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Little Moments for this week

Here’s the bonus edition of LMT for this week.

  • Beautiful Fall morning. Summer is beautiful when the day is sunny and balmy.  Fall, on the hand, is at its best when the day is foggy, cloudy or drizzly. As I opened the door to see Hari off to his Math team this morning, the sight of the neighborhood bursting with colors made my day even before it started. It would have been a crime to not soak in it, so off I went on a nice brisk walk, drunk in the beauty that surrounded me..!
  • What is Fall without leaf peeping. The kids and I took a stroll this Tuesday collecting different shades of leaves – the yellow with green border, the bold pink one, the brown dried leaf, and the orangish red one. Searching through the several piles, and looking for a unique one gave us much delight…!
  • Day off on Tuesday. Visit to the temple, going to the park with the kids, playing with playdoh… priceless indeed…!
  • Got appreciated for my visualization skills at work. Meant much although truth be told, I was only being a savvy smartart powerpoint user, which is rudimentary compared to sophisticated data visualisation tools that’s out there. Data visualization finally makes sense; it is the art of coming up with the right visual to tell a story (think words cloud, heat map etc.), pretty much like using the right words to articulate a story, and I too want to be good at it.
  • Oh he looked so charming, handsome and distinguished. I could have kept my eyes fixed on him all day. He being the first born. Hari was dressed in white, red and black checked shirt and blue jeans for school picture day. The child who will wear only gym clothes magnanimously indulged me on the condition that he would take a change of clothes with him. “I can’t play soccer with jeans ma” – porum da, alti bulti, saying so  I tousled his hair secretly marveling at his growing up.
  • And the little mister, our little Ram, who loves getting dressed up insisted on wearing his formal shirt and a jumpsuit for his b’day party. “Mama I want to wear the pant that comes over my arms. I like it very much amma”.  Ha, he didn’t realize it was called jumpsuit, and he sported the flashiest smile wearing his new outfit, experiencing it to its fullest.
  • Reconnected with friends. The only comforting thing about becoming old is that you are not alone in it. There is a whole army of people growing old with you, fighting similar but their own battles.
  • Got a headstart to weekend chores. Laundry done. Dosai maavu done.

Ok tudlu for now. Weekend is just around the corner, hang in there…!


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Thank god…

…. for little mercies. I stepped out of the cab after battling a bout of homesickness and motion sickness wanting to embrace all things that meant home to me.

  • the old but comfy green and maroon cotton salwar
  • the warm cheesy mac n cheese with hot and sweet maggie khetchup
  • nice hot ginger tea
  • laughing at jokes in Mindy Project
  • the golu lights that moved from the basement to the living room and the halloween decorations that are adding a touch of festivity to the house
  • the kids rushing up to me, talking over each other, vying with each other for some mommy love
  • catching up with Da, having some profound conversations around my epiphanies
  • finally opening Ram’s b’day presents, his eyes dancing with excitement
  • Hari coaxing me to read The House of Hades, and  The Blood of Olympus
  • playing family game and soccer with balloon
  • the house full of scattered toys, a sink full of dishes, the clutter, the imperfections
  • last but not the least, resting my feet on the bunk bed, typing away in the laptop, pouring my heart out, as I hear two of my favorite boys snoring away

You must be familiar with the story. So if you are rolling your eyes at the redundancy of my little moments, I understand and sympathize with you. But these everyday moments mean the world to me and recounting them here is my way of expressing gratitude and reminding myself to cherish them in the palm of my hands.

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Cooking with a twist

A couple of years back, it was about learning how to saw a tree. This summer, it was about trying his hands on masonry. Now what? It’s time to figure out how to repair the cooking gas range. Home ownership in the US is primarily about two things – big fat monthly mortgage checks, and how willing are you to acquire new skills and become hands on. Da is becoming quite the versatile Mr. Fix It of our house!

Our cooking gas range went kaput last week. A visit by the appliance service provider did more harm than good. He charged us heftily for consultation, shut the gas supply citing hazardous situation, and worst of all, misdiagnosed the problem and suggested replacement of cooking range. Thanks to google and youtube, Da was able to meddle with the appliance and salvage it, saving a deep hole to our pockets. Keeping fingers crossed.

After moaning, groaning and being in denial for a few days, there is a part of me that is now thrilled. You see we bought a induction stove to keep us going while we are waiting for the replacement parts. The challenge is two -pronged – firstly, we have downsized from four burners to one burner, and secondly, there are very limited pots and pans that are induction friendly. So we are embracing minimalist cooking, pulling out underutilized Calphalon utensils and cast iron tavas, and cooking one pot meals. Quite fun actually to cook under a given set of constraints. Challenges you to get creative with your meal planning, and efficient with your use of utensils. If only the induction stove didn’t come with that white noise…!


