Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Julie and Julia - My take

After moving to US and watching a few local American sitcoms, I heard the name Julia Child being passed around a lot. Sometimes as an inspiration, sometimes as a funny reference to motivated home chefs. I had never heard or read about her hitherto. Yesterday, I chanced upon this movie called "Julie and Julia" on Netflix. The description said something about it being inspired from Julia Child's life. So I just thought I would watch the movie a little, because a) I am not very interested in English films generally b) I did not have any reference of Julia Child. But then I watched the movie.

It was one of those movies which just caught me off guard. It had such a warm fuzzy feeling to it. The story is about a girl named Julie who works in New York but hates her job. She is going through a quarter life crisis, and wants to do something big, some challenge that she can take on and come out top of it. And so, she decided to take up Julia Child's recipe book which has 524 recipes, and decides to finish it up in exactly 365 days. Like most of us, her pump fizzles out through the middle of any challenge. To overcome that, she starts a blog which she updates everyday with the recipe she tried and how it turned out. The movie then keeps going back and forth between Julie and Julia's life. While Julie tries a recipe, the movie transports us back to the time when Julia developed it, and how her life was at that time. The character of Julie is played by Amy Adams, and if I may say so, she is equally adorable. I could so relate to her when she starts her blog. And waits for people to read and jumps at every single comment. How sometimes, she is sleepy, and yet makes time to blog because she believes her readers would be so disappointed if she didn't. It was so funny to see it in retrospective. 

The character of Julia is played by Meryl Streep. Forgive me for saying this, but I hadn't watched a single movie of Meryl Streep, until yesterday. And that's only because I am not as drawn to English movies as much as Hindi ones. But now, I am a big bag Meryl Streep fan. Now I now why people consider her a legend. The way she has played Julia's character is so adorable, it makes you fall in love with both of them. Maybe it was Julia's character that makes her so warm and fuzzy, but I still can't shake off her beautiful face and smile. I had never seen Julia Child before I sat down to write this piece. Even though now I know how she looks like, but I think from now on, every time someone mentions Julia, I am going to think of Meryl Streep. That's like two legends together. Too much to learn. Too much to love.

If you haven't watched this movie, do watch it. Bon Appetit !

Leaving you with the official trailer to enjoy :)

PS: This is not a movie review. 
PPS: Images taken from Google.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Reading & Writing development for kids with Education.com

The road to reading success can be challenging for some kids. Let these professionally animated games give your child the skills and confidence to meet those challenges head on! Alongside friends like Roly and Muggo, your child will develop reading comprehension skills ranging from sight words and letter knowledge to transition words and story comparisons in an engaging way that will help foster reading independence.

Check out Education.com

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Product Review - WondrBox

WondrBox aims at providing creative stimulus to kids while building concepts and helping them learn new things at the same time. I ordered a few boxes and let me share one of them in detail with you. I wouldn't be sharing all, as that would give away the surprise and discovery elements. But the review is comprehensive and based on the feedback of all boxes.

The box I am going to review is Emotion Kingdom.

The idea of this unit is to introduce kids to the world of emotions. The kids are shown basic emotions like "Happy", "sad", "angry" etc. through animal stickers. Not only this activity is fun, but also helps in making kids more aware, enabling them to articulate their feelings. These cards also double up as flash cards where kids can write practicing the feeling names. Since these are clean and wipe cards, they can be reused. Isn't that value for money?

The next activity includes 25 animal cut outs, displaying different emotions. The kids are first supposed to segregate these under the different type of emotions they have learned  in the first activity. Children can also count the number of stickers under each group, helping them enhance their numeric skills as well.

The third activity is a nice board game with the Emotions train. The players get to pick flash cards and move places as per the mood indicated. The flash cards also encourage players to talk about their experience around a particular emotion. Personally, I think it is a great way to keep the kids engaged while also encouraging them to speak up and articulate their thoughts.

The final activity is a DIY Emotion piggy bank that the kids need to make, from the material provided in the box. This activity is not only creatively stimulating for the kids using colors and ribbons, but also engaging, keeping them occupied for a good 30-45 minutes. They can also use this piggy bank as creatively as possible

I found the concept of the boxes nice and refreshing. Aimed at not only keeping them busy, but in a manner that will help them build on their cognitive skills,motor skills and logical reasoning.

