Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wrap up 2011

Another year bites the dust ...and I am neither sad nor glad. I just want the year end holiday to come so I can put up my feet and drink my chai in peace ;)

So this has been a busy year, with the kids, new job and new school. The first quarter of the year seemed to have gone by pretty well, not much to complain about, the kids were home with the Nanny and though I wasn't happy in my job, I had one and I was ok with that. Then things changed in April. My then boss became very rude and mean, his way of trying to save his a$$ and I started hating my job, my blood pressure sky rocketed and I was very nervous all the time. G took things in his hands then and before I could wink, he was working on my resume and talking to his contacts for a job for me. I cannot thank him enough for encouraging me to take this big step, for now I work closer to home, the work hours are better and the stress is manageable.
The new job has also help me evaluate myself as a professional, programmer, co-worker and employee. And I have arrived at the conclusion that I can be a more friendly co-worker. I am a very professional employee and very conscientious. If I miss hours because my baby was sick, I will make up for it. As for programmer, I am really good at what I know and good at learning, but I don't often learn new things willingly, which is primarily due to lack of time and I would do good to learn more. What I am most happy to report is that within 2 weeks of being in my new job, my new Boss was more than confident in my abilities and would often boast to our PM that I can knock off tasks and defects very quickly. That was very confident boosting to hear :)
What's changed this year and I have spoken alot about is the kids going to school. Which is going very well thank you, except of course the occasional ear infection, bronchitis, perennial cough and cold. But, still a good time.
My Mom and G's Mom visited us. We had a great time with both. And then the family made a trip to Iowa and Minnesota. It was the first flight for N and all of us as a family. It was a blast, kids were both well behaved and happy. I don't think the other passengers had anything to complain about either . HEHE. It was a great vacation, our only this year, and all the kids had a blast.
India won the World cup and Mavs are the NBA Champions, what a dream year right?!
The kids have become toddlers now, they have opinions and demands. Demands which G and I don't understand sometimes and sometimes pretend we don't understand. Our kids were never into TV, but the bronchitis and  hence the nebulizer prompted us to start showing 'Barney' to the kids. And now there is no turning back. I am hoping this is a phase and that they will soon outgrow it. Yeah right! Who am I kidding?

The kids are now talking in third person. M wants, N also says M wants when he wants something. Cute.
They have taken to telling us who an object belongs to..'Papa', 'Mummy', 'Dodo', 'M','N'. Always and constantly. Annoying!

2011 has been a great year, we have had ups and downs, highs and lows, but I wouldn't give up any of that, or trade any of it. I love my family and my life. I would love to be a thinner, smarter and more patient, but I wouldn't wish for a different family or set of friends. Thank you all for reading (if you were i.e.) and here's wishing us all a Great and Fabulous New year 2012!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Another Attempt

You know me, the fat one, always up to some or the other way to lose weight. I don't think I have ever gone an entire month of no exercise or diet since 2006. Except of course when the babies were in me and then out for 7 months or so. So back then I had lost weight and I was looking good, but now I am just a cow or I think I am a seal - have you seen my swagger

So last month after having done P90X not so continuously, and with a maximum time of 40 mins, I decided that I needed powers greater than those of Tony Horton. So those greater powers sent me a groupon/living social deal for a boot camp and that too within 5 miles from home. It was going to be at the ungodly hour of 5:30 am to 6:30 am, but since that was the time I would usually exercise at home, I knew that it would have to work. So, after consulting with the hubby, I decided to join.
It has been 3 weeks and I am dead. DEAD! But I feel great, I am 8 lbs lighter and 2 belt hoops thinner. But my body aches, every single muscle cries for rest. The thing is that since rain often interferes with BC, it is out in the open, classes get cancelled and instead of having classes every other day, they become consecutive and the body takes a toll. I haven't had a proper nights sleep in 3 weeks now, the body is so used to waking up at 4:30 now that no matter what time I sleep, I am up at 4 or so.
It's been a rough three weeks and I am getting very impatient with the weather, please don't rain from 5-6:30am CST on M W F next week please. So we can have a proper week and I can be done with it and then go back on the 9th Jan for another round of 'oohs' and 'aahs'.
Please excuse the rant post, it needed telling and it's done :)

Happy 2nd B'day my Babies

They've entered Toddlerhood! Let's see how this phase goes.

Here's wishing you dream big and aim high, be nice to each other and others and obey.
Be healthy and eat well and be wise.
Water fun

First day of Montessori

Being friends

Manya tantrum

Neev tantrum

Rakhi

Sticker fun

Opening presents
These pictures pretty much summarize their year. It's been a fun year and I wish for us to have many many more. Can't wait to celebrate with all our loved ones on Saturday!
Happy Birthday my babies. We love you soo much!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Tomorrow won't be like today

And I mean that quite literally.

So if you know me at all, like the guy who meets me when I go to get water at the water cooler in the office or the eyebrow lady, who I visit once in 6 weeks, you will know that my kids are about to go to Montessori. Or to put it simply, will not be at home 24 X 7. I let everyone and anyone in on this fear of mine, this one thing I don't want to do.
 
