The Scorpios

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Not All Sardarjis are Like Sidhu

I land up Monday night in Delhi and board the cab.
Me-No Radio?
Sardarji driver- Madam I will give you the owner's numbr. You call him and tell him to install the radio.
After some time, I notice the driver working hard on his mobile. I saw his eyes flashing between the road and the mobile to my horror, all this at a speed of say 60-80 on NH 8
Me- what? why are you sms-ing while driving
Sardarji- No madam I am not sms-ing the owner, I am just looking for the number so that you can call him and tell about the radio.
Me- no, I don't want to talk to him and complain.
Sardarji- No madam, if you complain, probably he will install it and I can listen to FM on the long drives.
Next episode-
We entered my aunt's complex and went straight down the lane. I was giving him directions on how to reach the house.
Me- Take the Right
Sardarji stops at the intersection, looks do the right and says- I thought you said right, and went straight and turned left.
Me- Why are you going left, I said right.
Sardarji- that is left, why are you telling right.
Me- That is right, daaya you know.
Sardarji took an about turn and came back on the lane and crossed the intersection again.
Me- arrey, take the left.
Sardarji insisted- but there is no house there.
Me- how do you know? I know I have come here before.
Sardarji- Because it can't be seen from here.
Now what is this logic???? why should the house be seen from this road itself?

Monday, April 28, 2008

We Are Social Animals

We love to connect, we love to share and we love to eat. We feed our guests till the neck. We communicate over food and with food. We exchange recipes. Food cuts across conversations, age groups, gender, size (trust me to say size) and religion. The expressway to our hearts intersects at the stomach. And more than anything else, a good dish is best enjoyed when shared. It adds to the joy. It corroborates your food-critic-skills. No wonder the new 5 star is warning against sharing, we do have such an inherent tendency to share- either out of love or out of guilt.
And in such a food loving society, the certain someone in my house goes veg. Well I already posted about it in a fit of desperation yesterday and I want to elaborate on the last line- you have become boring, you have become vegetarian!
Now my arguments-
  1. What is the point of eating out when you cannot share your favourite dish of the day? Imagine going to Kabab factory on our birthday and he eats veg and you eat non-veg- how will you communicate? What will you talk about during the entire meal? How will you argue on which kabab with what chutney is good? For that matter, will you ever go to kabab factory? What is the point of going there and eating potato and veggies and paneer?
  2. What do I cook on weekends? Till now I had the excuse that since he eats nothing else if there is non-veg, I don't cook an elaborate meal. Now what? More importantly my likes and his dislikes in veg preparations intersect perfectly.
  3. Imagine going to that awesome buffet. I don't do veg at all in buffets. I get stuck at the non-veg counter like the way vehicles get stuck at Madhya Kailash and used to get stuck at Kathipara junction before the flyover got going. Now we will have separate paths and separate destinations. I would rather go alone. Imagine even the kids will not share his plate. They only say 'chickaiiiiiin" when we go out. So both will be eyeing my plate only.
  4. What happens to the lovely nepali chicken recipe the office chef tried and I copied to surprise hubby finally with a different chicken preparation?
  5. And sob sob, I cannot impress him with cakes and puddings on weekend. And since he is not eating, I am sure he will not buy any for me either.

I rest my case.


I am heading out to the airport in another 10 minutes. For the 1st time since active and obsessiv blogging I am not taking my laptop with me. So it's blog holiday tomorrow unless I can come back and gt hubby to connect for me to post, since I will b locking my laptop in my office. Or perhaps I could just drop by and post on the way back home.

Wonder how I will survive without this machine.

To think, I once never had a credit card or mobile. And today, my travel kit also consists of the reliance data card and pen drive? What am I going to do with the pen drive on a travel like this. Yet I am taking it with me like my set of house keys. And a pen drive that is slowly becoming like my handbag - with its odd assortment of files and songs and even a movie and I hate to delete any of them.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Over to Vegetarianism?

A certain person in my house wants to be vegetarian for sometime. That puts my vegetarian cooking skills to test. While the kids and I peck away at our chicken legs, graze at the mutton and angle the fish, he sings praises for vegetarian fare. Be it when he is selecting subway's aaloo or loading his plate at the midnight buffet of Residency Towers. Well, at Rs 300/ person, it's not bad. You get a chicken curry, 1 egg curry (the eggs of which I rescued before they were going to be put into the curry for the kids), a mutton biriyani on non-veg section and a host of vegetarian items.
This weekend has been a test of sorts- I have not made non-veg but just had it outside. I feel sorry for the kids who love their chicken.
Let's see what my veg cooking skills bring out for the next few months.
My comments- you have become really boring- you have become vegetarian

We will be at the Consumer Mindscape on Tuesday in Delhi. Any bloggers coming there? We could do a working blog meet.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Ethnic Journey of India

Our Global visitors were taken through an ethnic journey of India.
They tasted flavour concepts that supported Indian ethnic ideas. We used terracotta pots/ vessels and beetel leaf plates for replicating the experience. We had posters depicting street food pictures - beverages, baked stuff, sweets, chaats etc.
This together with a sumptous Kabab buffet at Raddisson Kabab factory completed the experience.
We tasted lychee kheer at the Kabab Factory- a must try.

30 Questions

Dipali tagged me and so did Lavs with the surety that I am going to respond first. Since it is not my way of not humouring a preggie, I am doing it as quickly as I could.