The only complaint I have with the boxes is the DIY material. I found that though the material provided is sufficient in quantity, it's not really the best quality. Many a times, the blocks needed to make a craft is flimsy and doesn't stand the pressure. 

Priced in a nominal range of Rs. 250 INR to Rs. 400 INR, I think these are a good gifting item for kids. You can find the full range of WondrBoxes at this link
Go ahead, buy these for your kid, or a friend's kid and see them enjoy it, while learning a few things in the bargain.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Product Review - WondrBox (Unboxing)

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Hello people. I am back with a Product Review after a really long time. So without further ado, lets check it out.

The designers at Team WondrBox aim to provide children with play based learning against the more conventional textbook based learning in schools. So they have designed WondrBoxes with 4 activities in each box that are not only fun, but will make the kids use their cognitive and logical abilities to be able to complete them. Each box also contains a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) activity that helps kids build something from scratch and also learn a new concept. The kit contains all required materials needed like paints, colors and boxes. The kits are designed for kids aged between 3 and 13 years.

Watch the unboxing video right here.

Appreciate how neatly the activities are packed? Because if you have kids, you would know how greedy they are to open everything right away. Since there are 4 activities, it makes sense that the kids take time to complete each one, also ensuring they don't lose the other parts in the process.

Now that the box has been unboxed, let me go ahead and play and build and I will be back with a detailed review very soon.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Book Review - A Good Indian Wife

When I first read the title of the book, I thought "A good Indian wife" was used in a satirical tone. And this thought was further strengthened when the protagonist Leila continually "pushed the envelope" by trying to express herself,and sometimes not do what is expected of her.

I liked the way the author describes Leila's first few days in the country as "cold". I found it to be both literal and metaphorical, as I also experienced it when I first moved to this country. Add to the fact that she had a new marriage and an arranged one at that.

Neel's (the husband) character was very believable because of a few reasons namely, a) Inferiority complex of brown skin b) Believing that everything American was better and c) at the capability of Leila to adapt to his American life very quickly and on her own. He associated an "arranged marriage" girl to being timid and one unable to be at the helm of her own life. That in a way, is also the start of a relationship between them and if I may add, a new found respect for Leila's confidence in herself, her brown skin and her "Indian-ness". At one point Leila disagrees with something that Neel says and he finds that even though he is impressed by her ability to hold on to her own, he is also surprised at his own chauvinistic self.

While I could not identify with Leila at some places when she continues to be quiet about Neel's affair, I could also totally believe her actions as she was torn between her desire to act her way or the way that was expected of her by the society. Most of the women born in the 80s and 90s can identify with her dilemmas as we are the generation caught between having seen patriarchy up close but also seen feminism being talked about in our drawing rooms.

I really liked the book for it's easy read, and yet a good substance.My rating: 4/5

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Diary of Lil S - Happy Teacher's Day

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Today morning my Mom told me that it is Teacher's Day. And that we must thank our Teachers for helping us learn new things. I told her that I will say "Thank you, welcome" to all my teachers.

By the way, I start school in 5 days. And I am very very excited. Mom says she is more excited than me. I don't know why. She doesn't even have a "big school" to go to. And I get to go to school everyday. And I got all the new dresses and bag. But it's ok.

We are going to have a snack time at school. And I am so excited. Mom asked me if I knew what a snack is. Of course I know. I think snack is fancy food like pizza or chips or candies, in a fancy lunch box, given to kids who are starting school. Mom just smiled at that. She said I am going to be surprised when school starts. I told her I love surprises. Who doesn't, right? :-)

Recently, we celebrated Janamashtami, which is Lord Krishna's birthday. Birthday is always about cakes and gifts, right? But Mom only bought fruits for Krishna ji. Mom said I could dress up as Radha ji, who is Krishna ji's friend. But I told her that I wanted to dress up as Krishna. She said I would have to wear a dhoti for that. But I don't like dhoti. And so, I dressed up as Radha ji and wore my favorite lehenga. I really love Krishna ji because he eats maakhan and I love it too. I want to play with him. Mom says I can play with him when I grow up a little bit. Do you want a play date with Krishna ji too?

