January 31, 2014


I actually made it through a month of a blog post a day and have never loved writing more. What better way to celebrate it than the 100th post of this blog!

Going to keep the party going through February. And for all of you still reading this blog, thank you so much for sticking around!

To make it more interesting, I am going to blog through the four weeks of February with a theme each day of the week.

So look out for these during the next four weeks.

Memories on Mondays

Tales on Tuesdays

Worldly Wednesdays

Thoughts on Thursdays

Fiction Fridays

I will spare you all during the weekends. :)

Stereo typing

We watched the Disney movie "Mulan" with A today. We wanted her to watch how they had tried to train Mulan as "Marriageable" material, and how she had defied everybody and gone to fight for her country. Does the training of girls only happen in stories and movies? Sadly not!

Recently somebody had asked me why I was asking A to help me with some chores when she would  be doing so much of this when she grows up. They asked if I was already training her. Really I wanted to ask them, are you not going to teach this to your son? Don't you want them to know how to take care of themselves when they grow up? What is so girl and boy about that?

It saddens me that we are still talking about equality and gender stereotypes in 2014! Recently in a party, we were playing a game and each person had to acknowledge or deny a set of questions. There were many eyebrows raised when B acknowledged that he cooks for the family often. Why is this culture inculcated in us from birth? I know of men who think they will not be man enough if they help around in the house. About it not being their favorite task, I understand, but not being able to do it at all, I mean is it not being challenged in a way? How different is cooking with a recipe from a science experiment you did with instructions?

Coming back to training girls for their husbands and family, are your boys trained for the same? Because eventually that is where his life will lead to isn't it? Afterall that is the "norm" of the society we live in. So why is he not going through a training of being a "chivalrous husband"?

Why put labels on kids even before they have learnt to fly? Or for some, eventually if you are going to cut off their wings why even teach them to fly?

Just given our lives, most of us are very fortunate and have come beyond this dirty stereo typing. But there are enough people we meet time and again to remind us that this is still very much a part of our society and is far from eradication.

January 30, 2014

Rituals - Part 3

Continued from here

Amma was known in the town for being a pillar of strength. Ever since her husband went missing she had held herself together with poise and had led a dignified life. She emanated a radiant positive energy to the people around her. Leela had never caught Amma in a dull moment. She was particular to follow her daily rituals no matter what the day brought. She was an early riser, and welcomed the day with a smile. She would go about cleaning the whole house every morning as though it had to be prepared for a visit from the king. Whenever Leelu had teased her about this Amma had smiled and said “You never know Leelu, there is no harm in being prepared”. Then she would open all the windows and let light and fresh air in.

There had been times when Leela would be in a hurry to go to school when Amma would stop her to sit for a few minutes in the sunlight while she carefully tied her hair. “You will learn nothing in school if you have had such a rushed morning”, she would say. “First sit here and take in the sunlight and the morning sounds for a few minutes, then your schooling for the day will be worthwhile”.

Leela stepped out of the shower and carefully examined her face in the mirror. She had an important client meeting that day and hoped her eyes did not give away any signs of crying from the last night. She had felt a little lighter that morning as she had allowed herself to bring back thoughts of Amma again. She got dressed and came rushing to the kitchen for her morning cup of coffee, she brewed a fresh cup and reached out to her travel mug like she did every day. Something in her made her stop; she filled her favorite mug instead and stood by the window. She remembered Amma’s words “Don’t ever shut yourself away from nature Leelu, nature brought us here, allow her to take care of us”, while she opened the window and stood sipping her coffee.

To be Continued....

January 29, 2014

Midweek Mood

It is the woes of a Wednesday, batteries need a little recharging, a little boredom prevails.
The day seems to drag on forever, a little laziness curtails.
Thoughts are blank, words don't seem to flow,
A lazy post is in order, before the light sets aglow.

January 28, 2014

Grip of the Gadgets

I like technology and am amazed by how new inventions drastically improve our style of living. But I can't help but miss the small joys that came when we were not in the grips of these gadgets.

I can stay without my loved ones for a bit, if they are busy with business trips, sleep overs etc. But staying without my smartphone is unimaginable. I had recently left my phone overnight at a friend's place and thought I will loose my mind for those few hours. Shocked me to find my addiction had reached this level!

