Thursday, July 22, 2010


When a child is seen behaving badly and is going off the course beyond the norm, the question/response that is generally aired is
"The child has been brought up very badly. The parents are to blame. What were they doing?"

However, when a child is shaping up nicely with no major problems or issues, the response almost always is 
"Such a nice, pleasant and good natured child". All compliments are for the child. And the poor parents who brought him/her to be what he/she is, is nowhere in the picture. In these instances,
How is it that it is very rare that one ever hears of 
"That kid is great. The parents have done a great job raising him/her" ?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Kerala Trip Part 7 - Rajamalai, Munnar & then back home

Day 6 (contd)

The first (and the last) stop was Rajamalai wild life sanctuary. The mountain covered with green grasslands is a sight to behold. A spectacular sight !
This park was established to protect the endangered Tahr (rare mountain goat). And also  famous for the unique species of flower, Neelakurinji, that blooms once in 12 years.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kerala Trip Part 6 - Munnar

Day 5 (contd)

Links to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part5

The travel from Thekkady to Munnar was a great scenic route in the hilly region. The mountains look as though a beautiful green carpet has been laid meticulously on it :) However, it was the worst part of the tour for me as I was car/travel sick (in spite of the slow driving among the hair pin bends by the expert driver). It was a wonder that I had managed for so many days and it had to happen some time! But the good thing about was that the travel was slow with various small stops and hence we got some more time to enjoy the view as well. Here are some shots along the way

Monday, June 14, 2010

We were shaken !!!

In the early hours of Sun morning ! The feeling was like no other ! The ground actually shifted beneath us ! 

And this is how we realized it !

(Click the pic for an enlarged image) 

We felt the tremor in 2 phases. The first was just about for 5 secs, but the second tremor (after 5 mins or so) lasted for 15-20 seconds.

I find it difficult to describe our feelings during the 5 minute span. "In awe" could be the best word to explain those moments.

For more details on the earthquake, you could visit here

How about you guys in Chennai ? did you feel it as well? I think i felt it only bcoz I was awake. I wouldn't have known if I had been asleep.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Originals, Adaptations, Remix - All for Tulika Blogathon-4

Hi guys !!!

How have you all been?This blog is being revived from its dormant state, thanks to Tulika :)
I couldn't resist submitting an entry for Tulika's Blogathon-4

Our home resonates with several rhymes and songs in both English and Tamil, some very well known , some long forgotten and some new ones !

Apart from the common Tamil ones like
1. Kaakkaa kannukku mai kondaa
2. Annai Annai, Azhagar Annai
3. Nila, Nila, odi vaa

here are some others that are part of our daily routine

Friday, May 28, 2010

Kerala Trip Part 5 - Thekkady

Day 4 (contnd)

Links to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

From the houseboat, we headed for Thekkady. The journey was uphill and the scenery was beautiful with mountains, tress and tea estates as went along. The 3 1/2 journey was peaceful and non-eventful

Friday, May 21, 2010

Kerala Trip Part 4 - The Sunset and the Rise

Day 3 (contd)

Links to Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

After the relaxing cruise, when the dusk dawned, we were all set to enjoy the view of the setting sun.  The boat was anchored for the night and we got down to roam on a similar  tiny stretch of land ( with a couple of houses) that we had been witnessing all day long (thats called a village by the way :) ) to enjoy an interrupted view from the trees. When the crew told us, we would stop in a village for the night, I was imagining at least a very very small town with a few or a couple of acres of land at least:). My mistake :). We didn't think of it much when the crew men didn't know the name of the village we would be stopping by for the night :) when we questioned them. Again, our slip :) But we were not at all disappointed, more amused and  got an entirely different perspective :).

Initially, the sun was obscured by the clouds and I was hoping and praying that it would clear away !

Monday, May 17, 2010

Upside Down !

Have you ever tried hanging upside down ? Ever been in that position long enough to observe how the world would look upside down ? The answer may be "No" unless you are a Yoga specialist :). or some other such expert!

Kids love to do that, hang upside down! At least for a very short duration going by my minimal observation of the youth on monkey bars at the park and play grounds!

Friday, May 14, 2010

We made it at last !

Me and my Buddy (right from school) C !

We had been talking about it for so long. For almost 3 or 4 months, we meant to get together and take our kids out somewhere and be together ! We were not too ambitious. We were not planning on spending the whole day together or something (though it would be wonderful to ). We just wanted to got out in the evening for a couple of hours. Me with Jillu and she with her 2 kids.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Kerala Trip Part 3 - The Backwater cruise!

Day 3 (contd) :

Links to Part 1 and Part 2

To say the backwater cruising was amazing would be a major understatement. We completely enjoyed the very novel experience (to us). We also had a very pleasing and attentive crew on board.

