening commute is just about 3.5 hours!!

I still have things to move from old home and clean it for the next occupant. There is a whole bunch of To do’s crying for attention. I think I can handle them all better if I can wake up a little early in the morning but I am not able to 😦

My summer is going to be hectic with settling down in new home, handling work demands and working around Adi’s schedule. I will at least feel at peace if I can unpack all the stuff and find a designated place for the items that are laying around.

Now that I am back, will try to record some moments here. I truly miss this place.

How are you all? Any interesting plans for this summer?

Our nest now:

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