Connecting with nature!

As I wake up everyday, I try my earnest to connect with nature – even if it is in a very small way!

To begin with
I like smelling my tulsi leaves,
touching the leaves of my balcony plants,
looking at the sky (quite the obvious one), wondering about the cloud patterns,
the color of the sky,
listening to the playful mynah,
trying hard to hear the other chirpers,
look at the branches outside my kitchen window and see if they look the same like yesterday or has there been a new branch…

– its endless but there is a strong connection with nature!

This connection uplifts me the whole day!

Thatha’s garlic love

Did you notice today’s date? Its 20th May, yeah! But if you write it like May 20, 2020, it looks and sounds so magical. I have this thing for looking for numbers that repeat or those numbers that make a rhythmic sound when pronounced. Maybe it is a genetic trait from appa. He always looks at numbers and finds rhythms in them. That was something he did as a natural and no wonder, the Telephones department where he worked, found him to be irreplaceable.

The month of May always reminds me of my thatha (paternal). I just don’t remember my thatha’s birthday but the day he left this world is something that I cannot forget. This May 13th was his 25th death anniversary. He was always there with me from the day I was born and I never wondered about his birthdate. But one fine day, he was no more and that date is stuck with me forever.

Thatha’s presence was always there at home. Starting from deciding on the menu for lunch to dinner, planning to go out, temple trip, tv program schedules, vegetable shopping – anything and everything had thatha in it in some form. He will have a request for everyone, a word for everything that went on in the house.

He was an expert on naming people, including my appa also!

If there is one thing which he loved the most it was garlic and he had done well by passing on those garlic love to all his lineage. My amma stood at the opposite pole of thatha when it came to garlic. She wouldn’t even touch it with her hands. But she cooked all the garlic dishes so well, especially the poondu kuzhambu is something out of the world.

This is precisely the reason why thatha used to have a say in the menu of the day; he decides the days when garlic can be cooked. Since he used to fast on Mondays and Amavasya, he made sure that garlic is not cooked even for us – the children of the house. He just didn’t want to miss eating garlic!

Sometimes, we use to pester amma to make poondu kuzhambu (garlic kuzhambu) and if it happens to collide with thatha’s fasting days, she will hesitate.  But we will pester even more and she will eventually agree to cook the delicious kuzhambu.

When the smell of frying garlic wafted through the rooms to that sharp nose of thatha, his loud voice will suddenly boom through the house make an announcement “today’s fasting cancelled”! Ha ha…everyone at home laughed out loud about how garlic ruled his heart and other things like fasting took a backseat.

Dear thatha, if you are alive today, you would have cherished the poondu kuzhambu which I cook! Always in love with you and with the enormous simplicity of your love for me!

My “go to spot” at home!

This is the view from my kitchen window, which faces the western sky!
And this is my favorite spot at home!

I stand here, watching the clouds swim by while I wash vessels.
I occasionally take my cutting board with vegetables and stand near the window!
I stand there to sip coffee.
I try to fill bottles with drinking water standing and staring at the blue sky!
I watch the moving clouds as I drink water.
I try to take my calls in my kitchen, where I sit on the kitchen top and still can watch the clouds.
I stand there to feel the gentle breeze on me.
I don’t need any reason to stand in my favorite spot but I guess I like making up the reasons 😃

Pal Kozhakattai

Whenever amma made kalandha sevai (rice vermicelli mixed with coconut or lemon), it was an arduous task. She used to make the processed rice flour, then make a dough with hot water. And then cook them again in boiling water and transfer it to the sevai nazhi (sevai making machine) which was hand-pressed. The arduous task eases down and joy overrides when the strands of sevai fall seamlessly from the sevai nazhi. The long strands of sevai were thoroughly enjoyed when we eat them. A slightly similar comparison will be the noodles that the kids slurp in one go.

The best part is always for the last. After making the sevai, there will be leftover rice dough which will be then rolled into small round balls and cooked gently. Jaggery will be added and crushed cardamom will be sprinkled. Coconut milk will be poured and mixed. And that is the definition of home-made heaven, which is called the pal kozhakattai. The simple and delicious dessert to be eaten after the sumptuous meal of coconut and lemon sevai.

Making pal kozhakattai is like a nostalgic journey into the kitchen of my patti and amma, sitting there next to them in my pavadai sattai (Long skirt and blouse), helping in the pressing of the sevai nazhi, waiting impatiently for the sevai process to be done so that patti will start making pal kozhakattai.

A dish as simple as this reminds me of my patti’s soft hands and the way she will smile at me for making my favourite dish.

A dish that is reminiscent of my petite patti and the way she does magic in the kitchen!

The taste of Pal kozhakattai in my mouth just takes me back to the times when I am still a little girl lying on the lap of my paati – the sweetest part of my childhood!

And here it is paati, this is for you, made by me in my kitchen!

