Category Archives: Daily Medley

The busy-ness of being

It has been a very long time since I stayed up late working.  It’s past midnight and I wrapped up one of the four documents I need to deliver before the end of this month. This one would have normally taken me two days to complete, but it has taken me four, because of my own inefficiency – I overlooked a critical fact, and had to rewrite a section, and a reorganization of computers among the inmates of the house, during which I lost some material to the great wide open.

These past weeks have been crazy on the home front.  I seem to be running around helter-skelter, with nothing tangible to show for it.  The kid joined some extra clubs (debating club and Model United Nations) at school, which makes me drive her around a lot more than before.  Add to it, for some reason, the house-work seems never done these days.  As I type this out, I have not cleaned the kitchen and the dirty dishes from dinner are in the sink – I hate to wake up to a sink full of dirty dishes, but today, this is how it must be.

I have also started violin lessons since Vijayadasami.  When my kid was younger, she, in a whim asked my father for a violin, and the man, who ties himself into a sheet bend around her little finger, bought her one.  The kid made unbearable noises with it for exactly two hours after which it went into the loft and into my head – I have a bit of an OCD about unused stuff in the house, but you knew that, didn’t you?  So, twice a week I strangle a few cats in my violin under the guidance of a teacher.  The mind and body are not as flexible as they used to be, and it is taking me much longer than it would have in era gone past, to learn, but I am making some progress.  I kill fewer cats now and am almost done with the first lesson – the sarali varisai.  :Let’s wait and see how long I can do this.

My yearning to paint has been getting more intense.  What’s holding me back is the cost of the painting supplies, I want to cut back a little this month because the past few months have been runaway with spending.  Another holdback is the absence of a place for my supplies, once I get them.  However, the calling is getting too loud to ignore.  Perhaps next month I will buy some of the art supplies and get on with some of my meditative painting activity.

So long folks.  Have a great weekend.


Break from break

  • Yes, I am swamped with work
  • Yes, my mind is not of tranquil state (when has it been?)
  • Yes, I wrote here that I am taking an indefinite break.

But, you know, catharsis and all that.

I have a medium sized deadline to meet at the end of this month and I just started working on it. As expected with resumption from a temporary break of science writing, I am creaky but once I get into the groove, both speed and ease would pick up.  It amazes me how much like physical activity, mental activity is.  No matter how long you have worked out in your life, it is a hard to get back into action after a break; the only thing that the length of practice does is hasten the recovery.

I have also taken it upon myself to tutor the kid in chemistry. Either because the teacher is not particularly good, or because the kid has not been paying attention in class (I favour the latter), her foundation is nonexistent.   So, at the risk of emerging a tiger mom (shouldn’t it be tigress mom?  My better half asks), I am spending way more time than the kid likes, on her daily lessons.  I am even preparing lecture notes for her for hours, which, while draining my physical energy, fires my mind and with the mismatch between what my brain wants to do, and the body does not, I am exhausted by evening.

Talking of exhaustion, my sleep hygiene has taken a toss.  While I seem to be sleeping for a good seven to eight hours every night, its quality is poor.  I am haunted by dreams, what seems like all night, most of them horrible if not horrific.  More than once in the past week, I have awoken crying.  It does not help that the kid has been sleeping badly as well, and finds her way to my bed at night, snuggles up, and eventually takes up my entire side of the bed, pushing me into a sliver of it by morning so that I wake up not only crying or in panic, but with cramped body and splitting head.  This is probably just a phase and will pass. One part of me does not want it to pass because then I would lose the sleep-addled bone-crushing hug by the very bony and strong teenager.  Parenting is a confusing activity.

Having finally completed “The name of the Rose”, I have embarked on “Far from the Maddening Crowd”.  What narration, I say.  I regret not having read the classics when I was younger.

Tired. Head hurts. But there is miles to go before I sleep, it’s just 1 PM now.

I suppose there ends my break.

Stick a fork in me, I am done.

The golu got done last night, with one doll symbolically laid to rest.  And not a day too soon.  I was exhausted last night – socialization really drains me out.  The kid had a birthday party to attend today, but I refused to let her go because that would mean my driving her there and talking to other parents – oh no, I am done talking for a long long time.

I have at least a couple of posts that need out, one in answer to leenadll’s comments in my earlier posts, and one in response to Brian’s clam bake thingie.  Right now, I just want to sit and stare into empty space and heal my bruised introverted self.

Have a good Sunday folks.

The halfway mark

  • Visited all the main people who invited me.  Sang in a few houses.  Navrathri seems low-key, but the past few years, it has always caught up in the final two days.  Lets see
  • Managed to make goodies every day so far, some days, twice a day.  Thanks to Trump.  The DoE deadline that usually falls during Navrathri, making me run around like a head cut chicken, has been postponed this year, probably because renewable energy is not really a high priority to some people who believe that global warming is a Chinese hoax.  So, soaking in the most of Navrathri, for the first time in the past 17 years.
  • Have been wearing sarees on all days so far, all day.  In the past years, I would wear a saree only in the evening, or when visiting people, but this year, again, thanks to Trump, I have been celebrating all day.
  • A few people visited me today, but I expect the bulk tomorrow.
  • Feeling a little tired, but that is probably because of the festive busy-ness.
  • This year I did not buy gifts for visitors.  No reason….just the inertia in shopping.
  • Diwali is less than a month away. I don’t enjoy Diwali. But I need to buy clothes for the family. Ugh, shopping.


Random thoughts

Kid:  Amma, both you and appa are great teachers.  Appa is scary when he teaches, though.  You are scary all the time.

