Jantha hai mera COUSIN kaun hai ????

Morning News from Facebook : Uma, Barack Obama confirmed you as a cousin on We’re Related.

I don’t know whether I should be thrilled or happy about this new relation, which Facebook has found for me.

But one thing is for sure, I was rolling on the floor laughing my heart out.

Me and Barack Obama – COUSINS, eh ?????

Now, now, dear Facebook, you’ve made my hubby dear hesitate to come near me. He’s scared that one wrong move from his side and I’ll be on the next flight to G20 Summit to complain to Obama.

Oh my God ! Facebook made my day today !

Then and Now (Part II) – The Television

Since the Television is the centre piece in one’s living room and also because it has taken the prime times of enjoyment out of any body’s life, I’ve decided to allot one full blog about this wonderful TV.

Then – When I was young, we had only one TV Channel – THE DOORDARSHAN and that was the best for all of us. The whole family – starting from my grand parents till my youngest brother were so happy with the range of programs we all had. We had a regional channel of the Doordarshan(called Podhigai), which used to telecast Tamil programs during particular time slots. One movie per week, one collection of super hit songs in Tamil (1/2 hr program per week) – were the favourite programs in the whole Tamil Nadu.
Me and my sister used to watch the Hindi dominated Doordarshan and loved to watch Chitrahaar, Rangoli, Hindi movies. But with limited TV time, we had so much time to do other things – playing, cleaning the house, visiting relatives or friends, going to the temple, helping my mother in cooking and many more. This kind of helping around has moulded me to be a better person today.

Now – My Tata Sky has more than 130 channels, when not one of us even surf through them on a given day. I hardly watch TV and if I get to the remote, its my favorite Travel and Living. Very rarely, I get to watch a good English movie in HBO / Zee Studio / Star Movies.
My Mr.S is hooked onto the Sports and News Channel like the many other men in this whole wide world, but with his crazy work schedules, he manages only an hour a day. Of course, forgive him on those days when the Indian Cricket Team is out on any of the cricket grounds, for a ball by ball viewing and not to forget the highlights.
The NEWS channels are also too many and to make their programs to the top list, these channels make News out of nothing too. Too much of hype about sensitive issues have lead to serious consequences. It’s come to a stage, when we can’t watch even the NEWS channel along with our children – as you never know, what picture or image that’s making news will be aired next.
The kids have about 10 to 15 channels for themselves and mind it – ALL THE PROGRAMS ARE BORING !!!!!! Only one or two is good enough to watch for the time being. And I am sure that this is sure to change over the next six months. And these music channels – What will they do if they have to telecast music for 24 hrs a day ? Keep repeating a particular set of songs over and over, till my daughter learns them by-heart. Its too much for me to hear them on a daily basis.
As though all this is not enough, my daughter wants to switch to TATA SKY PLUS, where you can record programs which you are unable to watch at the time of telecast and view them at your own time of leisure. This one is sure to give me headaches. Because, I know I’ll be sweet talked to record programs for each member of the family, whenever they want it.
I just totally dislike the idea of planning your life based on the TV programs. There are some people who don’t like to entertain guests or visit others during the time of their favourite serials. Are the serials more important than your relatives / friends???? And these are the people, who’ll ignore a guest and continue watching their favourite soaps.
OK, with one TV per home, have the people learnt to share the view time with everybody in the family ? Then why a big war is fought for the mere possession of the REMOTE. Whoever has the Remote, has the Control !!!
As though all these are not enough, there are homes where there is a TV in the bedrooms too. I’ll be guilty, if I don’t accept that my home too is on this list. So, you sleep with a TV and wake up with one also. While kids watch the TV in the living area, my Mr. S watches in the bedroom. And imagine me shuttling between the lovable husband and my adorable daughters !!!
To conclude, let me put it like this – The Television is a necessary Devil in the any house. Let us allot specific time to watch one or two programs. Children can develop their creative abilities or pursue their passion (singing / dancing / crafts), instead of watching repeated telecasts in TV. Just, by talking so much about this TV, I am no way going to throw it out of my home. Let us learn to live with it but make sure that this IDIOT BOX doesn’t rule our HOMES !