So why are we doing it then? Well, lots of reasons.
- One would think that being twins, M n N would be born socialites - well, not much at all. They aren't good around other kids when not at home. Bring a party over to the house and they're great, but go to the park and they don't want to interact with other kids.
- The Nanny . She's been one helluva nanny for the past 21 months. Don't get me wrong, but she is not growing with the kids. She doesn't do the things one would expect to do with a toddler. Read to them, sing and play with them or teach them colors and shapes. She is just good for feeding.
- Because I don't want to find another Nanny.

So school it is.
I had written the above the day before kids started school. So much has happened since. They have been in school for almost 4 weeks now. The last day - 13th Oct - before they started school, I was an emotional wreck. I didn't want to send my babies to school, it felt like I was coming back to work after the kids birth for the first time, all over again.

So now that we are in school, uniform and all, we are better with putting things back in place, so much so that when we see Mommy/Daddy sitting without their shoes on, we get the shoes to them and force them to wear them, after all the rightful place for shoes are on the feet! We have also become very aware of what is ours and what is not. We are territorial about our sweaters, shoes and cups. (Since M n N have these clearly marked out, we have to follow the rules, cannot falter). The teacher Ms J has also noticed about this and commented on it. I don't know if this is going to cause them to be un-sharing, but right now it is good, they like to drink from their own sippy cups and it gives me hope that they will not drink random things. Yeah..didn't you know already I like in a country called Utopia?

We are becoming more talkative! We saw a lot more words now, try our best communicate and are constantly talking. Esp. M. She has things to say all the time. We also ask after each other. Like the other day when N had a gag reflex, M looked at him, pointed to her mouth and said something in abracadabra , N in turn - pointed to his mouth and replied in abracadabra and then both resumed their earlier activity of fiddling with their seat belts.
We also don't like to eat dinner anymore! Mom loves to force us to eat, but she forgets in this house, We rule.

So after that little interlude by twins I am back to regular programming. I am glad the kids are doing well in the Montessori and becoming more aware of people, things and actions. I used to hate the fact that they wouldn't be home, till I realised, what is the point, when we are not home! And this single realisation has made me sleep better and be more relaxed. It may seem little to you, but it's been my all consuming thought. I am just glad that they like school, like to explore and learn and are generally well behaved kids. I use the word generally very liberally ;)

Phew! took a month to finish this post! I will try and be more regular.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Moral Ground

This past weekend, I was talking to an elderly woman and I just mentioned that I don't like watching a certain Indian Actor anymore because there have been rumors of his infidelity. She looked at me rather sternly and asked what about the 'other woman', who is also an actress? Do you want to see her movies? Do you not have a problem with her. And my response was simple, well she is wrong definitely, but she is not married, he is, and therefore the blame lies with him more, for cheating on his wife, if he has.

She was quick to point out that the woman should not have had an affair with a married man.her exact words -"woh uske peeche kyun padi" (why was she after him) . And this incensed me even more, why is she quick to assume that the woman is to blame and not the man?

Then she says - the wife should have better control over her husband. I didn't know how to react to this and not scream and yell at a person who is my senior and I am supposed to show respect to. So I walked away, seething with rage.
Why are woman woman's worst enemy ? Has anything not taught us anything? We as a gender class totally suck - not all of us of course but yeah well , most of us and esp. those from the Indian Subcontinent.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Romance is in the air

No..not what you are thinking. I am talking about the books I have been reading. Yeah..duh! That other kind of romance is always in the air ;)

So well..lately I only want to read romance novels and mind you no period romances, those I hate with a vengeance. It's hard for me to image those Victorian Greek lords and damsels in distresses. It just seems like a world that didn't really exist, except for in books.
So my cuppa tea is - contemporary romance. I prefer that so much more, in a modern setting, with references to stuff I am familiar with. Here's my not-so-long list:
1. I loved Julie James, I have now read all her published work:

- A lot like love
- Something about you
- Practice makes perfect
- Just the sexiest man alive

2. Susan Mallery - I have read 3 of her books and I am convinced she is a good romance writer.
- Finding perfect
- Tempting
-Chasing perfect.

I also like contemporary Indian writers. I really like books about Immigrants and their kids. Which is why Jhumpa Lahiri is a favorite. I really like Amulya Malladi. Recently read 'Season of mangoes' and I thought it was well written.

Are there any contemporary fiction authors you like?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dear Dear Hubby

You know that I love you right? But please try and understand, I am more than capable of finding answers to my problems, of sorting them out. What I don't have and often need is a sounding board. So please just be that. OK? But you have to react and curse the situation as much as I am. That would make me the happiest cribber in the world.

Ok thanks for listening.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

18 MOs in the house!

...and we're bringing down the house in every which way!!!!

The little pranksters are now upto absolutely no good. Getting into trouble because they can reach all kinds of places. Be it the furthest point from the corner where they are standing near a table or the absolute end of a couch.

This post my little ones is dedicated to what you guys have taught me:
1. You guys have taught me patience, like I never knew.
2. You have taught me to be a light sleeper
3. To manage time better.
4. To love your Daddy more and appreciate him more.
5. To love and appreciate my parents more.
6. To eat so many leftovers from your meal, that it would make a meal of my own.
7. To start laughing in the middle of being absolutely fed up.
8. To make the stupidest faces.

There is obviously more..but I guess the feelings are obvious. Bottom line is I respect my parents and their parenting much more now.

