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!

The Batter boon

Today I made my idly batter after a gap of 10 days!

It’s not just 10 days but 10 long days, as the batter was over 4 days back itself and only I knew the difficulty of going through the past 4 days without the support of idly batter in the refrigerator. And it is not only the morning breakfast but night dinners too are tiffins at home.

This story has been the same for decades, for me. When there is batter in the fridge, I feel like I am on top of the world, ready to face anything as the battle of making tiffin at home is sorted out.

But without that semi-solid-y batter to support me, I feel bereft of ideas to cook! Upma, pongal, paratha, poori, aval, idiyappam, wheat rava, rava dosa, pidi kozhakattai, oats, bread and all other kinds without the batter, will be done in a jiffy and I will be back to square one – which is my thinking square on what to cook for that day!

It’s a catch 55 situation – when batter is there, I want to cook something else; but when I run out of batter, I run out of ideas too! Sigh!

Batter is available to buy – yes, yes, I know! But oopsie! We have tongues that put up a war front when given dosa made with store-bought batter! I do buy it sometimes when I am too drained out but home-made batter has a special place in heart.

As of now, I have the boon for tiffins and the space is set for the next 4 to 5 days! I shall face the music when I run out of batter.

Now, I will enjoy my idly and sambar 😀

UFO Redefined…

I hope you have seen the animated series for children “Bob the Builder”. My girls loved watching that series which involved construction of buildings / bridges and other stuff. And in that series, the cement mixer was called Daisy. Whenever we used to go out and we get to see a cement mixer, the girls will start shouting “Look at Daisy, Ma” ! The husband’s perplexed looks on where the Daisy was made us all laugh more.

That was throwback Thursday story…ha ha 😀

Last month, one evening, me and the husband were chatting, sitting in the balcony, enjoying the chill Chennai breeze (for a change, the chillness took us by surprise)! And suddenly, at the distant dark sky, I saw three lights descending from above. I started screaming “OMG! Its an UFO” 😀

The husband laughed at me and told me that it will be a crane only and not an UFO. I told him that I couldn’t see the grids and I was very sure that it was an UFO.

He kept laughing at me and started teasing about my obsession with the movie PK.

I stomped off inside to get my glasses, wanting to prove my point. When I went to the balcony again, he was still smirking at me with a “PK aaya ho kya?”

I ignored him and after wearing my glasses I looked out at my UFO. And I laughed out aloud. It was indeed a crane with lights fixed on its base. It was being used at the construction site near our place.

The heart that wanted to see magic happening saw an UFO in a crane.

Now, my girls look at a crane and call it UFO with a teasing smile pointed my way…he he!

This is that crane, which is being referred to as the UFO now 😀

Happy birthday, my sunshine girl <3

Her smiling face is her passport
To all the good things that comes her way!
Her perseverance is her guiding light
To those amazing things that make up her life!

Her vivacity
Friendliness
Intelligence
The josh to live life on her own terms
Standing up for what she thinks is right
Her fiercely independent nature
Gives her the glow of joy of living!

She enthralls her group of friends
With her laughter
Lame jokes
And a great zeal for doing things!

Her clarity of thought
On things to do
On her studies
And way beyond too
Makes me so damn proud of her!

And this is the best time to thank God
For bringing her into my life
Through me
As she is the sunshine
Which I need everyday, to be!  

Happy birthday, my sunshine girl ❤

This and that from a mother!

I remember the day she started loving paneer…
Its still so fresh in memory, the day she started having milk like other kids, overcoming her allergy to milk…
The day she stopped telling “buuuu” for any color I ask and started telling the colors so clearly without the hint of baby language…yes, I remember…
The day she stopped referring to herself with her self-made name “athroo” and started referring to herself as I / me / myself – very fresh in memory…
The day all the baby talk blabbering stopped…very much remember them…

Now, I wonder when her fav color changed from blue to pink or the other colors which she didn’t prefer before!
I
I wonder when she started preferring geometric designs on her dress!
When did she grow up so much to give psychological lessons to me!!
Or when did she become my mother to scold me for getting a headache..he he!
When did she start disliking her fav potatoes and started liking the fruit salad!

Am just sitting here and knowing about the changes suddenly, without any warning and am like, when did this happen!? I just sit and wonder about them, as they keep going through the changes.

As a birthday keeps approaching, the mommy is going through a lot of thought process…

Those real life incidents as Memes :D

There are so many memes that do the rounds based on the current trending topic. But memes made for the mom and her ways with her children are applicable forever.

Especially listed below are a few which my daughters have identified with me…he he…guilty of some…but at that moment it was required 😀

This one is the best. I always used to wake them up like 30 mins early. The problem is I don’t like to be late for anything and I insisted that my children learn that quality in life. But now if you ask me, I should have let them be as they are and that they will learn things when they are ready for it. Sorry girls for stealing those precious sleep moments!