Then and Now !

What is this – Then and Now ? Here I want to write about my childhood days in Then and my daughters related childhood happenings in Now. I always keep talking to my girls about this – when I was young, I used to do things like this and that. And so many talks have happened between us, that its time to blog them all.

Then – I had the freedom to play without being dampened by my school routines. Since we lived in houses (apartments were not there), the play area is the street in which we lived. And all the kids in the street joined together in evening, to play the same game everyday. I can even remember, that we’ve played the same run and catch for so many days. Then it was the seven pillars – that craze went on for so many days. Then it was the turn of Hopscotch, Kho Kho, Hide and Seek. What I want to tell is that we were not BORED of playing, as long as we played everyday.

Now – My girls are growing up in the apartment culture, where people from different parts of India live together. Its such a great thing as we get to know about various cultures. Even though there are enough children here to have 10 cricket teams, the surprising part is that these kids have formed groups among themselves – based upon whether their frequencies matching up. Huh ! And, I am more shocked by this line, – Ma, its boring – almost everyday. These children can’t play the same game even for 2 times in a row. That’s considered boring. So, in a two-hour playtime, how many games can they play without getting bored ? Their interest span, for anything, is very low.

Then – During play time, its only play, play, play. Of course, we also did our chit chat sessions, during break times. But never did any one of us brought the tape recorder or a radio out to play. First, it was so expensive to possess one, in those days. Second, the parents banned the kid to take any of the stuff out to play. And we were all more interested in playing together that we didn’t even think about taking the gadgets to the road.

Now – Any kid that comes to play, is attached to an ipod, mp3 player or at least a mobile phone, through the earphone jack. How can these children run and play, with a music player singing with them ? What is the need for such display of gadgets, while playing ?

Then – I have learnt carnatic music – it is a must for all kids in the traditional South Indian families. Me and my sister used to go this class together. And, in my class, we were taught the basic lessons through hearsay. No notes, to begin with. So, whatever the teacher teaches us today, we’ve to recite it by-heart in the next class. We learnt every lesson with such focus and concentration, that after 30 years, I am still able to recite them from memory.

Now – I also sent my girls to the music class – as is the tradition. Unfortunately for me, my eldest daughter decided that singing is not for her, at a very early age. And nothing I did, could make her go to the music class. The younger one has a good voice and started singing very well. When we shifted to our new home, the classes stopped just like that. Now, she just can’t remember the basic music lessons which she learned just 4 years back. Where is the focus of these children gone ? The filmi songs stay in mind, as the girls listens to it everyday – thanks to MTV, V or the various music players.

Then – There was no concept of maids in my home. So, me and my sister were allotted house hold chores from the beginning and it became an inherent part of my life. Before leaving home for school, I’ll have to sweep or mop the house and my sister will do other one. And we’ve to wash our clothes by ourselves, dry them in the terrace, before leaving to school. My mother will help us only in washing our uniforms. Sorry, no electronic help too in our house, then.

Now – I have a maid to clean the house and a washing machine to wash clothes. But, simple tasks like drying the clothes, putting the clothes in the laundry basket, setting the table for lunch / dinner and then cleaning the table, have to be given as instructions everyday. Today’s children are lost in their own world, that all these things are taken for granted – ma will do it attitude.

Then – The world was a better place, then, for my parents to leave me unattended while playing on the streets. Me and my sister used to walk to school, everyday and later on took up the responsibilities of taking my brother and cousins. Even though we stayed quite near to the Marina beach, it’ll take us about 30 mins to reach the beach. And we used to enjoy the walk so much that those were the quality family times, I remember very well. I started travelling by the bus, at an age of 15. Going to places on my own, was very exciting for me and it was easy for my parents to take that decision – as the world was much better to live in.

Now – My children are so used to travelling in the bike / car / auto, that the thought of a short distance of walk would wear them down. And the idea of allowing my girls to go on their own is scary to me, first. The world is in such a state now, that the girls better be escorted.

Now, I feel, that I’ve complained quite a lot about the NOW kids. But, that’s not the intention and should not be taken like that. Its just facts told in the times of my childhood and that of my girls. Actually, today’s kids are more smarter, have more exposure to various things (both good and bad – which makes our job more difficult) and can decide better for themselves.

