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Just another story…

“What are stories but a way of helping us see the world and each other better.”

I heard this in one of Pavi’s talk on giftivism and wondering at the simplicity yet the deep meaning of it 🙂

I was part of one such story telling session (it was actually a class on upnishads at Shivananda ashram). When I was going for the class, I was a little apprehensive. I thought it will all be in Sanskrit and most is going to go over my head! But I still went because a friend had asked me to, and I can’t thank him enough. 🙂 And it’s so wonderful that this is the story that started my journey of travelling solo in the mountains and afterwards…

Gopi ji (the Vedanta professor) was talking on renunciation. And he said nothing but share this beautiful story.

Once upon a time there was a kingdom which had a unique way of choosing its king. The ministers will let go of the royal elephant with a garland in the kingdom. The person to whomsoever the elephant puts the garland on is chosen to be the next king. It is taken to be a divine decision by all in the kingdom. Continue reading

Categories: around us, Family, Travel | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Lies of our childhood

Never tell a lie (else your nose will extend like Pinocchio!). This was and still is a consistent teaching from my mother. But during this vacation, while trying to make my 5 year old niece eat her food, I realized that our childhood is full of lies.

why I lie to my kids

Oops! I swallowed a seed!

And as innocent we are as children, we believed in them. I don’t remember even once challenging them. Things like don’t eat the seeds of a fruit else you will have a plant growing inside. I still remember on days when I accidently swallowed a seed, I actually used to dream at night that there will be branches and leaves coming out of my ears and nose when I wake up.

Or don’t go outside the gate alone; there is a baba on the street who takes away children.

The maximum lies were in food items. I used to hate yellow moong dal and love yellow urad dal. To make me eat that moong dal , my mom said it’s chota urad (small urad dal) and after that I ate it.. Despite the fact that I still didn’t like it’s taste, just because it was the smaller version of a dal that I loved I ate it. And this is the lie that I believed in till I went to college and fellow students in the mess told me that there is nothing like a chota urad and that this is moong dal.

Then another one that I remember was for arbi (colocasia). She made me eat it saying it was potato! Though I am proud to say they weren’t able to fool us for baingan, lauki, torai, tinda etc (eggplant, bottle gourd, snake gourd etc) :D.

A recent retort by Nandini (my niece) to didi made me realise not only were we innocent, we were also outright stupid :).

Here’s the incident:

Didi: Nandini sit upright.

Nandini: No. I want to eat like this.

Didi: You should not eat while lying down.

Nandini: Why mama?

Didi: If you eat while lying down; all the food goes in the donkey’s stomach.

Nandini: It’s okay mama. Even the donkey should get to eat.

Lies parents tell to their children

It’s okay mama even the donkey should get to eat!

There was obviously no reply to this one and we all just started laughing. Laughing at her response or laughing at the fact that all through our childhood our mother was able to fool us with this! 🙂

And then there are the bigger lies of Tooth fairy and Santa Claus. Of course these lies were for our own good. I sort of agree to a fellow blogger’s argument that it’s not lying; it’s parenting!

And come to think of it what would childhood have been without the ‘Lion’ who was always hiding behind the sofa ready to leap if you didn’t finish the bite!

Categories: around us, Family, Old times | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Writings from the past

Look I found my mother’s old diary!

I was inspired to write this post after reading Michelle’s Pieces of the Past. They have this beautiful bed and breakfast in Virginia, steeped in history. And they keep adding to that history. I always love her antique shopping pictures especially the tea-sets!

My find is not as exciting as Michelle’s who found letters that are more than 100 years old. But I found my mother’s old notebook :). I don’t know how old it is; and mummy also doesn’t remember when she wrote that but on page there is a number – 8.9.84 – which I assume is a date, so the notebook is 28 years old.

Yellowed pages, torn edges, dog corners… I opened the notebook with such curiosity as if I’m going to unravel some mystery or learn something new about my mom :). What excited me most is that it has recipes! 🙂 There are recipes like Apple Butter, Mango Jam, Orange Squash, Almond Syrup, Tomato Ketchup… More inspiration for My Weekend Kitchen! Mummy didn’t even remember she had a notebook like this until I showed it to her…actually because of the recipes, she might have lent it to my maasi and it was she who gave me this notebook during my last trip to Delhi.

Mango Jam, Orange Squash and many more…

Apart from recipe what caught my interest were the last few pages where she has done her household accounts..

