Posted in Little Moments

LMT Time

Do you recognize the place in this picture…?


This is what Dr. Seuss calls as the waiting place in his book, Oh the Places you’ll go. This is the place where people are doing nothing but simply waiting, waiting, and waiting. Expecting things to magically fall on their laps without as much lifting their little finger.

And that’s precisely the place I found myself in this week. In a waiting place, waiting for nothing in particular. Just sitting in the slump watching the world around me zoom by. Yeah, that was me – lazy and crazy – this week.

Now that the confession is out there loud and clear, time to take stock of the little moments.

– Received an email in which the heart speaks. Very genuine and heartfelt. Made up for the miles that stood between us and the times that we don’t get to spend with each other. There are friendships that you let go. And there are friendships that you cling on to, with all your might, with your life. And she is a gem that I will cherish forever and ever.

– Just as I was drooling over the onam sadya pictures on my Facebook feed, a friend who was born and brought up from Kerala, emailed, “I can make some onam dishes for dinner on sat, I also have paper banana leaves. Would you like that?” Yes of course, we would love that, I pounced in all eagerness. We had our first Onam style feast last Sat.

– Throwing a glance at the mirror, lingering an extra second to look at the deforested eyebrows and the copperish hair strands. That feel good factor that stays with you, albeit briefly, following a visit to the parlor.

– A strict math coach at the math team. One who will make your son think of you as a cool cucumber, not the hot pepper that he thinks you are…! A strict disciplinarian, a task master, who will give a kick in your you-know-what, not just for Hari but his parents, if we don’t do what it takes. I say, let the fun begin…!

– Mercilessly threw away the chocolate butter goodness – nutella. No more slathering it on a toast for late night snacking. One temptation conquered.

– Words become unnecessary when you rest your head on the broad shoulders of the one that loves and cares for you and vice versa. For those few seconds, all of life’s quandaries and dilemmas melt away in that warmth and comfort.

– Remember the ten year old money plant I told you about? My parents weaved it along our window. It has grown and is long enough to extend around the door frame of our kitchen. “hey we can take it along the doorway, then as it grows take it along the kitchen window and then the living room”. Just like that a dream was born. A dream to adorn the house with a single money plant. A little silly if you think about it, but one that is filled with possibilities.

– Da and I were discussing something and all of a sudden we hear some snoring noises. I turn back and catch the child strapped in his care seat, wide awake but pretending to snore. It was a sight to behold, one that had us cracking up. Tell you, little Ram is such an attention seeker. Gives us a run for the money.

What little moments have you been savoring this week?

Posted in Uncategorized

Sending warm b’day wishes and happy thoughts…

… to someone who,

– instilled the love of reading – “keep reading even if you don’t understand because at some point you will,’ and introduced me to the world of PG Wodehouse.

– exposed me to bhajans, slokams and music. Mondays are for MS Pancharatnamala, Tuesdays are for Kandha Sashti by Sulamangalam sisters, Wednesdays are for Bhaja Govindam, Thursdays are for Hanuman Chalisa/Raghavendra sokamsm, Fridays’ are for Devi stotram, and Saturdays for Vishnu Sahasranamam.

– got me into the habit of sending New Year wishes, and believing in new beginnings. Thanks to you, it’s such a non tradeable and favorite part of the new year.

– is full of compassion, is a perfectionist, and a stickler for routine. If you are looking for a role model to be disciplined, he is the man!

– always made it clear that family comes first and gave us a happy, memorable, and fun filled childhood.

Appa – here’s wishing you heartful of happiness, peace of mind and the pinkest of health, now and always…! Ending this post with a show off of my dad’s lovely lovely pencil sketches, some of which have been traced while others drawn by him. I am not exaggerating when I say this is one of my prized inheritance. These drawings are older than I am, and the fact that he has preserved them over the years, despite several moves, says a lot about how organized he is.

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Posted in Introspection, Little Moments

LMT post for this week

Hello people, hope your week is going well. Mine had it’s share of ups and downs. Time to reflect on the week that went by and count the little blessings that life had to offer.

– Visited the Chinmaya Mission temple last weekend. With its pristine and serene setting, the place fills your heart like no other. One of the few occasions when the mind willingly resides in the now, and takes in all the divinity the place has to offer.

– Bought a pink orchid plant at the local Trader’s Joe on an impulse. I do not have a green thumb, but that doesn’t deter me from collecting plants. Looking forward to nurturing this beauty in our cozy little corner.

– On the way back from back-to school- nights this week, and during my early morning visits to the gym, an unexpected visitor accompanied me. So close yet so far, he kept taunting me with his sheer simplicity. I stopped and lingered whenever I could to get an extra glimpse of him. Who is this mystery visitor you ask? Why, who could it be other than the grand full moon leaning against the night sky in all its grandeur.