Friday, August 24, 2018

Diary of Lil S - Hello

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Hi everyone. My name is Lil S. I am 4 years old. And I can’t wait to be 5. Because that means I get a birthday party, a cake, new dress and lots of presents. I have decided to be here for a while, because my mom is quite lazy to document my precious Kindergarten years.

By the way, do you know I am starting Pre-Kindergarten soon? My mom keeps saying it's a month away, it's a fortnight away but I don’t understand. I am just happy it is starting “soon’. Staying at home is not cool, except the mornings. Because I sleep till really late. Rest of the day, I get really really bored. And you know what Mom says every time I tell her that? She says,”Let’s read a book together”. Or worse, “Let’s practice writing your A, B, C”. Why doesn’t she understand that I don’t like it? I like to play all day.

I want to be like mom when I grow up. She gets to do all the grown up things like cooking in the kitchen. With fire. With a real oven. And she got me a kitchen that doesn’t cook food. Hmph. She watches TV whenever she likes, she works on her laptop whenever she wants.Why does she keep telling me to shut it off? I have told her that I will not be her friend when I grow up. And you know what, she says OK. But then, while tucking me in every night, she hugs me and says I Love you. I am just very confused if she really loves me or not. What do you think?

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Book Review - The Things We Do For Love

"From the moment they meet, Angie sees something special in Lauren. They form a quick connection, this woman who is desperate for a daughter and the girl who has never known a mother’s love. When Lauren is abandoned by her mother, Angie doesn’t hesitate to offer the girl a place to stay. But nothing could have prepared Angie for the far-reaching repercussions of this act of kindness. In a dramatic turn of events, she and Lauren will be tested in a way that mothers and daughters seldom are. Together they will embark on an intensely moving, deeply emotional journey to the very heart of what it means to be a family."

When I read the synopsis of the book, it sounded like a very run-of-the-mill-kind story. But I picked it up solely because I absolutely loved the author's other book, The Nightingale. Her writing style, how she developed her characters of the two sisters, the dramatic WWII setting et al. I was absolutely in awe. I knew I had to read another one.

Truth be told, I kept at this story till the end only because I had great expectations from her. But the story and the writing style just didn't sound like her. I had to remind myself a number of times that it was Kristin Hannah and not Jodi Picoult.

There were some sections of the book that I totally loved. Liked Angie's parallel story with her husband or how her Mama kept talking to her Papa. It was very endearing and the author did manage to get the readers to look for their tissues. Other than that, it was very one dimensional and been-there-done-that!

I feel that I am biased against the book only because I found The Nightingale fabulous. But then, that's also the reason why I picked this book up in the first place.

My rating: 3/5

Monday, May 14, 2018

Thinking out loud..

Sometimes I come back to my blog after a break, a couple of weeks or a month, and I feel like, "Hey, do I know you?" It's the exact same feeling when you are fighting with your husband who you have known for a decade now. True, right? :-)

These days, I often go back and read my old posts and think about the time when I was active and wrote often and had an opinion abut everything, including parenting. Now, with my 4-year old who is oh-so-headstrong and opinionated and questions with a "why" on almost everything she is told to do, I am at a loss. I am no longer sure of anything. I am always second guessing my decisions. I try to be patient and answer all her questions so as not to just make her obey orders, and yet sometimes, the questions are never ending and I am forced to shout "Do it because I told you so". And thereafter the guilt trip starts...

Some days, she would be my little girl, sweet, and obedient. And just when I have let my guard down thinking, I finally have a grip on this thing called "parenting", she brings out all her secret moves. Crying, moping, giving me a silent treatment (yes, at 4!) and being a total nuisance about EVERYTHING. And what do I do? Move away from her even though what I really want is to give in and see her smile. And thereafter the guilt trip starts...

I am all about balance. My priorities lie half way between "being at the top of your class" to "not knowing a thing" and "Never hit the child" to "Spare the rod, spoil the child". So I just nag her enough to do a little bit of reading and writing everyday and letting her play the rest of the time. And sometimes, when the whining and crying while lying on the floor of the grocery store go out of hand, she does get a nice whack from me. And then she says, "you don't love me". Thereafter, the guilt trip starts...