So my little munchkins, you guys are now a riot! You love wipes these days, love to just pull them out of the box and then drop them all over the place, we have to now hide the box from you.
You have developed a love for strings and things with strings, including belts, wires, pull toys and random strings you can get hold of.
You guys love cold fruits. Water melons, apples, straw berries, bananas, cherries, blue berries and black berries are your favorite.
You guys fight a lot now!!!
M you've learnt there is no point in fighting for some toys, because N always  gets his way. N you know you are super powerful and you have also learnt manipulation. Sometimes, very rarely, when  you want something M has, you will take another toy to her and entice her with that! This you have learnt from M, who though placates you with toys when you throw a fit.
M if I give you 2 pieces of snack or fruit and ask you to give one to N, you will do so. N, if asked to do the same thing...well, we know how that ends.
N you love to explore new things, things you obviously shouldn't be touching! Like the camera, laptop, your Dad and my laptop bags.
M you will notice immediately if I change my ear rings or wear an bangle.
Both of you love bangles, and hair bands.
2 things you both hate:
1. kisses!
2. Getting out of the bath.


Thank you for making your Dad's and my life so eventful, for showing us unconditional love and teaching us patience. Love you both so much, I miss you so much right now.


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Who's baby is it anyway?

I am not an Aishwarya Rai Bachchan fan. I agree she is pretty, carries her clothes and herself well, is dignified but not a good actress. She can sometimes be good, but not always. It takes a good director I think, to bring out the best in her.

Madhur Bhandarkar is a fine Director. His movies are tight and worthy of a second watch. However I have always found his nature suspicious, given the casting couch charges against him.

That said, this whole Ash vs Bhandarkar controversy is getting on my nerves. Pregnancy is a woman's prerogative and it has nothing to do with her job. NOTHING. When she chooses to disclose her pregnancy is her privilege. The employer cannot discriminate against her in any way. It is natural and it shouldn't be looked down upon or frowned upon. I hate the fact that the director is now sulking and saying all kinds of irrational things. I doubt any woman thinks about telling her boss the first time she pees on the positive stick. She has far more greater things to worry about, and she is under no obligation to tell anyone that she is pregnant. I understand it is show biz and that a lot of people are probably affected by this, but you need to plan for this contingency, you cannot hold it against the actor. It happened, how is it her fault. She wasn't comfortable disclosing the news to you sooner, so stop acting like a baby and a wronged person. What if Madhur, God forbid, met with an accident and had to postpone the shoot, would Ash not be understanding then?

I don't know if the rules are different in show business, or if they should be. To me it doesn't seem right. A Mother goes through a lot in her pregnancy, she should not be forced to think about her job in a mean sort of way.

I really hope that this issue is given a lot of consideration. Workers need to be treated with respect and Employers should stop playing the victim card.

Monday, April 04, 2011

We are the champions...

...of the WORLD!!!!

MEN IN BLUE have done it and we are the country which has the coveted World Cup! Sachin Tendulkar finally has the one trophy that has eluded him. BIG hug and Cheers, the most adorable set of guys in uniform! (Aren't Virat and Gambhir cute?)

We screamed and we yelled and we cursed the S Lankans when they scored 100 runs in the last 10 overs. Cursed Sreesanth but fell in love with the fielding that was pretty exemplary for our team. I sat with my head in my hands when Sehwag lost his wicket. And then cried for Sachin as he walked off the field, probably the last time in a world cup match. But Gambhir! You have a permanent place in my heart, although it'll be hard to replace Dravid or Srikant, of course Sachin is irreplaceable. Why did you give your wicket away in the most bizarre fashion? When you were on 97! Arghh..but you'll learn and you were trying to get the score board ticking, so I don't hold it against you. Kohli and Yuvi you guys rocked too! But the captian, MS, you played a captain's knock and I have so much respect for your composure and sincerity of purpose. But I don't think you should have gotten the Man of the match, Gambhir deserved it. He laid the ground work. He deserved it.

I am not one of those people who will sit and say that Pakistan is a great team after we beat their asses or SL was the better team or some such crap. My team is India and no matter who the opponent, they are the opponent and I will commend my team and my boys. So if you come here and tell me to have sportsman spirit et all..please go elsewhere. Or if you come and tell me these matches were fixed, I refuse to listen to such cynics. My team won fair and square, unless PROVEN otherwise.

The best part of the match was the dedication to Sachin! Every single member of the team dedicated the cup to Sachin! Aren't these boys cute? I cried with them when they carried the little master on their shoulders. I cannot think of another sports person who has a greater fan following, who is revered in all age groups.

These matches gave me great opportunity to hang out with my neighbors. A and P are the most thoughtful people I know. And such a hoot hanging out with crazy cricket lovers. Oodles of chai and samosas have been hanging around my ever expanding waist line. But totally worth it! Totally worth every single joule of energy spent. I didn't mind even one day waking up @ 4 to catch the matches. G was such a great partner. He would never stop me from going when I wanted or ignoring everything and everyone while I stayed glued to the screen. My kids are of course the bestest ever! You will learn some day soon that when it comes to cricket, your Mom can go crazy.