 

ha ha…this is one is epic 😀
I used to roll my eyes like that for accidental use of curse words and my elder one took it up so seriously that she would roll her eyes when the younger one used it with her.  And I think she still does that with her sister..he he…:D 😀  How I imparted those rolling eyes to my girl?! ha ha…this is true life incident!

Oh yes…many times I think…even before they start with something, I’ll assume its going to be some other thing and then say no without hearing properly. Then later, while we were lying down in bed, she’ll explain the same thing to me and I’ll be feeling absurdly foolish for having said no.

This my daughter sent me, so I guess she has done this many times 😉
But that smile is the sweetest, I tell you 🙂

Ohhh…this happened then and is happening now…ha ha…its a competitive world, I say 😀 😀

I was totally taken aback to be used like this 😉 But I guess its quite natural..ha ha 😀

Am guilty of doing this…umpteen number of times! Especially, when I had got them phones for the first time, the top most instruction is to pick up my call in the first bell itself. And if it doesn’t happen, the missed calls will increase. Now, I call and if they don’t answer, I try to instruct myself that there is a valid reason for not answering and that I should wait for a return call. It takes time, even with mothers…sigh 😛

This one happens all through the holidays! Shifting from one room to another in search of a warmer bed…sigh…those days !

So, dear mommies, do you relate to any of these, in your life? 😀

Come on…spill it!

The only constant in my life…

…has been and always will be “Idly maavu in the refrigerator”…ha ha…did you for a minute think that I am going to talk about the man in my life ?? 😉  He is there…always there. But Idly maavu (batter) is for both of us, you see.

With Sundays converted as work days for me, the handy man is the Idly maavu. I can make idlies for breakfast which is quick. And when I get home tired from work, I just have to close my eyes and make dosa and eat and sleep. You see, its a pleasure to not to think about “what to cook” 😀

I just keep making different vegetables for lunch. But this constant Idly maavu is what makes my life easier.

I might get into the mood to make upma, pongal or poori for breakfast, provided the constant is stocked in the fridge always. And when the maavu goes below the mark of “one more day to go”, I get jittery. All I can think that its time is to soak rice and dal for making the idly maavu.

I wonder what’s this funny relationship between me and this maavu or perhaps idly or dosa? These thoughts keep coming to me now and then, edging me to write about it.

Anyway, my constant is FULL now. One more week of utter bliss awaits me. Also with a batch of adai maavu, I feel well stocked…ha ha…the foodie me never stops thinking of food 😉

Ratnadeep shopping and redeeming the coupons!

One day, my younger one called me with excitement in her voice. “Ma, a new professor came to class today and when she spoke, I was reminded of you and your story about buying those dinner plates using redeemable coupons”.  She went on to explain her professor’s story of how food coupons given in her husband’s company were collected and used to buy the snacks for the whole family. It’s not that the snacks were unaffordable to her. That small act of using the coupons to redeem and buy for the whole family gave her such immense joy.  And my daughter saw me in her; yes, I’ve been there and done that too.

A decade back, I was living in Hyderabad. Even though I used to visit supermarkets occasionally for some on-the-way shopping, I never really went to any supermarket for my monthly grocery shopping. I wasn’t against it or anything but I was way too fond of my local kirana shop, near my house. I just have to call him and give a list over the phone and tada…the things will be home delivered asap. The shop called Lucky Stores had a great sales strategy – the sales people were too friendly, very helpful and emergency orders were treated with utmost urgency. And most of all they understood my broken hindi and didn’t make it a joke of sorts 😉 A casual look at the shop may be deceptive but they had all the brands stocked inside their shop. I still remember how my younger one will proudly showcase her different variants of Lays chips to all her friends, which was not available in other shops – yes, Lucky Stores had very unique stuff too.

And then, we moved from that place. I missed Lucky Stores.

Then I started exploring the new place, went on long walks to know what shops are around, where to buy what, asked people around on shops they trusted and stuff like that. Then I discovered Ratnadeep Supermarket. It was like love at first sight. I loved the shop and I truly felt the shop loved me too 😉 The girls were in love with this shop for they had a whole section upstairs where they can browse through books, games and other stuff they like, while I can do my work.

My work at Ratnadeep comes from meticulous planning. Since I remembered the aisles in Ratnadeep like the palm of my hand, I wrote my grocery list, in accordance to the things arranged on the aisles and my movement from one aisle to another. It was a pre-planned routine. Certain things are bought month after month, like rice, pulses and other regular stuff for cooking. I used to linger more on the aisles for cosmetics and toiletries where I was spoiled for choice with the multitude of brands displayed.

The first floor had displays of stationery, books, games, CDs, crockery, cooking utensils and many more. And I always gazed at the beautiful crockery and used to make mental notes on what all I can buy that month, and what to buy the next month.

