Category Archives: For the Love of Food

Change begins at home and it begins now

Standard

Image result for teach our boys to respect women

One balmy winter morning when Father had been in one of his relaxed moods willing to listen and tell his two little children stories while my brother and I seized the moment asking away everything we knew would otherwise be met with a stern look of disapproval, I had asked him whom he loved more – my brother or me?

“You both are like my two eyes. How can I favour one eye over the other,” he had answered lovingly as I beamed with joy, gleefully throwing my arms around him.

For me, even as a child, his words were an assurance that he did not see me any differently than he saw my brother.

When our son, Sid, was born, as first-time parents, our world unconsciously condensed into our little bundle of joy. During the months that had led to his birth, we built tall dreams, made unreasonable promises and vowed to soak up in every moment with our precious bundle.

Within a week into the soak-up-in-every-moment phase, I had wised up to those lines. Motherhood was beyond what I had envisaged – it was extremely rewarding and absolutely draining, immensely exciting but equally terrifying and often felt so easy yet totally confusing.

We pampered him with the finest toys but Sid was smitten with playing a noisy game of clanging pots and pans from the kitchen cabinet and the toys remained untouched.

A few years later, when we thought that we had seen it all, Little Princess made her arrival. That moment when we first laid our eyes on her was as extraordinary as it had been with my son. Our experience did not deter us from building tall dreams; making unreasonable promises and vowing to soak up every moment – only that we hoped to do it better.

Luckily the experience and the exercise in patience with our first born came in handy with our second. The miniature superheroes and cars that had remained untouched took to her fancy while the perfectly pretty dolls that she received as gifts failed to get her attention.

If one preferred to devour books, the other enjoyed shredding them.

They were born five days apart on different years yet are as different as chalk and cheese. It has been easy for me to accept them as two individuals as my brother and I have very little in common too.

Today, two children later, the weight of Father’s words resonates better and reinforces the fact that we can never see our children differently.

If I expect my daughter to undertake a responsibility in our home, I would expect my son to do the same as they both will need to be able to shoulder bigger responsibilities in the future.

If my son has a dream which he wishes to fulfil, my daughter is bound to have one too!

It is not about flexing muscles with the other gender or competing to be better than the other but about respecting the other and their choices as much as we would expect to be respected. Beauty lies in the fact that men and women are equally complex and made very different from one another, but it takes them both to complete the circle of life.

Here is a reminder to me as much as it is to you – if we wish to see the change in the generations to come, we must become the change by teaching our sons to respect women as much as we would teach our daughters to respect themselves as they would the men around them.

It all begins at home and it begins now!

Hello, WP World, it is so good to get back here. Will reach out to all of you soon!

This piece was first published in the Off the Cuff section of the Gulf News. Please click here for the link.

Advertisements

The silver lining in the dark clouds of misery

Standard

flood-sketch.jpg.image.784.410

Indu auntie and her family left the bustling city life in Bengaluru  to recede into a quiet life caring for her ageing parents in their grand ancestral home that had sheltered more than one generation below its sloping roofs that overlooked the Kalpathy river flowing gently under the canopy of the Kerala skies.

Her husband, a renowned professor, spent his time tending to the lush vegetable patch when he was not at college or the outhouse — that doubled as his office with rooms that treasured an abundance of literature handpicked by the professor himself — coaching students who aspired to earn a doctoral degree.

The ancestral home, an architectural marvel built in sync with the local weather and topography, had stood tall through many monsoons when rains pelted the slates on the sloping rooftop for days on end and kept the inmates cool during the long rigorous days of summer.

Aunt Indu’s words laced with pride whenever she spoke about the great flood of 1990s, when the Periyar river breached its banks in 1924, when her home and hearth had provided the homeless with food and shelter until the waters receded.

Decked in traditional artefacts, antiques and heavy furniture, every piece was steeped in history with a story that tickled pleasant childhood memories.

Unexpected showers in the otherwise dry Palakkad district this summer were a welcome relief. On the day the shutters of the Malampuzha dam were opened amid heavy downpour, the Kalpathy river swelled. Indu auntie’s day transformed into one that will be etched in her memory forever as furious undercurrents dragged with them her daughter while it ravaged her home stripping it off every piece of memory that the years had treasured.

A rescue team that comprised a group of young men from the locality fought the raging waters to drag her daughter back to terra firma while an authorised rescue force carried her bedridden father and ailing mother to safe quarters.