– Heard in passing – “My mom is a good catcher, she is very good at catching with one hand”. Ahem ahem, that was a comment on yours truly. Whoever knew that an appreciation from a little child could make his mama walk a little taller. And I wonder why they say children derive their self worth from adults? shouldn’t it be the other way around?

– He is needy, hungry, sleepy and cranky. And the only way he knows to deal with it is to take it out on me. It’s tough hanging in there and being the bigger and more matured person. My own frustration is building up, threatening to explode any moment. A spark of awareness sets in and I just let go. What a relief, as if a huge weight is lifted off my chest, making space for some tenderness to set in. I pick Ram, he rests on my shoulder and falls asleep in a jiffy. Breathing heavily, his heart beating against mine, his cheeks on my shoulder, a little drool just about to drip. I do not know anything more tender than this!

– Good news from a good friend that warmed my heart. We hear stories. Of dreams, hopes and faith. Of disappointments, failures and struggles. Of resilience, character and attitude. Life comes in all shapes, colors, and size. Who knows what is in store? Who knows what is meant for us? Life is anything but a level playing field. We all go places, find our own paths, and eventually it balances out.

Care to share your little moments for this week? I am all ears!

Posted in Ram Leela

Toddler talk

And some toddler talk from Ram. Conversations over past few months that are struck in my head waiting to be recorded in my journals.

– Noticing that I am wearing a new kurti, Ram says, “Mommy I love your new kurta. You look so handsome in this!”

– After a diaper change, he follows me around and says, “come mommy, now it’s your turn. Lie down and I will change your diaper.”

– At the dinner table, he farts and proudly proclaims, “I am a burrro monster” and giggles uncontrollably.

– “Anna, this is mines mommy. Daddy is yours. Mommy is mice.”

– “Amma can you move and give me a pots” – that is, can you give me a spot?

– “Are we going to restroom to eat?” – what he meant to ask was, are we going to a restaurant to eat?

– The child is so polite that he says, ‘appa thank you for buying me milk, thank you for buying me banana, thank you for buying me cheerios….’, as he unpacks all the goodies from grocery shopping.

Posted in Hari Katha, Little Moments

In lighter vein

Conversations with Hari over the past few months that I wanted to jot down in my diaries.

With the noble intention to be a good cheerleader for my sonny boy and his team, I asked Hari, “I want to get better at knowing soccer rules, can you teach me.” Mighty thrilled at my unexpected enthusiasm for sports, he shot back. “Sure mom, I would love to.” He started out and then held back and asked me in all seriousness, “You do know that in soccer you cannot touch the ball with your hands, right?”

Really child? You thought I am THAT ignorant. Sigh!

Ram, Hari and I were driving to Hari’s tennis class. Ram was eating croissant and I asked him how it was. Hari interjected and corrected me, “Mom, you should say croissant with a sharp R and a sharp T like this”, and went on to pronounce it for me. And I repeated after him closely mimicking his pronunciation. “It’s ok mom if you don’t get it. People will just understand what you are saying when they see what you are holding.”

As my friends from college would say, ellam yen neram!

Hari had proclaimed that the pizza I had made the earlier night was the world’s best pizza ever. Recollecting the compliment the next day, I suggested to him that maybe we should stop buying pizzas and just make them at home. Feeling a little threatened that I was going to take away his pizza day at school, he said “Mom, I don’t mean this as an insult to you. But the guys that make pizzas are more experienced than you and know how much salt to add and how long to cook. So I think we should continue to buy pizzas.’

Ha ha, quite the smooth talker that he is!

Collecting materials for his art project, Hari came up to me and asked, ‘Hey mom, do you think you could give me some of your hair so I could use it for making the girls in my art work.” My eyes certainly popped out and as I narrated it to the husband, he advises Hari, ‘Just look in the floor kanna, you will find plenty.”

I have not laughed this hard in a long time.
As I was driving Hari from summer camp, Hari asked, “Mom, we will have pizza party in camp on Friday. Do you think I can drink soda.” And I said, “Illa ma, I can get you sparkling water at home if you like but let’s not drink sugary beverages. I know it’s very tempting when everyone is having it, but really kanna it feels good only as long as your taste buds can taste it, but beyond that it does so much harm to your body” Fairly convinced that I had convinced him, I look in the rear view mirror and caught mischief in Hari’s eyes. ‘How about this idea then – I take a sip, taste it, and then spit it out instead of swallowing it”

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…! didn’t see that one coming.
Again on the topic of junk food, I was telling Hari, “You know Hari, our friends who will be visiting this weekend? Their children do not eat any junk food. they only eat nuts and yoghurt for snacksI I don’t want us to be a bad influence, ok?”. Without a moment’s hesitation, the child replies, ‘Oh boy, looks like then I need to be junked out before that!’

I am stumped!

Posted in Experiences, Inspiration

YMCA Groupon

Like dentist appointments, exercising is something I dodge in all ways I possibly can. It’s so much hard work. The kind of hard work that I am not used to.

