The Scorpios

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Friday, July 31, 2009

Winnie the Pooh - A Sense of Fun

I picked up this nice book from Shree Books which is very apt to me because of my own involvement in the exploration of the senses.
The story is about the characters of the 100 acre wood who are helping in apple picking in Big ears' orchard - red, green & yellow apples. The story progresses to a point were Owl and Tigger discuss why this is like a feast for the senses- see, smell, hear, taste and touch (which incidentally the kids love to recite).
So it gets decided that each one will make something out of the apples which will tease the senses in some way or the other.
Each inhabitant makes some apple dish or the other like-sweet jelly, baked muffin, cider, sour apple candy, sticky honey apple, apple cinnamon candle, apple pie etc. But Tigger being Tigger, is the smartest of all. He brings out labeled vats, puts the stuff made by the others in each vat, blindfolds everyone and leads them to touch, smell, taste and guess what is inside the vat!
I loved this book not only for the concept but also for the delightful and colourful pictures which to me is extremely important in a children's book. The book is from EurobooksIndia, Published by Shree books and is available for Rs 50. I must look out for more books in this series.
I got mine at Word & Worths Besant Nagar - according to me, one finds good range of books there.
I also picked a Tom & Jerry from shree Books. The book is much loved by the kids but it did not cut ice with me. They tried in vain to capture the speed of the cat & mouse chase and in the process missed the fact that in a book, you need to take it a little slow. They could have captured the tomfoolery & tricks they employ for each other rather than just the chase.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My Sons Are Reading & Counting

Tejas- spells...- J- R- K- G- D- ...Ojas
(He had already established on sight that the book belonged to Ojas. Was Just spelling it out)

Thus Counted Ojas the 10 heads of Ravan- 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, next, change

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ekki, Dokki, Shanmugam



Boo gifted the kids 2 delightful books- Ekki & Dokki & Snoring Shanmugam .
Now what's so delightful about them?
1. Simple text - short tale, yet long enough to go like a proper story wherein the characters pass through similar phases during onward and return journey and therefore gives opportunity to ask questions like- now what had ekki done for the mehendi bush? or what did ekki give the cow? Therefore lot of interactive reading. And the words are exceptionally alive- khrrrrrr..pshew... (snoring). Overall very reminiscent of Russian folk tales that we used to read!!
2. Illustrations- they are beautiful- colourful, patterned, rustic, amateurish, and very Indian . Even the pictures give opportunity to interact. In some pages only a portion of the animals are visible son one can ask lot of questions in making the kids guess which animal that is.
3. Character Nomenclature- I love the way each character is named and some names are really interesting -so obviously we can ask the kids again and again- what was the name of the horse (incidentally it was Hutoxi in the Shanmugam book and the kids love saying hutoxi over and over again)
4. Rhyming- Some pages have rhyming words like- lean, mean, brawny, tawny lion... good fun reciting them until the kids get the words & sequence right.
PS - in Ekki Dokki, Dokki loses her 2 hairs as she has been a bad girl. So greatly amused are the kids that their Dad has no hair!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Feeling 10 years younger and 20 kgs lighter

....in more ways than one when I met a certain someone who has followed the calorie counting diet and become the kind of person who does not belong to our group and another someone who aptly says why we feel the said kgs & years lesser....
Ok, so cryptic and difficult to follow type of line of the day is over and dealt with so let me get down to the dirt ...
In simple terms we met in Coffee Day and gossiped about old times over lots of food and drinks and at the same time conspiring in many ways to make the thin-girl-who-does-not-belong to gain weight while we lose weight so as to reach a mid point of agreement atleast.
We also had the "good" fortune to eye witness a small drama which involved a school-girl-who-came-with-a-gang-of-5-guys-to-have-coffee types dashing off to the toilet, her parents and little brother banging on the toilet door, the girl eventually opening the door and walking off with the Dad!
It just made me wish that may my kids never feel the reason to lie or hide facts from me.
As if we have not eaten enough already, the next evening we met for dinner in Mainland China- I really kind of cannot figure out Mainland China- the same dish seems to taste different everytime we order- the lamb pepper roast to be precise. Anyway, the chicken lllypops were droolicious and we ordered a non spicy plate for the kids and they are just deep fried. I ordered the sinful brownie sizzler and to lessen the sin, shared half of it and the entire icecream with the kids. And oh, the wood that housed the sizzler smells delicious too.
But the hotel that houses the restaurant is badly in need of a facelift. So much so that the exit is mistaken for the entrance (which when we reached there was incidentally very dark, foreboding and without any security)

