Gratitude, Health and fitness, Little Moments, Uncategorized

Quiet time

Oh the itchy scratchy throat gave me a horrendous day. Of all the days, I had to lead two training sessions today. Exactly at midpoint in both the sessions, I broke into a coughing fit and had to abscond from the call for a few minutes. Worse still, the second one was a customer facing call. Yikes! A bit awkward, I would say. But hey, when you have to cough, you have to cough, and to be fair, I did warn folks about the possible scenario upfront.

Boy, was I glad and thankful that the work day was over. Even more grateful that the evening was low profile and I could indulge in some quiet time, with minimal conversation. Ram offered me an extra pillow before going to bed, and Hari kept offering to bring a cup of warm water. My little darlings!

Learnings, Life, People, Uncategorized

Transgender Awareness Week

I read on FB that this week is Transgender Awareness Week. So thought I would share something that has been brewing in my head for sometime now. 

A colleague of mine is a transwoman. I have known her long before she transitioned (from male to female). When she disclosed her transition, it was a shock. I did not have an inkling! She has been generous about sharing her journey, educating the rest of the world about what it is to be trapped in a body that one does not belong to, about the high suicide rate amongst transgender people due to family pressure and societal stigma. It is not a life choice, she says. You don’t transition because you want to, you transition because you have to.

Can you imagine what a person with that condition must be going through? It must be an unbearable, excruciating, and lonely journey. Kudos to them for going through enormous physical, emotional and mental pain to be true to themselves. As a society, we have a lesson or two to learn. To not judge what we do not understand. To not dismiss what we do not relate to. 

I am proud of Massachusetts that voted YES on ballot question 3, which is s a referendum on the state’s 2016 transgender rights law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity in places of public accommodation, in the midterm.

On a side note, I thought Arundathi Roy did a fabulous job of articulating the inner turmoil of transgender people through her protagonist, Anjum, a hijra, in her novel the Ministry of Utmost Happiness. It’s worth a read.


Instapot Primer

I too have an instapot. I am not head over  heels in love with it like many instapot users but it has grown on me over the past six months. For the novice, an instapot is a rice cooker with the pressure cooking functionality.

Does it add value if you have a pressure cooker and a rice cooker? No, it would be redundant. It is expensive and it takes up a lot of counter space. So I would think twice. But if you are looking to replace your pressure cooker, then instapot is the way to go.

What makes it unique? In a pressure cooker, you control the timing of the whistle. In instapot, you are programming the gadget. You set it to default mode for some dishes (rice, lentils, yogurt etc.), while for others you set the time. Toor dhal 8 mins, channa – 20 mins, oats – 8 mins, you get the draft?  The gadget is cooking based on your instructions. For instance, if you set toor dhal time for 4 mins, it will stop at 4 mins, whether or not the dhal is cooked.

Does it cook dishes quickly? Not really, if you factor in the time to build and release pressure, the time it takes is comparable to that of a pressure cooker. It has a quick release functionality which you can use but  I don’t because it is a choice that comes with drawbacks (food spillage, steam spraying on the wall).

Then why the hype? Several reasons, there is something for everyone. Some use it for bulk cooking, others use it for cooking multiple dishes at the same time, while there are some who like the Delay Start functionality. Then there are true users who use it for any and every thing so much so they own more than one instapot. It’s really up to how much trial and error you are willing to put in to figure out what is in it for you.

What size would you recommend? I would recommend going with 8 quart if you can spare the counter space for it. It gives the flexibility to cook small portions (using pot-in-pot method, you would use in a cooker) for daily cooking and large portions for when you have guests.

What do I use it for? I use pot-in-pot method for my daily cooking. Since I know the time, I can cook multiple dishes. For eg. kootu and oatmeal, dhal and potato, rice and dhal, quinoa and beans. I bulk cook mixed rice, choles, bhajis when I have guests.  When we had multiple families staying with us in May for upanayanam, I could make oatmeal for breakfast for about 6 adults in 25 minutes with practically no effort from my end. I can set the rice and dhal for kids before leaving to pick them up, and it’s ready by the time we are back. I love that instapot does not need any monitoring like a pressure cooker. does Comes in very handy when I work from home.

What do I not like about it? You miss out on the cooking experience. While the monitoring the whistle is a nuisance, it does make you feel like you know what’s going on. The instapot lid starts smelling a bit over time. I don’t like that my cooking extends to the kitchen island which is where the instapot sits.. You could get the timing wrong and my concern is with overcooking which will result in loss of nutritive value. 

Gratitude, Uncategorized

Veterans Day March

Dressed in his blue cub scouts uniform, Ram marched with the other scouts buddies to the beats of the marching band. It was an afternoon of being part of a community and taking a moment to reflect on all the people who have and continued to serve us. They give a lot and get so little in return. Heartfelt gratitude to the veterans and the families for their sacrifices so we all can live freely.


Vishnu Sahasranamam

Drafted last friday

A group of friends recite Vishnu Sahasranamam fairly regularly. I am not a regular in this group but today all stars aligned and I hosted the recitation in our house. It was a cozy gathering and an evening well spent in the company of good friends reciting the 1,000 names of the preserver of the universe.

I love the way the words of the sholakam roll on my tongue. With my rudimentary sanskrit, I am barely able to read it fluently, let alone understand it; but that does not stop me from loving it. It also reminds me of the perumal kovil I used to visit in Trichy during my high school years. Warm breeze caressing me as I did the pradashakanam, feeling safe and secure in my faith. That very same faith washes over me every time I hear this sholakam. In that sense, time stands still, what was true then is also true now, and it is as if nothing has changed.

One day, I hope to recite the sahasranamam fluently, but today I am thankful that it fills my heart with peace and fondness.

Experiences, Family, Food, Gratitude, Uncategorized


I assemble four glass containers for Da and three for myself. I chop the veggies one after the other. Da’s container gets a generous helping of argula, while mine gets the bare minimum on purpose (can’t handle the greens in my salad!). I chop the yellow and red peppers, toss in clementines, and then the cherry tomatoes. Veggies done, I move on to nuts, cranberries and feta cheese. Some days I throw in some tofu or chickpeas and olives. Then I layer the quinoa. Not quite the rainbow colors that I aspire for in our salads, but somewhat there. All in all, it has taken me 45 mins. I stack them in my fridge, and heave a sigh of gratitude.

Preparing salads for the weekday lunches has been an integral and indispensable part of my weekend routine for the past several years. The satisfaction of having packed healthy food. The peace of mind from knowing that I don’t have to think about one out three meals for three to four week days. While salads are not comfort food for me, it is a staple for Da. He thrives on it. I don’t know what got me into this routine, but I am glad and thankful that it has stuck with us for all along.

Gratitude, Uncategorized

Last Man Standing

Da, Hari and I have our Friday night routine. Ram is normally asleep by 9:30 PM. But the rest of us are not ready to hit the sack. We ache for our quota of lightness after a full week of work. We sneak into our attic, and turn on Last Man Standing, a show by Tim Allen. It’s something that the three of us enjoy – it is is out and out funny – Mike with his disdain for Democrats, Vanessa with her geological puns, Mandy, the fashionista, Eve with her wisecracks, and so much more..! So glad and thankful for some friday night lightness.