And then there were the days before the cellular phones. It is amazing how we managed to live without being able to track down people to the second. People actually got their space then I guess. There were no frequent calls from anxious parents, nagging spouses, jealous girlfriends. There were no apps updating your location on social networking sites. You did not search constantly for things on the internet. You lived life like an adventure, there was so much unknown and unexplored. There was an element of surprise constantly.

There is no doubt that these gadgets have helped us during numerous occasions and there is no denying the benefits of this technology. But I am so glad I am from the generation that experienced life before cellular phones also. I saw my parents' face when I told them about my success, I saw the look on a friend's face when I played a joke, I was with my love when he first said he loved me. I am so glad I shared these moments with loved ones and not with a gadget.

January 27, 2014

The pen sharper than a sword?

With the freedom of being able to write what you want on blogs without any set rules or regulations, it is very easy to cross the line. I recently read a post on a well known blog about a scandal on twitter between three people. They were mocked and ridiculed by the author, and I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy and laugh at a few jokes at their expense. The next day I read the news about one of the involved person being found dead. I went back to the blog and saw that the post was removed. Though it was just an unfortunate coincidence, the guilt was obvious.

There have been instances when I have gone back to my posts and felt why did I write that. What was I thinking! Of course it is all about freedom of speech and expression. But I would never want to cross that thin line of hurting someone's feelings on a public platform. So there is definitely a need of self policing.

What I use now is the toothpaste formula. Once you squeeze out the toothpaste, you can never put it back into the same tube again.  Once it is out, it is out.  After all the pen is not only mightier, it can be sharper than a sword!

January 26, 2014

The Perfect Blend

 It is amazing how two contrasting elements when put together can blend to make a beautiful final product, be it in art, music, culinary or science. The art of course is in perfecting the small nuances like quantity, timing, proportion, balance, etc.

A successful artist is the one who is not afraid to experiment with the changing demands to still get that perfect blend.

Cheers to a decade of the perfect blend!

January 25, 2014

Investing in Memories

It is so easy in today's world to get carried away with the flow of our demanding day to day lives. It is so easy to be blinded by the glow of the materialistic world. It is so easy to get buried in deep thoughts and worries about the security of our future. It is so easy to live life like a race and not a journey.

If we can manage to break free from all this once in a while and channel our time, energy, money and efforts towards creating memories, it will be the best investment ever. After all this is the only thing you can take with you to the grave and leave behind with your loved ones.

January 24, 2014

Switching to Plan B

I am a planner. If I have to do something, I usually spend a lot of time and effort, researching, planning and then consider myself ready to take on the task. And when I do something, most of the time I put my heart and soul into it. It is very rare that I do not give my everything in tasks I do, so the same goes for planning. 

So for a person like this, doing things on an impulse was a whole new thing. It took time to learn to let go of my organized side at times and accept the freshness of doing things on an impulse. Once I let my inhibitions go, I actually began to enjoy things done on an impulse. But given a choice, I would love to do things in an organized way. But I have now learnt to do things both ways. 

But where I am really struggling is to switch to Plan B and still find peace with it.  I get so disappointed and upset if things do not go as per plans, and upon switching to plan B, I switch off somewhere inside and stop enjoying myself. Maybe it is the effort I put into the planning that makes me so disappointed. Most of the times when I plan, I would have exactly imagined how the entire thing would play out almost living through those moments before they happen. Maybe it is over planning the minutest of details. 

It is a little hard for me to understand this and find a solution, because by nature I am the kind who would adjust and adapt to any situation. I am not scared of surprises. But I am extremely bad at letting go of something I had carefully planned, for whatever reasons and accepting an alternative.

I am very possessive by nature, and am beginning to wonder, in the course of planning do I get so overtly attached to my plans that I find it hard to let go? The quest to the perfect solution to this problem is still on!

January 23, 2014

Books for the first few years

I have wanted to do a list of our favorite early years books since a long time. I have listed books with the author's name first, because when I found a good book by a certain author I have gone and explored many more books by the same author. I have listed only one or two of the famous books by that author, but definitely do recommend reading more books by the same author. Most of these books are available in board book version for littler hands.

I am most certain I have missed out many, and will try to keep coming back and updating this list.