We were first welcomed with fresh tender coconut water. It was so gratifying after the heat :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Kerala Trip Part 2 - Introducing the HouseBoat

Day 3 :

We planned to set out at 7:30 AM as we planned to reach Allepey (by car) by around 11:30 at the max, bearing in mind the delays and a stop for refreshments. Day 3's itinerary was to reach Allepey and take the house boat from Allepey and travel to Kumarakom. But, as is always the case, we were late and could start only by 8:00 AM.
My aunt, again pitched in, and in spite of my denials and the early hours packed "Fried Idlis", fresh curd and "Panagam" (a thirst quenching drink made out of Jaggery, lemon, cardamom and dry ginger).

The drive to Allepey was uneventful and Jillu happily napped for an hour on the way till we took a break. The poor girl was very co-operative throughout the trip, sleeping when she could in the car and nodding off early at nights due to tiredness. This suited us very well indeed :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Kerala Trip Part I - Trivandrum

 The Planning :
The whole trip was planned in a jiffy, a matter of 2 days. The initial plan was to have been in the last week of April or first week of May, but then we had to attend a couple of important functions (engagement/weddings) which could not be skipped. (Hey, newly engaged buddy, I hope you are reading this! If so, please make note :) ) And later part of May was not feasible for various reasons as well. So the trip was advanced and we just had a weekend to make all the arrangements and the bookings. Thankfully, my aunt (Athai) is in Kovalam and hence we could take her help as well. She was a great help :). She took care of booking the car for the whole tour, arranged a wonderful driver and also took care of charting the route for us :) Thank you, Athai, so much for all your help, in spite of your very busy and hectic schedule! But I wonder if you will ever have time to read this ! And then, it was left to us booking airline tickets to and fro and hotels online. I would have loved to travel by train, that would have been a wonderful experience for Jillu as well ! But that has to got to wait for the next time, as we cannot imagine getting train tickets in 2 days, that too in summer holidays, even in dreams.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vacation Time..

Jillu & Co are at last off to a vacation for a week. This is the first official vacation for Jillu and the first one for the family as well after Jillu 's birth.

So we are all off this afternoon. Its a vacation planned in a jiffy, so hopefully everything should go well and Jillu should enjoy herself !

See you all after a week and take care till then! :)

will come back and meet you all with updates and photos to share :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dear Jillu,

A note of caution: This is a lengthy post and I have not made any effort to curb it! So go ahead only if you are game!

Kannamma, you are growing up so fast that it is totally unbelievable. Where have these past 2 1/4 years gone? Its gone by just like that before we could bat an eyelid.

You are acting so grown up these days,

Wanting to eat on your own and you do that as well, only its very messy and you got to learn the fine arts. But for now you are doing a great job and we are all proud of you. Ironically you don't want to eat dosa/chapathi by yrself. You want me to feed you that :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Award Time !

Its been a long time since this blog got any attention from its owner, what with the owner being too occupied with 'n' number of things and also managing a highly active toddler !

But somethings cannot be ignored and this is one !

AJCL has awarded me the Blogger Buddy Award !!!! and this is my first Award :). 

Thank you, AJCL.  I am so glad to have known you and am just waiting to meet you guys :).

And I pass on the award to

CG, ssstoryteller, Varun's Mom, L_R, Pattu's Mom, Swetha

And what's more, Jillu has got an award as well ! The Beautiful Blogger Award !!! To know more abt it, view this page :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Know "Me" Tag :)

Uma has tagged me to write 7 things about me that you do not know about.

So here it is.....

1) I have traveled without, in bus, a couple of  times - a long time back. There, I have said it. Admitted in public. My long time secret :)

2) I like to travel a lot, but i get sick immediately ( well, you might say an hour into the journey) if I travel by bus. 
That very well takes care of my desire to travel, right? That said, yes, I still want to travel a lot, visit places that I have not been to.

3)I have always wanted to learn to play an instrument (mainly Veena, but something), but never got to do it :(

4) I hate milk, but love the by products of milk - curd, milk sweet, (esp the paalgoa ) very much. My dad always teases me about it. I never had plain milk even in my child hood days i believe. (And when I say milk, it includes Horlicks, complan , Boost and the likes.) My parents had to drink all the health drinks to complete the pack :). Yeah, they said so!

5) I wanted my baby to be a girl all through my pregnancy. But when I came to know that it was indeed a girl baby, (after I was brought to my room after C section under general anesthesia) my very first reaction was 
"Oh, No. She is also bound to undergo the same agony that i did. It could have been a boy". 
My MIL still teases me about it. But that was when i was under the influence of drugs at night. I over came it the very next day. :)

6)Am getting to be too absent minded. More like amnesia :(. Cant seem to remember what happened in the past. Even some important happenings. Its got to a stage where my dearest friend (right from school) reminded me of an incident from my past, from my life, that I had completely forgotten.
I think I should make better use of both of my blogs :) to compensate for this memory loss !