GO MEN IN BLUE! MY HEART BLEEDS FOR YOU!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tidbits

There is so much excitement in the air! The world cup is one helluva tournament so far. The biggies have been upset - Australia, South Africa. South Africa has lived up to it's 'choker's tag, England is not to be seen beyond quarter finals (I strongly believe Bangladesh should have made it through instead). And now the mother of all matches - India Vs. Pakistan. There is so much excitement on my FB page and on the news channels. Although I have to say, the news channels are going a bit too far. India vs Pakistan is the match to see, but to invite the PM over? Come on! Why do we always do this? And sending buses to invite Pakis over to watch the match. India is such an emotionally charged country. The game should be treated as a game, for nothing more, this whole diplomacy angle is just stupid. Would Pak stop infiltrating Kashmir if they won this match? It's such a stupid idea to have the man over.

Other than that, the kids are growing by leaps and bounds. In a little over a month they have become very fast on their feet. N can climb stairs very fast, M giggles her way to the top. It's super cute to watch them in a race that they don't know they are in. N is getting better at eating. He's always been one to despise anything that is not smooth. He's getting the hang of chewing things and biting into foods. He often chokes on food still but it's better. So yesterday he was munching on something and he started gagging on it. So G and I rushed to thump his back. M sat and looked on. A little while later, we were all playing on the floor and N did a pretend gag. M came to him and touched his back. I didn't pay much attention because I was busy 'scolding' N about the pretending part. A few minutes later it happened again and M for sure patted his back. G and I started at her and this time we kept hoping N would do it again. Sure enough N did it again and M patted his back. We couldn't stop laughing.

There is proof that M listens to us when we tell her to not play with laundry clothes. Here's the proof. Yesterday I had a sweater in my laundry basket and one sleeve was dangling outside the basket. M walks over and puts the sleeve back into the basket and then doesn't proceed to throw the clothes out as she would've done last week!! Is she growing up too fast? She also stopped N from sweeping the floor with my sweater, which was lying on the couch and he was pulling at. She took it away from him and neatly pushed it back on the couch! *To say we were shocked is an understatement*.

One more 'MnNism'. They have a little elephant which is a shape sorter, the tummy has holes of different shapes and once the shape is put in, it comes out of the trunk. So the kids had a circle in their hand but were trying to put it through a hexagon. After a few tries they got tired, so M took the shape and put it inside the elephant through the trunk.

N knows he is stronger than M, so if can't get his way with her, he will grab her sweater or shirt or whatever and pull hard, till she falls and takes the toy away.

Ok, So I stopped writing this post mid-way the other day...we won against Pakistan!!! Thumping win too! Bowling them all out! Yayyy..what is with the political correctness all around? When we beat Australia, no one bothered to be PC, but we must be with Pak? Err..why? It's a game, the rivals are always treated with no respect..let's just keep it at that! So now the finals!! Woot woot!!! BIG ROAR!!!

So here's why I was happy with India in the semis . Bhajji finally got some wickets. He has been bowling excellently this tournament, but wickets eluded him..finally he got some! Yuvi was out for a duck, but true to form, he came back to get two wickets. He conceded lots of runs, but it is ok. Sachin, Sachin. What can I say about this man! Although his 100th century is not under his belt...he's been in exceptional form and I can't wait to see him win the cup. The one trophy that has not been his! I hate to hear anyone say these matches are fixed. There is so much effort being put into each match, the matches are so close, and it is such a big tournament, I don't think the matches are fixed. So please stop telling me that.

Ok Dhoni's men! GO GET THE CUP!!! WE ARE WITH YOU!!!! How sweet of Yuvi to say that he's playing this cup for Sachin! Isn't that what team spirit is about?!









Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is this right?

If someone is not close to me, someone I meet or talk to once in 5 years or so, who is a cousin and I am atleast 7 years her senior. Does she have the right to make fun of my weight?  And if I am 10 years her senior then?


Friday, March 04, 2011

About the Mahabharat

When we were growing up, B.R Chopra and Ramanand Sagar did us a huge favor by making television serials out of the two most recognizable and popular Indian epic stories. Namely Mahabharat and Ramayan.
I was happy to hear the story and then read it but it wasn't like they stood out in my literary conquests!
Things have changed today. I was told to try and read 'Bhimsen' (Bheem's version of Mahabharat)
and 'Palace of Illusions' (Draupadi's version of the Mahabharat).

SPOILER ALERT!!!

I have to say that in both the stories, one common trait stands out. Yudhisthar was a scum bag! Yes, I said it! Despite all his virtuous ways and following the 'dharm' always, he was one conniving son of a gun!
- He made the rules about sharing Draupadi, and made sure he got to be with her the most.
- He pawned off his brothers and his wife.
- He fought a battle, which he didn't fight, others fought to make him the king.
- He got to heaven, others didn't!

I wasn't surprised to see how much influence the woman have on men in either of the three versions. Be it the mother or the wife. They had their sons/husbands well dancing on their little finger!

Both Bhim and Draupadi, in their respective books feel responsible for the war and feel bad about it. Draupadi more so and the way her mind works is interesting to read.

Another thing which I found interesting is that, the authors don't try to depict the characters as holier than thou and living on shrubs and such in the wild. Meat references are plenty and it makes me happy to think that Indian mythology did not purport Vegetarianism. 

Both are fun and interesting reads and both stick to the facts in Vyasa's Mahabharat. They both make their own interpretations, that is the fun of these books.