And then, at the library, a lady asked me if I was planning to have a second because "she is so cute, and obviously wants a sibling". I have learnt to deal with this incessant question. I say a firm NO because "she is more than two handfuls". But what I really want to say is, "Hey you! Do you know I had a 16hour+ labor to bring her into this world? And without an epidural, mind you. And then she just wouldn't sleep the whole night for the next 1.5 years. And then we had to potty train her, get her off her pacifiers and feeding bottles. And then by that time, she was cool enough to ask endless questions. And sometimes, I have to shout at her and whack her because she needs to become a good person. I am already on a never ending guilt trip. You think I want to add to that??!!"

But, of course, I don't say this because people would think I am crazy. More importantly, a crazy mother.
On that note, Happy Mothers' Day! Or may be, "Happy Guilty Person's Day" ;-)

Picture courtesy: Google

Friday, April 13, 2018

Don't Wake Up - Book Review

"Gillian has always encompassed the vast space between pretty and ugly. In fact, she is painfully aware that there is nothing remarkable about her, until her husband Ricky experiences a mysterious fall that leaves him in a comatose state. As doctors and nurses rush to assure her that Ricky will recover well, Gillian thinks of the years of cold silence and manipulation that have overshadowed their marriage. As the coma persists, Gillian dreams of a different life, one her marriage has denied her, and hopes Ricky does not wake up. Nonetheless, his eyes open to reveal a man who claims to remember nothing of his former self. Gillian, convinced that this is only a furthering of his past cruelty, seeks to test this new Ricky. She invents a family they never had, and fills his head with stories of an imaginary life. Ricky becomes a father, and an orphan, eagerly accepting magazine-clipped photos and an urn filled with cigarette ash as evidence of his once-happy life. But, as Ricky persists in his assertion that he remembers nothing of their real past, Gillian begins to question how far she can go in punishing a man for sins he cannot remember committing."

The book starts with pretty much what is described in the blurb. Gillian pretends to be sad for her husband who is in coma after a fall, but is secretly relieved to be rid of him. She likes going back to the house, watch mindless television and eat ice cream for dinner. But one day, her husband, Ricky wakes up. But he does not remember anything after the first 16 years of his life. She is secretly sure that Ricky is playing mind games with her, only to catch her red handed as soon as she makes a mistake. But turns out, that's not the case. Gillian discovers that not only does Ricky not remember anything, he is a totally different man from what he used to be. Gillian remembers him as cold and distant whereas the new Ricky is warm and caring and wants to know all about his old life.

The thing that worked for me was the brilliance of Gillian's character. It is complex and layered. The way it progressed from a happy child to a pregnant teenager and subsequently, an unhappy adult is totally comprehensible and spoke for many of her life's decisions. The narrative keeps going back and forth, but definitely keeps one hooked.

A couple of things didn't work for me. Gillian keeps insisting on the fact that Ricky was manipulative in the marriage, but has only incident to share for it. And somewhere down the line, I got an impression that maybe she was so clouded in her own grief of losing her child, her sister and her parents, that she was a little too preconceived about her relationship with Ricky. Also, Ricky's character was never delved upon in the book, except from the protagonist's view. And so, one forms an opinion about him based on that. But by the end of the book, I felt like I would have liked to know what was going on in Ricky's head as the years rolled by and their marriage kept falling apart and none of them did anything about it. I never got to know if it was Ricky, a philanderer and alcoholic who destroyed the marriage, or Gillian, who was too cold and hurt to care or both. Also, the sub plot of Ricky donating money for causes that are close to Gillian's heart seems like a cliché and doesn't add to the book in a meaningful way.

The ending of the book is a little abrupt and yet not bizarre. It takes you by surprise, and yet not! It feels like "not a happy ending", but a right ending as if this was real life. By the end of the book, I felt sad for Gillian and her life journey hitherto. I would definitely like to read another book from the author, Shauna Kelley.

