Category Archives: Daily Medley

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.


Bedlam and some furniture

Our guests are here. It is madhouse in here, but a cheery madhouse.  The s-i-l and her family have been given more than their fair share of energy and enthusiasm, and the entire zip code is on fire. The down side is that there is absolutely no routine, and I am making coffee at 2 AM in the morning, and serving it with murukku. The wine bottle is yet to be opened, because the kids, still not out of EST, are not sleeping at decent local times.  But, things will settle down.

The carpentry work finally got done.  I was getting irritated with the grimy sawdust everywhere.  Apart from a new cot, and a few new book shelves that have been custom made, we repaired and renovated some ancient wooden chairs that were lying in the attic at my father’s house.  My grandmother, who was a hoarder when alive, would have nothing done with them, but now I bypassed her protesting spirit and got them fixed. They are quaint looking, not everyone’s taste, but oh, so comfortable.

The first of the chairs was the one paati sat on for the last five years of her life. Not that I have any sentiments about it, but it is an extremely comfortable chair.

Shall post more pictures once the living room is completely reset.

And this too is passing

I must be getting over my spell of panic/melancholia of the weekend. I made the carpool kids cringe today and made a bunch of people in an online forum, who take themselves too seriously, laugh.  I am a little angry that my disturbance has passed and life has resumed, because if this is all there is to this, no wonder that there are atrocities being committed all the time. I don’t know how my being upset would fix the world, but it seems unfair for me to go on with my life.  The survivor guilt?

That aside, our home has been a mess.  We have been re-organizing/refitting the home and replacing furniture, some new, some ancient, with custom made furniture.  The carpenters have been at work for the past few days in our back yard, and I have been making cauldrons of tea for them every now and then.  Apart from that, my house guests arrive tomorrow, the work is not completed yet, and I am beginning to freak out.  The sudden heavy spell of rains outside right now (which, is welcome, given that I have been cribbing so much about the current water problem in my area) has put a damper in the already slow-moving work.

Ideally, there isn’t much I can do.  Might as well sit back and enjoy the chaos, because it can only get better from here.  Or not.  At least my kitchen is spotless.

That’s that.



Cakes, chocolates, icecream, custard, pudding, jelly (or jello depending on where you live), pancakes, tiramisu, egg nog, cold coffee….

That’s all I can think of as I type this post.

Either I am taking this “eating healthy and losing the handles” thing too seriously for my own good that my brain takes its own way to kill me, or my hormones are acting up. Probably a bit of both.  OR a lot of it.



After a long time (even years perhaps), I ate a regular home meal not cooked by me.  We had to pick up a few distant nieces and a tiny nephew to spend the day with us, and decided to eat at an aunt’s house for the sake of logistics.  I finally have proof that I suck as a cook. What I ate yesterday was meal.  What I eat every day at home is crap.


Another food thought.

The nephew and nieces who spent the day with us, are raised in  orthodox families that have strict rules about what to eat. Given that the kids were with us for many hours, I was bound to feed them something, and it was hard. No cookies (eggs), no bread (yeast), no jam (gelatin), no hot chocolate (God knows why), no bhel puri (home made, mind you, and without onions), no cakes (eggs), no chips (store bought)… While I am in awe of families that tenaciously hold on to tradition, I wonder if it is very restrictive.  I finally fed them apples and turmeric milk.  Healthy I know but less fun no?  I could have made them traditional snacks like murukku and laddu, but I am a crappy cook.


It would be lovely to eat a large hot brownie and wash it down with cold coffee right now.  Hmmm.

Not the end of the week

This Friday and Saturday, the kid will be away as a delegate at a make-believe session of United Nations in an alien school.  Why is it that I teared up this morning at the sight of her in a business suit?  Is it because she is no longer the little child that needs a nappy change, or is it pride at the tiny wings?

I know MUN is not a big thing and all that, but it is in the fine print of the mothering manual that anything can be a source of bragging. I sent out a picture of the kid in her formals to all and sundry.  The response was lukewarm.  A caveat in the fine print reads – “If other people don’t give a dang to the piddly-butt activities of the ward, the mother is expected to judge them”.  I am doing a lot of judging today, by that agreement.

It is a little weird when the kid is away doing school-related stuff on Saturday.  A single Sunday is insufficient to recoup from the rigors of five days of utter chaos.  For the mother, that is. There are kids around who hop from class to class on weekends.  Parents of such kids are gods. Those, on the other hand, who would rather have the kid lounge around in pajamas all weekend at home, are cool (what’s that you said? Lazy? Irresponsible? What’s your problem, huh?). Other than that, nothing much will change, and one week will merge into the next seamlessly.

For the rest of you who are on a Friday and looking forward to a two-day weekend,  pffft to you.  On the other hand, my kid is at the MUN, looking all grown up in western formals and talking about the Paris Agreement and Global Warming (which, I repeat, is NOT a Chinese hoax).  Beat that, I say.