The Scorpios

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Friday, January 31, 2014

Garden craze

So the pots bought at dastkaar and the rest of the empty pots in the garden have been utilized with colourful crotons and flowers. Check them out.

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Game of badminton

Ojas- I won the badminton game with periappa.
Me- how.
Ojas- I hit 5 times and he 2 time. It was a five point game..I also won the game with the girls.
Me - how come?
Ojas - it was easy level. With periappa it was middle level
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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

So What Did You Buy at the Datkaari Haat?

I happened to know that the Dastkaari haat is back in Kalakshetra at a very inconvenient time. When I was not in town. Which means I missed three days counting from the opening day and that means the best of the loot is already being used in someone's home and here I am just lusting about it.
The haat is back in Chennai after a gap of 2 loooong years and believe me, we have almost lost hope of it ever coming back.

So this Monday I rushed home from office, getting impatient at every signal, dumped my stuff at home, waved a cheery good bye to the husband who was busy on a telco (tell me something new) and almost ran the entire 5 minutes distance to the gate of the haat grounds.

in the first round, I just looked. My learning from past experience has been to just look first, identify the stuff you want to buy, of course ensure there are plenty of them just in case it doesn't get over when you come back the second time.

The next round I began to buy.
My first purchase was the leather bag from the Calcutta stall.

Then I picked up three door mats- the thick ones that really last long.

A blue cotton kurta material and a green-gold silk one.
Two silk kurtas in black and orange from a stall who claimed to be the ones stitching for Fab India.

I saw a lovely matka silk saree in red and parrot green that I fell in love with but did not buy.

Of course I was not satisfied with these and went back the next day to pick up more stuff.
I picked up a couple of leather pouches to house my medicines/ creams/ chargers etc so that they can be organised inside the bag instead of being all over the place.

And then I picked up a few wooden combs which smell very nice and woody as one combs the hair. It is said that it does not cause static and therefore prevents hair breakage. Whatever.

And finally, recalling that I want to beautify the garden and that the pots that I had bought from Valluvarkottam craft fair nearly a decade ago still survives, I bought a few colourful planters.

I wanted to buy more but then controlled myself and headed back happy but not satisfied.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Being good

Me to kids-you should aim to be good at everything
Ojas- you are not good in spellings. You wrote "u" for "you"

Ojas- get popcorn, thus is intermission (while watching movie on TV)

Dadda, what will you get us during interval..this watching movie In a nondescript theatre in cumbum town where everything edible looked of suspect variety and where the watchman refused to allow us to step out of the theatre and buy some biscuits as we should eat only in the stall inside.

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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Great Ways to have a Beautiful Home

When we first bought our house, we were very particular that we would use bright colours in our home. Not the entire home of course but every room was given a breaking wall.
We experimented with bright yellow on our favourite walls, especially the ones which were meant to have paintings with focus lights.

A few years later, hubby decided to try his hand at painting the house himself. He bought the entire store of Asian paints I guess, experimenting with bright shades like code red which was an extremely raunchy red for the bedroom. And lots of metallic shades in gold and chromium. I must say I loved that phase. I loved the gold and he even used stencils to make wall art with gold.

Since we are restricted by space in a two bedroom house, our only available canvas are the walls

The red wall  raunchy? Romantic? What do you say? It's the bedroom after all!

The lady in gold stencilled with multiple coats of the same gold. It is still my favourite piece of art on my wall an remains there In spite of painting another color on the rest of the wall.

Check the below.the lady remains and the bed sheet matches the curtain scheme

The entrance is the first look of the home. I have adorned the shoe rack with money plants in old wine bottles and they make it look lively and welcoming. And we have done what many don't do. Invested in a lovely lamp shade and installed and nerdy saving bulb there. Even if I don't light it on a daily basis, the lamp shade looks grand.

The entrance adorned with the Sun 

I was thinking over and over on how to make a good and unique nameplate, I thought about punning on the word Name- Plate and paint on a plate. But then I thought it would be difficult to punch a hole and mount it on a wall.

Therefore I needed something with a ready made provision for hanging.

I unearthed an old scratched up LP record and this is what I did with it
I first painted the LP with the left over gold paint. 2 coats were needed. I waited for it to dry completely and stuck pictures of all four of us and painted our names with black acrylic paint.
Cool isn't it? (and cheap also!)

The Orissa art goes with the wall decor completely. Whatever art I buy, I try to make it match the concept.

I copied images from warli book and the husband painted them with a fine tipped brush and acrylic 

paint. These are various dancing positions and acrobatics- emphasis on movement more than stills. (It has created a stir in the complex with people asking us -how exactly did you do that?)