What I didn't like:
POL:  the author glosses over the most important part of the story. Draupadi's humiliation in the court of Hatinapur is the pivotal point in the book, but Divakaurni doesn't treat it well enough. Doesn't show how all hell broke loose on Mrs. Pandava. How she felt a few moments after she went back to wherever she went. This should have been emphasized more. It irked me no end when this part comes and goes away. There is too much emphasis on Karn and her non existent love story! I like the battle between Kunti and her for dominance, and D's realisations later in life. It's good to know that such battles happen even in the royal families ;)

Bhimsen, on the other hand. Seems more accurate from a guy's perspective in those times. His frustrations with his elder brother, his helplessness is a little hard to believe though. His lust for the wife, who he couldn't have every four years. His love for his wife Hidimbi, which he couldn't show much. The love he had for Arjun and the teasing he got from his cousins and brothers. The pleasure he got out of killing and in turn the pleasure it gave his wife.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Love

Although Valentine's day has never meant much to me, other than admiring the red and pink stuff all around, I just thought of the perfect gift for my hubby dear.
Embarrass him by writing about him! If that is not true love then what is?

I love that if you wake up before me, you will get the coffee and the breakfast started, knowing how much I like a hot breakfast on weekends.

I always sleep off watching a show we both like, you are generous and thoughtful enough to not finish watching the show, knowing I will 100% never get around to watching the show if you've already seen it.

On the matter of TV, you watch all the shows you hate but I love with me, I on the other hand..umm..am not so cooperative.

You know I never buy a cookie with my lunch sandwich, so once in a while, you'll buy one and save it to share with me in the evening.

Knowing how much I love flowers, but don't have a green thumb, you'll buy me flowers when you go grocery shopping.

The poopy diapers are always your department.

I have to never set the toilet seat. So I don't know what the battle is with other spouses.

You will eat whatever I make, if you don't like it enough, you will not complain then, maybe later. It saves a fight :)

You always take the trash out!

You are always optimistic, it makes me calmer.

Of course you have annoying habits as well, but those don't count (right now ;) )
Love you to bits and the things you do...

M

Monday, February 07, 2011

Talent Show

A few days back, I was just thinking about the time when I was less shy, more bold and not a follower but a leader. What happened to that Megha I wondered. I actually know the answer to that, but that is for another post. What is for this post is this wonderful memory from a long time ago...

I think we were in 9th or 10th grade. I am inclined to think it was the 9th. So we had to put up little talent shows in celebration of the school's b'day. (Interesting tidbit here, our school's birth date is 23-4-56. (23rd April, 1956) Cool right!)
So we were all tasked with coming up with a creative program. A song, a dance, a skit something. Now I wasn't exactly a part of the coolest kids on the block, but neither was I part of the not-cool-at-all kids. I was in between and I was pretty happy with where I was. There was no pressure in the place and I had innumerable friends and people who loved me and I loved and it was all a happy place. Now when this talent show came about, we didn't know what to do. The cool kids were going to be performing dances from all the happening numbers - "Resham ka rumaal", "Madho rama.." and we weren't invited to that party. And it wasn't that we were dying to be invited to it, we just didn't want to feel talent-less?

So somehow, one thing led to another and I found myself organizing a dance and guess who was the choreographer? Yes, the happy young me. Not only that, we didn't have the song on cassette, in the voice of Ila Arun or Asha Bhonsle. So my plan was to actually sing the song! I am not exactly a novice at dancing, I have 6 years of Kathak training under my belt or foot and hands. But singing - well let's just say, when I used to go for singing lessons, the teacher was more keen on my playing the harmonium, which of course I could play easily.

So my partner in crime R, set the wheels in motion and got a few girls together. Now the absolute best part about these talent shows and such was we could bunk classes! And naturally we picked the most sleep inducing classes to bunk, namely Geography.

Word got out and soon, girls from all the different sections of the standard we were in, wanted to perform too. My memory is a bit foggy here, how many of us eventually ended up on the stage. But the D day came and all the girls dressed in their Gujarati finery (did I mention it was a Gujarati, dandia song?) got up on stage.

It all happened so quickly that I didn't have time to react, that me, with my bass-less voice, was behind the mike singing and making a bunch of giggly, giddy girls dance to my moves! Although our show was no where near the quality of the other group, ( that was orchestrated by A, she is a bollywood choreographer now), I have very fond memories of this event. How this bunch of girls trusted my dance moves and as uncool as they were, got up on stage and danced and looked bloody beautiful doing it.

Cheers to all of you!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Blender story

So G loves Idli. And when we got married, he told me lovingly how he would appreciate idli for dinner. The loving wife that I am, went about procuring the batter from our Desi store. And every once in a while, we would have hot piping idlis for dinner and sometimes dosa too. Soon, I got bored because Idli making is very tedious to me and we cannot have it sans sambhar and chutney, so the amount of work is more.

So, our frequency started dwindling, but G didn't really complain to me. It so happened that my mother visited us and the loving MIL that she is, she had to make every single dish her SIL likes. So she set about making the idlis, much to my irritation. (My Mom loves to make things G likes, almost hardly making things I like, what is up with that??) And I was suitably admonished for not feeding the husband what he loves the most. Argghhh..so the process started again. Then came in my friend ART, who made matters worse by telling us that idli batter is easy to make and the outcome better than perfect. More arghh, so we set about getting the rice and dals.
Finally the batter was made and we realised taste was definitely better. So I gave in and resigned to my fate. Why couldn't the man just be happy with pasta in marinara sauce? O well!
The story above is a build up to my new love, if you are wondering where the post is going.
We had been using a Black and Decker blender to make the batter, but the blender couldn't be bothered with such a tedious process. So after about 5 batter making exercises, it decided to call it quits.