Monday, July 27, 2009

I do Like a Good Riddle But...

These are beyond me.
Tejas- I want to buy that thing.
Me- What?
Tejas- That which you bought yesterday
Me- What did I buy yesterday
Tejas- You don't know what you bought yesterday?
Me- ok show me
Turns out he wanted the Kissan squeezie jam which we hav bought a month ago
=====================
Tejas- Mamma give me that book
Me- which book
Tejas- the same one that I want.
Me- ??
====================
Dadda & Babies taking bath together
Ojas insists- Dadda do susu before taking bath
Dadda- No I did in other bathroom already.
Ojas- No Dadda do here... this bathroom.
*Waits expectantly for Dadda to oblige*
======================
Verbal Revenge
Ojas- I feel like thukki (spitting) seeing your lengu (nether regions)
Tejas- I feel like vomiting seeing your belly button
======================
Shopping
Tejas- I want to go to shop
Me- Why?
Tejas- To buy some things
Me- What?
Tejas- Plants
Ojas- Pot
They do know what pleases Mamma

Friday, July 24, 2009

I Have Stooped to the Level of

Rumani Mangoes! Not bad though, lots of flesh, small seed and danger of finding a live insect I suppose inside?
Hardly any taste- simple straight forward mango..... slightly fibrous near the skin.
Ah well, as long as it's a mango.
Even the fruit seller did not show enthusiasm towards it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On Wedding

Says the eloquent madmomma...

It’s only at a wedding, that you realise there is no perfect love, but you can aspire to it. And as you look around, at the congregation. A sea of expectant, smiling faces, you know that they’re there for a reason – to watch you make the biggest commitment of your life. That if you walk away from it today, you take away that little bit of hope that each one of them invested in you when they came there to be witness to your union. That each one of them believed in you and in that vow you were taking. That on your wedding day you sent back each one of them with a little strand of hope as you walked down the aisle glowing and radiant with happiness. That if for no other reason but this, you have to put aside annoyances and irritants like ‘he argues with visitors’, ‘he doesn’t bring me flowers anymore’ and ‘he wakes up with a finger on the remote control instead of on me’!

Lovely Na?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Mother of all Meets


Can I safely claim that it was so as there were people who particularly flew down to make the meet happen in a happening fashion.

DesiGirl and Boo (who was definitiely missed) are vacationing here, the mad momma was already in town, Sue & Dipali flew down from Calcutta, Ro with Blobbie flew down from Mumbai, Mallika & Kiran intended to do so but could not ( the intent definitely counts), and Poppin's Mom came from Bangalore!
From Chennai- we were IBH, Crazymum Nisha, Artnavy & Kenny.
We were plotting and planing for 7 months for July 19th and I can't believe it's over in a flash. Feels like the home is empty now as they all left right after lunch!!
We met at Barbecue Nation - got a room to ourselves!!! The room is henceforth named as Itchy's room for your records!!! As apparently some of them were directed to the same when they asked for the table booking! And that would be the room that overlooks the juice bar!
And there were gifts and more gifts!!!
The evening ended with a tiny cake (top left in the heavily edited collage) brought in honour of Ro & Blobbie!
What I am most touched about this one? The husbands were such good sports about it. Obediently coming with us and bonding with each other, Probably the piddly 5 of them talked with each other as much as the combined lot of us did!! And we girls do need the husbands to drive us around, take the kids to the toilet etc etc .... don't we?