In all this planning, I used to hoard the gift coupons which Ratnadeep offered. I used to get a coupon for every 100/- I bought. I saved them so carefully and kept counting it after every month’s grocery shopping. Then I used to go to the crockery section and check on the favorite item of mine to see if the coupons I had was enough to redeem against the price of that crockery set. It’s not the fact of not being able to buy that set, it’s just that the feeling of satisfaction and happiness at redeeming the collected coupons was too overwhelming and made me glow with pride. And with those coupons, I had bought two sets of 6 dinner plates and I value that as my prized collection.

So, have you bought things by redeeming your coupons? How did you feel?

Another one for the menstrual cycle!

I remember those days, when my girls had just started menstruating –  days were – extreme tension filled, sanitary napkin buying spree, screaming because of cramps, whether to go to school or not and also the disgust in seeing those bloody pads. Sigh…seems like decades back! Oh yeah…maybe a decade !

I’ve written many posts on the humor side of this menstrual cycle, jokes made at home by the girls and my own struggle on the same territory.

Today by chance, I came to know that yesterday was Menstrual hygiene day and there is this initiative to educate the girls and the boys on the same for healthier acceptance of this monthly cycle among the younger generation. Its not something to hate or love, but acceptance of the physical creation of the human body. There is nothing to be ashamed or be scared.

There has been many instances at home, when the man, my wonderful husband has felt a little bit shy or even terribly embarrassed at the mention of periods or related menstrual talks or complaints of pain and other such related issues. He has even wondered at his pitiful situation of 2 young just-started menstruating girls and one irritable woman with severe cramps who is troubled more by her PMS. But he survived the initial years mainly through silence and observing what makes us tick or what does not!

He understood more about the process of menstruation from our girls than from me. There has been times when he makes himself invisible, when he hears mood swing screams and banging doors.

But the good thing is he sustained.

Now, he is the one who is constantly looking for home-remedies to treat the menstrual pain and immediately mails the girls. He is the one who gives the “you are stronger than these pains make you feel” to the girls! And he waits patiently with a trolley / basket in hand, when the girls flock to the sanitary napkins aisle in the supermarket! When the daughter calls and says an abrupt “Give the phone to mama”, he patiently obeys her. When I feel irritated or keep snapping, he just knows to treat me with my food cravings. He just knows it!

And there has been moments, when he listens patiently, when I keep going blah blah on how sanitary napkins are not eco-friendly and what are the other methods available that I can try! I admire his patience in listening to these bloody talks! Me being me, I’ve also insisted on him being a ONLY  a listener and he has grudgingly agreed to!

I remember a cute couple in a supermarket, where the husband read through the sanitary napkin pack, all the different brands to help her choose the right one for her.  Some people might find that too much interference, but I found it as an act, where he involves with her menstruation.

There was this video on how a mother tries to educate her son on the menstrual cycle and that brought up this post.

And it all comes to one final point – communication. Its important to educate the girls and more important to educate the boys on this topic. Its not something to shy away, rather its something to embrace as it is the boon which will keep our human race alive!

Food is memories

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I had made rava upma the other day. While S loves it with pickle or chutney, his favorite indulgence is to have it with a sprinkle of sugar on top. That’s exactly how his grandmother used to eat it and all his siblings still follow her food combination, unconsciously.

Just like how thayir sadam always makes me want mavadu or dried narthangai – its a memory now but it filled my childhood days mainly because of patti doing such things. She loved her pazhaiya sadam (yesterday’s rice soaked in water so that it ferments overnight) with one watery buttermilk and narthangai or maavadu…sigh…am drooling while typing this.

Similarly, rava dosa kindles in me the comfort of a mother’s hug – my mom does it the best! Also, milagu poricha kuzhambu, milagu kuzhambu, arachuvitta sambar…sigh…endless !

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S will surely go for an extra helping if it’s his mother’s recipe for masala kuzhambu, parval fry, pagarakai nool katti fry (bitter gourd stuffed and tied with a thread and fried)! Not to mention her amazing dal poori – that’s something to drool for !

The other day, my brother wanted the recipe for thakalikai kootu, just as our Amma makes…see – childhood footprints playing again !

And when we grow up with such yummy foods, which related to our taste buds, its a hard thing to let go of it.  We might relish a pizza or a burger or a North Indian kulcha, but the food we grew up with has a special place in our heart, ok…the tongue and the taste buds !

The other day, my elder one was drooling for thavala adai and thengai chutney, while she gets awesome rotis and dals.  And when I made poori yesterday, the younger one was drooling for it. Even though they get awesome food wherever they are, sometimes the simplest of upma or dal will rekindle their memory and they’ll feel like coming home.

That’s where the root is formed and it needs to be simple and strong !

That’s why brought up is very important – both for cultivating food habits and moral habits too !

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So, what childhood food memory are you thinking now – to enjoy over the weekend ?


Picture courtesy – Google