Her words laced with the horror of that day spilled over a crackling phone line while she and her family spent their days in a relative’s home, waiting for the waters to recede while we ourselves spent despondent nights peeking out of the window to keep a check on the water levels as the downpour showed no sign of abating.

When the waters receded, they went back to a skeleton of a house whose walls are now etched with stories of raging currents that had snatched away or left behind a soggy mess in its wake.

Her husband spends his days restoring the vegetable patch and empty shelves that once housed a treasure trove of literature.

Yet, she explains cheerfully: “It took a natural disaster to bring out the best in humanity for help was always at hand. I can replace all that I have lost, but will be forever grateful that I still have my daughter beside me.”

Nature is the best teacher for even in her fury she leaves behind a message for humanity, who has tested her patience in the name of progress, that if we do not reform our ways then we will have to submit ourselves to her wrath and teach the generations to come that all that they proudly call their own is but a mirage that is fleeting and impermanent.

There is still time, perhaps, for us to amend and watch nature sing her melodious tunes of healing.

The above is an excerpt from a publication in the Gulf News. Click here for the full article. 

Good morning! Hope you all are having a wonderful Sunday. Will be at all your spaces soon to catch up on all that I have missed.

 

Love yourself enough to get up and take the fitness challenge

Standard

download (4)

I enjoy sport — cricket, badminton, tennis or auto racing, if sitting in the comforts of my sofa while cheering on my favourite sport stars’ moments count.

It is difficult not to love sport when the television is perpetually tuned on to one or the other sports channels where experts are delineating the technical details of a match with a discussion of the same by the in-house experts — the husband and Sid leaving me  tongue-tied.

It is not entirely my fault for you see I can rattle off about ten names of engineers under one minute that only the maternal side of my family has contributed to the world, but I would be left jogging my memory for hours to pick up at least one blood relative who has attempted any sort of sport, let alone excel in one.

Let’s just say that we chose a book over a cricket bat or a racket!

I am not much of a talker, but not one to be left tongue-tied either, so I have sat through Sid’s tennis classes and the husband’s badminton tournaments with my most trusted mate — Google, who has been throwing light on facts like the tennis court measures 36 by 78 feet while the badminton court is smaller measuring 20 by 44 feet.

I am yet to put a racket to a ball or a shuttlecock but at least I know the technical difference.

I have understood that sport is not all about the scores and strategies for it teaches you character. Sport teaches you to play by the rules, to accept your defeat and move on after you have learnt from your mistakes and stay grounded as you enjoy basking in the glory of victory.

Sport is a life teacher!

I must admit that it took me a couple of days to appreciate the goodness of exercise for during the first few days even the endorphins didn’t help.

"Wow, all the way from the couch. Have the endorphins kicked in?"

The children were both delighted and mildly traumatised watching me limping about and attempting to lift a painfully sore arm to toss food in the general direction of my mouth.

It took all of a week’s persistence in keeping it up to enjoy the benefits of an exercise routine and be treated to a good dose of endorphins that cleared away cobwebs that had strayed in through the day.

Love yourself enough to pull up your socks and take up the challenge. Together we can turn fitness into a way of life, one step at a time!

toon_6

Good morning!

This is an extract from the publication in the ‘Off the Cuff’ section of the Gulf News For the full write-up please click here. This was written for the Dubai Fitness Challenge that runs from October 19, 2018 to November 17, 2018, that challenges every Dubai resident to engage in physical activity of their choice for 30 minutes of in a day for 30 days.

DnSTPq5W0AIZ6Jp

 Have a wonderful Sunday!

 

Lessons from a Parking Ticket

Standard

"Do you realise who I AM?"

It was a fun Saturday — the afternoon of our much-awaited family day out spent at the cinema.

The husband and Sid munched on popcorn trying hard to encipher the storyline while Little Princess and I played a game of catch. Since the only occupants inside the plush darkened interiors were just another couple, we were a welcome treat to the bored couple.

Luckily, the movie was the husband’s choice so he took it upon himself to enlighten us on its positive aspects. The positivity came in handy for post lunch at a restaurant that promised an authentic Delhi cuisine but served us limp bread, bland curry and rubbery kebabs — we were still a happy family.

Just to ensure a better end to our day, I suggested visiting a friend’s home.

We reached our destination and even found a parking spot without much ado. While the husband parked, I made a virtual parking payment.

Zone entry — Check.

Message confirmation receipt — Check.

We were good to go for a full hour.