1. Last movie you saw in a theatre? It was so long ago that I have forgotten. I think it was 300 or Mozhi
2. What book are you reading?Innocent Man by Grisham- ultra boring.
3. Favourite board game?Not been playing them for long but Monopoly it is. Does Kalaidoscope qualify? Or does the kids' jigsaw puzzle inset on a board qualify?
4. Favourite Magazine?Femina...every woman of substance ought to say it. well wait, let's say Filmfare types are read cover to cover - immense potential for passing long hours in boring company- you can pretend to be engrossed in it and not participate in what's going on. You can actually become engrossed in it- femina does not guarantee a good read but a good dekkho only
5. Favourite smells?Food, flowers, perfume, smell of sunlight, grass, first rain
6. Favourite sounds? Kids' voice
7. Worst feeling in the world?Helplessness
8. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up? Gosh I am late
9. Favourite fast food place? Does Coffee Day qualify? If not Subway
10. Future child's name?May not happen, but let's say- we will do a fantasy - if it's a girl, Asmi, Arushi( I love the meaning- rays of the sun, now I am not sure as my brother told me that the Arushi in her class used to be poor in studies), Ishanvi, Vanshika, Ritika- Combines mine & hubby's name perfectly
11. Finish this statement- "If I had lots of money, I would"buy a grand bunglow with hugest possible rooms and a huge garden)
12. Do you drive fast?Yes. What? 40-60 is not fast? It's top gear c'mmon
13. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?hell no! I hate that types
14. Storms- Cool or scary?Cool yet scary
15. What is your first car? Wagonr
16. Favourite drink?Coffee Frappe & Ice Tea (I don't take hot tea/ coffee at all)
17. Finish this statement- "If I had time, I would" take a break, be with the kids
18. Do you eat stems on Broccoli?Yes
19. If you could dye your hair in any other colour, what would be your choice?Brown, reddish brown, burgundy (because I like the name of the colour, I am sure it will not show on my hair)
20. Name all the different cities/towns you have lived in?Chennai, Pondicherry, Varanasi, Ranchi
21. Favourite sports to watch?KBC, reality shows. What? They don't qualify?
22. One nice thing about the person who sent this to you?She has loads and loads of patience & perseverence
23. What's under your bed?A bag of to be discarded clothes, a trunk of to be stiched and not to be worn again clothes, a bag containing change of night clothes & sheets for the susu a 2 bedroom house, you ought to use up every available space, esp the ones that cannot be seen
24. Would you like to be born as yourself again?Yes, just without the fat, little better features, little shapely, with some more money, with more patience.... basically me with some modifications
25. Morning person or night owl?Night OWL, with a morning vision. (I love going out in the day time but hate waking up in the morning, can stay up as late as possible but prefer doing all jobs by daylight- if all this makes sense)
26. Over easy or sunny side up?both sides cooked (i cannot have half done eggs)
27. Favourite place to relax?BED, Sofa, but now I don't have access to the sofa
28. Favourite pie?did not try a great range of them
29. Favourite ice cream flavour?not so fond of icecreams but chocolate is fine
30. Of all the people you have tagged, who is most likely to respond first? not tagging, any one can take it up

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Riddle-me-Ree, Who can she be?

Greetings wonderful MTBs!!!
and good work to all of you!
For having solved the riddle before
I give you all this clue.

The letter " I "

Write it down, add it on...
And let’s move on to the next little song.

“This lady says blogging is fun
If only she got paid for her puns
This lady – funny, witty and ever so jolly
She does enjoy a good ice lolly
Citron is definitely her flavor
She works out regularly and has a personal trainer.
Who is she ? Oh !! Who is she ?”

Solve it and you get your lead
Misguess, and you lose your speed
Solve it slow but solve it now
And before you go, take a little bow

Go to 'Comments' and leave me a clue
Tell me which blog you are off to.
Good luck! Good luck! Be on your way.
You have your work, cut out for the day!

Edited to Add for the readers who are wondering where this came from...
This was a gam of treasure hunt for Mothers to Be - a group by invitation.
The MTB's landed from argees
“Double double toil and trouble
Home fires burn, and office deadlines bubble
Light and brightness she has twin
many a smooth tale she can spin
who could this be, can you unjumble.”

and lead to paruls

And Maggie- Thanks for this return riddle on Argees post

Itchy has to be this one

Mom to twins and lots of fun!

Both riddles are extremely flattering? Who dunnit? Organisers pls stand up and take a bow!!

Edited to record- Kiran was the lady who wrote my riddle...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fairy Tales or Feary Tales

I really find it very difficult to pick up the right story book for kids. My Blogging Mamma Mind doesn't allow me to pick up any random story book now.
Snowhite- All this while a loved story that I reject because of "Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of all" and stepmother issue.
Pied Piper of Hamelin- I never really enjoyed this story. The punishment went to someone not even involved in the transaction. But I loved the ballad form that I studied for ICSE Board. I reject this because of the sad ending, because in the end the kidnapper won inspite of the fact that he was wronged.
Hansel and Gretel- Great to talk of brother-sister love but step mother bit caused me to reject.
Cinderella- I always enjoyed this story but my blogging brain started thinking about step family cruelty, father not doing anything to support cinderella and child labour. Reject.
Ugly Duckling- Stigma of being ugly. Still it is the most acceptable among the rest inspite of theme. It has lot of other animals that take the attention away.