7)  The biggest goof up of my life : I forgot to get my ECNR stamped in my passport before we left for our honeymoon. The result : We came back home from the airport to agreeably surprised/shocked parents & relatives.
All's well that ends well : We delayed the trip, postponed tickets, bookings et all, got a temporary stamping within a day and this time did manage to pass through the gates :)

Though it took some time to pin down the 7 points, I enjoyed doing it as it gave me the opportunity to reminisce about a lot of forgotten things and think about myself for a change :).  Thank you Uma. 

And I tag Anu, AJCL, Swaram, Swetha and CG, if you have not done it before.

And to anyone who wishes to take it up. :). Would love to read your list as well :)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wow !!! Thank you Tulika !

I am thrilled and I cant believe it ! 

I have won a prize book from Tulika for review !!! OK, OK. Winning is an exaggeration and the most in-appropriate word :). I participated in the first Tulika blogathon and Tulika has been extremely generous in deciding to give all the participants of the first blogathon a book for review !!! You can read my contribution to the blogathon here.

Thank you, Tulika ! :)

Its been a long time since I won any prize and even a participation award (esp if its a book) gives me a very warm feeling :) 
I am excited and eagerly waiting for the book!

Watch this space for the upcoming review as well !

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kali Kaalam ! Kali Yug !

I am not much of a temple going person. But I am not an atheist. I believe that there exists some super natural power that controls all of us and our lives. I just believe that you don't need to go to temple to pray to God. Praying and thinking about God can be done anywhere and everywhere. So my visits to the temple are less and they usually happen because my parents/MIL ask me to or during special occasions. But Thirumala is an exception here. Some how, that GOD, Venky as I call him , always manages to attract me and I seem to want to go there. But I digress here and this post is not about him.

However, as today happens to be "Sri Ram Navami" and also my dear husband's star (Tamizh) birthday and also that I am at home and not at work, I thought, why not ? Go to a temple today, take Jillu along and she will also find it a change.I checked with my mom and she was also ready to go.

The temple was crowded this evening, as expected. What I did not expect was my purse to be looted. Yes, I had a small purse only for holding cash (Today, there was about 400 to 500 Rs) inside my larger hand bag and suddenly i find that the my bag is wide open, my inner zip where the purse usually is, is also wide open and the small purse has vanished, just when i try to take out some change to be put in the "pooja" tray. I had the purse before I entered the temple for sure because I bought the "archana thattu" before entering the temple. I noticed that my purse had gone, almost after 20 mins or so after 1 round of the temple and we were waiting for the "archana" to get over. Of course, needless to say, retracing our path did not produce any desired results ( in case it had fallen by mistake) and the purse remained lost. 

I am not sure exactly when and how it got lost. It might have happened when there was a crowd in one narrow corner of the temple when Jillu got sandwiched between a few people and I was trying to pull her towards me. Or it could have happened when the "Archana" was being performed and Jillu was constantly demanding me to carry her. I think the crowd got to her and she was unusually cranky the whole time there. She insisted of being only with me and did not even go to my Mom and I had to carry her as well.

And then after I complain to the manager of the temple, the manager comes back and generally announces to the crowd to be careful and that there already has been 3 such incidents reported. My GOD !!! Which means that definitely my purse has been stolen and not dropped by me by mistake.

We cannot be safe in the temple also these days? People CHOOSE to STEAL in temples? The place where people come to pour out their problems, to find peace, solace, to pray. 

I have traveled by bus and train for so many god damn years and have never been looted. And after all these years, to be looted like this leaves a very bitter feeling. I have been brooding over this the whole of this evening and cant seem to get over it. Its not just the money. But what is the world coming to, if people are ready to cheat and steal in temples and holy shrines as well ? Where are we headed to ? 

I am really concerned for our next generation going by all that is happening right now (not just this, bit also the corruption, the crime, the injustice and the wrongs that seem to happen everywhere). 

Is there any light at the end of the tunnel ? GOD only knows !

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Forms of Language - Tulika Blogathon

My 2 cents for the Tulika's blogathon topic

(click on the topic to take you to the details)

How different are the written and spoken forms of your first language?

I speak Tamil. I read Tamil and I can write in Tamil as well. And yes, my mother tongue is Tamizh. The last time I wrote in Tamil was 6 months back, a letter to my MIL. This is after a gap of (cant count the number of years) very many long years. My MIL was very happy and she complemented me on my Tamil. I think she was surprised both by my letter and the fact that I wrote fairly good Tamil.