Monthly household accounts
100 School fees; 100 Bank; 200 Ghar ka Samaan; 162.50 Milk; 45 Dance; 15 Taxi

I’m sure since taxi was a luxury it got mentioned in the monthly accounts and the bus fares did not.. Also I learned that didi used to go for some dance classes (Since I was only 3 at that time, I realized the fee must be for didi). At one place it’s also written ‘Mrs Pareek 25 Rs; Sawairam 14 Rs’ Maybe I should remind her that she has to either take from or give back this amount to them!

With our generation usually maintaining everything in e-documents, I really feel sad that our children will not have the pleasure of finding and going through diaries of their parents that have yellowed with time. That they would actually be saying ‘Look I found my mother’s old blog’!

If you liked this post, you might also want to read my other experiences of discovering old things 🙂

-When I discovered my Grandad’s old journal and learnt that he wrote shayari!

-On ‘actually’ ‘physically’ writing something. When was the last time you wrote at length on a real piece of paper?

Categories: digital living, Family | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Because you’re my mom

love you mumma, you’ve been a mother, a friend, a pillar of strength. we’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve played, we’ve fought. You’ve always known me, there was never a reason (or even a chance!) to hide.. and I’m sorry for all the pain I might have caused and I know I’m forgiven and I know you’ll always love me unconditionally..

Happy Mother’s Day .. today and everyday

I can’t do poetry, but I wanted something beautiful for my mom and so stole this one!

Because You’re My Mom (poem by Linda Arlene Fassett)

Because you are my mom you loved me before I was ever seen
You thanked God for this miracle, this little human being
So exciting, yet fragile it all must have seemed to you then
Hearing my little heart beat inside you, now life begins

Because you are my mom no pain was too great for you to bear
Now you’re a mother and I your child with joys and pains to share
And so into this world my life began each breath now on my own
One day we will look back at just how much I’ve grown

Because you are my mom you worried for me within your every bone
You finally let go of my little hand to take my first steps on my own

Because you are my mom you showed me through the years
To care about others and their feelings and the things that they hold dear

Because you are my mom you taught me right from wrong
Understanding that my faith in God will forever keep me strong
Showing me that being my own person is the only tool I’ll need
When morals and values are your foundation to succeed

Because you are my mom you loved me enough to also be my friend
You would be right there in ways that no one could see or ever comprehend
When there was no way I thought you could ever understand
There you would be, non-judging and willing to lend a hand

Because you are my mom, God’s gift to me was you
As your daughter I will always love you and promise to be true
I thank you for so many things and will try to never make you sad or blue

Because you are my mom, and one-day I will be a mother too
I pray I never forget all that you’ve been through
I am your daughter and in your image I am proud to be
By the grace of the Lord you were created, and then I came to be

Source: Because You’re My Mom, Mother Daughter Poems

Categories: around us, Family | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s cooking..

When at home, I spend most of the time in my kitchen. It’s not just a place to cook but it’s more like a family room. The small dining table in the kitchen is perhaps the most used furniture in our house. Whenever I go to a mall or a lifestyle store, I always visit the kitchen store/section. And till now I haven’t been disappointed by any trip. Kitchen has evolved into a new gadget place. They seem to be the most abundant kinds of cool gadgets. Sure, common appliances like cooking ranges, refrigerators, microwave, dishwashers, food processors have come a long way. Planning for a new kitchen now? You can spend a whole day researching the types of cooking ranges available! Electric, gas, ceramic, induction.. the range available is huge. But leaving these asides, the smaller and usually not electronic ‘gadgets’ in the kitchen are far more interesting. Every time there will be a new gadget for the simplest of tasks, trying to make it easier. Or making it look more sleeker and smarter. A salt and pepper shaker looking like a hair dryer, or a bread box resembling an armadillo! A grater for example; I have seen at least 8 types of hand-held graters in just one shop. I myself have 3 kinds if I leave the food processor out. Citrus juicers, egg poachers, oil dispenser, spice jars or a more basic item like plastic containers. Shopping for plastic containers leaves me confused! Is it stain resistant? Microwave, dishwashers, freezer safe? What kind of plastic is it made of? Lock and lock or push in lid or screw lid? Stackable? Rubber maid came up with those ‘easy-find’ lids, which click on to the bottom of the container for easy storage. Then there are space savers like an extra shelf for your cabinet or a shelf that can fix onto the existing cabinet and hang underneath, or kitchen rails with hooks for almost everything.  The traditional knife and chopping board will always remain a kitchen essential but things like slicers, onion cutters, apple corers have made it kind of obsolete already. Talking of chopping boards, would you like a plastic one or a bamboo one? Would you like one that has a container on it’s side and how nice if the container can just fold in to save space? How about something which has a groove all around to keep the tomato juice from spilling on your counter when you cut?