At the friend’s place, I ensured that the phone sat beside me so that I would not miss out on the reminder SMS to make an extension on the ticket.

It is not in my nature to boast, but I try to ensure that any job I undertake is done to the best of my ability. Or so I thought until we caught sight of a parking ticket slapped on the windscreen of our car.

download (3)

We checked the message and the confirmation. A closer scrutiny of the numbers revealed that there sure was an error —the last digit of the car’s number plate typed in was incorrect.

As we weaved our way back through the traffic, I stared ahead annoyed at my oversight.

My oversight had hurt our pocket, but his sneer on catching me in this precarious position (that was usually his) was not lost on me. It was my turn to eat humble pie.

parking-fine_o_1235452

When the real world is robbed of inspiration, we can always plunge into the virtual world that is in overabundance with happy toddlers and sunsets along with cheery inspirational thoughts that come free with ‘Good Morning’ messages.

Freezing smartphones and running out of phone memory have not deterred Indians  with cheery ‘Good Morning’ messages fired off nineteen to the dozen, driving WhatsApp to near exhaustion and leaving Google researchers at Silicon Valley baffled.

Being an inactive member in many family and friends’ groups, it only took a single click to be hit by a sea of cheery messages and waves of inspiration for my not-so-happy mind to assimilate.

One message from a friend caught my attention. She explained that for every negative thought, we just need to look around us and think of five positive ones.

To start with, I look up at the husband who is still beaming at his ‘we all make mistakes’ remark — but at least he was still smiling.

I look around me and see my family tired and happy after an enjoyable day and feel the first warmth of gratefulness fill my insides.

There was so much to be thankful for.

While I made a mental note to take heed of my oversight and take care to avoid another fine in the future, I use my new-found inspiration to ensure a happy end to our day out.

I wonder if researchers at Silicon Valley too had used inspiration from the sea of cheery Good Morning messages to come up with the Files Go application that that is capable of weeding out ‘good-morning messages’ and has cleared up more than 1 gigabyte of data per user on an average.

f74bcdc3749ab484672304960ccffecd

This is an extract from my article in the Off the Cuff section of the Gulf News. Click here for the full article.

The Music will go on

Standard

violin-260nw-138774590

 

The tunes took birth enrapturing listeners into a trance,

A melody so divine that elevated the spirit into a dance,

A hum so gentle in the gust of musical wind became,

A stupendous composition by an artist on his bow and four strings on a frame.

 

His soulful tunes made way into the musical world ashine,

To a growing audience enthralled by music so pure and divine,

A treat to the soul, the broken hearts and those locked in romance,

His tunes touched millions as this musical prodigy steadily gathered fans.

 

The music had reached its crescendo stirring the mortal world and heavens alike,

A journey that transcended in orchestral exuberance on a magical flight,

Suddenly the tunes faltered, the strings gone out of tune and the bow snapped,

Until all that was left was a deathly silence after this beautiful young soul was snatched.

 

The journey has come to a screeching halt,

The empty stage screaming silence echoing loud in the hearts of fans distraught,

The violin rests as magical fingers that caressed the strings up into heaven has gone,

But the blissful music that this musical legend left for us will always go on.

 

Good morning friends, this is a tribute to my favorite violinist, the late Balabaskar, who was snatched away from the mortal world in a freak accident. It was indeed a sad day for music. RIP Balabaskar. 

You can listen to one of his best performance here 

 

 

Smart phone, smart phone on a stick, who has the best profile pic?

Standard

download (1)

My daughter barely missed getting trampled on,

By a shopper and his cart, enticed under the spell of his phone, the real world forgone.

Pulling her from harm’s way, clucking my disapproval, shaking my head in despair,

This man adrift in his virtual world barely noticed, moving on without a care.

My little girl is fine, hale, hearty and enjoyed her time,

For she spent the evening fiddling with a new gadget on display – the Galaxy Note 9!

 

IPads, mobiles and other gizmos so sleek and fine,

Throw open the doors to the splendor of the virtual world ashine.

Wrecking quiet havoc to family’s routine, harmony and time,

Leaving the outdated ones marooned in the real world, offline.

Stealing the pleasure of leisure without FB, Twitter, Instagram or another digital shrine,

Reading a real book or making an actual conversation almost feels like a crime!

 

“Dinner is ready”, reads a message on Hangouts from mother to her son,

He snaps out of his digital dream and stays grounded to reality until dinner is done.