This actually worked out well for us and we set about to buy a better blender to get the rice to a fine-er paste. (I did try my food processor, but it just didn't give the same result).
So we got the Kitchen Aid blender, here's a link from Amazon.
I have been using this blender for almost a year now and I am really satisfied.
I had a Black and Decker before, but it just didn't get the batter done properly, which by far is the most difficult item I have tried to grind. It does the whole 'grinding' action really well. And at almost a Horse Power, it gets the job done efficiently.
Pros:
1. the jar is made of polycarbonate, and not glass, making it lighter to handle and easier to clean.
2. the cord can be neatly tucked away.
3. Super easy to clean, no hidden crevices in the base.
4. Crushes ice and makes smoothies as easily.

Cons:
1. It is noisy and if you have little kids, they can get scared.
2. I don't think it has an automatic shut off if it over heats, or I haven't experienced it yet.

Bottom line, it's a great blender and definitely affordable. Kitchen aid's products are not always supreme quality, but this comes fairly close.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Emails and spouses

So this whole spouses reading each others email and texts is bothering me. ALOT!

Before I begin, G and I don't check each others emails or phones. If the spouse wants the me to read something, then it's different.

So, these days I am finding it very hard to email a few of my friends. They are married and their spouses regularly check my friends emails and read emails that are not addressed to them. When I write my mails, I am writing with the satisfaction and knowledge that I am pouring my heart out to my friend. Even if it's not a sniff-sniff kinda email, if they are just forwards, why should someone, other than the person I am addressing my email to, read them? Isn't it a breach of my trust? I find it even more humiliating if I am not even informed that there could be other people reading my emails.

So this SIL informs me casually that every morning she checks her emails and then her husbands, who is my cousin. And I am like WTH??? I send emails to my brother and not to you right? I didn't say anything to her, obviously. I brought it up with the brother. "Well what can I do? She is my wife, she will read my emails".

In another instance, everytime I write to my friend, and even if her husband is not copied on it, he will reply. Thankfully he tells me it is he, else I would wonder where all the macho-ism was coming from. But when I asked her, she said she told him to write back to me. But I wasn't sharing my concerns with him, why did you have to tell him about it?

So then I started to wonder, is it just G and I who don't invade each other's privacy? Does being married mean that you have to share all your friends secrets, jokes , problems with your spouse? That just seems so unfair to the other friends. Does it bother anyone else?

If someone writes an email to me, I can guarantee you, no one other than me will read it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's a boy thing

I had heard from quite a few people that there is a huge difference between boys and girls and these differences become apparent at a very young age.
I find it very interesting. And we have noticed the differences between M n N through the year. And least someone out there starts thinking that I am partial to either one, kick yourself first before you even entertain the thoughts.

M started out being the bigger baby by 2 oz i.e., but in baby terms those are a lot. Fairly soon, I think within the first month, N over took her.
M has always been more demure and gentle. She touches things with her fingers as opposed to N to uses his entire palm and it is not a touch but a bang.
M reached most milestones before N, except of turning over. N did that first.
N likes to copy his sister. He will do a trick only if M does it, and more likely than not do what she is doing rather than what we are doing.
If N is sleepy, he'll just fall asleep where ever he is, but Madam M, needs to be in her crib, her blanket etc etc.
N is easier to feed than M most times.
N is more curious about things that are not toys.

A lot of times I get the feeling that N is not listening to me. He is just looking at me, but not listening to what I am saying. Just like his Dad or my Dad or your Husband right? I guess it starts out from a really early age ;)

I have been thinking that I am not blogging or recording the things that M n N do often enough. Like the other day, G said to me that N is becoming the light sleeper and I was like, he's always been and brushed him off. G was surprised how I had forgotten the most important criteria that had prompted us to move the kids into their own room. It was because M was a light sleeper and she would wake up all the time. I was aghast. I am beginning to forget things which are not even a month old? So I am trying to make a conscious effort to write about them more.

Piloting a change

It was bitter sweet, I had tears when I read this. Wanted to share.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

And so we went to India

(Looong post alert!!)
High time I recapped my trip. For M's sake atleast.

So M and I went to India around the thanksgiving weekend last year. It was going to be a short two week visit. So this was the first time M was going to fly and I was, to put it gently, petrified. I didn't know how M would be, how I would be and how the follow passengers would tolerate us. I had been reading as many online resources as possible, talking to all and sundry. Finally it was decided that I definitely needed a bassinet seat, new toys, pacifier (for when the plane took off and landed) and all the other essentials. I had even armed myself with infant benadryl with the recommended dosage in hand.
So the day come, after tearful good byes to Daddy G and Baby N, we got checked in and had some time to kill before boarding. So M and I started roaming around the really pretty terminal D on DFW airport. Close to boarding time, I gave M the benadryl to help her sleep in the plane. (Yes come on judge me, hurl your stones and call me names, see if I care) Just then my sister called and she just said in passing sometimes benadryl backfires and kids get hyper and I said yeah I guess it could happen. So happily and with some difficulty M n I sat down on my seat.
As the plane started taxing, I gave M a bottle to prevent her ears from popping. Once the plane was in the air, M decided this was the best time to show all she had learned in the past 11 months. So we started to play and we played some more. I started getting sleepy..coz you know that's what we do on a plane. But M had decided that wasn't going to nap. So the whole Benadryl thing..completely true. It does backfire *sometimes*!!!! The plane ride was pretty good, the bassinet was pretty useless, M wasn't comfy in it at all. But we didn't mind it, M or I.
On our AMS to DEL flight, we met the best fellow traveler ever. I have forgotten her name and that really sucks and have misplaced the phone number :( She was very helpful and although none of my fellow passengers, in the same row, had kids, they were all very helpful with M and M wasn't howling or screaming either. In the entire flight, M cried once and this was when I was catching my 2nd flight, she was super duper hungry by then and I had to do the security check and the water was thrown away, so I couldn't make formula till we boarded. Poor girl was just not happy and rightly so. But those 15 minutes were all my champion cried.
My friend commented later that we tend to underestimate our kids..they are pretty happy in most situations.