1.  Margaret Wise Brown  -   Good Night Moon, The Runaway Bunny

2.  Bill Martin Jr.  -   Brown Bear Brown Bear, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

3.  Eric Carle -  The Very Hungry Catterpillar, The Tiny Seed (Too many to list..)

4.  Laura Numeroff -  If you give a mouse a cookie, Best Mouse Cookie

5.  Anna Dewdney -  Llama llama Red Pajama (and more in this series)

6.  Denise Fleming -  In the small small pond, Beetle Bop

7.  Dr. Seuss -  Cat in the Hat and pretty much any of his beginner books. LOVE THEM!!!

8.  Bruce Degen - Jamberry

9. Mem Fox - Good Night Sleep Tight, Time for Bed

10.  Joy Cowley - Mrs. Wishy Washy Series

11.  Karen Katz - Where is Baby's Belly Button, Potty for Me

12.  Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes Book

13. Beatrix Potter -  The Tales of Peter Rabbit

14. Martin Waddel -  Owl Babies

15. Judy Schachner - Skippy Jon Jones Series

16. Don Freeman -  Corduroy

17. Emily Gravett - Monkey and Me, Orange Pear, Apple Bear

18. Sam McBratney - Guess How Much I Love you

January 22, 2014

End of the Day Prayer

When I wake up tomorrow:

Let the kids be at ease,
Between them let there be peace.

Let there only be smiles
And no paper missiles.

Let them eat their food with grace,
And scrub their own face.

Let them play with their toys,
And not make a noise.

Let them make things from scrap,
And take a long nap.

Let the two year old know silence,
And the seven year old know compliance.

At least for a day let me be Me,
And not a mommy!

P.S: Ramblings of a mom suffering from cabin fever during a week of bad weather with schools closed.

January 21, 2014

Do you want to build a Snowman?

This song  had become the song of our house for the past few weeks. The kids had mastered the lyrics, the emotions and the actions. We recorded and re-recorded the performances. Finally nothing came between them and the snowman today. Even if it was one built in a great hurry because of the freezing temperatures and badly needs to get in shape!

January 20, 2014


We recently purchased an all pink play kitchen for the girls, and to accept "pink" as an appropriate color for them, I have come a long way. When A was along the way and we went shopping is when I first realized the existing gender stereotype right from the color of the clothes. Pink has never been a favorite color and having everything related to the baby in pink, the thought just nauseated me. And seeing so much of it made me determined to avoid it. I tried to stay away from it, trying to find clothes in all hues, picking neutral colors in all the baby gears. Dressing her her up in both dresses and pants and t-shirts. Then came the preschool years and she stepped out from our clutches and saw the world. There was always a face made when we went shopping when I pointed at something blue, an argument on days when I had chosen pants and a shirt as her outfit, the want of the most frilly skirts and pretty bows. I resisted, as long as I could, until I realized that is what makes her happy. This is not a gender stereotype thing, it is just what makes her happy.  And when I let her have her way(to a certain extent) she relaxed, wore a dress and cycled (thank god for cycling shorts!) and looked like the happiest kid on Earth. As she is growing up now she is looking at other colors with love and realizing the value of comfort over looking good, though she would pick the latter any day.

Then came Av, by then I was like softened butter ready to melt! And melted did I! One of her first few words were "Titty Titty" (Pretty Pretty) so I hand made all pink and pretty decorations for her first birthday. And Voila! that is when I discovered an all new side to me, my right side of the brain existed (though scientists have now debunked the right/left brain theory)! Must have been the influence of all that pink! :)

So now we are at peace (most of the times), they are too frilly and girly for me, and love the pretty stuff that relatives and friends buy them as gifts. They know that I am the Plain Jane. To the extent that when we went shoe shopping to a store, Av saw a high heeled red shoe and told me, that is not yours that is -- Aunty's, loud and clear for everybody in the store to hear! But we manage to co-exist!

But I am sure a lot of people agree to the gender stereotype that I am talking about, if not they would not have made this ad.

January 19, 2014

Maids, Mysteries, Masala and More

These days when you need a dose of entertainment, you no longer have to depend on only the Entertainment news. Just follow India’s political news and you will be entertained enough. There is enough buzz to keep you hooked to the news every day.