My rating for the book: 3.5 stars (a half extra star for brilliantly carving out Gillian's character)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Wife - Book Review

After finishing “The Husband’s Secret” by Liane Morarty, I was really looking forward to a book that would hold on to its own. You know how sometimes you read a book so amazing, that anything you read after that does not match up. I wanted to pick up something that wouldn’t disappoint me. And so, I went to the library searching for my next one. Since March is being celebrated as Women’s month at the library, they are showcasing some of the better women writers and their books. And that’s how I chanced upon the book, “The Wife” by Meg Wolitzer. Also, let me confess, I didn’t find the blurb as exciting, and solely picked up the book because I loved the cover. It’s a simple cover, and yet I was drawn to it. And for once, I have to say, I am glad I judged the book by its cover. 

“The moment I decided to leave him, the moment I thought, enough, we were thirty-five thousand feet above the ocean, hurtling forward but giving the illusion of stillness and tranquility. Just like our marriage." And that’s how the book starts in the words of Joan Castleman who is on her way with her husband Joseph Castleman to receive the Helsinki Literature Award., one of the highest literary awards The book then transports you back to 1950s when Joan was a student in one of Joe's class.

Joan takes you on her journey and her marriage of 40 years, back and forth in the book. The secret that she reveals at the end of the book is not really a secret because she drops enough hints through the narrative, and yet I found it difficult to come to terms with it. There were times when I could not connect to Joan or her character until she delves deeper in the crevice that existed between male and female writers back in the 50s and 60s, and how the feminism movement had not yet started.  I loved her take on marriage and how she subtly defines some of the characteristics of husbands, without sounding like a cliché. Her writing is sharp and satirical. It’s also funny, but in a very empathy arousing kind of way. There were times when I thought she was weak, and sometimes she would just turn that opinion on its head. The characters are complex and very well written.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. And even though the book is set in a time different from today, yet you could find it touching a chord with something in your marriage. Like this one passage from the book that reads,” Everyone knows how women soldier on, how women dream up blueprints, recipes, ideas for a better world, and then sometimes lose them on the way to the crib in the middle of the night, on the way to Stop and Shop, or the bath. They lose them on the way to greasing the path on which their husband and children will ride serenely through life”.

My rating: 4 stars

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The bathtub

I told her to read her a book till I was back from my bath. Nothing out of the extra ordinary. That was our routine for the past few weeks. She had finally started reading on her own. I made use of that to take a relaxed bath. That day was no different.

I ran a warm bath. To be true, I liked the water hot. As I stepped into it, I could feel the warmth of the water almost physically straightening my curled up cold body, taking away my stress and calming me. I always promised her it would be a quick bath. But it was hardly ever quick. Once you hit a tub of warm water, your reflexes slowed down automatically. Your hands didn’t move fast enough. Your brain neither.

As I finished soaping myself, I unplugged the tub to drain out the water. And that’s when it struck. I felt a hand on my naked butt. I think I froze for a second. I was all alone in my bathroom, in my bathtub, closed from the only open end with the shower curtain. There was no way there was anyone in my bathtub, leave alone a hand.

I turned and saw it. High on adrenalin, I fathomed “it” was floating in the water. Upside down. Head under water. My shriek caught in my throat, I did a double take. And just as quickly as it had appeared, the adrenalin relaxed, and a silly nervous laugh followed. It was her doll. She had left it in the tub, yet again…

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Tourist in my own city

Life in Philly is good, but also terribly cold all the time. The idea of a snowfall sounds so great and romantic and maybe playful, but after the first time, it's really more of a nuisance. It gets bitter cold and the sidewalks get slippery and you are under house arrest until the weather clears up a bit.
Living in downtown has a lot of advantage though. Most of the must see places in the city are at a walkable distance from our place. But since most of the Indian families live in communities located away from the city, we don't get to make as many new friends as we would have liked.

The Philadelphia Free library is a measly 10 minute walk from our place. If there's one place that has held our (my daughter's and mine) sanity, it has to be the library. Stuck in a new city with perpetual cold and snow and no new families or friends to meet, we have spent many a afternoon scouring the library aisles. Their children's section is a huge floor dedicated to the kids. They have a huge collection of books for every age. Apart from that, they not only have story reading and craft sessions that the kids really enjoy, they also have lego sets, puppet animals and faux veggie-fruit-kitchen sets for the kids to enjoy. And let me not even start with the number of titles they have for the adults. It's been close to 4 months here, and I have yet not explored everything there is.