Posted in Ram Leela, Uncategorized

Happy fourth year

The little child that makes a Buddha out of us turned four last week.  I am not sure if it’s the age factor or if it’s the stage of life that we are in or if it’s the blessing of having a second opportunity to bring up a child, raising Ram has enriched our lives in more ways than one. It has taught us to be mindful parents,  given us insights into the breadth and depth of human nature, and led us to experience life in all its fullness.  

For instance, when the much dreaded terrible twos set in for Ram, I learnt that the only way I could manage it was by mindfully observing what triggered the tantrums, and understanding the dos and don’ts in that situation. To not melt in the heat of the circumstances and just be the calm solid presence in his life.  

Or his potty training experience for that matter. To simply accept that it takes what it takes. He is his own person and all we can do is be an enabler in the process. We steered him in the right direction but he determined the pace. It was a very humbling experience.  

As I sit here, recollecting the year that has gone by, the thought of Ram and his endearing ways bring a  smile on my face and joy in my heart. Ram is a little charmer, our veshama kara kanna, our pattu kunjalam.   One minute he makes us scoop him in our arms and the next minute he has us pulling our hair out. He is non-negotiable but if you set expectations upfront, he will live up to it to the tee.  

I love how he is so clear about what he wants and how well he articulates the rationale behind his choices. “Mama, I do not want to learn swimming. If I go swimming I have to put my head under water and that will make my head get wet. I don’t like my head to get wet” or “ Amma I cannot wipe my bum bum by myself because I cannot reach the toilet paper. See it is so far away.”  Better still, the articulation is accompanied with gestures and facial expressions.  Beady eyed with arched eyebrows he would say, “Mama, see, you made this food karam, can you oodhi my mouth?” he would open his mouth and would not close it till I blow some air into it. He would not accept that he is mixing up the spiciness of the food with its temperature and that when the food is hot, you cool the meal not your mouth. Ha, perhaps, this is what they mean by child-like stubbornness?!  

While Hari and I are the big slobs of the house, Ram is quite the opposite. Ram will not wear messy socks, will not step his foot in the bathroom if the floor is wet, and will not tolerate food spills. He does not like to be in the spotlight and dramatic outpouring of affection is the surest way to repel him. And it doesn’t matter if you are his mommy, disapproval is a big NO for him. “Mommy see you got mad at me, it made me sad and look at me now, I am crying”, “If you are upset with me, I will never ever be your best friend again.” Ram is a nature lover, voracious reader and a movie buff. 

Ram simply likes to be; minding his own business, doing his thing, at his own pace. And just when you have made that conclusion about him, he will surprise you by wanting to sing in a room full of people.

Ram, I can go on and on about how you have touched our lives and made it so much more richer and happier for us. In your own little ways, you make us learn some of life’s lessons. We love you with every fiber of our being and are immensely thankful for your presence in our lives. May God bless you lovey love. Happy fourth b’day dearest little one. Wishing you the bestest of the best.  With wagon loads of love, from appa, amma and anna.

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Broccoli Battle

Eyes brimming with tears, his throat choking with overwhelming sadness, the four year old came up to me and said with a tone of accusation, “Mommy, you hurt my feelings today”

Now now, don’t rush to make assumptions. I did not spank him. I did not scold him. Why, I did not even as much cast a cold glare! All I did was told him in no uncertain words that he should eat his broccoli, whether he likes it or not. And that led to the said hurt feelings. Who would have thought, huh?

Hari who had just received a earful from me for not keeping up with his routine tasks picked up the broccoli battle with his little brother to win brownie points with me. “Look here Ram, anna ate broccoli and that made anna strong. Now do you want to grow up to be a strong man?”, pointing to his arms, he added, “Do you want to have muscles like anna?”, and the little brother nodded all through the conversation. “Then you have to eat broccoli all by yourself, okay Ram?” Brushing his “hurt” feelings aside, Ram got the broccoli from me, and gave a conditional acceptance to eating the vegetable “Don’t give the stem to me mama, ok?”

Mighty pleased with himself, Hari headed to the bathroom. A smile played on his lips. A smile that was mixed with pride and that said “Don’t antagonize me. My sibling power can come in very handy. “

Never a dull moment here and the drama goes on and on.