But can I claim to be an expert in Tamil ? No way. I cannot understand the classics in its purest form. I might need guidance to understand the same. Tamizh is a beautiful language with its own set of intricacies and complexity. The written/classical form is so much different from the spoken form. In fact the spoken form also varies based on several factors. The Tamizh language has so many dialects based on the 

- Region - You should just compare the language spoken in Madurai, Tanjavur , Chennai, Tirunelveli etc. Each would have its own distinct flavor

- Caste - The chettinads, Brahmins, Goundar etc have their own way of speaking

-  Immigrants - Telugu Naikars, Naidus, Palagat Brahmins etc

and then there might be many others which I am not aware of. A person arriving from down South to Chennai may take considerable time to even understand the "Madrasi" lingo. I am not even sure if an ordinary tamizh speaking teenager today watches movies of P. U. Chinnappa and M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar , he/she can even understand the dialogues. Thats how far we have come from the original form of the language.
Which brings us to the point that none of these are exactly the same as the formal version of the language. Modernization has played a role in language development as well.

If you want children to become familiar with their first language, which form would you look for in children books - formal or informal? Why?

We speak only Tamizh at home and I definitely want my kid to learn tamizh and be fluent (in all forms) in it as well. In my opinion, the children books for beginners should be colloquial so that their interest is aroused in reading Tamizh books. Lots of kids and even adults these days stick to English only because the difference is not so marked between both the forms. Interest would wane if they see a completely different set of words from what is used in daily life. And then slowly start introducing the formal words along with the in formal with the help of picture illustrations so that kids can co-relate easily. Bilingual books also go a long way in improving the kids vocabulary.

Also, Audio -Visuals is another option because seeing first helps kids in registering and then co-relating with the audio becomes very easier.

I have several of Tulika books and others at home. The picture illustrations are brilliant in Tulika books making the kids easily co-relate and understand. The stories are also about everyday normal things that one would see at home and use instead of some far away happenings which the kids might not be able to relate.

I am yet to buy one of those famous bilingual Tulika books which I plan to do so very soon. Thank you Tulika and I hope we get more and more such fun filled, color filled books for our kids to read and enjoy.

Disclaimer : These are just my thoughts on the various forms the language has evolved and how it stands today. The intent is not to criticize or offend anyone.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Instant Idly - Oats Idly !

I was on the search for an instant recipe for Idly for a very long time! The traditional or the regular idly has to be planned and the dough prepared the previous day which is not really to my convenience. 

The recently found (actually recently tried- but found long long ago, so long ago....The oats packet cover had the recipe printed and I had safely stored it for so long. I got to try it only yesterday! ) Oats Idly is a god send and I was even more thrilled when my family liked the dish ! 

I am always on the search for quick and nutritious recipes and I think this is one that will stick in our house hold :) Not only is it an instant idly, but also fiber rich and nutritious! What more do I need for a breakfast ? So, without more ado, here's the original recipe !

Ingredients :
Oats powder - 1 Cup /azhak/ 200 gms
Rava /Suji - 1 cup
Curd - 2 cups
Salt to taste
Water - 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Fruit salt  - Optional
Ghee : 1 tbsp for greasing

Method :
First Powder/Grind  the oats.
Add oats powder, rava , curd and salt in a bowl and beat them well
Add 1/4 cup of water , mix well.
The dough is ready now. Allow to soak for 20 mins

After 20 mins, Add more water only if needed to bring the dough to a pouring consistency. 
Grease the idly plates with ghee and make idlies out of the dough.
If you are adding fruits salt, do so just before making the Idly.

Serve hot with coconut chutney/Sambar.

My variation from the original recipe :  You can grind some coconut, coriander leaves, ginger, green chillies and add to the dough before making Idlies.  Also add some coriander leaves and mint leaves as is to the dough.

1) This dish is best only when hot. So taste and enjoy while it is still hot !
2) The above quantity approximately makes 12 idlies.
3) I am yet to try my suggested variation, but I am sure it will be even more yummy:). Am definitely planning to try it the next time. In the meanwhile, If you do try it, please do write here and let me know how it goes:)

Got any more ideas for a quick, easy and nutritious breakfast ? Please do share.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A bizarre thought !

But if only it could be true, then, it would be highly useful and avoid so much anxiety and stress! One, I think, every mother would agree :)

The thought is - "If only every mother could be a pediatrician"

It struck me last night when Jillu again fell sick, that I should have become a pediatrician (in spite of the fact that I chose Computer Science over Biology in my 11th std just so that I could avoid rat dissection - yeah I really hated it so much :( . You just need to ask my friends about it) just to avoid yet another trip to her Doc :( .

But then, I really wish there exists a shortened course which every mother could take. Similar to lots of First Aid courses that are available today. It would avoid so much of anxiety, tension, fear, pressure et all. A short one with just the basics, at least to the extent of determining whether a visit to the doc is needed or not, examining whether the chest is clear or is congested yet again. (I am sure cold and cough make up about 95% of Dr visits for every kid ). 

Sometimes, it looks far worse than it actually is and we rush to the doc only for them to tell us that it is not serious and there is no severe congestion. And the reverse also happens to be true where some people leave it too late before visiting the doc ! :(

Monday, February 15, 2010


sometimes is a hindrance. For

- it prevents you from disciplining the kids at the appropriate time
- it prevents you from showing your anger/hurt to the person who hurt you in the first place
- it puts you under a disadvantageous position as everything gets cloaked under "hey, you understand right? how can you say/do this? "

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My first Tag !!!