This summer, on a friend’s recommendation, I signed up for a $25 Groupon that would let me visit the local Y 25 times. I thought of it as universe’s way of pleading me to get my act together and shed a few pounds. I have completed nearly 20 visits and have had a great time getting exposed to different workout regimens. It’s another thing that I have not lost an ounce, but the thought that I have not piled on additional lbs despite all the gluttony over the summer is some justification for an hour of sweating it out at the crack of the dawn. That being said, what workouts have I been exposed to?

Zumba and Zumba Toning – this is not my first introduction to Zumba, so I was a tad disappointed with the instructor. Adding weights to Zumba makes it Zumba toning. Gotta say that I have grown to like the music immensely and would love to try my hands on this workout with a different teacher some other time.

Group Cycling – this is also called Spinning. Suffice to say that this workout is simply B.R.U.T.A.L. It’s playing with different combination of gears and speeds on a stationary bike to add some resistance and increase your heart beat. This is my least favorite workout, and I confess that I cheat quite a bit with the gears to keep up with intensity of the class.

Hi/Low Aerobics – lots of jumping, kicking and moving around, with some weights thrown in. This class is fun, and gets you pumped for the day.

Pilates – my first time ever doing pilates. I LOVE it. I am not sure if I got the basics right but from what I understand it is a mind-body workout involving a certain breathing technique and is about stretching your body in opposite directions (foot extending on one side, while the head stretching on the other), and making space for our organs instead of crunching them up. This is probably one thing I will miss once the coupon expires.

All these work out sessions are typically an hour long. For the first 20 mins, my mind is moaning and groaning – “I wish I had better control over my eating then I don’t have to slog here”,“My God this is so hard, I do not want to do it”, “I wish I was as fit as the person next to me. Why is she even working out?”, so on and so forth. The next 20 mins, I hit a slump in terms of energy levels. So I just focus, breathing in and breathing out, giving it my all. And along the way there is a shift in my mindset, “come on, 50% of the class is over, only 50% is left, give it your all”. It gets slightly easier as the mind realizes that I am on the home stretch and works with my body. Needles to say, my favorite part of the workout is the last five minutes of cooling and stretching. That feeling of “yay, I did it” makes rest of the 55 mins so worth it.

There is a wide range of folks that come for these workout sessions. Believe it or not, last week a 7-month pregnant lady was up on the stationary bike biking her way while I was huffing and puffing on mine. I am also fortunate to have a workout buddy who like me is not into intense workout but tries her bit to be in shape. Her commitment and willingness to try new things certainly pushes me along as well.

Posted in Experiences, Kids, Life, Memories

Summer 2013

Here I am giving updates on summer happenings when fall is marching its way in all its glory in our part of the world. Ah, well, better late than never,isn’t it? We did not scratch the surface in terms of what we wanted to do over the summer, but we got other things accomplished. Here’s a quick summary.

– Hari went to a regular camp in July. In August, he immersed himself in tennis, which is his latest love! Apart from camp, he made a 500 piece glow in the dark jigsaw puzzle, mostly by himself. Such fun in putting together different pieces to make a big picture…! No wonder Hari was hooked.

– Offering balanced meals for the family, especially Hari. If providing nutritious home cooked meals comes naturally to you, lucky you and your family! My impulse is to make it quick and easy often times compromising on the “balance” portion of the meal. Over the summer, I put in a little more thought into planning meals for the family ensuring that the kids had servings from different food groups over the course of the day. Nothing fancy, just sneaking a fruit here, a handful of nuts there, and some veggies thrown in the mix.

– Family meals. Without any extra classes to attend, summer afforded the luxury to eat dinner together as a family. Made a big difference to Ram, who often likes to read while eating, and helped cultivate the habit of “eat while you eat, read while you read.”

– Potty Training. Ram made steady progress on the potty training front. So many memories made – “Amma look Ram has made a sea horse with his pee pee”, “Amma, I did mommy poo poo, daddy poo poo and baby poo poo”, and one fine evening Ram had his epiphany at the dinner table “Amma, poop comes from butt, pee comes from wee wee.”

– We went to a local minor league game. A free ticket that Hari earned from being enrolled in the library reading program. The child was overjoyed with the experience of watching a live match. It’s another thing that his mom was bored out of her mind, getting all fidgety.

– We went to more than a couple of out of state zoos. and learnt a thing or two about how all of us are interconnected in the circle of life. Did you know that vultures are the ultimate recyclers? they feed on sick and diseased prey without harming themselves while saving the rest of the animal world and humankind from the decay and potential diseases. Also, did you know that due to their heights, other animals count on the giraffes to alert them should there be a predator close by? Very humbling, makes you realize that you are a tiny speck in the grand scheme of things.

As I write this, I am in the basement with the heating system turned on. It’s time to pull out those rugs, bring in the plants, take out the gloves and transition to chillier temperatures. I am not ready for summer to be over yet. Or rather for winter to begin….! Fall is stunning, but so very short lived.