A Whatsapp forward, a joke, a wish sent to your partner on the run,

A conversation that keeps the pretence of a relationship alive, going and fun.

Emojis, emoticons, internet slang and bizarre abbreviation,

An internet lingo for every kind of communication!

 

Shopping lists, weather update, cricket scores or playing a country capital game,

A virtual assistant to your rescue – ‘ALEXA’ is her name.

A tweet, a picture, a status update or a ridiculous claim,

May thrust you into controversy or a spot of overnight fame.

Slouching over the basking glow every day and all night,

We, as a generation, are a chiropractor’s delight!

 

There will not be another Emil Rustige from this home of mine,

Protesting for lack of attention against parents who are on the phone all the time.

For I am the lone protester and the digital dieting mother,

Playing the screen referee to two children and their father.

Microwave the phone, grill the iPad and plug off the Wi-Fi I wish at my will,

But to get all that done I now need a helpful date with Google!download (2)

Good Morning Friends, 

I hope you enjoy this poem. Let me know what you think.

Have a wonderful  Sunday!

 

 

 

 

Have you developed your partner’s scowl?

Standard

"According to this article, couples that have lived together for a long time end up looking alike."

Some of us can pick up a book and magnetically escape into the mesmerising world created by the author while there are others who can pick up the same book and be lulled into sweet slumber in under five minutes.

And then these people end up marrying one another.

Science explains that opposites attract.

 

Luckily, the matrimonial rollercoaster on its railroad to an exhilarating ride with unexpected tight turns, inversions and stomach-churning slopes possesses the power to transform two individuals locked in love to tweak their personalities in order to sustain two worlds under the same roof.

Even Bollywood has never dared to cross over the threshold of life past the happy and dramatic union of the hero and the heroine’s love conquering all odds amid music, drama and dancing about trees in designer wear into the monotony of a real life where sustaining marriage and children amid boring routines becomes the norm.

funny_picture_marriage_cartoons

Could that be the reason why research shows that the longer you are with your partner, the more you begin to resemble one another?

Or is it that thrown under the same roof, sharing similar experiences, food and thoughts day after day — you end up emulating your partner’s frown.

Coming to think of it, I now enjoy watching movies as much as the husband has learned to pick up a book. I am less sceptical about trying a new restaurant while I believe practice has forced him to pretend that he has not noticed the ‘charring’ of the dish that I have called ‘a little over-cooked’ or ‘caramelised’.

It is good that even though we share routines, children and a home, we hold on to a little mind of our own and speak it out too. For, we even disagree on the same topics!

But there are some traits that even matrimony or years of togetherness cannot change.

Like a question, “How was your trip?” that would have lasted a good fortnight, can elicit nothing more than a clipped “Good”. A little coaxing and fretting (read whining, moaning and grumbling) can manage just about a full sentence or two.

While a question in return about my days in his absence can bring about an animated and elaborate explanation about every morsel that my hands have painfully cooked, every individual that I have met, every speck of dust that has been wiped clean and every job that has been successfully accomplished with nothing more than just about a nod in return.

Or the fact that he can sit for hours basking in the glow of the screen before him and manage to efficiently toggle between three jobs with relative ease, but conveniently overlook the painstaking effort that has gone into transforming the chaotic mess amid juggling between two children with varied interests — one intent on gobbling up books while the other determined on wrecking every room with her creative mess, into a beautiful home.

But coming to think of it, I would be worried if he were to bring out the entire cupboard on display every time he makes a trip matching every shirt and pant checking which goes with what for hours at end like I am often known to do.

Or if he decided to rant on about his trip covering every detail leaving me too exhausted to talk about mine.

Or if his meticulous eyes do not miss that inconspicuous blemish or crease in a freshly pressed dress when I seek his honest opinion just like how brutally honest I am known to become when he seeks mine.

Then the both of us would be locked in a marriage of boring similarities and develop the same worry lines until one day someone will take pity on us and exclaim, “Oh! How much you resemble each another.”

 

This is an article that was published in the Off the Cuff section of the Gulf News. Click here to view original post.

Happy Morning, my dear friends! All you happily 😉 married couples out there. Let me know what you think.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

 

Swimming against the tide of multitaskers

Standard

5-Multitasking

It takes a village to raise a child but only a pasta advertisement starring Roger Federer to get Sid to wonder if his Indian-pancake-craving taste buds are willing to try Barilla pasta.