So, just like our children, we parents are in the process of learning as everyday goes by. I just remember this at the junction to end my blog – By the time a man understands that his father had been RIGHT all the time (that happens when he becomes a father), there is his son who thinks that his father knows NOTHING. I think this is the life cycle.

Edited to add :

The way my thoughts are spinning in my head after I published the post, I think there’ll be a Then and Now – Part II, very soon.

Are you happy in your Marriage ?

Of late, my ears are buzzing with the news that couples (I personally know some of them) are not happy in their marriages. My heart goes out to those people who are unable to find happiness in their wedded life. It is not because that they are not in love, but they have not built their love on strong family grounds.

I’ve seen a few couples, wherein the wife thinks her husband is only for her and their children. It has always been – Me, My husband and My children. I am asking those ladies – “Did your man jump from the sky above onto your lap ?” That man of yours is a son first before he became your husband. Please give respect to your mother-in-law, for the one great fact that she has made a wonderful man and given him to you. Just think of this possibility too – What if your son leaves you for the new wife he has got ? (Futuristic thinking)

It is not always the two of you, in the relationship called marriage. The circle of relatives, who surround your husband and your rapport with them is crucially important. Whenever your husband’s brother /sister appreciates you or the work you’ve done, have you noticed your husband’s face glow with pride ? Now, this man of yours will do anything for you. Wonderful, isn’t it ?

The women of this world have a wonderful nature – to break or make a home. How true ! Till you understand the person with whom you’re going to live with, till you understand the family that surrounds your man, please learn to LET GO. By LET GO, I don’t mean that you should be silently taking the abuses (if any). My point is that do not be under emotional stress to misunderstand the relations. Once you get to know the people around your husband, the relationship is on more stronger grounds to be shaken by silly incidents and outbursts. On familiar grounds now, your family members will LET GO for your sake. Isn’t that what you want ?

From my point of view, women sponge themselves into any situation and are great at adapting themselves to new environments. Otherwise, why would a woman leave her parents home and start living in a new home after marriage ? We, women, are better in this self-adaptation process. We can change from home to working environments and back home in a jiffy. We hold top posts in companies as efficient managers. Why not be the best loved manager in our own homes ?

Marriages are great institutions of life. Let us build a wonderful home surrounded by our love for our family. The secret ingredient for a loving life is – always add a pinch of your priceless love every time you cook a meal at home. That way, your loved ones always come home for the loving meal. And needless to say, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

You have a WIN-WIN situation, dear women. Make use of it to the maximum and my warm wishes for a blissful married life.

A Hundred Questions about me !

I am at this junction in my life where I don’t even think about my daughter’s question paper. And here comes 100 questions charging at me for self – analysis.
Was tagged by Nancy into doing this appraisal of my soul.

ABOUT U:
1. What’s your name? Uma
2. Nicknames? Umiya (by my best friend in school), Ums, Upma (particularly used to irritate me, but still used a lot.)
4. Zodiac sign ? Virgo
5. Male or female or transgendered ? Female
6. Elementary? Children’s Garden School, Chennai
7. Schools ? M E I Children’s School, Chennai (Nursery)
8. Colleges ? Govt Polytechnic for Women, Chennai (if polytechnics can be catalogued under colleges)
9. Height ? 5’4”
10. Hair color ? Used to be black, now has acquired a shade of brown, due to henna.
11. Long or short ? Keeping it short – easy to maintain
12. Do you have a crush on someone? ? Right now, nobody (weep, weep)
13: Ever been in love? Very much, with my husband and so much with my daughters.
14. Piercings ? Ears, yes. Nose – had it for 10 years and one fine day said goodbye to nose ring.
15. Tattoos ? Hate them on me and on others too.
16. Righty or lefty ? Generally right handed. Due to tennis elbow in my right hand, I am training myself to be a lefty, at least for doing strenuous jobs.