Being miles away and being away from the country for a while I have never been so abreast with the news there. Every morning I eagerly surf the net in search for the next chapter of an interesting series. And thanks to the social sites and many enthusiastic bloggers, the reactions and comments are no less entertaining.
The irony, we are calling the future of one of the world’s biggest democratic country as entertainment. But with these stories of maids, mysteries, masala (chai) and more, there will be a lot to read for the first half of this year.

And now back to the news.....

January 18, 2014

Waiting for Warm Weather

The months after the holidays seem like a drag. Freezing temperatures, short days, flu and viral season are all ingredients for dull days.

For each there is one thing that keeps the spirits high. We listen to a lot of music with the kids dancing to it at times. There is something exciting about a radio, there is the thrill of waiting to see what the next song is. Life without these online radios feels impossible anymore.

We also play a lot of games like Red Light Green Light, Tag, Hide and Seek, Word Builder, 20 Q and Name Place Animal Thing. And a lot of Pretend Play keeps the kids busy.

We are trying our best to not complain but clearly all we are doing is eagerly waiting for warm weather!

P.S - Down with another cold, I almost thought I will skip today's post. If I am not making too much sense and rattling away then it is the medicine. :)

January 17, 2014

Friday Evenings

There is something so promising about Friday evenings that gets lost even when the weekend starts. It is like the bud before the full bloom,  like the day before the full moon and like the love of newly weds. It makes you escape from the reality of the week before you dive into the expectations of the weekend. TGIF!

January 16, 2014


Dear A & Av,

There are many dreams I have for both of you, but the biggest is for you to be confident girls. I wish it was as easy as writing this letter or calling you both and saying "Be Confident OK?" It is not, and it really comes from your upbringing and surrounding and what you see and what you observe. One of the things which will really help is being in the company of confident women.

Are you both in such company? Well I think you are, as you both spend so much time with me and I definitely think I am confident. But what I am not sure is whether I am projecting that confidence for you to observe. And that is why my dears I felt the need of this letter.

At this young age, I am sure it is easy for you to overlook the confidence in a woman mostly clad in sweat pants, running errands, cooking and cleaning. There is not a whole lot of exuberance of confidence when doing these daily chores. I have been really thinking that I have to consciously change a few things just to show off this confidence in a more obvious way to both of you.What your little eyes cant see or little minds cant understand is what has gone behind these things.

Behind all this stands a big choice I made and more importantly stuck to as long as I wanted it. Making the choice was the easy part, sticking to it was the hard one. And hearing the reactions of the world constantly was the hardest. Did I retaliate at them? No, you know me better than that! Did I retaliate within myself? Yes, sometimes. And that my dears is where confidence helps. It is okay to question yourself when being questioned by others. But your confidence is what will help in not making it your misery.

Knowing yourself really well is the first step to being confident. Every time a situation questions you, you have the answer within yourself. And if you dont you will have the determination to find the answer. And knowing yourself takes time. Dont be hasty, and dont try to fit into predefined "types". You are yourself, and there is no other like you. It is okay to fit into two categories, have two conflicting qualities. It all depends on how you carry it off. And that is where confidence will help.

Having a clear conscience and standing by what is right will only add to your confidence.

It is okay to make mistakes, it only proves that we are human and normal. It is not okay to brood over it for a long time. A mistake can only make you more confident if you learn the right lessons from it, as you will know what to do to not repeat it.

And never mistake arrogance for confidence. There is nothing more beautiful than being humble and confident. It is okay if you are not the person making the most noise in the room, yes people will not notice you right away. But being noticed for the right reasons is what matters. And when they do notice you, it will go a long way.

And these my girls are the lessons of confidence I have learnt so far. :)

Love - Mimi

January 15, 2014


It's an eerie experience when my mind makes strange associations between an instance today with an event/experience in the past. Most of the time it happens all of a sudden and so unexpectedly that I am so taken back to even analyze.

It is not Deja vu that I am talking about, it is not the feeling of an event having taken place before. But an association of some event in the past totally unrelated to what is happening today. And the past event just comes as a projected image from nowhere in my brain. And then I am back to usual business. :)

Like the other day I am waiting at the doctor's office I get this image of me waiting for the school van with a particular friend whom I haven't been touch with at all. When I am driving one day I suddenly get an image of when I would go home in a bus and this particular bus stop where a lot of people would get down and I would find an empty seat to sit.