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Magik number Seven

Kiran says that I am a creative blogger and therefore I need to summon all creativity to list 7 stuff about myself in various categories
Seven Things I like to Do:
Read
Eat
Shop
Day Dream
Walk
Internet
Puzzles

Seven Things I like to Eat
Mutton
Chicken
Fish
Cakes (Chocolate truffle)
Chocolates
Peanuts
Haldiram Lemon Bhujiya
Potato Chips
Stuffed Parathas
Gulabjamun
Mango
Litchi
whaat.. only 7..ok I will stop

Seven things I like to wear
jewelry
heels
Trousers (when they fit)
short kurta & churidaar
Sari
My long black skirt
Diamonds

Seven of my most prized possessions:
My sons
My family
My self
My recently found self confidence
My positivity
My home
Our combined ability to put all the square meals on the table

And I add from my side (to justify the creative award)
Seven thing I most want to do
Lose weight
Travel
Anger Management
Write
Have a large home
My own venture
A good job bringing up the kids

And seven friends I would like to pass this award to
Dipali
Poppin's Mom
Mwimw
Rohini
Desi Girl
Eve's Lungs
Boo
Indu

Friday, July 17, 2009

What is it about the Mango Seed

That gets kids so excited?
The cousins & us would compete with each other on "guthlee white karo competition"- who can suck on the seed so well that all traces of fibre and mango colour are gone! Those yummy mangoes from the village orchards!
Ojas & Tejas love sucking on the seed... so much so that I cheat to make them eat the pulp- place a bit of pulp on the edge of the seed and shove that edge into their mouth!!
I love the way they graduated from eating skinless bits to trying to imitate us as we eat - scrape the pulp from peices with the skin using our teeth...
I know some moms who don't give mangoes until the kids are 3 but I for one did not know you are not supposed to give and secondly it seemed such a shame to make them miss eating such yummy fruits.
All these years I would eat either the langda or the banganapalli (which is available in chennai).
But this time I decided to try even the others

1. Himsagar (from Calcutta)- I was amazed and pleasantly surprised at the nuances of taste that this mango offers- slightly green, milky, fleshy, skinny, sweet, aromatic, floral... a myriad of taste peaks
2. Imampasand- May be I picked the wrong ones but they were slightly flat, very fleshy, slightly creamy/milky, ripe - but overall nice
3. Totapari- very aromatic, skinny, juicy, slightly green, fibrous

and how do the favourites / now regular differ?
4. Malda/ Langda- prominent skin note, touch of green, fleshy, juicy
5. Banganapalli- juicy, fleshy, sweet, ripe... just can't go beyond- they tend to become over ripe estery very soon. That's what I hate about them
If you want to get the best of them- buy on the ECR road when you are driving to and fro between Chennai & Pondy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Height of Thetharpan (Shamelessness)

Email 1- from Safety Officer to Me

[As you are aware that the Driving safety Policy ISH 043 is in effect since 12/06 , which requires mandatory anchoring of Seatbelts while driving/ travelling in 4 Wheelers.
At few occasions during the last fortnight, it was observed that you were not complying to this requirement while at office premises.]