Delhi was as usual wonderful. Just being with my parents and M getting so much love and being pampered by her G Parents. Of course we shopped and again M was a trooper, she would hang out in her baby bjorn sling. BTW, strollers are not useful in Indian markets like Lajpat in Delhi or Crawford and Santa Cruz in Bombay.
I ate a lot!!! All kinds of chaat, Chinese, S. Indian, Pizza, not so much Mughlai (I wasn't keen on it), sizzlers, Rajasthani food, gujju food. I can't remember if there was anything else that we ate. Kanpur was a thrill, although I was there just for a day to visit my Grand Father and Dad's family there. It was a blast. We were treated with a lot of love and care. My nieces took an instinct liking to M and she loved them too. It all worked out well. G Dad was happy to see us too! Of course ;)
We took a flight from Lucknow to Bombay which was routed through Delhi. I have to add here, Indians are not helpful passengers at all. With an infant, stroller and backup, I had my hands full and I needed time to do things. But the person behind me in the line at the security check, was way too impatient. While I struggled to get my luggage on the conveyor, he huffed and puffed twice behind me. I turned around and gave him the apologetic smile, that I have begun to use when I start feeling guilty about inconveniencing people. But he just ignored it and went ahead of me. HOW RUDE! This happened a couple of times, at least. And the worst thing, no one offers to help! But there was something really nice about traveling in Kingfisher airlines. The air hostesses are super sweet and my baby won them over. The food is super excellent, something the US internal flights could learn from. And I didn't have to pay an arm and a leg for the tickets, plus they didn't charge me for baggage! Beat that over priced, charging for baggage US Airlines.
Bombay is a joy always, we are treated like royalty and we gorged on some of the most delicious street food and home food and not-street food. Great fun! M won the hearts of her Uncle and Auntie and she got to play with all kinds of incredible musical toys. What a joy!
Then we traveled to Jabalpur for my cousin's wedding. This time, I wasn't worried about the train journey, though it was long. 18 hours. The one challenge is using the restroom, where do you park your kid?? But M and I mastered that too! We had a side birth and that is not fun. It's very narrow and M was not happy and neither was I. So she just slept on me. It seemed most convenient. It wasn't the most comfortable journey, but we had fun. M on her second train ride (first was from DEL to KNP). The best part was drinking 'station wali chai'. The best chai there is right!
The wedding was a blast! Met every single member of my family, but 3. How amazing is that? So many new faces, so many old, some new wrinkles, some grey hair, a few extra pounds, a few less pounds. But hearts? Still the same! Big and full of love! M and I were loved and showered like nobody's business. And the best part about traveling with your parents? They will happily look after your kid, even willing take her from you, while you go socialising with the family. My cousin M who was getting married, looked super dashing and a beautiful, smiling bride he had. Again we had amazing food on both the days and then we bid adieu to the family. A very sad good bye.
This train journey was pretty much the same, except, Mom and I gossiped and we had puri and aloo sabzee with chai. Got me super duper nostalgic and happy. But I have to say, these Air-conditioned coaches take the fun out of traveling in a train. To me a train ride is always associated with looking outside the window, and having the air on your face. Calling out to vendors when the train stops and eating all kinds of delicious goodies and buying novels. O well, being climatically conditioned with the heater or cooler isn't that bad either I guess :D
I was very sad to part from my parents, they were even more sad to see M go. She on the other hand was just hanging out in her stroller. My flight to AMS was delayed by 3 hours, which we got to know on reaching the airport. I nonetheless checked in and strolled around the spanking new international terminal in DEL airport. Is it good or is it beautiful. I hadn't had a chance to have McVeggie burger, I greedily had one. M just dozed in the stroller, it was all b/w 12 - 4 am after all. Of course when we boarded the flight, the entire flight was sleepy and M and I were in dream world within a matter of seconds. This time too I made a mad dash to get to mu second flight, since the first flight had been late, we made it just as the security check was happening. KLM flight attendants suck BTW. And EU has very strict policies about carrying liquids on board. Unlike US and India, I couldn't take even water for formula. But they are happy about letting you wear shoes! Haha. O well.
This flight was mostly empty, so M and I stretched out in 5 seats...well we needed only 2, but we had 5 at our disposal!! M played around some, ate some and then fell asleep. When she did, for the first time in 3 flights, I found myself wide awake and nothing to do, so I switched on the in flight entertainment. On the previous 3 flights, I just didn't know where the time went and with M being on my lap, it was hard to eat let alone watch something. So I saw bits and pieces of "Despicable Me". Really cool movie.
We landed in Dallas, in the afternoon on a Sunday. I couldn't wait to unite with the other half of my family. Our very good friend S also came to the airport to receive us. N played it cool, he didn't laugh, grin or cry when he saw me. I on the other hand was a crying mess. They played more cool with each other, M didn't go about hugging N or vice versa. They just got back to playing and within a few minutes fighting. Such an anti climax :D
Our friend A came over with a cake and food. That was super thoughtful.
After everyone had left, I went to take a shower and give M a bath. Because no matter where you go, the best shower head is always at home :)