Every story I pick up has something related to step mother, witch, cruelty, father not involved in the child, fair is beautiful, child labour.
The relatively safe stories were - Goldilocks, Red Riding Hood (scary but can do a lot of action drama to nullify that), Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland, Jack & the Beanstalk (though it carries tales of deceit I found it less offensive than the rest).
Fairy Tales are so foreign and my patriotic & traditional brain wants to look for Indian stories which are a mixture of fun & moral- jatak katha with animals, mythological tales, panchtantra tales etc. There is a whole lot of options available for as low as Rs 20. Large print books with pictures with a moral behind it. Lot of animals to help send the message across.
And off course there is always Noddy books.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Another Dress Code Issue

My regional counterpart wanted to know the dress code for customer visits in India.
Both of us Marketing ladies were in a dilemma on what to reply or rather how to word it.
Her queries- Are skirts acceptable or are suits best?
We know that the issue of dress code is not so high with corporate clients. With globalization and travelling and the fact that India is so attractive as an investment we always have global bosses coming down to meet the Indian arm. So in a way our men folk are more than used to northward hemlines and plunging necklines. Yet every one likes a good dekkho one in a while and it didn't seem fair to subject her to the stray stares.
But we did not want to sound matronly and prim and behenji by telling her wear anything as long as it is not too short in length or too deep in the front.
We could not tell her to Indianize herself and wear a sari or a salwar suit like we try to westernise ourselves on our abroad trips by buying suits & trousers irrespective of our genetically typical Indian buttocks, so that we don't stand out and are considered one among them?
We needed to tell her about the hot sweaty summers so that she doen't bring her lovely suits and toast in them.
Ultimately we summed up our views in a few lines- it would be hot & dry, cotton would be the best material, we would be meeting corporate clients so dress code no issue, skirts are fine, knee length ok.
My question,
Was our line of thinking right?
What would you have suggested in such a situation?
Do you believe in westernising yourself for abroad visits or do you be what you are- some days Indian/ sari some days trousers? Do you feel a sense of inacceptance or lack of confidence in Indian clothes in a global setting?
Is it really an issue- wearing Indian clothes for abroad trips? All my memories of photographs had Indira Gandhi standing in the ubiquitous sari for all Global summits. Yes she stood out but she was the most visible in the crowd. I never felt anything odd about her in a sari and she was the most graceful among all similar dressed people.

Monday, April 21, 2008

It was all Gurgaon Actually

Just because I landed in Delhi does not mean that I have to visit Delhi.
It was all of Gurgaon barring one meeting where we just barely crossed the border.
A lot of shopping, setting back my credit card by a few thousands, gaining in terms of plenty of gifts for the kids and some for myself from the relatives, a Chinese dinner at Golden Dragon sauced up with on the spot humour and an amazing lunch at Punjabi by Nature comprised my short & sweet trip. Punjabi by Nature typically serves portions not as per a normal Indian appetite. It embodies the largesse of Punjabis- the portions are gigantic. I had a keema naan which actually turned out be more like a keema paratha – a little oily which I could not have fully because of the kabab platter and aampanna I had been freaking on.
They had interesting alcoholic gulabjamuns & ethnic alcoholoic drinks - golgappa/ chaat etc. Wonder how they tasted!
We also visited the Haldiram factory cum outlet in Gurgaon to sort of make the global visitors aware of all Indian cuisine under one roof.
The summer heat prompted me to pick up a lot of whites.
HT had proposed Punjabi by Nature as a must do today. Talk about coincidence.
Posting in the car way back home

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Dear Delhi

Landed sometime ago in Delhi. Having a meeting plus a day of shopping tomorrow with the regional boss. While I really don't subscribe to the whole thing, as long as it gives me a trip to delhi, I welcome it.
Funny to note that drivers leave their cabs in neutral to enable pushing further to make way for more cars. Our cab got stuck in a corner and there was a pushing shoving episode of 3 cars and finally the last car was backed bumper to nose into a swift, to enable us to move out.
Well, I love Delhi for what it stands- an amalgamation of cultures, shopping opportunities and vastness.
2 days of delhi awaits. Here I come

Friday, April 18, 2008

Coffee Shop Poll

Out of the 13 respondents, most feel the beach is the ideal location.
My take on the problem would be-
A format like a coffee shop or a pub comes with inherent disadvantages
-Timing- get populated only during specific time of the day- afternoons or nights. No amount of happy hours can bring a sea-change in consumer behaviour.
Menu- They don't serve our 3 meals. They serve largely cold beverages. India is a hot beverage nation. We want our tea strong and piping hot. And our coffee bitter and rejuvenating, not laced with plenty of milk and cream.
-Visit occassions- A customer will not make time for coffee & snacks. They would be largely impulse led, or semi-planned impulse built around meetings/ casual dates/ between friends for a relaxing hour. This is not to fill your stomach but to replenish.
So one cannot hope for a constant stream of customers and queues waiting for a seat. One may do the same for a square meal but not for a coffee pub.
On the Locations, th pros & cons would be-
1. Beach- overcrowded in evenings/ nights, empty by the day.
2. Highway- have a franchisee at the location just to cover that stretch but not do obtain revenues. The highway coffee / juice shops are always deserted.
3. Food Court in an IT park- I was surprised that no one selected this. This has a huge captive audience throughout the day, possibility of 24 hours. The guy at Ascendas makes Rs 25k per day profit on coffee. I have seen business meetings happening, guys working on their laptop, additional audience from outside coming down to the food court. Impulse + Planned customers here. The disadvantage is that it is a destination point. You need to go out of your way to reach here. If you have a large group each wanting to eat different stuff you can go to such food courts. But if you want a relaxing coffee, you will not come here, you will go to a stand alone coffee shop
4. Shopping Mall Food Court-All day long crowd. More possibilities of impulse & rejuvenation seeking customers. Tired after shooping all day? No time or patience to eat a full sit-down meal or not yet time for a dinner/ lunch? Coffee would be ideal- quick, on the move, replenishing and a place to rest tired feet.
5. Catchment Point in a Colony- A large possibility of floating populace to drop in. Advantage is that it falls on the way to a destination. One may want to go someplace for a full meal but for coffee, it is ideal if it falls on the way to somewhere or like a shop next door. Disadvantage is that it caters to a small audience. Unless you are lucky to get one in a colony that is a satellite to a larger commercial hangout. May not be ideal for a first store but okay for a branch.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wierd Stuff for Babies

Some absolutely useless stuff
Grooming Baby- Whatever happened to smelling like a baby, plunging your nose into your baby's neck and hair and taking deep breaths imbibing your baby's unique scent- we have perfumes for babies. Personally I would have less chemicals on their skin. I would have avoided talcum powder too but I don't have an alternative for that.