Email 2- from me to Safety Officer answering the quiz




Monday, July 13, 2009

Keema Pie Recipe

So what do you do if you are not at all feeling inspired to post something..
1. pick a random photo from the album and post about it with captions
2. write about your weekend
3. give some advice to the world in general on how to lose weight, how to save food, how to save time blah blah blah
4. post a recipe
5. Post a store/ restaurant review
I pick no. 4 for the moment and here I am with my keema pie recipe, modified to suit my cook-in-minimum-steps-don't -sweat-the-small-stuff rule.
Ingredients
1. mutton keema- let's say 1/2 kg
2. onions (somewhat half the weight of mutton keema)
3. 1-2 tomatoes
4. ginger -garlic paste- 3 tsp
5. turmeric- 1/2 tsp
6. coriander powder- 4 tsp
7. garam masala- 1/2 tsp
8. chilly powder, salt- as per taste
9. Cheese spread/ grated cheddar cheese / cheese slices
Method- Cook the mutton
1. heat oil in a cooker
2. add 1 -2 bay leaves
3. Add 2-8 ingredients and stir well until oil is seen oozing out of the mix- which means the masalas are all cooked
4. Add mutton and mix them well. If you want add 2-3 tbsp curd. No need to add water.
5. Close the cooker and cook for 1 whistle and leave on the gas for 10-15 minutes in low flame.
6. Switch off and wait for steam to get released naturally.
7. Open cooker, incase the keema is watery, dry the water through open cooking.

Making the pie format
8. Take a microwave safe glass bowl and pour the cooked keema
9. layer the top with cheese of your choice.
10. Micro cook for 7-8 minutes.
Serve yumm yumm keema pie with oddles of melted & then hardened cheese
PS- I do not have a photo. In teh excitement of eating it I forgot to photograph it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thursday, July 09, 2009

It's Official

We hate homework
We feel terribly sleepy or hungry or thirsty everytime we need to do them
We cry, we hold the pencil poised and do not move it until screamed at.
We get very tired after a few lines of writing.
But we are ready to colour some random drawing book of ours the moment we escape from the homework.
We bully Mamma into holding our hand at times as we write. And as she writes, we look around - anywhere but into the book.


We love using the eraser
And even colour pages that are not part of our homework when Mamma is not looking
We like cutting and sticking though.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

An Afternoon of Cricket

with multi coloured and sized balls

And self fielding
Geared to take the ball (anted to wear gloves also!)



Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Crinkling, Crunching, Crushing

The other day Kiran was mentioning a few pincer grip activities and I frankly did not give it much thought.
This weekend, as we sat together to do our home work (notice the we- it includes me and sometimes the Dadda). and I always thought we are done with home work- the dreaded monster that is remembered on Sunday afternoons regularly and thereby is solely created to create a sense of doom in our hearts every Sunday afternoon.
Coming back to Ojas & Tejas & their homework, we had some cutting & pasting work to do and while Tejas was very eager to do the cutting himself, Ojas showed no such eagerness. Towards the end, he realized that cutting paper is also a right that can be exercised and therefore he insisted that he should cut the pictures. I noted that he had difficulty in coordinating the scissors.
I immediately recalled Kiran's set of exercises and did the following
1. Paper cutting- Ojas showed initial signs of difficulty but was quite deft later. We also bought a pair each of colourful scissors scissors with good grip in the evening. Reminiscence alert-
when I was in Prep class, the teacher brought many pairs of colourful tiny scissors for class activity. Since there were many pairs, I was hopeful we would get to take them home (I had small desires even then). I never got them scissors and I am still in love with such colourful scissors..End of reminiscence
2. Paper crumpling- I did not know they gave so much satisfaction!
3. Squeeze Balls
4. Coin Sorting- the side effect/ benefit of this sorting and piling exercise is that the kids have taken out their coin boxes / piggy bank that so long were used only as boxes that can be locked & unlocked. They take care to lock their piggy banks in the night before sleeping by the way.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Ageless Bonding

With Usha in the true sense as she was bonding equally well with me as well as Ojas & Tejas. From the moment we met till the moment she left home, we were chatting non stop. She even managed to play cards with the kids. To think she came to Chennai often lived next door to me and we had never met all these years!
Ojas & Tejas say thanks for the story CD and Mamma for the Krishna!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Alice in Wonderland

A sticker book published by c4ci.com that has been stickered more than a year ago and is now being used as a story book. Ojas & Tejas were sufficiently interested in the story, especially because of the familiar subjects being discussed like mushroom, caterpillar, lock, key, juice (magic potion), and the fact that Alice became big & strong & small and strong by eating various stuff. Now I really found it difficult to weave my way through the number of times she shrank and enlarged and still make a convincing relateable story out of it but I guess children still have the ability to take it at face value. And that's why they can imagine and build upon a make believe magical world.
They also love The Jungle Book from the same sticker book collection. They have almost memorised the first page which goes..Tonight, the tiger Sher Khan, desperate with hunger (add sound effects - grrr)... They love the story and it is one of their preferred bedtime books.
My reading method includes pausing at each sticker and letting them read the word that the sticker depicts aking it quite interactive for them, apart from asking them to describe the pictures on each page.