I can spend hours in a cookware shop just gazing at these marvels. Kitchen is a great place for inventions & innovation (and most definitely a style statement!). Many of these are actually amazing conversation pieces when brought out. I bought some glass ‘handkerchief bowls’ (apparently these are collectibles and limited in number.) from a charity shop long time back and every time I put them out they start a whole new conversation. An antique collector told me I could sell them on ebay for much higher than what I bought them for!

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Homeward bound..

I have just been so lazy since the last couple of weeks.. actually since 23rd. and yet I didn’t get time to write much. Laziness can sometimes be very time consuming 🙂 I’m leaving for home in another 3 hours!! yeah!!! 😀 Can’t wait to be home and meet Sikander after so long. I think I had reached my limit of staying away from home and that could be one of the reason for lack of any activity since the last few weeks. Just laze and crib.

Packing done. Now I think I’ll sleep for a couple of hours and then leave. See you from Abu Dhabi!

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Regrets are looked upon as rear view mirrors in life. They provide us with the view of the traffic behind to help us move forward. But sometimes regrets come a bit too late in life for them to provide us with a sense of going back and doing things right or even put things right in the present. The window of opportunity is lost by the time we realise what has been lost. I just kept on wishing … I wish I had called more often, I wish I had stayed over that day.. I wish I had spent more time with her.

To everybody, life is uncertain, take time out; call and meet friends and family.

Categories: around us | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Time Flies..


Wow! How time flies.. It was only yesterday when I was planning a month long trip to India before starting my Masters and here I am back in Abu Dhabi, packing my bags for London. India trip just zoomed away. 

But I’m amazed to think what all I did in this trip. I managed to meet most of my family and a lot of friends both from school and college. Travelled a lot and enjoyed every moment of it.

Abu Dhabi ->Delhi -> Panchkula -> Udaipur -> Cochin -> Mumbai -> Delhi -> Jaipur -> Delhi -> Abu Dhabi

The best journey was Mumbai to Delhi in Rajdhani Express. Yes it takes much longer than air travel and costs almost the same but Rajdhani was an experience in itself. Eat, Chat with fellow passengers, a game of cards, Sleep, Eat and welcome to Delhi 🙂 I boarded the train at 4pm. At 4:30 they got us some snacks, then tea at 5pm, soup at 7pm, dinner at 8:30pm, tea at 6am, breakfast at 6:30, again tea at 7:00 and you are in Delhi at 8am! The most comfortable journey during the entire trip. If I’m not pressed for time I think I’ll prefer taking trains everywhere.

It was papa’s 58th birthday and since 15th august fell during a 3-day weekend we had sort of a family re-union at Panchkula. Mummy, bua and chachi showing all their love through the food. For those 3 days we ate and ate and so many different varieties! Every time we visit my parents home Sikander is amazed at the variety of vegetarian food possible J. Otherwise his belief is “When there is chicken and mutton, why do you need vegetables!”. Bua also held cookery classes for her ignorant nieces and daughter to share her special recipes. I think I’ll post some simpler ones in my next post. Nandini was obviously the centre of attraction. Everyone wants a piece of her 🙂

Udaipur was a different experience this time. We were there for the first week of the holy month of Ramadan. Fasting, praying. I went inside a mosque for the first time to offer prayers. We obv didn’t fast all days but I was amazed to see the determination with which people fast for the entire month in Udaipur’s maddening heat. It’s easier to imagine Ramadan fasts in gulf because the businesses shut shop during the day. They just change their daily cycle. Sleep during the day and work at night. But back in India where everyone is working throughout the day, it’s difficult.

From there we left for Kerala to attend a friend’s wedding. This was my 5th visit to Kerala and each time I’m left speechless by the beauty of the state. After the wedding we spent a day in Cochin and then left for Bombay. Sikander left for Abu Dhabi from Bombay and I went to Delhi. Spent a lot of time with Nandini, shopped and just relaxed while waiting for my visa. In-between went to Jaipur for a day. And now I’m back, booking tickets for London. Just one week to go.

Categories: Gen, Travel | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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