FIRSTS :
17. First piercing ? My ears were pierced when I was 1 year old, without my permission.
18. First best friends ? Sharada, Hamsini, Raji, Sharad – when I was 7 or 8 years old.
19. First sport you joined? Running race – I used to win all the races in school till I reached my puberty.
20. First pet ? Last year, had a pup, Brownie for only 3 months and then gave it away.
21. First vacation ? New Delhi – Its all hearsay, my parents took me there at an age, of which I cant recall anything. First vacation, which I can remember is to Ahmedabad, my mama used to stay there.
22. First concert ? Been a part, in the school team.
23. First crush ? Ravi Shastri, when I was in college. That was the time he won an Audi and all the girls in my class were droooooling on him.
24. Eating ? Anything, except sweets / ice creams / chocolates. Love to eat chips – anytime.
25. Drinking ? Would love to drink these anytime – water, tea, fresh juice (lemonades are my favs).
26. I’m about to ? eat lunch with my girls.
27. Listening to ? Tumse hi din hota hai – from jab we met – that’s my fav for the current season.
LASTS:
28. Last beverage ? Tea
29. Last phone call ? 30 mins back
30. Last text message ? from my cousin, wishing my daughter on her bday.
31. Last song you listened to ? aaogi jab tum ho saajna – from jab we met again. i love this song.
32. Last time you cried ? I cry everytime I watch Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and it came day before yday (may be the 17th time).
HAVE YOU EVER:
33. Dated someone twice ? Dating — Totally banned in my house.
34. Been cheated on? ? I don’t think so – as I try to convince myself that it is all a misunderstanding.
35. Kissed someone & regretted it? ? Yeah, my hubby, Srini – kissed him just after he had a paan (its the strong one) and very much regretted it.
36. Lost someone special? ? My grandfather.
37. Been depressed?? Sometimes, but try hard to come out of it.
38. Been drunk and threw up? ? Threw up – No. Drunk – yes, on our honeymoon – became totally drunk for one small glass of wine. Srini got so worried since I was laughing silly.
HAVE YOU:
39. Made new friends ? Yeah, very special ones too.
40. Fallen out of love ? Never fallen in – to fall out.
41. Laughed until you cried ? Every time I watch Vivek’s comedy (Vivek is a famous comedian in the Tamil movies)
42. Met someone who changed you ? My mother-in-law. Changed me for the better.
43. Found out who your true friends were ? Yeah, in the most hard way possible.
44. Found out someone was talking about you ? Of course, I can sense that immediately.
45. Kissed anyone on your friend’s list ? No, no, no.
46. Made the first Move ? Mmmmmm…… No.
47. Do you have any pets ? None
48. Do you want to change your name ? Of course, not.
49. What did you do for your last birthday ? Had an enjoyable family dinner in a great restaurant. Srini had arranged for cake, flowers. What else can a woman ask for ?
50. What time did you wake up today – 5.30am. Have to get the girls ready for school as their bus is at 6.45am.
51. What were you doing at midnight last night? Blissfully in sleep.
52. Name something you CANNOT wait for ? I cannot wait for a get-together with my school mates.
53. Last time you saw your father ? Feb 2009
54. What is the one thing you wish you could change about your life ? Wish that I had gone on to finish my graduation.
55. Most visited webpage ? My Yahoo Mail – I love to keep in touch.
56.Bribed someone? ? Personally, no.
57.Played with dolphins? ? Went for a dolphin show, but after we got seated, the show got cancelled.
YOUR FUTURE :
58. Want kids? ? Not at this stage in my life. Now, even a small change in my menstrual cycle can create havoc in my life.
59. Want to get married ? ? Yeah, me and Srini relive our wedding ceremony on our anniversary every year.
60. Careers in mind? ? Making a career for my girls.
61. Settling in a Big Villa? ? Yeah and that day, we’ll have a dog too.
62. Day or night? ? Nighty night, sleepy head.
63. What day is tomorrow? ? Tuesday.
64. Challenges? ? Physical ones – no. Mental ones – yeah, I don’t mind trying.
65. Drive with windows up or down? ? Down, of course.
66. Scared of Death? ? Yes.
67. Cook or Clean? ? Cooking all the way, for me.
68. Lips or eyes ? ????????
69. Hugs or kisses ? Both are meant only for my family.
70. Shorter or taller ? Taller
71. Older or Younger ? A lot younger.
72. Romantic or spontaneous ? Spontaneously romantic.
73. Nice stomach or nice arms ? If u work towards a nice stomach, you’ll automatically have nice arms. Howzaat ?
74. Sensitive or loud ? Very sensitive.
75. Hook-up or relationship ? Hook ups are not in my book.
77. Trouble maker or hesitant ? Mmmmmm very hesitant.
HAVE YOU EVER :
78. Kissed a stranger ? Never even thought about it.
79. Lost glasses/contacts ? I don’t wear glasses / contacts.
80. Found money on the road ? Wish I had.
81. Sex on first date ? When there’s no date, where’s the sex ?
82. Broken someone’s heart ? Didn’t do it deliberately.
83. Had your own heart broken ? Was too strong to let it break.
84. Held a snake? ? Awwww Nooooo. Just cant stand reptiles.
85. Been arrested ? Me ??
86. Turned someone down ? Yes
87. Cried when someone died ? When my grandfather died, I cried a lot.
88. Liked a friend that is a girl/boy? ? Yes
DO YOU BELIEVE IN:
89. Yourself ? I do.
90. Miracles ? Absolutely.
91. Love at first sight ? It didn’t happen for me. But I was loved at first sight by my sweet hubby.
92. Heaven ? I am on a good deed mission, to reach there finally.
93. Santa Clause ? A wonderful character for a make believe fantasy world.
94. Peace in this lifetime ? Am trying very hard for it.
95. Kissing on the first date? ? Sorry, very boring life, indeed.
96. Angels ? Are all around us, trying to help us when we are in trouble.
97. Is there one person you want to be with right now? ? My sister-in-law in US.
98. Had more than one boyfriend/girlfriend at one time in the past? ? Yeah – girl friends.
99. You will die Young ? Already old, where to die young ?
100. You will end with the one you love and learn to love the one you are with – Its always better to love the one you are with.