Tooth Fairy's Nightmare- Aren't these cute. You are encouraging bad dental hygiene above all and the message is - it is ok to have wierd and bad teeth. Like I was told that I worry unecessarily about rotting teeth - it's only milk teeth that will fall off eventually. Why the hell do I encourage bacteria co-habiting in my kid's mouth? I would rather prevent even if they are milk teeth only. My kids have a right to look good without a view of rotting black teeth.

And now an outsourced lullaby or what- Don't complain later if your kid does not listen to you. You have more than trained him just so. Take a stroll and instead of listening to the birds chirping and the dogs barking and the other kids squealing and playing, your baby lives in its own world of music. Now that is what I called conditioned switching off or rather switching on. Am I a fool? I was talking 19 to a dozen to my kids pointing out stupid stuff like lizards and butterflies when I took them for a stroll in their stroller.

Taking the Gory Forward- A shipwreck set complete with skeletan. I am glad they have come to their senses and discontinued it.

And we lament about leaving kids home when we go on work. What about this new design of the playpen. This is a cage with cedar chips lining the cage, baby blanket, a bottle and feeder. Training you for every evenuality that might come in future. And we though Harry Potter was the ill-treated child.

Baby Hanger- Picture this, you and your kid are shopping or travelling and you have this sudden urge to pee. This will be most useful!! Practical but wierd and I would rather control the urge or rather not travel alone. More than anything else, I would be forever scared that the harness system may fail and the baby may fall right down.

Monopoly with swipe card- And now monopoly that keeps up with the times. A debit card system. So no more thrills of counting the green bucks. What happens with the batteries play hooky in the middle of the game?

Now this is what I like...

Does someone has a T shirt in the lines of "Powerchick Mom" or "supermom", something to that effect?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tiny Thoughts- Tit for Tat

I no longer call you when I am in your city, inspite of the urge.
I will resume when you or your children start calling my parents once in a while.
I know it does not hurt you but it does not please you too much also.
Unknowingly and unwantedly, the blood thing runs deep.
Tiny Thoughts- About
A new series, sort of antithesis to the factual fiction series. The factual fiction is in the 2nd person, Tiny Thoughts (punning on Tiny Tots intended) in the 1st person.
Factual fiction loosely connects actual incidents happened during different times using author's license- a mix of factual and fiction- a sort of have been and could have been.
Tiny Thoughts have happened in isolation. They could just be thoughts not necessarily implemented. Or snatches of conversations converted to individual thoughts. They may be mine or someone elses.
Tiny Thoughts intend to convey thought processes that change the course of normal, usual or expected behaviour. It brings out the fact that nobody really knows for sure what goes within the minds of an individual- not even the person closest to the said individual.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bangalore Post

Blogging from Bangalore in the car driving to airport.
Height of Coincidence- coming face to face with a co-traveler from the morning flight at the client’s place. I am dying of curiosity as to who she was. Twice I almost asked her but she had a “ignore-value” look on her face that discouraged me from confronting her with my queries.
Had lunch at the Mexican place Miller 60. Interesting cardboard menu card with tidbits about the Mexican bandits, cattle branding and steaks.
I took a lamb steak sizzler with Mexican rice. The pepper preparation was yummy but forever hot, served on a bed of cabbage leaves and baby corn/ beans/ carrot. The sizzler plate was a seated bull.
The décor had wooden panel wood (bull hide colour), bull heads, rifles mounted, lanterns, saddle, glass tables with log base,
to be continued...
Ok..Like I said, kahani abhi khatm nahin hui hai....
I am back to blogging from Bangalore airport. Tough luck that you finish the meeting early, rush to the airport after the sizzling lunch (see above) and find you have seats to the earlier flight. The only thing is that the 4.15 flight is delayed by 45 minutes due to the craft not incoming on time and you are better off in the previously booked 5.30 flight.
So as I was saying, the mexican ranch decor also included funny shaped chairs, waiters wearing the cowboy style belt, and a totally modern-rustic appeal. I am amazed that the look and feel of the place is similar to hubby's office which is based on the stable theme with wooden panelling, cowboy belts, hat, lantern. We were discouraged from displaying the working rifle since we do not have a license and found the old leather saddle a little too expensive at this point- Rs 4000 from a guy roaming the roads on his horse. Interesting thing is that he gave his visiting card for future contact if we changed our mind about the price.

Anyway, back to the sizzler, the meat was too tough for my liking and I was seated in a such a way that the hot peppery steam was blowing into my face. I had to tilt at an awkward angle furing the meal. A fast eater like me will feel annoyed at the super slow pace the sizzler needs to be eaten if like me you cannot tolerate stuffing your face with sizzling hot food. To me meat is best enjoyed at the just right temperature so that you savour every morsel and chew it well and do not gulp to save your mouth from getting singed. I am glad I took the sweet-salt fresh lime soda to mellow the sizzle. Normally I don't select a sizzler for these reasons but I am glad I took this chance this time. Learning for the day- it is absolutely foolish to serve complimentary breads with cheese. You fill up the stomach with them while you are waiting for the main course and end up deserting the dessert.