I am particular that the sofas be huge not just because there could be more people but because they serve as good recliners. However, my all time fav is wood which I intend to invest in once the children grow up. For now, they serve as diving board, trampoline, etc, everything but what it is meant for. But after all, a home is where even kids feel comfortable, not a showcase or a museum. Much as I would like to keep my home adorned at all times, I have been told that the warmth my home exudes compensates for the lack of decor.

Minimalistic decor in the entertainment section. Check the guitar as a decor!! Expensive!

I  picked up the dancer pieces from the Jharkhand stall in Metro plus show. These black metal performing women with the gold embellishment goes well with the gold wall

Sticking to the living room theme, we adorned the walls with warli and madhubani art in series

And another of the nature series in orange/ yellow tones to suit the gold wall done by the husband. Inexpensive art truly!

In fact, we did not leave the doors even. They are pre designed ply wood that can be stuck on. I loved the design...very Ganesha like. And the peacock painting is done by the husband. Art for free!!

A painted flowing art! movement and stability!

The other trick to enliven the home is to bring in plants. The good part is that if you make mini planters like these or just put in a plant in a container with water, even if they do not grow, you can always replace them from your main plant in the garden. These tea cups are the four remaining ones from a set of six which broke during, guess what, redecorating and  deep cleaning our home!! Impromptu decor!!

These look good on the dining table!! That's the place they were meant to be any way!!

In fact I put money plants in both bathrooms and I pick up longer stems with some roots so that they create an illusion of growth!!

flowers gathered during my morning walk, impromptu bouquet that immediately brightens the day

Purple periwinkles and globe amaranth in a small glass container form a flower rangoli to brighten up a corner.

These flowers come at absolutely zero cost, that is the best part.

My another favourite way of pepping things up is to put a good bedsheet.
I ensure I pick up unique bed covers wherever I go and especially the thick cotton ones or quilted ones that give a rich look. My next purchase would be a mirror work Rajasthani bed spread!

Or brighten up a corner with a light source. This one is a kalamkari lampshade in leather punctuated with holes to allow a shadow play of dark and light. 

nothing like a real fire to light up a corner
And most importantly, de clutter as much as possible at the same time, create space. I specially follow this with my books. Spaces for specific favourite genres of books are predesignated. I have a different rack for unread books and a different one for to be given away books.

The kids room is a riot of colours, more than what is considered decent!! But since it happened in bits and pieces, it gave an informal wild look. So there are lions and tigers on one side and cartoon characters on the other. 

I am also a great believer in the 5 S principle. A place for everything and an everything in its place- makes life easier. I believe that one must intimately know where each stuff is placed or likely to be placed so that a chore like cooking becomes faster. I hate spending time searching so I ensure all boxes are closed with their lids after proper drying of course else it would stink.

Especially with the homes with lack of space, one's creativity can expand into the outdoor. I have moved from the mentality of plants for ever to being prepared to replace the plants if need be because plants die and one must not spend time moping of lost plants. Buying them is inexpensive and spending a small amount of money gives one the satisfaction that any shopping activity brings.....therapeutic.

A stroke of genius....nostalgic red floor in the garden...I love this especially when  kids sit and play without damaging my plants...
The terracotta pots really last long and look good. Low maintenance. I had bought a couple 10 years ago and they look still new.
This year I picked a few more from the Dastakar and adorned them in the garden.

Notice the rocks that blend with the garden decor

Sometimes it is great fun to follow a color theme in the garden

And I love Urlis, indoor and out door, traditional ones and 
modern ones

Crazier the container, the more creative one looks

a mithai ka matka planted with the ultra slow grower succulent

Terracota cup with lucky bamboo stalks

Lucky Bamboo with glass stones and pebbles 

Being in the fragrance industry, I am a great believer of fragrancing the home in a subtle not too loud way.

Reed diffusors are a great way to fragrance corners of the home especially after a long day at work, when you come home a soft scent welcomes you. Not too overpowering though.

So also flowers especially  the scented blooms 
festivals are a great way to enliven the spirit and I make use of them to redo my home.

So every time we felt that things at home were getting dull, we used paints to liven the home up.
And our latest? We did the entire home in wooden floor. The feel of the wood on the feet and the garden outside fools me into believing I am living in a resort!! Or in a home away from home!

Whether paint on the wall or painting on the wall. 

I have had great satisfaction with Asian Paints both in terms of the range they offer and the quality of paints. I had people coming up to me and getting the exact shade code from me and replicating the same in their homes.
Especially the Sunflower shade and the gold that is so evident on most of the pictures in this post.