During the T20 World Cup, the little Dhoni fan wondered if ceiling fans back home can operate with a remote after watching the Indian Captain’s ‘smart’ fan advert while Little Princess pointed to a sunscreen lotion at the supermarket that an IPL team promises was their secret to a blemish-free tan-free complexion even after sweating it out in the sun for hours at length on the field.

With the football fever gripping the world, luckily, the footballers are not multitasking and the focus is on the game.

Whether it is being Captain Cool who can endorse brands as well as lift the T20 World Cup or an age-defying Tennis star who can cook Barilla pasta between securing the No.1 spot yet again, from a supermom whose KPIs (key performance indicators) at work are as good as her perfectly run household to being able to toggle between Twitter, Instagram and FB in the company of real friends  – Multitasking is the word of the smart world.

But what if you think it is okay to take a break – even from what you believe is your passion – simply because there are tasks screaming for your attention and people who need you more.

And so I decided to take that break from what gives me inexplicable joy and wings to wander far.

While I retrace my footsteps that are longing to get back into the wonderful world of the written word, thank you my dear friends for leaving your feedback on the Thank you! post.

Happy Sunday!

A special thanks to my dear friend, Nithya, who took time to read at least a dozen old posts reminding me that ‘world of words’ is never far behind!

Thank you!

Standard

db0753a932712932685e78d1964785ed

When Little Princess’s world expanded from the confines of our home into the exciting world of Kindergarten, she first tasted the sweetness of friendship and the bitterness of fights.

Soon enough, she found her ‘best friend’. The girls were inseparable; however, the days when her bestie did not show up, the void was occupied by another ‘best friend’ who suited her needs for that one day.

As for us grown ups living in a virtually connected world, making friends is a mere click away.

It takes people with a singular passion for the written word to contrive an alluring world of fantasy and imagination that are skillfully woven into delicately beautiful strings of meaningful poetry, prose and stories.

And I am glad to be a proud citizen of this creative world.

It has been two wonderful years since I wrote my first post (after months of contemplation) and hit the ‘publish’ button.

As I fumbled through the expanse of the blogosphere, I found new friends who read, encouraged and paved the path for me to tread on my journey with hope and confidence.

Realizing my dream – one post at a time – has given more meaning to life as it opened doors to sweet friendship and unimaginable opportunities.

Thank you, dear friends, for your time, support and your valuable feedback.

It means the world to me!

images

To the Mother with Love

Standard

md-2

It has been more than a year since my cousin’s wedding and that dreaded phone call from Father. While I presumed that my parents were enjoying the grandeur of a big fat Indian wedding, Mother had been silently nursing a gnawing discomfort in her stomach.

By the end of the three-day celebration and after concerned relatives had packed and left, Mother’s agony pushed her to visit a doctor.

Hospitalisation in a place far from home quickly followed surgery.

Mother has always been petrified of doctors and hospitals. Whenever the situation to visit a doctor arose, she would cook up a list of excuses and if that failed she escaped into the confines of her sacred space — the kitchen — and cooked up a storm.

Entrapped in the trance of her culinary magic, we succumbed to her excuses. In hindsight, we had come to believe that Mother had a solution to all her problems — just as she always had one for ours.

Her efforts were always taken for granted until it was my turn to wear Mother’s hat.

I now know that patience is a virtue and not a boon that a new Mother is granted after the birth of her first child; that none of the objects that are strewn about after a busy morning grew legs and walked back into place and that it takes love, attention and effort to transform a house into a home.

Post her surgery and recovery, we have understood that Mother is no magic machine and like one of us, she too requires to be cared and sometimes coaxed into ensuring that she is well taken care of.

While she has learnt that her one-size-fits-all remedies might only give her more time at the hospital dreading needles and doctors, away from her favourite space — the kitchen — and to find it topsy-turvy after she makes a comeback.

After her new-found life lesson, Mother made that much-needed dental appointment. She must have been a dentist’s dream for she has quickly elevated to becoming a priority patient.

Dear Mothers, your efforts are often taken for granted as it is your children’s way of reassuring themselves that you are always there for them.

While you continue to love, fret and worry for your children even years after they have left home, it will give your children immense happiness and relief if you were to take care of yourself too.

Here is a reminder that you are a woman like no other and will always hold a special place in your children’s heart!

 

Dear Friends,

This is an extract from the article published in the Gulf News. To view the full article please click here.  Wishing your Mommy and all the lovely Mommies in the blogosphere a very happy Mother’s Day.