Speaking of food, I am appalled at the lack of a decent eating lounge at Chennai/ Bangalore airport. The best place to be stuck in the airport is Mumbai were you have 2 coffee Day lounges where you can have a lazy meal and browse in peace. Bangalore airport to me is the worst place to get stuck.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Milestone Post- 2 years 5 months

I like the determined expression on their faces. Taken at a time they were struggling to crawl I guess. We just discovered an old mobile phone excuse the poor quality.

1. The tables get turned
Tejas asked me for water and said first hand wash karo. Hands Dirty.
2. Opposite of broken, sleeping, tired, crying, is nice. If I say Mamma tired, they reply no, Mamma nice. If I say Mamma yoi yoi (roi roi- crying), no mamma nice.
3. They are pottying in the Indian toilet. I am waiting for the day they are able to inform they want to poop when we are outside. Thanks to my Mom's patience else we would have been using the baby potty still.

4. So also for their bottle. They drink milk in their glass and I am thankful to rid the bottle.
5. They can peddle the tricycle now, if they wish. Thy find it more convenient and fast to hit the ground with their feet and propel the cycle
6. They can indicate firmly "ho gaya" when they don't want to eat anymore. I have begun to respect their wishes nowadays. They even give their choice and it is usually opposite of what I have for them- will you have dosa? answer- No yoti (roti)
7. They love playing with the pots and sand in the garden.
8. They can carry out an entire conversation giving all details of the past 1 hour or so if one cares to decipher and connect. Example- car, ghummi, jeans, potty, Mamma yoi yoi- he went in the car and shat in the jeans and Mom cried in despair.
9. They insist on Thanda pani only- Last night Tejas asked for water and I requested Ojas to get watr. He asked me white bottle? I said yes. He went to the fridge, got the bottle and a glass for Tejas.
10. They can do the sticker book almost correctly. They also do a jungle scene jigsaw puzzle almost completely.
11. The time has come when they insist on shorts with pockets only. They need to store their cars or intresting bits of paper in them.
12. They went to their first Pizza Hut birthday party. They can explain they went to S's birthday party, ate Pizza and met Anushka- now since they know 2 An(o)ushka's, I am not sure which one they meant because they met neither.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Dress Code

Every grown up I have known laments about one thing from their childhood- their mother dressing them up alike inspite of their age difference.
Some of us used to like getting dressed up alike and some are scarred for ever for being made to do that.
A variation would be having the same type, design, material, embroidery but a different colour. So there is equality on all respects except for the colour.
My sis and I always had either of the above for choice. We never did hate being dressed up alike or similarly rather it made things simpler for my sis- she used to pick up the pair of what I would pick up for the day. Probably these things run deep. The last 2 times or infact the last several times we shopped togther, I found myself to be instinctively drawn towards whatever she picked up. This is either genetic or I rely on her fashinable instincts.
Anyway, I try to dress my double trouble as per option 2- same in all respects except colour or maybe pattern. Even if I don't do that, I always buy a pair either of similar style or price and pair them for every wearing occassion. So that similar ones get worn out at the same time and one doesn't end up feeling deprived if I have to discard one of the pair before the other.
But things are never so simple. Both want to wear the same colours and the same piece if possible. They manage to find differences in identical pieces also whether it is a dress or a toy or chaddi or pajama. They do have their favourite colours or pieces but I have faced many a meltdown for a particular colour or pattern. More often than not I get gifted identical pieces so I have a healthy mix of identical and similar for using on both kind of situations- when they want identical or similar. You will almost never find a situation when one is wearing a full pant & the other shorts or one is wearing a T-shirt & the other a shirt- despite my best efforts to make thm like different things at different points of time, I never succeed. So tomorrow Ojas & Tejas, do not dare to blame me and discuss among your friends that "Mamma made us wear same clothes everytime"

Different Colour T shirts, Identical pattern, Different colour cordroys, overall same

Same colour, similar pattern, overall same- T-shirt & identical jeans
completely different put paired at the time of purchase- same style, different color/ design, completely different unpaired pajamas

What to do when the Dad wants to copy the kids? Unless I do the same, I will be the odd wo-man out

