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

Day 25 – Foto Friday

Shail, am taking the concept from you for today; am rushed, tired and no time to write all that I want to write!

Here are some pictures which bring back my most cherished weekend, at Malpe Beach !

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When I just relaxed on the smooth white sand…sigh!

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Just before the flight up in the sky !

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And then we flew high up in the sky !

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And the awesome sunset – my favorite !

Musings from the heart

Mathematics was my fav subject
It still is…
I knew the tables upside down
And geometry was so much fun
Algebra, Trigonometry
Logarithms
Oh my !! I used to race them all
In solving the problems and all
I thought this was the world of genius
And I felt part of it
Thinking that this will take me ahead
I walked around with a proud head
I surely felt elated
My ego was suitably inflated
I used to feel like I knew it all
Till a decade back
I realized
That all those functions and theorems
Doesn’t have anything to do
With my present state of life !! Sigh !!

I went behind it too
To pursue it as my course
I jumped into logic
Binary and Hexadecimal
Coding with C++
Till one fine day
When I learnt that
Doing things without logic
Just on the intuition of the heart
Gives me more happiness
And joy !!

And in the process of loving a subject
I left out on many things
Which I would have loved to do
This certainly is not a regret phase
Its just thinking aloud
About not learning those other things
Which I am good at too !!

My dad used to swim well
I could have learnt swimming from him…
I did learn later
But with Dad it would’ve been great !

My mom cooks damn well
I could have learnt straight under her
Instead of learning from her through phone…

My patti was a great entrepreneur
She did so many things from home
It was her necessity
But I try to think of her ability
To manage business so well
Without a B-school degree !!

I could have learnt to sing better
To stitch better
To design clothes better
To do kolams better
To solve that crossword better
To paint better
To bake better
And…
I could have read more books
I could have traveled to places
Than be stuck in the same place !!

I never realized the art of writing
Was there inside me
Till the day I pushed myself
To become a blogger !!

This is just a blabber post
About people missing out
On their passionate stuff
And to realize their true self
The skills they have
With which they were born
We fail to look into ourselves
And see what we have !
We close our eyes
And jump into the sea of people
Who throng those colleges
Of professional courses !!
Without understanding what we are
It is difficult to study engineering
Or medicine or any course !!
Why not take time out to see
How we fare
Inside our hearts
Do we have a singing voice ?
An urge to play an instrument ?
Interested in stars ?
In reading palms ?
Helping out people ?
Talking to people ?
What are we inside ?
What do we like ?
Make a career out of that
And never feel a regret !!

Day 29 – Awwww moments 2

I started this crazy month of ramblings with a story about my little one and I’m ending the same talking about her.  Yes, this is the 29th post for the month of February and I’m so happy to have done this for my blog. I’ve made it alive 😀

I just met her this weekend. And she is a joy to be with – her instant smiles and hugs were surely a welcome break than the monotony of life.  It really is. Its only when I’m away from it do I realize it.

  • When she was about 5 or 6 years, she used to call her peripa (her dad’s elder brother) as Hong Kong. We just didn’t know what made her call him like that. But she loved calling him like that and then show her brilliant smile and vanish. Now, when she is so embarrassed about that name calling, he keeps calling her with that name to tease her. It’s so lovely watching them making fun of the childhood name calling.
  • Even when she was a little kid, she used to be very different about her ideas and held onto them stubbornly. And sometimes, she doesn’t wanted us to guess what idea is being formed in her head. So, she’ll cover her eyes and bend down and shout “Dont read my mind” 😀 😀   (as if we couldn’t find about it otherwise 😉  )
  • When we were in Hyderabad, I used to have a lady S who comes over to make chapattis and help with the household work too. And whenever she is making the chapattis, my little one will go and stand with her and talk to her. And much later, after shifting to Chennai, she tells me that she even learnt to make chapattis from S.  And during those times in Hyderabad, S will make for her tiny button sized chapattis to snack on.  Now, I go Awww thinking about what a people’s person my little one has been.
  • When she was in her Higher Secondary, she needed to travel by the local train to reach her school. And of course, she had the train pass for her travel. But everyday morning, she’ll keep a 10/- note and a few change for one old lady and one old man who stand on the way to the railway station.  She just cannot pass by them, without giving them the money. She used to tell “I want to help such people Ma”.
  • The train is a great place to make friends. While she was travelling one day, there were a lot of transgender people asking for money. And my little one was very scared of them then.  So, she kept the money ready in her hand.  But when those people came near her, they refused to take money from students, citing that “I’ve also studied M.Com and I don’t want money from students”.  My daughter was so stunned and then came home to another session “Ma, I’ve a doubt on transgender”.
  • And with all her doubts on this thing and that thing, I’m very happy that she always came to me with it. She’s one hell of a curious cat and she has never hesitated to come to me with her share of questions, starting from “Why this maid is doing like this?” to “You know why this happened in Fifty shades of grey, right??”   –  Yeah, that’s her 😀
  • She went swimming and banged her face on the pool wall and broke her front tooth. For a long time, she was with one half-broken tooth in the front row. She used to hesitate so much to give a full smile for pictures. And then over time, she got over it – crooked teeth or what, I’ll smile my brilliant way. That’s my girl!
  • It was a rainy evening in Hyderabad. And the girls were playing down while I was finishing the dinner cooking. Suddenly elder one comes running telling that the younger one has fallen down. I went crazy. More than acting calm, my mind was rushing with images and my heart was pounding. She and her friends had tried cycling over a car drive-way slope and because of the rains the break was slippery and she lost balance and had fallen down. Luckily she was not hurt badly but she was crying. She should be about 10 or 11 years old and quite tall for her age.  And when I realized that her leg was swollen little bit, I just carried her from the car park to home. I didn’t know from where I got the strength to carry her like that.  All through, she was telling me the same thing “How come you’re carrying me Ma?”  I amazed myself that day and she went Awww over me J
  • She loves to sit on the kitchen top and keep dragging me into her hug, which I miss so terribly these days.
  • The way she updates me about whats happening in her friends circle and what they are doing, how she is patching up with old friends, how she has matured enough to forgive her friends for what they did long time back – I love gossip sessions with her.
  • The way she cuddles and talks stories with her pattis is something special.
  • She’s the youngest of all the cousins in the paternal side and everyone still treats her like a tiny kid. No one even wants to believe that she is in college on her own…ha ha 😀 But she takes in all those things with a smile and emanates the power of self-confidence and the ability to do things all by herself. I’m just so proud of her ❤

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