Thursday, July 02, 2009

Small Is The New Big

Mamma- Eat your food, then only you will become big & strong
Tejas/ Ojas- I am small, I want to be small
Mamma- ok, eat and become small and strong.
Tejas then proceeds to measure his palm against mamma's palm to reassure himself that he is indeed small and will eat only if he feels the need to become smaller.

Tejas- Dadda is chee chee because he has hair on his hands and face
Mamma- But even Tejas has hair on his hands. Proceeds to tug at a few hairs on his arms to make her point, (yes I am evil)
Tejas- clearly shocked at realizing that he has hair on his arms.
composes himself very quickly and says- But I am small naa (which makes it ok to have hair or makes the hair less yucky to him)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Buffet Manners

Long long ago I had done a session in my workplace on business etiquette. This also included highly impractical buffet ettiquette like- do not load your plate to high or move through the line fast or do not nibble in the line.
Kiran in her riotously funny post made me relive that memory and for lack of any other posting idea, I am making my own version of Buffet manners- relevant to me the nonvegetarian.
1. First take a quick dekho- scan the entire counter including the desserts and mentally make up your choice. And this gives you an idea of how much to eat and whether you need to leave space for desserts at all. In a fixed menu buffet, you can even decide that the buffet is not worth it so you can make a meal of the starters themselves.


2. Don't forget the counter where they prepare the fresh kababs - especially in the marriages or resorts they are tucked in a corner- in one marriage in Delhi, I almost missed out the kebabs. Only when I saw someone carrying a plateful of them, I quickly hunted out the treasure using my trusted nose. Before you even pick up the plate order the kebabs as they take time to prepare them.


3. Very true, as Kiran says- never look towards the soup counter- even if it is non vegetarian. Contrary to popular lore- they are not appetizers- only space takers.

4. Skip the breakfast juices also unless you are using them instead of water
5. Salads- only if they contribute to some gastronomic delight of yours or if you want to check out the recipe. I would even avoid boiled eggs- can easily be prepared at home.

6. You have not come to eat rice or roti or other sundry cereals. Go for the meat straightaway- If you want to look nice and include the cereals- do the nonveg biriyani and selectively pick up the meat.

7. Lentils- another no no- because they are usually made very delicious- creamy, thick - which means you compromise on the space that could be otherwise occupied by other deserving items.

8. When you are in that sort of a buffet party where you have starters & cocktails before dinner- and the useless waiters are not even looking in your direction and you are embarassed to go again and again for seconds- either use your kids to get as many plates or if your kids are too small, take them to the counter and very loudly ask- what? you wanted chicken lollypops-and then proceed to get a whole plate of them - then loudly ask one random friend- hey you wanna share these? So it will appear as if you are not the only on eating the kebabs.

9. I normally do not look at the veggie section but sometimes I hop across to collect some okra, dahi vada, potato fritters etc because I derive utmost gastronomical delight out of these items. You can choose your own select items and go for them but not at the cost of the non-veg

10. Desserts- many foolish health freaks go for a fruit platter- why/ Haven't you readthe forwards that say fruits should be eaten only before the meal and not after? Go for the difficult to prepare souffles, pastries/ cakes etc. I normally skip the mithai except if gulabjamun is there. I would say leave those plane vanilla icecreams also. Do only the gourmet stuff..like cakes dipped in chocolate fountain. Drool drool.