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mandatory Stat Counter Post

1. To that person who wanted an Ad Analysis of Pond's Dreamflower Talc- You are in the right place. Please mail me. I forgot to magnify and check where you are from and stat counter has swallowed it up now.
2. To that person who wanted to purchase chakla bela (belan)- I could help you out too. My mom specializes in buying chakla belan of various materials and sizes.
3. To that person who thinks Tejas is a weird name- I beg to disagree, it is a beautiful name very close to my heart. All the Tejas of the world please protest.
4. To that person who is trying to find out why couples fight over cleaning- do come back, we could have a heart to heart talk and exchange of rants.
5. To the person who wants to know what to write in a baby book- well this blog is all about that. It is a complete baby book with an advantage- it is ongoing rather than ending after the babyhood is passed. For me, they are going to be babis right through so every milestone is important enough to be proclaimed to the world, not to stay in the hallowed pages of a baby book- hidden and tucked away in the book shelf.
6. There is someone who almost on a daily basis searches for "how to write a kissing scene" and lands up on my page- factual fiction- kissing scene. By now I am sure you would have realized that I do not specialize in these scenes.
On another note, the Kathipara flyover (that will make that Kathipara searcher land back on my page yet again) is open from yesterday- the Ashok Nagar- Airport Arm. Last evening I witnessed the sparkling serial lights on the flyover as I zipped under it. Last Sunday I had to go past the dreaded T Nagar and had a great surprise- a flyover coming up bang on the road between Pothys & 100 Nalli. Daring! Doing the construction among the teeming millions of shoppers. Wonder if the pavement shops will go to make way now. Another reason not to go shopping in T Nagar crowd now.
This morning I sort of passed on the years of oppression and punishment doled out by the sisters of my convent school. I got into a bylane and I saw a "sister" about to cross the road suddenly and honked and slowed down. She saw me and I assumed she would stop because I was very near to her and simultaneously I looked in the side mirrors to ensure no one was trying to overtake me from the sides while I took the right turn. In a matter of a second my eyes were back on the road and I was shocked to see the sister bang in front of the car blissfully crossing the road. Thankfully I stopped inches before her. Rolled down my window and gave her a piece of my mind- very politely though, the convent school baggage didn't allow me to be a shrew to her. I told her that had I hit you, I would have been in trouble inspite of the loud honking and warning I gave you. She replied with a smile, I thought you should have slowed down. Whaaaat! slow down when I am inches before the spot which you haven't even started crossing? I think it was too late for me to slow down.
Anyway, the encouter brought back some unpleasant memories -
1. I was pinched in my ear till I bled for not doing homework and went home and applied boroline. To this date I hate the smell of boroline- yes, yes, it is supposed to be a perfumed antiseptic cream but I prefer calling it smell as it does not conjure pleasant memories.
2. The same sister had remarked-"how people cut their hair" when we had my long hair chopped of into steps. Arre, what was her problem? Why did she have to comment in front of the big crowd and when I was at that age when such small insults leave a deep imprint in our childish minds.
3. The same one had told a group of us not to stand in the balcony and "try to attract boys" when a bunch of guys had come to our school once for goodness knows what.
4. The sisters had called us for a stay at school seminar in class 10 and it was actually sex education among other things without us or our parents being aware of it. We were not informed what to expect and it really confused and disturbed most of us at that point of time. I still feel while it was necessary, it could have been handled in a better and more sensitive and sensible way. (It was done right before the board exams).
I have infact good memories of school and most of the teachers. They used to be strict yet kind and we could talk to them openly. But the sisters were a specific breed and most of them in my time had their special brand of cruelty and a lower threshhold of patience. There was one who was a music teacher and she was a tyrant. I would expect a music teacher to be really soft and fun.
My favourite "sister" was the principal when I was in the junior section and she had a reputation of being strict but very kindly and very friendly with the students. When I was in KG, I used to always walking into the other section because that class-teacher was my neighbour. So she got me transferred to that teacher's section. I remember in an activity class I was asked to pour water from a bucket to another mug or something like that and I was too shy to do it. So that neighbour teacher punished me and sent me back to the other section. This sister noticed this on her rounds and promptly sent me back to the neighbour teacher's class. That to my childish brain was a very sweet thing to do and still is!
Anyway, my intention is not to be rude but just to highlight the impressions I had at that age. Now off course they seem to be inconsequential in comparison to what we deal with today. Infact when my kids cry for silly things, I lose patience. Yesterday I just told myself that these little things are their world at this point of time- that small rubberband or specific colour, the piece broken from the car, the particular color of toy, their books (this at any age is important and not to be ignored)..etc things that seem of no great consequence to me. But since it is so important to them, I ought to give each issue special attention and deal with them with empathy. Amen!(pun intended- contextual to the post contents)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

What Gets My Goat

Control Freak, Perfectionist, Fault Finding...that I am. With time, I have learnt to let go, relax and let mess remain so.
I don't mind my house looking like this on most days unless there are visitors coming. This cannot be controlled with the kids turning my house upside down every moment...
But this can definitely be controlled...
But what really gets my goat ...
1. Dipping the index finger into the milk to check the temperature. Even if the hands are clean. One may say that we eat with the sam hands or feed the kids with the same hand but dipping the finger in the milk is neither visually appealing nor aesthetic.
Okay, how's this for an idea. Ask me for a glass of water. When I bring it, ask whether it is cold and I dip my finger into it to check and say yes. Will you drink it? PS- My hands were freshly washed with dettol. So hygeine is not a concern here.
2. Blowing into the milk to push the cream back before pouring it out. That too without brushing teeth in the morning. Is it so much of a trouble to use a spoon?
So I do the same thing with the tea or soup or any other hot thing before handing it out. What if some droplets of spit fall into it? I am clean and my mouth even if not brushed is clean.
3. Drinking straight from the bottle or the jug. Okay, okay everyone does it. Don't brush your lips against the bottle atleast.
4. Leaving the lights/ fan on in every room you peep into. Also the geyser. Hint Hint....think environment, think mounting electricity bills.
5. Finding a pair of slippers among the toys. What? it is not disgusting? With kids placing their hands on everything and then popping the same hands into the mouth?
Ok, next time anyone sits on the floor to eat, we will strategically place a pair of (clean) slippers right next to the plate. Goes well with the decoration, if not anything else.
6. Kids eating stuff out from the floor- Unavoidable, most of the time. But I do happen to own a broom in perfect working order.
7. Forcefeeding beyond a point. "Sheepishly owns up"- I am guilty of doing it sometimes. 8. Leaving dirty clothes all over the house especially the ones with piss in them. I happen to pay a hell lot of money to the maid just to keep those out of the way.
9. Watching calmly or ignoring when they are tearing off their books, even if they are cheap. It is hard earned money. I might be wrong but my opinion is that if we do not teach them now to treat things with care, we will never be able to teach them in future. It will become their way of life.
10. Leaving the sponge or scrubber in the sink among the dirty dishes.
How many of the above would you tolerate?
Which issue will be your battle?
You may win a battle but would you truly believe that you have won the war? There is absolutly no way you can confirm whether mandates are being followed. So what's the best way to deal with this problem?
Is let go the better policy? You know you cannot beat them so join them or remain a mute spectator.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