Most of these associations are totally unrelated and not so important events from the past. It will be small events some street I walked in, the way I laughed, a phone call, a reaction. 

I am amazed that I have these visuals stored inside and curious how I make these associations. Does this happen to any of you?

January 14, 2014

Time for the little things

With three of us sick back to back, past few days have not been the best. But it's amazing how when you are not feeling your best, little loving words and gestures can warm your day.

It is so easy to take your loved ones for granted in the hustle bustle of day to day life. There is always something waiting to be done, chores to be finished, deadlines to be met, appointments to be kept up, schedules to be followed.

When we are always walking on the wire it is hard to pause and show our love and affection especially to the ones who you always expect to understand. But when you do, the feeling is lovely, and it just radiates back to you.

January 13, 2014

Newspaper in Education

Finding an old newspaper at my parents house this summer brought back old memories. The newspaper was dated back in September 1991, and was a new student edition of Times of India. This program was called Newspaper in Education (NIE) and it was started to encourage school kids to read the newspaper and also printed a section of articles written by students.

During the promotion of this program we had journalists from Times of India visiting us each week in school, talking about the various topics a newspaper would typically cover. It was very inspiring for us as kids. When I did a brief search online, it was heartening to see that the NIE program printing student edition of newspapers is still around.

I have not researched much about whether there are such programs in schools over here. But in the same spirit of keeping kids abreast with the latest news, A's school has a morning news show. The fifth graders who are the seniors in elementary school, run the news show each morning and this is shown live to the kids in various class rooms.

Either way in my opinion, teaching the concept of news right from an early stage opens up many windows to the world for kids.

The old newspaper I found at my parents house was special as it had a poem written by me. Reading it now brings a smile with the memories of the excitement of a school girl.

The Newspaper

Not liking the newspaper seems so strange,
For it has a very interesting range.
The bell of our mind it rings,
And of knowledgeable things it sings.

About the ruling government it tells,
Every rule and regulation it spells.
The advertisements are eye-catching, ooh!
They help us in our projects too.

The sports page can never be missed,
Every line is sure to be kissed.
Crosswords, puzzles, cartoons and jokes,
Certainly thrill the jolly folks.

But this does not form the ultimate,
There is lot more for the cheap rate.
When stale becomes the news of the paper,
It comes in handy as a book wrapper.

January 12, 2014

Love of Classics

I always had a love for Classic Books and have always described to A about how she has this whole Genre of books to read when she grows up.

When we were browsing the Juvenile Fiction section in the library we found these books. The Classic Starts series. They are an abridged version of the Classics written for young readers.

We checked out Alice in Wonderland, Black Beauty and Little Women. They have many more favorite titles like Sherlock Holmes, Oliver Twist , Gulliver Travels, Tom Sawyer and many many more. (About 46 of them)

A read Little Women today and was totally enthralled by it. The love of Classics has thus been passed on.

January 11, 2014

Being Cautious is Cool

Has the world become an unsafe place to raise your kids, or was it always this way? Or maybe we have grown up and reached the other side, from being the kids to now being responsible for kids. It is in the news every day, causing a nagging worry to grow somewhere at the back of your mind.

When I think back maybe it was always this way. As a mere kid entering adolescence, I was the target in the public buses and on streets in Bangalore. It was silly that I thought it was a part of life; never spoke about it much to anyone.  I wish I can go back and give them a piece of my mind.  If there was something like safecity.in back then, I would have sent a report every day. It is a lovely venture that was started a few days after the Delhi rape case. Hope we see some positive results from the website. 