Atlast, they are over. And here, I tag
Bins
Ram
roopscoop

Waking up with Alarms !

Trrrnnnng ! Trrrnnngg ! Ahhh ! What is that noise ? Who is disturbing my sleep ?
I hate these alarms. This was me when I was studying for board exams and this is still me when I try to get up and send my daughters to school. I love to switch off the alarm and go back to sleep and continue with my dream. Ah ! Such wonderful dreams come only in the early morning hours, which I’ve to cut short to get up.

When I was in school, every night before going to bed, my standard dialogue to my mom will be “Ma, please wake me up early. I’ve got to read”. She’ll give me a dirty look and walk off. I know this look, as I get it everyday. Early morning, when my mom starts waking me up, I’ll just open my eyes a little and tell “5 mins, I’ll be up”. And then I’ll cuddle nicely with a pillow and close my eyes to continue my dream. My mom will come again after 5 mins and this time she’ll have a very stern voice. I’ll actually sit up and again fall back on the bed. My mom walking from the kitchen to the bedroom and me changing poses will continue for another half an hour. To put an end to this situation, my mom will just get a glass of water and pour it on my face. Alas, dreams shattered, sleep gone and I am totally awake. As this situation was a regular everyday, both my mom and me got used to it, kind of. Now, you understood why she gave me a dirty look.

Actually, the problem arised because of my sister. This sister of mine will get up on her own in the ungodly hour of 3am to study. While I can study late into the night, I can never do this morning studies. I try and study during regular days so that I dont need to keep awake just to study. Why miss out on the wonderful dream-full sleep ?

And now, when I dont have anything to study, I’ve to get up early to the ringtones of the mobile alarm, so that my daughters get ready for school in time.

What a wonderful invention is the SNOOZE option in the alarms of mobile phones. It’s just like what I did, when I was young. Those days, it was my mom who used to snooze and call me every 5 mins. Now it is the mobile, which has taken over from my mom. I set the time in my mobile 30 mins fast. When the alarm rings, it is actually 30 mins in advance to the actual time. It is a great delight now, to keep snoozing the mobile for the next 30 mins and enjoy some more sleep, the way I wanted.