House Husband

Yesterday K played the role of the househusband. And I give him 90% marks for his performance.
I give him points for
-keeping the house reasonably spotless
-Feeding the kids as directed
-Not having the TV on for a change
-Keeping the kitchen neat
And I give him brownie points for making snacks for me (actually he made it for himself and left some for me, but it was sort of nice to have him waiting for me for a change)
I deduct the 10% for -
-leaving the living room windows open in the evening- enabling some mosquitoes to enter the house.
-leaving the clothes on the line outside
-forgetting to keep the rice and rotis in the fridge
-allowing the kids to sleep without peeing therefore causing them to wet the bed
-allowing the kids for taking soap from the bathroom and spilling on the bed
-leaving the bed dirty and unmade after that
Well you might say atleast he did most of the things right, but my standards are high and since he measured up to them 90%, coming from me, it is a big compliment.
I give him bonus points for reading to the kids -Town Mouse & Country Mouse Sticker Book on Sunday night. This is the kind of moment I like to sit back and observe. I had to stealthily take a snap without waiting for them to pose else the moment would have gone.

We were gifted Storytellers from Bookbox by Hubby's relative S&M. The collection has 5 story books and a VCD with Hindi & English animated stories. The kids have not yet taken active interest in it but I loved the way they have made it. The narration is impeccable in terms of diction, accent, voice modulation and pace and the flow of the story very smooth. Lovely idea.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Success Formula

We were driving past Murugan Idly shop on Elliots Beach and K commented on the large crowd of waiting people spilling on the street. This is how it should be! He commented. People must stand in line patiently waiting for entry to your place. Now what is it that draws people to such shops. He is selling idly. Something that any housewife worth her batter in Chennai can do.
I understand why Dhaba Express has a similar crowd. We don't get Punjabi / North Indian cusine here in every nook or corner- the butter masalas, naans and tandooris which normally one don't make at home. So it would be a good idea to eat them outside.
But this is idly and chutney and sambhar!
The guy next to Adyar Bakery on SP Road makes a killing each day - crowd of IITians mainly- he sells bhajjis and masala vadas and daal vadas. When I was pregnant I developed a strange fascination for it and bought a couple of vadas for myself. I didn't enjoy it so much though after going through all the pains of walking up in the crowd with K waiting impatiently in the car in the middle of the road.
The Qwiky's outlet in Ascendas food court makes Rs 25000 per day profit- selling coffee/ cakes/ croissants only- not even a complete meal. And the audience is captive- those who work in Ascendas or those who come there for food court experience- destination point. Not a place someon will select for a casual coffee or come there while you are at the beach. It is a destination food court and they are making a hell lot of money. It is not even a complte coffee lounge. Just a few bar seats round the counter is the atmosphere. Rest is shared as part of the food court ambience.
Or look at Pothys sari store in T Nagar (for that matter look at T Nagar itself - what a crowd on any day at any time)- The store is teeming with people even on non sale period. There are people relaxing outside after their shopping ordeal (I call it an ordeal- it really is), people get lost within the store, families get separated and it is impossible to get someone to service you. Yet the store is bursting with customers. And it is not a Nalli or a Kumaran mind you. It is mass market sari store with downtrodden prices-as low as Rs 60-100 per cotton sari.
Saravana Store, T Nagar- Another you blink and miss the rest of your family kind of store. Infact the entire shopping duration, my grandma and Mom could never find where my Grandpa & brother were lost when they returned to the store after parking the car. Infact if you are not looking you might trip and fall into the service stairway, it is narrow and steep and comes suddenly out of nowhere in th plastic goods section.
Spencer's Mall- Have you really purchased anything there- apart from at Westside/ Pantaloon/ Fab India/ Reebok/ Titan other branded stores. What pulls people like me there? We usually end up walking around and buying nothing except parking space for those 2 hours or a Subway meal perhaps.
Fab India- They are predictable, they fade fast, they have no range, no choice and are priced high. Moreover designs - there are no designs- only full sleeve, half sleeve or sleeveless and every level of sleeve costs Rs 50- 100 incremental. Yet they sell. Lack of choice especially in Chennai? Or brand value or brand image?
Grand Sweets, Gandhi Nagar- Another of those queue reaching the street kind of store- even on normal days- I have never made a purchase there because I have no patience with the queue and waiting time.
Anjappars and Ponnuswamys- Typical South Indian food restaurants that have families waiting outside always. Cheap and Holistic South Indian meal- non veg is the main attraction. These are not the hip Chinese places where you inevitably wait for being seated. These are down-to-earth crowded places where you end up sharing tables with another family.

Wonder what attracts people so much to these places?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Evolving Tastes

1. Dark is the new niche- in chocolates. And I have fallen for it - hook line and sinker- Hershey's Nugget Truffles with Dark truffle filling, Ritter Sport Dark Chocolate Mousse, Milka Mousse, Sainsbury dark chocolates with Almonds & Cranberry, cases in point here. So Dark & Bitter is the new me as far as chocolates are concerned.
2. Women's Horlicks- My first thoughts-makes me feel old. I need replenishment as opposed to maintenance. I said it aloud and now I feel, am I wrong in thinking that way? Do I need to get older to need it? Or do I take it now for the much-needed nourishment? How old is old after all to me who wants to stay young at heart all the while? What did you guys think seeing the Women's Horlicks?
3. Coconut Chutney- frankly I always hated it. After pregnancy in 2005 I have started loving it. What is wrong with me?
4. Pooran Poli- As a rule I always hated it. Why do I like it so much now? And the richer the better.
5. From Haldiram Aaloo Bhujiya to Nimbu Masala- my long time love has been replaced- why have they created an artificial demand by not keeping stocks all the time?
6. Centrefilled gums, Chewies and even mints- I am experimenting all the time as a part of my job and enjoying it. For a person who had never tasted centrefilled gums until after I came in this industry, it is a damn big change. Watch out for the fundamint& fundamint saunf fresh by Godffrey Phillips. Interestingly I tasted an amazing piece of mentos gum- full ice from Holland- sold in France- the black pack. One would never guess that the flavour is licorice. It depicts the entire experience of eating saunf (licorice and saunf has commonalities from a flavour point of view) - green, bitter and ends with sweet.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Things that Make Me Sigh with Pleasure