Thank you Sat :) and here it goes!
And to read Jillu's version of it, click here

1. What is your current obsession?
Don't think I am obsessed with anything .

2. What are you wearing today?
My usual attire.. churidhaar

3. What’s for dinner?
Need to plan the menu. May be Dosa.

4. What’s the last thing you bought?
Coconut water

5. What are you listening to right now?
The hum, drum, sound eminating from my PC.. need to fix it. I think there's some problem

6. What do you think about the person who tagged you?
A very simple and humble human being with no "airs". I envy his sense of humor and timely cracks and retorts. A lovely guy and a great friend. It is very difficult to find such a person in today's world.

7. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
India, Chennai, Mandaveli...

8. What are your must-have pieces for summer?
Cotton clothes and coconut water

9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
Back in time, to when I met my hubby first

10. Which language do you want to learn?
I am thinking too much abt it, so nothing in particular. But I have always wanted to be fluent in several languages. So anything would do.

11. What’s your favourite quote?
Time and Tide waits for none

12. Who do you want to meet right now?
This is "my" exclusive time and I prefer it to be that way

13. What is your favourite colour?
Brown (The dark chocolate brown)

14. Give us 3 styling tips that work for you.
Style ?? me ?? Nope..wrong question :). I think we just need to be comfy with what we are

15. What is your dream job?
I quit my job remember ? Right now, its being a mother

16. What’s your favorite magazine?
Dont read magazines much. No favorites

17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?
A grill sandwich maker and the rest splurge on books and CDs for jillu

18. What do you consider a fashion faux pas?
A wrong question to me again :)

19. Is exercise a part of your daily routine? If so, what kind of exercise is it?
Its part of my daily dream/wish list :(. I left my habbit of walking and yoga. Need to resume both.

20. What kind of haircut do you prefer?
A straight, no frills, haircut

21. What are you going to do after this?
Head to the store to buy some blank DVDs

22. What are your favourite movies?
Not much into movies these days. But favs are old timers - "Kadhalikka Neramillai", "Baama Vijayam", "ROja", "Annaamalai", "Mannan", "Mozhi"

23. What inspires you?
When I see people who manage their time well and manage to do quite a lot over and above the normal stuff, I really want to be like them.

24. What do your friends call you most commonly?
Lavanya, Lavs

25. Would you prefer coffee or tea?
Tea, anyday, but not dip tea, mind you

26. What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?
I tend to be quiet. Think about what can be done to resolve things. Or if its just normal stuff, then try to shrug it away as a one-off.

27. What makes you go wild?
When people are not fair minded, when people pinpoint mistakes but hardly think about whether they do the same themselves, when people are not principled but they think they can judge you.

28. Which other blogs do you love visiting?
All those in my blogroll :)

29. Favorite Dessert/Sweet?
Ice cream / Thiratti pal (Milk halwa) and Son Papdi

30. How many tabs are turned on in ur browser right now?

31. Favorite Season?
Chennai la season ku option yedhu ?

32. If I come to your house now, what would u cook for me?
Since its afternoon time, Tiffin and coffee (or tea if you prefer)

33. What is the right way to avoid people who purposefully hurt you?
Why are they hurting me ? should try to find the root cause.

34. What are you afraid of the most?
Losing my loved ones (Oh, yaah, a horrible fear :( )

35. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
Where has my bindhi gone?

36. What brings a smile on your face instantly??
My darling little daughter, Jillu

37. A word that you say a lot?

38. What would you do if you were made President of India for one day?
Mudhalvan style aa ? I think I will go with Sat here...Sack all the politicians and then bring in KING's rule once again to see INDIA flourish

39. What is that one thing that keeps you going.
Hope and the anticipation of a better tomorrow

40. Whats one thing that you used to love that you left
Reading books. I can't say I have left it, but the frequency is just gone. Before, you cannot find me without a book. Now, its hardly 1 or 2 books in 3 or 4 months. pathetic :(

41. What would be your reaction, if you come to know that today is the last day of your life
Shock. Panic. Helplessness. Rush to the execute the "Long-term" to-do-list that i never seem to get around to.

42. What are your hobbies?
Reading books, listening to music 

Rules for those who are tagged:

Respond and rework – answer these questions on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own, and add one more question to the list. Then tag others :)

I tag

I am not sure if you have already been tagged on this. If not, pick it up when you find time friends...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Paneer Chilli Fry

This dish is something that I very much like and is very easy to make. And it tastes wonderful on a rainy or a chill day or rather any other day for me :)

Thanks to all the cooking websites in the net and also recipes from several blogs, this recipe is a combination of several recipes and is my own version of it.