And because the snow and cold make sure we aren't doing any outdoors activity, we have visited quite a few museums in the city. The main difference that I find between the museums here and the ones back home is that these guys definitely know the art of presentation. We may have a lot more history, art and culture to showcase, but we definitely aren't able to package it as well. If you are ever in this part of the country, do plan to visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art (showcases art from classic to abstract to modern), Academy of Natural  Sciences (famous for dinosaur fossils and life size replicas), National  Museum of American Jewish history (shows the history of Jews living in America through the World Wars) and The Franklin Institute (Museum of science, biology, including a telescope for star gazing). Leaving you with some pictures...

LED screens clustered together to look like ruffled papers @ American Jewish Museum

A huge sandstone book that doubles up as a slide for kids @American Jewish Museum

That's us! :)

That's a "thin" human brain slice @Frankiln Science Institute

Simulated dinosaur eggs for the kids @Academy of Natural Sciences

That's a real fossilized dinosaur egg colony @Academy of Natural Sciences

A life size replica of a human heart. It has an entrance and an internal staircase with red walls and a maze that showcases  the process of blood pumping @Franklin Science Institute

That's a REAL "mummy" @Academy of natural sciences
My beloved Library :-)

That is a complex network of neurons, which are connected to intelli light and sound system.
The best part: everyone is allowed to get on it and understand how it works.

That's my little paleontologist at work @ Academy of Natural Sciences
And so, until spring arrives, and until we can go out of the city to explore the mountains and the beaches, I will continue being a tourist in the city that I live :-)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Kids and Government officers

So, I have been trying, and in vain, if I may add, to teach my little one to pick up her toys after she is done playing with them. Most of the days she doesn't even register that I am talking to her. She is too smart to give me attention when I am asking her to pick up after her. Next, I resorted to help her pick up her toys with her. This starts with me starting to pick her toys and pretending how fun it is! She does join in for a while, only to start playing with the toys again. Or worse, finding that it is not so much fun!

Finally I had to resort to the illegal way of getting stuff done. I promised her a chocolate if she picked up after her. She was definitely excited, and also promised to comply. I finally thought I had the lion under control. But nada. She played, she went off, not listening to my helpless cries and finally, I had to clear off her toys all alone. A couple of days later, I hid her toys telling her that the devil took them away, because she didn't keep them safely. She accepted the fact and went about the whole day bugging me with incessant questions about animals, humans and the universe. I just HAD to give her the toys to get her off my back. So, I made up a story again about how the devil has given her "one last chance" and promised to return all her toys. And that she is to keep them safely if she doesn't want them to be taken away again. But! You guessed it. She didn't pick them up. She made up a story too. She told me that she met the devil and he is her friend now and that he has promised to never take away her toys. No mention of picking up the said toys AT ALL. 

I have resigned to the situation now. After all, kids grow up. I am going to miss this stage once she starts keeping her things in order. Or that's how a lot of parenting blogs tell me. So I have left it at that.

Recently, one day, she asked me for a chocolate. And as always, I refused. She persisted. So I kept delaying it saying that she hadn't brushed, and then it was milk time, and then it was breakfast time and so on and so forth. Finally, after lunch, I relented. I gave her not 1, but 2 chocolates. The only reason being that that I like to eat 2 chocolates at a time. So I thought she could have two too, at least one time. Of course, she was deliriously happy at hitting this unexpected jackpot. I went about doing my chores of the day until she came up to me after a while and told me that she had picked up all her toys. I was like, "What? You have done what?". And she gave me a sheepish grin and also a peck on the cheek without prompting for it. And that ladies and gentlemen led me to these 2 very important revelations:

1) Our government officers are overgrown children who need a "chocolate" first and then get the work done. Nothing else works!

2) Our kids have, unfortunately, inherited this from us.
Our genes have been corrupted. God help my country!

Monday, January 8, 2018

The little girl

Bastard and illegitimate were just some of the words that her new born had often been labelled with. The baby was born to her and her live-in partner. They had decided to keep the baby when they found out, at 12 weeks. As expected, their parents had not agreed to the match or them having a baby together without getting married. 