1. When I see Ojas & Tejas quietly playing or eating something with great pleasure, I just want to hold that moment, cherish it, not even talk lest I break the spell. It is not just simple happiness or glee or joy or even ecstacy, it is a higher level of pleasure, more spiritual maybe, which cannot be shared, cannot be expressed or cannot be spoken off. It needs to be felt. You thank your lucky stars and all the good deeds of your previous births and wonder how you managd recieve such a great gift. You cannot laugh or cry to express the pleasure, you can just sigh quietly and keep everything inside you.

2. A drive at a high speed but leaisurely pace on a traffic-less day. You savour the independence, you feel glad that you have your own set of wheels to ply you around, you relish the feel of the powerful vehicle, you love the smoothness, you enjoy the scenery even if it is just a panorama of other vehicles and passerbyes or open shops, and you are not in a great rush to reach your destination. Sometimes you need to drive to experience the entire bundle of pleasure. It is not just a drive where someone drives you and you enjoy the sceneary. It is the control and the feeling that the pleasure is entirely yours.

3. When I am witnessing someone else enjoying my kids- even if it is my husband. I normally cannot envisage that anyone else can love my kids as much as I can because they came from my tummy not anyon else's. I pull back and observe the scene. I don't participate at such times. I marvel at how somebody can enjoy playing and bonding with someone else's kids. I feel comforted that there are more people to take care of the kids. I am not alone in my love for them. We are linked with one strong emotion directed towards not each other but towards Ojas & Tejas.

4. A perfect meal in a perfect setting. Unhurried, relishing every morsel, stimulating conversation. It could be with anyone, a friend, husband, sister, parents, the kids. It is the experience more than the food. It is about how much we laughed and how much we enjoyed. Makes you wish the food was never over so that we could go on with our chatting and taking in the surroundings.

5. When I finish reading a lovely book. It may not be great from a story point of view, it may not be fast paced or thrilling but just leaves you with a nice/ bitter-sweet sort of feeling- Rebecca did that to me. The story sort of touched me even though it was a sad sort of plot.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Babies Speak Hindi

Ojas tells me- संभाल के pakdo

(hold me carefully)
Me- Ojas give me kissie
Ojas- अभी नहीं (not now)
Height of irritation
Tejas at 2 am when I am desperately trying to sleep and have ben trying to put him to sleep for the last 2 hours-
Kakka (potty)
I say get up and go, remove your pajamas
He goes to the door and I ask you want to go kakka
Tejas- No, susi
This goes on for atleast 3 times until I give up and slap him.

Tejas insists that Ojas should put the pajamas for him.

Ojas- No Ojas tired. Hands टूटी (hands are broken, and rolling his head simultaneously as if he is fainting)


Tejas asked me to search for his car. I asked him to look in the other room. Without even looking he says- नहीं है (it's not there)


I give an excuse Mamma hands टूटी, give me kiss. Ojas gives a kiss. I tell Tejas you also give me kiss (to repair my hand).

Tejas points at Ojas - no kissie, हो गया! (indicating that Ojas had alrady kissed so the hand is repaired)


Last night, for the sakeof doing something interesting before going to bed, I took out the sticker story book gifted by my cousin's wife D. It was a Mowgli story with 75 re-usable stickers. Only hitch is that the stickers don't stick back on the original location. I thought we will just read the story without messing with the stickers. To be honest I had thought the sticker thing to be a waste, thinking the kids at this age would hardly be able to connect and would tear the stickers or spoil them by folding and causing them to stick. But after I started reading to them, I thought what the heck and showed them that they had to match the illustrations in the story with the sticker on the sticker sheet. I showed them how to peel the stickers and allowed them to peel off themslves by peeling an edge for them first. I was frankly surprised that the kids were able to match the right sticker. I had clearly underestimated them. Initially I took pains to set right the stickers that were put crooked but on the right spot (another surprise for me). A page later thy were placing th stickers nearly correct. The only problem was that I was asking them to alternatly find and stick stickers and they would say very sweetly now Ojas then Tejas (will peel and stick stickers) but every time one took th chance the other screamed and rolled on the bed, especially Ojas. And they referred to Mowgli as Jungli and Baaloo as Teddy and the Wolves as Dog. So I am off to buy two things today- more sticker books (I have 2 more with me) and more Jungli story books.

Note- We were declared clean yesterday- my car passed the Emission test - one of the many things our office takes care off. It is annually organised in office as part of save the environment drive.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Foot in the Mouth Disease & Some More

Setting- the Day after my Wedding.
I am describing to the cousin & his wife an apartment we had almost finalised.
I was trying to compare this apartment loosely to their four-floored house.
"This apartment was similar to the ground and 1st floor of your house. Only difference is, this one was a duplex and yours is a fourplex (pronounced foreplay to rhyme with duplex)
Setting- Sometime before my wedding
Going to be Hubby K sitting and talking with my kid brother inside the room. I am at the study table outside the room, in full view of only K.
K was passing rude comments on me in collusion with my brother. In reply I just raised the middle finger at him secure in the knowledge that only he could see me thereby not spoiling my image in front of my brother. The action got reflected on the paint of the door of the room. Kid brother quietly mentions- I saw that.