Ingredients :
Paneer - 200 gms
Capsicum - 1 big size
Onion - 2 Medium
Chilli paste - 1 tbsp
Soya sauce - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Ajino moto - a little pinch

Preparation time : 20 mins


Cut the Paneer into small sized cubes and fry them in oil till they are golden brown in color and keep them aside.
Cut the capsicum and onions into long thin stripes. Add a little oil to a tawa and add fry the onions till they turn a very light brown. Then add capsicum and saute for 2 to 3 mins. Then add chilli paste, soya sauce, ajino moto and salt to taste and saute for 3 mins. Now, add the paneer and saute  for a minute so that all mixes well.

Serve hot.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Madurai trip - Part II

For Part-I, please click here.

The day of the wedding, Monday, saw less of activity when compared to Sunday.

We got ready for the wedding and reached just in time for the Muhurtham (delayed becoz we had decided to give Jillu her b'fast in the hotel itself).

About the wedding

It was a Saurashtrian wedding and I was surprised to learn their way of doing things. The bride and the groom apparently arrange for their own halls and the rituals happen in their own respective halls. When the ritual involves both the bride and groom to be to-gether, then it happens based on the significance of the ritual. For eg, the engagement and the actual wedding of tying Thali happened in the bride's hall, whereas the reception happened in the groom's hall. And each party arranges for their own food for their guests/invitees. Bride's relations and friends will be catered to by the bride's family and the groom's guests by the groom's side. On the day of the wedding, only the groom is allowed to eat along with the bride in the bride's hall after the wedding ceremony is over. So each party takes care of their own guests, food, hall, gift etc.
I found this interesting and a nice idea, as this gives each their own flexibility related to cost, lavishness etc and also a major plus as there is no serious scope for politics (between the 2 sides) as is seen in so many of our weddings.


Jillu was in a jolly mood and she was singing aloud all kinds of songs (rhymes, songs) that she knew, much to the amusement of various passersby on the road (we were shuttling betwen the 2 halls. Fortunately both were within walking distance of each other). However, she surprised me by singing even "Sa-ri-ga-ma-pa-dha-ni-sa" :), though the "Sa-ni-dha-pa" did not come out correctly :).

Friends of all ages

She had made friends with a lot of her dad's friends. She started calling them by names and also, as is her habit came up with her own shortened versions of their names. Prem somehow became Priyammadha and then when we corrected her, it became PM :). Along with coming up with new names, she was also running behind every kid that she came across in the marriage hall and it became very difficult to keep track of her :). All kids were branded as either "Annaa" or "Akkaa" even if they were younger to her :) (we have not yet taught her "Thangai/Thambi"). Though, she called very small babies "Paapaa".

Sun evening

In the evening, we went to the "Thirumalai Nayakar" palace. Jillu was being troublesome before we started in the evening, So I told her we were going to see "The Maharaja" and just so that she could relate, I stupidly added "Kamsa Maharaja" paaka porom. (on the naive assumption/hope that there atleast will be 1 painting of some Maharaja there in the palace and any Maharaja could be called as "Kamsa" , Krishna's uncle). So she got that very well and my prayers were not answered as there was no painting miraculously hanging from the walls, though the palace itself was breathtaking and beautiful. I repeatedly had to divert her every time she asked me "Kamsa Maharaja yenga?" (vera yenna panna? as i said before, "Kai mel palan"). I felt very sad when I came to know that what has been preserved till date is only 1/4 of the original palace and the rest has vanished and become a part of the Madurai city :(.

We finished the tour of the palace and then we headed to "Koodalazhagar" temple. The temple was huge and awesome with separate prahaarams for Perumal, Thaayar and Andaal. In the Thaayaar sannidhi, Jillu again had the darshan of another elephant and this time she was watching the elephant with no fear but did not wish to go near it. After enjoying the peaceful serenity of the temple, it was time to head back to the hotel, for dinner and taking the train back to chennai.

Rayil Snegam -II

Yet again this time, one of our neighbors in the train was a kid and Jillu referred to him as "paapaa" even though he must have been nearer to Jillu's age. :). However, this time there was not much time for socializing as Jillu was very tired and the "paapaa" also looked to be worn out and was ready to sleep. However, still Jillu wanted to play with him, but the boy had already slept and I made Jillu sleep telling her that "paapaa" has already slept. (This did not change from the previous Rayil Snegam :) )

The 2 days just passed by in a blur too fast and was a welcome change of routine for me as well. 

I hope 2010 continues to offer me more opportunities to travel :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Madurai trip - Part I

The Madurai trip was lovely and a refreshing change for Jillu and me. For Jillu, it was a big taataa, lots of new people to meet and new experiences.