Que sera sera

I heard my mother-in-law hum a tune. Curious to know what is she humming, I gently go near her so that I don’t distract her. Oh my! Her voice is still as sweet as her younger years, especially when she hums.

And I wondered what is this song she is humming!! Bingo! Found the song and here it is…

I quickly looked up the lyrics of the song and kept staring at the screen. Those lyrics are just the perfect ones we need for today’s uncertain times.

When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother what will I be
Will I be pretty will I be rich
Here’s what she said to me
Que sera sera
Whatever will be will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera sera
What will be will be
When I grew up and fell in love
I asked my sweetheart what lies ahead
Will we have rainbows day after day
Here’s what my sweetheart said
Que sera sera
Whatever will be will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera sera
What will be will be
Now I have children of my own
They ask their mother what will I be
Will I be handsome will I be rich
I tell them tenderly
Que sera sera
Whatever will be will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera sera
What will be will be
Que sera sera

Just re-reading or re-emphasizing those lines – “Whatever will be will be, The future’s not ours to see” made me go Wow!

What perfect lines for today’s scenario! And how perfectly my MIL brought it to my attention just by humming it. We just need to listen to the wise words of our elders.

Instead of fighting against the times, acceptance of things will help us to remain calm and less stressed. Let us take these times to reflect on our thoughts and actions. Let us stay home and let us focus inward into us!

Eastern sky

Eastern sky is an amazing place
Announcing the new day’s face
Filling the Earth with grace
And the clouds that embrace!

The morning sky’s design
Making the golden rays that shine
Our lives that intertwine
With something so divine!

Here is a new beginning
Birds singing
Notes reverberating
Hopes rising
A new year coming…

A happy Tamil new year to all of you!

Hope

This beautiful click was taken by my dear friend Rekha! It is always an uplifting moment when friends send me pictures of skyscapes thinking about my love for those! Also it is surely a moment of self-satisfaction to know that my pictures and posts have been quite impressive enough for people to remember my love for such pictures.

The picture above is a perfect depiction of hope.

Hope

It all started with the ball of fire
Which showed up this morning
In the eastern sky
Killing the darkness
Lighting this Earth
Bringing in the chirping of birds
Those rays that flow gently
From the sun to humans
Is the reaching out
By nature
As a hug
To reinstate the hope
That this is part of the phase
Which has to happen
All is well
Just stay hopeful!

 

Out of comfort zones…

Many of us have found ourselves in situations that are certainly not our comfort zones, especially in the past weeks!

I used to stay away from washing vessels owing to my tennis elbow. But the past few days I am scrubbing and scrubbing the vessels and the elbow seems fine with me! The high point is that my vessels are shining a tad higher!

I think many people have realized what is it like to be a stay-at-home mom and what are the things that go into the running of a household, as they work from home and watch reality unfold in front of their eyes. An out of zone workplace has given new realizations to many!

There are kids who have understood the value of playing outside just by staying inside the home!

There might be people doing things which they are not used to before…

There might be people dealing with difficult situations which they have not faced before…

There might be a few others who understand how blessed they are during these times…

A few people will be staying in a different place which is not their home…

There may be students waiting to get back into their classes…

There may be people waiting to take up new job placements…

Every plan we had got slightly shaken!

And for every shake out of the ordinary, we found a new plan and learned to survive. After all aren’t we the human species!

This ability to survive among new places / environments / situations is our greatest strength. A decade later children will live to tell the tales of this moment and maybe it will become history to reinstate the power of human resilience.

For now, just be with the moment!

 

Morning musings

The western sky as seen from my kitchen window!

I have this window in my kitchen which faces the western sky. The bright blue sky and the gently floating clouds are always my muses. And suddenly I am thankful for this! What is there to a window facing a western sky, you wonder?  The simple reason being that I am able to wash the vessels listening to the Bollywood Retro station playing my kind of old romantic duets and then I feel the cool breeze that hits me on my face, the sweat on me turning into a cooler of some sort and there is this feeling of immense gratitude for this moment!

Today I was a tad more lucky as I was privy to watch 4 mynahs playing (that’s my guess) and making so much noise, which was so nice to hear!

Sometimes, these moments of solitude helps me to get a grip back in life. As I face the window and look at the blue sky, I am grateful for this moment from the bottom of my heart! It is a blessing to feel this alive! Here are some pictures captured during such moments of feeling alive!

The sunset from my kitchen window!
Those moments that calm me!
When I look up and see the light that comes in!

 

The solitary moment

A moment to reflect
Upon thee
Is here
For us to embrace!

Close the eyes
Observe the train of thoughts
Let them all come and go!

Here is the time
To feel gratitude
For this life
For this moment
Where we feel alive!

This solitary moment
Is mine to hold
To breathe in deep
To exhale the stress
And to feel the love
That encircles me!