The kid’s science exam awaits.  The dad has taken it upon himself to impress physics upon her.  and I, chemistry.  Hence the above quip.  Yep, we are officially tiger parents now.


Today’s drama: After the wasp sting and millipede bite of yesterday, today’s malady is deodorant in the eye.  I should take Carol’s advice and just stay in bed.


My guests left last night.  This may be insensitive and on more counts than one, but I feel like the Caribbean right now!

In the last minute scramble, the departing s-i-l decided that an India trip is not complete until she has had the “Thaen mittai”, loosely translated as “honey candy”, which despite its exotic name, has no honey in it. She searched heaven and earth and finally found it in a small shop, bought a few packets of it, gave one to me triumphantly and declared “This is India”.  I don’t remember particularly liking this sweet as a kid, tried one, and realised that I don’t like it now either.  I can’t understand how anyone could like a sticky, super sweet, orange thingummy, ever.  Convinces me that nostalgia is an overkill of imagination and a compulsive need to not grow up.##


I have three bottles of Absolut and five bottles of various types of scotch.   I have no idea what to do with them, but the better half says, we should just hold on to them for many years, they would escalate in value, sell them afterwards as super vintage, buy a castle with the proceeds and retire.  An idea, that.


Happy Sunday folks.


##A google search shows many people ooing and aahing over thaen mittai.  There is an emoticon on my phone that shows a scrunched face with tongue out.  That’s what I need to insert here.



The week begins…

…with one good news – we got our first woman defence minister, and one bad news – the third gender has been derecognized in my country’s labour law framework.  I must stop reading the newspaper in the morning.



The house guests left to spend time with other relatives this weekend, and won’t be back until the end of the week, during when they would jam-pack eight large suitcases with India and return to their land of milk and honey.  It has been whirlwind days when they were around, and interestingly, the more chaotic and noisy the home became, the deeper I dug my feet into the metaphoric ground and withdrew into the silence within me.  Having rambunctious guests at home is perhaps my biggest instigator of instinctive zen.  With them gone, the mind is slowly resuming its mischief as thoughts begin to spiral and the zen is broken.

The downside with the guests was that I became extremely lax with my food control and exercise routine –  I have not set foot in the gym for two weeks now and my portion control has been booted out, especially with the large jar of Kirkland chocolate covered almonds that seductively beckon me every time I enter the kitchen.

I had requested my guests to bring me wine, because the ones you get here are less than substandard, and the good ones are fairly expensive.  I must have given them the impression of being an alcoholic or something, for what I got was, apart from a small bottle of wine, which was empty in one evening, among four people two of whom were heavy drinkers – three rather large bottles of Absolut and five miniature bottles of Ballantine’s and Johnnie Walkers.  The pretty bottles have been put on display above the loft because hard liqueur is not our glass of alcohol. I was tempted to try out cocktails – Bloody Mary and Screwdriver for instance, but the last time I even tasted Vodka – a teeny weeny sip that got me gagging – I suffered a whopper migraine, so I’ll stick to my tee-totalling lifestyle, with an occasional sip or two of wine thrown in, when available.


Karma and philosophy

A universal truth was reiterated this morning.  I had cooked a couple of traditional items – bitter guard pittlai and fire roasted brinjal chutney – which turned out exactly the way my grandmother made them.  While I relished eating them, my family was not too happy about my choice of recipes today and seeing their scrunched up faces, I remembered the innumerable times I had scrunched up my face the exact same way when my grandmother had made them at home. What goes around, comes around, Karma is a dog and such truths are truths indeed.  For a moment my irritation flared and I almost yelled at my family for disdaining food that sustains life but realized that this was merely payback for my actions.

Last week, I had been to the beach with my daughter for a brief while because my guests had to be taken to an Ayurvedic medical man near the beach.  As I dropped them at the dispensary and headed for the beach, it started raining, and everyone else in the beach cleared out.  The rain, however, stopped in five minutes, and the kid and I had the beach to ourselves – it was overwhelmingly beautiful and serene, but the kid freaked out at the darkness and expanse of the horizon and the absence of people around!  To make things worse, a gipsy woman followed me around offering to read my palm and tell my future.  I told her that my future is a function of my own action, and I’d rather not know about it now – she muttered and went away and my daughter is convinced that she is a witch who cast a black spell on me, and something bad is going to happen.  It’s during times like this that I wonder if they switched the bassinet in the hospital.


Have a great week ahead, folks.




The down time

“Amma, My head feels tired and I can’t hear myself think.  I need alone time today when I get back from school.  Can you please ask athai (aunt) and the kids to leave me alone for one evening?”

My kid echoed what was in my head all morning. Three days of socialization is two and a half days too many for all three of us at home, and it seems that my daughter has inherited the gene of introversion from her parents.  My in-house guests are lovely people, but are at the opposite end of the extroversion/introversion spectrum than us.  Life is one big Mardi Gras around them and while they are fun to be with, it exhausts us. This is not just an attitude problem as most extroverts believe it to be, but a real biochemcal/physiological state – it has even been proven that introverts are wired to need downtime because our brains don’t respond well to the dopamine surge with perception of a “reward” – in the case of socialization, the reward being popularity.  We apparently respond better to acetylcholine, a pleasure chemical that is associated with thinking, focusing and reflecting within ourselves.

Thankfully, the stars are aligned, my guests are spending the next couple of days with other people and will return midweek.  Right now, the kid is away at school, the better half is at work, and the guests are gone.  I am reclining in my renovated recliner, with a bar of dark chocolate beside me, soaking in the deafening silence and recharging.  The next two days, you’ll largely hear the sound of silence around our house as we recoup and prepare ourselves for a few more whirlwind days ahead.

Bring on the acetylcholine.