Rayil Snegam
We started on Sat night by train and as luck would have it, there was a boy, couple of years elder to her, in the adjacent seat. She immediately started "Anna, Annaa" and proceeded to sit next to him. We had to really restrain her as the family were having their dinner. The moment they finished, she immediately started chanting "Anna, Anna" and she went and sat next to him much to the amusement of all. The boy's shyness and reluctance to indulger her was no barrier to her and she kept asking him to wear his "kullaa" (the monkey cap that protects the ears from the chill) which he did not want to do at all. The boy fell asleep soon after and I put an excited Jillu to sleep quoting the "Annaa" as an example :). In the morning, the first thing that Jillu looked for was for her new found "Annaa" friend. Jillu's attempts continued from last night and the "Anna" chose to overcome his shyness and really start playing with her just when it was time to bid good bye and alight from the train

Rickshaw ride
Sun morning, after breakfast, we headed out to the Meenakshi Amman Temple. Our hotel was pretty close to the temple, so we started walking through the streets. Half way through, one of the rickshaw-wallas came to us and bargained for a ride to the rest of the distance to the temple. I think he saw us a fair chance as we had a toddler walking along with us. We were not really keen, but found it very hard to say No to the guy. So Jillu and me got in to the rickshaw with Jillu's dad walking along with the rickshaw fellow (Jillu's dad generally feels real bad about the rickshaw wallas pulling our weight, so didn't get in. I felt the same, but had no option as we could not leave Jillu alone).I forget the last time I ever was in a rickshaw. Must be those days when I was studying in 2nd or 3rd std, when I used to accompany my grand ma for the matinee show. This brings back a lot of lovely memories :)

The Elephant tale
Inside the temple, there was a surprise waiting for us ! Yes, none other than the elephant :). All of us were equally thrilled to see the big and gigantic elephant. Jillu's dad took her near to the elephant, and as is the custom, kept the change in the elephant's trunk to get his blessings. The elephant then placed his trunk gently on top of Jillu's head and blessed her. Jillu got scared by the encounter and started saying "Yanai venaam". The entire time that we were inside the temple, she kept saying "Yanai venaam" and then suddenly when we returned to the same spot, she wanted to see the elephant again. And that's when she noticed that there were a few drops of water (tears???) near to the elephant's eyes.

I hadn't noticed it. We then proceeded to the "Aayiram kaal mandapam" and were walking inside when
she told her dad "Yannai azhardhu" (The elephant is crying)

Jillu's dad : Yanai yen azhardhu ? (why is the elephant crying?)
Jillu : Jillu adichitaa (Jillu beat the elephant)
Jillu's dad  : ???

Jillu : Sorry, Yanai sollanum. Yanai Paakanum (I have to say sorry to the elephant. Take me to the elephant) and this request went on and on and on till we again went inside the temple to show her the elephant.

And in front of the elephant, I told her (going along with her story :) ) , "Ok Jillu, ippo sorry sollu" (Ok, Now say sorry)

Jillu :"Sorry, Yanai" (Sorry, elephant)
Me : "Yanai yenna sollithu? Its OK sollithaa?" (What did the elephant say? did it say Ok?)
Jillu : Its ok yanai sollalaama ? (Shall we say "Its okay" to the elephant)
Me : Yanai should say that, not you :)

And then back at the hotel, she was so excited that she actually spoke to both her grand mas over the phone (the current phone phase is aversion). With bright sparkling eyes wide open, she excitedly shouted over the phone "Yanai Jillu thalai mela 'dop' pannithu"
Me : Yedhaala 'dop' pannithu?
Jillu : thumbikkaiyaala

Dum Dum Dum - Kalyaanam
In the evening, it was time for the reception. We reached there well ahead of time for the engagement function that generally happens the day before the wedding. And she had a lovely time here as well. She was generally running behind any of the "kuttis" that she could spot and I in turn was running behind her to make sure that she was safe.

And then the "Nadhaswaram" started. From previous visits to the temple, I knew that Jillu was entralled by the "Molam" and "Pepe" (Nadhaswaram). The first time that she heard (and watched them playing) the music in a temple, she just froze then and there in front of them and after a couple of minutes, just simply sat down at the exact spot that she was standing on and refused to leave from the place. I was expecting the same thing to happen again and I was right. The only difference was that this time, after watching them from a distance for a while, she went and sat near to the guy playing the "molam". I almost called her back, but restrained  myslef just to see what would happen. She sat there watching them play and they in turn watched her indulgently as they had been doing all along right from the beginning. And, much to my surprise and her delight, When there was a brief lull in the proceedings and there was no need for the music, the drummer actually gave Jillu the stick so that she could do "Dum Dum Dum". It was no nice of him to indulge the small girl. And she took it from him with no hesitation and drummed on..."Dum, DOOM, DOM, DUNG"..

And so, it came as no surprise that she would go back to them every now and then to see if she could get a chance to go at it again :). And she got the chance twice :)
And then it was time to head back to the hotel.

To be continued...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Travel, Atlast !!!