The holidays are the time when the mobile alarm is totally off, but I’ve to live with the real life alarms – like my daughter, who gets up at 5.30am even during days when she has off.

Now a days, as political parties in India follow the footsteps of Obama, they are becoming more gadget oriented. I keep getting election messages in the middle of the night or in the early morning hours. I am totally against these smses in the night times.

Finally, as the exams are getting over, I am just about to get a break from the alarms and blissfully sleep till the sun rises. Here’s to beautiful dreams and great sleeping time to myself !

Weight loss is never a Cake Walk !

Weight loss !!! Its just two words but the meaning and the effort that goes in to achieve it, is humongous. And all the tricks of the trade that we practise won’t bring the needle down, in the weighing scale.
I cannot be rated as fat. But people, who have seen me during my early days into marital bliss, will find me a bit more round at the curves, now. Well, to be honest, I don’t mind the roundness in the curves at all. It’s the bloated tummy that’s bothering me and especially my jeans, a lot.
I can still remember when all this started – it was after my second c-section. Every minute of the day was spent on my 2 daughters who are only 1 year 5 months apart. Imagine my plight when the older one wants to run around and play and I have the younger one to feed and nurse. This babysitting situation helped me to totally forget about my body. And by the time, I looked up to see myself in the mirror (after I had put both the girls in school), it was a horrible sight to see. Oh God ! All the weight gain has happily happened while I was totally oblivious to it. I had gained nearly 10kg than my weight before pregnancies.
Now, I take a vow to myself, to really workout and make myself look trim and fit.
– I started walking instead of taking the bus or auto wherever I was going alone (of course, only to places that are walkable for me). I couldn’t have walked with one toddler holding my hand and other one in my hip. I don’t remember when this exercise stopped or why it stopped.
– Somebody told having honey and lemon in warm water will help in reducing the fat. I sincerely did this till one fine day when I ran out of lemons.
– I joined swimming classes at my hubby’s insistence. Basically, I was scared shit of water. So, all that did happen in that 15 days course was that the fear of water was reduced considerably. But swimming, that didn’t happen at all. Look at my fate – when I paid a whopping 1000/- for 15 days course, I had to miss classes for 4 days due to my periods. So, only 11 days remained in my course. All I learnt was only to float.
Srini used to take me to the paid pools during weekends, so that I can hone my swimming skills. That also stopped when we got a transfer.
– During the next 5 years, somehow this exercise fever evaded me. It was when we joined the club’s health membership, that I started hitting the gym with a vengeance. And I was improving my swimming skills with Srini’s help. Wow, the world looks great now.
– I had just started reducing a few kilos and then came the fast food giants to Hyderabad. Why should they open shop here and have all of us drooling over their menus ? KFC, Mac to name a few were the culprits behind my weight gain, AGAIN.
– Now, we had to shift to our own house, and going to the health club became a distant dream.
– As I meet more women in my apartment, who have undergone similiar experiences, regarding this monster Weight, I am happy to be having company. So, some of us started some workout routines, which ended in happy coffees, cakes, sandwiches and so on that the workout didn’t have any effect at all.
– Then we took to yoga, the in thing now. We were all doing great yoga and we felt the difference in our body, but it hardly lasted for 2 months.
– Now, it is the turn of dancexercise. Even though the workouts are killing us, the joints are hurting, we know we’re burning a lot of calories there. But, can we sustain this pain and gain from the calorie drain ? I really doubt it.

Now, what does all these trials tell me ? They are shouting at the top voice that I AM NOT COMMITTED. Because, if I’ve been committed to the weight loss program, I wouldn’t have had Potato chips (my biggest weakness) or the cheesy fast foods. Whenever I am failing, I would have thought about it and found the reasons for my failure of the program.
The weight loss is never a cake walk, women. Think and choose the right weight loss program that suits your body and mind. You should be totally committed to the program. Ahhh! Talking about it is so easy. The difficulty is when you’ve to drag yourself through it.
So, help me God, to be more committed to the weight loss program, to stick to it (even during days of menstruation – these are my days when my program tends to fail) and to eat healthy.
Is weight loss a distant dream or a reality ?