Submitted for Asian paints contest

Sunday, January 05, 2014

The Mandatory Year End update 2013

2013 passed and I heaved a sigh of relief. The year has been playing havoc, to say the least.

To be fair, the year carried a share of good tidings too but the underlying sadness left me really wary of any phone call that would come at odd hours.

There came the untimely passing of people. It felt as if people I have known for so long are dropping off the face of earth, one by one, leaving the loved ones bereft and confused.

Then there were the illness that came. We saw people through hospitals and tests and new ailments were discovered.

The year ended with the news that Nani would be passing in a matter of time and the next day she was gone.

The year did not spare even the doggies in the extended family!

On the personal front, despite being in Chennai the entire summer, we managed two holidays, one in Sri Lanka and the other in Kerala- Madurai, Thekkadi, Munnar through Club Mahindra. We came back with mixed feelings. While we enjoyed the me time, sometimes it would also be a good idea to go with family or friends.

We are basically homebodies. We wanted to be back home on the 31st because we like to spend the new year eve with friends, but we came back on 30th itself, and to say we were happy to be back home will be an understatement. We were a lot more than just happy!
Ironically, we spend such a lot of time in holiday but we are happier at home!

The Reading Corner continued in full swing, with me reading more and more books. However I have decided to cut down on the numbers and just do focused reading. A lot of my old contacts in the publishing world moved on to different opportunities which meant a lot of handing over and renewing of contacts.

Against my better judgement at that time, I hired a cook to help me during the summer when my parents and siblings were home. But the comfort that having a cook gave me made me decide to stick on with her and that seems to be the best decision of the year. The irony of the situation, now that there is someone to make all the deep fried Bihari snacks, we have gone completely off fried food and therefore we don't even get them made.

Whoever said that getting married means eating whatever you want and whenever you want forgot that once you get that privilege your health no longer permits you to do that.

On the business side we finally got a proper Chennai office which means the husband spends more time at home.

I discovered Lindt dark dark truffles this year, the black wrapper, not the blue wrapper, courtesy my sister and for this reason alone I am willing to move to the States! No other chocolate now seems good enough to eat.

A positive change that I did in my life this year is to attempt to be better groomed. Which includes polishing my nails every weekend no matter what. And touching up a bit after lunch in office. Spending a few minutes slathering lotion on my arms and feet to make them presentable considering half a day in the office air con wears off all moisturising I do before leaving home. This also means buying better clothes and better footwear. Shallow it may sound but the better the brand and the higher you pay, the more you use it and therefore better value for money, of course notwithstanding exceptions which tend to throw a random surprise.

The kids started lessons on chess and drawing at home, which is a big plus. No more ferrying them from one class to another, even if it means paying a premium for the benefit. The key board classes are continuing though I am not go pressured about it. I learned quite a few tunes and it is exciting to be able to make magic on the key board. The kids' lessons are slower but I an worried about the lack of practice and dedication at home. Still I want to push them so that they will be thankful that I did so once they grow older and have the talent to show off.

The husband handed over his old iPad to me and I consider that his best decision of the year. It has given me complete round the clock connectivity and I have been able to focus on a lot of things this year, the result of which will be communicated on this space in a while.

Till then, watch this space.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014


Dearest Nani

I loved your endless stories and gossips most of all, how you had the latest news of the entire extended family on your finger tips.

I idolised the fact that you held on to your job till your retirement, and I still remember that one day you had taken a bag of makhana from your famous always locked cupboard and given to us.

I remember the stories you told us and I will never forget that you told me never to listen or read or tell a story about gods while eating (not that I follow it, but I remember and that's the point).

I have saved your measured recipe of thekua and pedakia that you had told me on the phone.

I remember that all the ladies of the house were always comfortable getting decked up in your and Nana's room during a wedding or a party and the window in your room was the vantage point for all the children in the house.

And somehow at any given point there would be four of us fitted in that tiny space.

I want to remember the good times. I want to remember you as healthy and happy and not frail and failing.

Yes it hurts but one day we had to face this. You kept your dignity intact as much as possible.

I guess the whole of last year, you managed to meet all of us or at least most of us and in a way I am glad I saw you in good health and in my mind when I say my goodbye to you, I remember you doing your own things.

Perhaps I will never reconcile to the fact that you are gone. Because we don't stay together. That way it makes it more bearable.

And the best part? You know, you had four generations around you when you passed on. All your children were around you. Plus grand kids and even a great grand kid thrown in the mix.

Isn't that the best way to go? Doesn't it make for a good story? Mind it, you will have one big story to tell wherever you have gone to.