The little baby girl is 5 years old now. She is young and vivacious, and her innocence personified features make her look angelic. Her maternal grandma has come down to meet her, finally. One look at her and she can’t help but exclaim, “Oh dear! You are so beautiful!” while the proud father looks on.

The little girl’s mother sighs in a corner, “Ma, that’s because she was made when we made love. Not when we had sex”. She then starts humming her favorite song to drown the voices in her head which screamed “desperate, lust, stigma, sex, illicit, bastard, illegitimate”.

Friday, January 5, 2018

The latent cooking gene!

And so, if you have been reading up, you would know my cooking journey has finally commenced, and how! I never thought I would ever talk about cooking on my blog, or discuss recipes with my friends. If people who can't dance have two left feet, then I, with my zero cooking abilities,  am definitely one with two left hands. But clearly, times have changed.

Recently, our American neighbor came over for a short visit. He was intrigued by the "aroma" wafting through our house. I showed him the freshly cooked "bhindi ki subzi"in the kitchen. After tasting it, he remarked,"Its so delicious. You must open a restaurant". Well,to say the least, that is a huge compliment for someone who has two left hands.

And while we are on the subject, let me also share some pics of the banana bread cake that I recently baked. It came out great too, much like the cookies. Well, seems like, the beginner's luck is really working. My latent cooking gene is finally alive.
And no, I will not be sharing any recipes or have my food blog any time soon. Because, I am learning, and trying out other people's recipes. So.

Enjoy the pics. And tell me, the cake looks delicious. Because it surely tastes delicious :)
And excuse me if I go overboard with the food pics for a while. But that's because I never believed I could do this stuff. I am so freaked out and excited that I can't keep calm!

Banana bread cake. Fresh off the oven

Thursday, January 4, 2018

An ode to 2017..

Saying that this year was life changing for me, would be an understatement. The year started with us planning a trip to Thailand for our 6th wedding anniversary. It was a great vacation, with beach visits and lots of family time. 3 months later, H was packing off to US. Goodbyes are never easy. And it is always a difficult time with S, missing him and being totally uncooperative.But in the middle of that life, I got an opportunity to visit Leh with my parents, while the grandparents babysat lil S. Leh trip, as expected, was incredible. We traveled from one mountainous region to another, braving hot sun, rain, and even snowfall. It is one place where the pictures don't do any justice. The panoramic view is something that you take in and remember. You can't ever capture the magnanimity of the landscape.

But the cake for change has to be, our move to this country, that I am now trying to call home. I have gone over this decision a thousand times in my head, and each time I came out convinced that it was wrong. I love my country, my city, with all it's fallacies. I didn't want to move here. Leaving behind my job, my financial independence, my parents, and friends. To start a new life. All over again.
But then, who said, Life was fair. H convinced me that it was best for our daughter who was really struggling with the pollution levels in NCR. And thankfully has been doing great health wise, ever since we landed here.

There are some things that you can never prepare yourself for. Like, being at home, tending to the house and cooking all day, without a "job". So here I am, with a lot of time which I am utilizing to watch all the movies I missed owing to the "job". Life is definitely coming a full circle, right? I am also finding it really difficult to maintain a routine because, you guessed it, no job. The first month was miserable with a feeling of listlessness and total loss of control. Slowly, I am beginning to really enjoy all this spare time and revel in being totally aimless. Until it's time to get back to the real world.

And finally, I am slowly conquering my fear of cooking. I have never had any interest in cooking, and always made sure to avoid it. In fact, during my 3 year stay in Bangalore, I never took up a flat because that would require maintaining a kitchen. And so I always stayed put in a PG where a maid cooked for us. The maid arrangement continued after our marriage until...now. Never say never, right? After I moved here, I have been cooking at least 3 hot meals a day. I even managed to bake cookies which, if I may add, turned out quite yummy.

Home made cookies, anyone?

The way life has been throwing curve balls at us every year, I am quite convinced that I don't really need any New Year Resolutions. I should just learn to swim with the flow, and learn the lessons along the way. How about that for a New Year Resolution? :-)