PS: M didn't have any trouble sleeping with me when in India, or sleeping without me when we got back.
We were completely healthy in India. Yes we did take precautions, but I ate at roadside thelas and such with not a care.
KLM's food while coming back is better than while going.
Some people need to learn manners.
I have super co-operative kids.
G is the best Dad and an even better husband.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Walmart

Everybody knows the convenience of Walmart. If you cannot find it anywhere, you are sure to find it in Walmart, and there is a good chance it will be pretty inexpensive too.

Some history about me and walmart :
I have always disliked shopping there. For numerous reasons, I am not snooty nosed, I just dislike dirty stores and most of the walmarts i have been to are dirty. Then, there is never anyone you can ask questions to. Not a person in sight and if there is someone, chances are they are on a break and will tell you as much and not tell you where the commodity you are looking for is. On multiple occasions I have bought produce from Walmart and upon arrival home discovered that there is rotten onion or strawberry lurking on the inside of the bag or box. The last thing is they never have enough check out lines open. It will take me 15 minutes to shop but about 30 minutes to check out, does that seem fair?

So despite all this, we do go to walmart, but now it is limited to getting frozen or canned foods that we might be looking for and baby supplies. So this past weekend we went to walmart, looking for some baby items and then some. Now first of all, our Walmart has gone through re shelving, things are not in their usual place. So it takes us a little time to get the things we need. Of course there is no one to ask any questions so G n I just have to figure it out on our own. So after 45 minutes or so of looking for the items on our list, we were ready to check out. As always there were exactly 5 counters open and out of the 8 self check out kiosk 3 were working. So G looked for the shortest line and stood waiting for our turn with the cashier.
O by the way, Murphy's law always applies to us. Just as we were getting our shopping done, M started crying intermittently, we rushed through the rest and I started to stroll around with the kids while G waited in the check out line. M's cries were growing louder by the minute. So G and I swapped places and he decided to take the kids to the car and feed them.
Now, I swapped places with G at 7:42, G had already stood in the line a good 10 minutes by then. While I was waiting my turn I started looking around at the other cashiers. All of them seemed to be working at breakneck speeds and the lines seemed to be moving fast. So I looked over to our cashier. And that's when I lost my cool. She must have been checking out 1 item a minute. She was gesturing with both her hands in between scans and giving her gyaan on every item she was scanning. I started getting super annoyed. I think there were 4 carts ahead of me and about 4 behind. The line kept getting longer. The lady behind me saw me fidgeting and said she felt the same way. The cashier was indeed taking forever. So finally my turn came at 8:17. Yes I remember the time, because I wanted to make a point to the woman. She started checking out my stuff and started discussing the item. She made the very intelligent observation that I had babies who were still on formula.
I decided I needed to vent my feelings and I started with how long the lines were. So she stops scanning and starts looking around. At this, I tell her, you probably shouldn't stop, that is what is causing our line to be so long. She didn't get the hint. So I told her that my turn came in over 40 minutes. She completely stopped scanning and looked at me with horror and said what are you trying to say. So I told her what I thought. How if people worked faster, it would be better for everyone. She threw her hands up in the air and goes, I am just doing you a favor here! And I was totally dumb founded. Thankfully all my items had been scanned, I just needed to pay. Which I did. The cashier meanwhile had turned around to talk to another cashier and says to her "these customers are very rude'. The other cashier, looked at her and gave her an understanding nod and continued to scan. My cashier printed my receipt, threw it in my hands and didn't look me in the eye.
I was pretty irritated and tired and not to say late, so I just took my squeaking cart with me and walked away.
Not that such incidents only happen in walmart, they happen in a lot of places. But if you point out, the store people are more polite and don't throw a tantrum that you called them out! My problem is the nonchalance and the fit throwing. Was I wrong to say something to her? Should my expectations be low because it is a low end store? But it's the biggest chain in the world!!

Will I go back to walmart, yes I will. Where else will I go? (Target as good as it, doesn't have a lot of brand options, but I love you target). But their reputation of bad CS continues and I am beginning to wonder, do they not care because it's one of those rare chains that made a profit even in the rescission?

Why do I blog?

Over the past year or so the visitor count to my blog has definitely increased, but I feel like I am talking to an empty phone, you know, how it sounds when your phone rings but there is no sound coming from the caller when you pick the call. Yeah exactly that. For if people are reading, they sure are not responding to my posts.

Then I wondered, if I write to write or write to have read? I guess I write to write mostly, but it would be nice to get some feed back. To know if someone out there faces the same dilemmas or total joy as I feel.

The point of this post it not to get people to comment, it's just a mulling session. Or maybe it is to get you to respond..I am sneaky ;)

I have a brand new post coming up next!!! Stay tuned.