I am so excited :) because we are off to Madurai tonight to attend the wedding of my husband's friend. The excitement is not entirely due to the wedding but, this is Jillu's first ever trip (long distance travel) after Thirupathi (which was when she was 7 months old) and I am so looking forward to it. :).
It will be fun to see how she reacts to the travel. I am also aware of the challenges, but I think its high time that we start moving around now that she is 2 years old.

I think the last time even I traveled (excepting Thirupathi of course) was way back before my pregnancy days, some 3 years back, I guess and it will be a welcome change for me as well.

So, really looking forward to the trip :). Will meet you all once we are back.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wonderful Mum

I came across this article somewhere and found it so true..
Very well written. Unfortunately, I do not know the name of the author. Here it goes..

Before I was a Mum,
I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about car seats.
Before I was a Mum,
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.

I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.
Before I was a Mum,
I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests, or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mum,
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put her down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mum...

Before I was a Mum -
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make! me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mum -
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache,
The wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mum..
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much, before I was a Mum.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My last day at work

dawned as any other normal day. (It was the Friday of the previous week) -Only the climate seemed to be on the downside - the Sun god having decided not to show up at all.

Proceedings went on as usual and it was time for me to leave for work. I had not explained to Jillu about me not going to work any more as I thought that she was too young to understand. However, that morning I tried explaining to Jillu that Amma will not be going to office any more and will be with her totally from Monday. As expected, she did not respond much and did not understand (I think). Anyways, I bid her good bye and left from home. 

On the way to office, my very dear friend (right from childhood ) who has tread the same path as me and along with me all these years, called up and asked "how do you feel? Do you recollect the first day at work? Flashback odudhaa?". Surprisingly, I was being very normal and it was like any other day for me and I conveyed the same to her as well. 

I think I spoke too soon :). The moment I entered the premises, butterflies entered my stomach along with a slight lump in the throat. They continued to reside in their respective places, as I bade good bye to a never ending list of people, sent out the habitual good bye email to everyone, along with the last day formalities. However, I am glad that somehow I found the strength to handle myself with dignity and grace (read that as not bursting into tears and making everyone else feel embarrassed) through out the day. In fact, I even managed to joke to my lunch companion that "Even the rain god is crying today" when it started to slightly drizzle. The small farewell meet was a surprise and gave me a very nice and warm feeling.

(I do not regret the decision at all, but it was a very hard feeling to say good bye to a hard earned job and a place which has been after all like a home away from home, in-spite of all the cribbing that I do on its shortcomings. It seems like an era has come to an end, to use the words of another dear friend.)

Finally, all formalities over, and the last goodbyes done, it was time to leave the premises. On the way back to the station, it started to drizzle again. The walk back to railway station is something that will be in my mind for a very very long time. It brought back memories, buried deep inside, both good and bad, the highs and the lows, of dear friendships that happened for life and a deep introspection of self - how much I had changed both personally and professionally from the time I joined the company till date. It also brought the waiting tears brimming to the surface at last , but were washed away by the rain unseen by others. I deliberately slowed my walk and gave myself up to the moment totally.

And finally, as I neared the station, it was time for me to say goodbye mentally and to look forward to a better tomorrow, to better happenings in store, to look forward to being with my sweet heart Jillu.

And, as always, thinking of Jillu, brought a bright smile to my face and the familiar need to hurry and be home asap.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

An interesting Proposition!

My cousin bro called me a couple of weeks ago with an interesting proposition :).

Bro : hey, how would you like to model with Jillu?

Me : "What ?" I was swimming in numbers, hours and what not at that time at work and this guys calls me out of the blue with this very strange request. I was not even sure if I had heard right.

Bro : Yes, would you like to model ? Pose for a photo with Jillu ?

Me : ??? Really listening now.. What is it ? Tell me more.. (Though I really know this will come to nothing, my mind is already conjuring up flashy and glossy pictures of me and Jillu in all posh magazines :) )

Bro : A pediatrician that I know is about to publish an article in a local regional news paper and he needs a photograph of a mom and daughter to go along with it. Would you like to do it ? You wouldn't need to do anything. They will come home, take a couple of pics and leave.

Me : As simple as that ? (Still the glossy pics are running through my mind). But.. is it safe ? I find it both interesting and scary. (Well, one doesn't get such requests daily, do they ?)

Bro : Would i even approach you if it wasn't safe ?

Me : Actually trying to give it a thought now... "mmmm"..."Better check with your BIL first." (Now saying bye bye to all the glossy pics and thought that's the end of it now and I can forget it, for I know what my hubby would say and I was not even sure of it myself. Back to the numbers game now.. sigh.. It was nice while it (the virtual images) lasted though )

Bro :OK..will do

After 5 minutes, he calls up and says what I expected :)

That night, I learnt from my hubby that his objection was due to that particular newspaper in question. He was not really comfortable with that one.

This is as near as I would ever get to modeling and the likes :). Hence this post for later reading and remembrance :)