If you think, it is just a matter of being in the wrong place and public buses were never a safe mode of transport.  We are now living in a really safe city and A goes to a very reputed public school. Early this school year, we got a letter from the principal that a teacher who was teaching at A’s school last year (and had now moved to another school) had been arrested for child pornography.  Really?  Was my daughter in the same building with a creep like that? There were many assurances sent and the fact that he actually didn’t teach her class made me forget about it in a few days. But it really did teach me a lesson, to teach her to be really cautious, even at school. (No more sentiments like Teachers are like Gods)

Recently I heard a horrific story about an Indian family who lost their two daughters (about 8 and 11) at a mall in Hong Kong.  They were on a vacation. They tried to look for them and reported it to the local police, who informed them these types of cases were pretty common around there and if they didn’t hear about the girls in two days, to forget about them and go home. Forget about them?!?! Is it just a bad dream to just forget about it and move on with your life happily! My heart goes out to the parents who stayed back there for three months hoping they would miraculously find their girls, but in vain. Imagine the misery they have to live with their whole lives, thinking about all kinds of possible situations their two precious daughters can be in.

I tried to look for such incidents online and read about these types of cases getting common in these Eastern countries.  There was a report of many children going missing after a visit to the Restroom. Apparently these kidnappers, drug the children, shave their head and put on a cap and different clothing and disguise them in such a way that the parents waiting outside cannot recognize the kids. They then use them as beggars or to bring money in some way.

Being a little extra cautious does not hurt these days for sure. At the most it will stir up your children a little bit and they will exclaim to you that they are old enough and that you are being over protective and silly! But all for good they will realize in the years to come, like we all did.

January 10, 2014

Encounter with a Seven Year Old

Favorite color – Purple

Favorite restaurant – Vapiano (I love the penne pasta with Pesto Sauce)

Favorite book – The Boxcar Children Series

Favorite playtime game – Tag

Favorite card game – Five Little Monkeys

Favorite Line – Thingamajigs and Ooh La La

Favorite Game with mom – Cooking

Favorite Game with Dad - Building things with Lego

When I become a big girl – I want to be a teacher

Favorite Fruit – Watermelon

Favorite Vegetable – Potato

Favorite Thing to do – Play Family with Av

Favorite Song – Let it Go (Frozen)

Favorite Movie – Mary Poppins

Favorite Pet – Dog

Scared of – Dark and Heights

Favorite TV show – Sofia the First

Favorite Activity in School – Recess
Favorite Hobby - Reading
Favorite Sport - Swimming

Favorite Big People’s TV Channel – Food Network
My ambition - To be the President

Related Earlier Post, Encounter with a Three year old.


January 9, 2014

Still Water

The tides were high all year,

            Filled with strains and fear.

The water has paused to enjoy and explore,

            Enjoy what you have, not wanting more.

The water is suddenly still,

            This year let dreams get fulfilled.  

A small ripple, and again the water is still,

            Every strife determines your will.

Nature’s clear reflection can be seen in still water,
             Let your reflection make you proud hereafter.


January 8, 2014

Story times at the Public Library

The story time sessions have become so much a part of our household. They are held at the public libraries almost throughout the country by librarians specializing in children's books. The first time I found out about them was when A was around 2 years. We have not stopped ever since. Though A is now outgrown these story times, she attends other programs for her age like the children's book club.

 I started taking Av to baby sessions ever since she was around 14 months. The classes are really musical sessions starting for infants from birth. It is quite amazing what it did to Av, as she was too young for preschool, but needed an opportunity to interact with kids her age.

Though this is getting really popular and crowded at our library, I occasionally meet somebody who has not heard about it. Just wanted to share what we have really loved and benefitted from. Perhaps another reason why it has really worked for us is the fact that the library is less than a mile away.  Another big incentive is to pick more books after each class.  Overall it has been a wonderful experience for us at our library, cannot tell you if the kids have enjoyed it more or the mom.

January 7, 2014

Rituals - Part 2

Continued from here

It was just before her tenth birthday that Leela was told what her future had in store. Amma had announced it in high spirits without once showing a trace of remorse. Her parents who had sent her with Amma just a few months after her birth were finally coming to take her back with them. She had not seen them, but had only heard stories, always good that sounded even better when she heard them in the comfort of Amma’s lap. Life was simple and fulfilling, she did not feel the need of anything, Amma had given her everything that she had ever cared for.

The parting had been really hard, but had been inevitable despite all her pleading. There were promises made of meeting every year, of taking Amma with them during their next visit, none of which had ever happened. Leela had secluded herself in a shell, thrown herself into school work, and spent hours in the nights crying into her pillow. She had never heard of Amma again, never let herself think about her in fear of the pain it would bring. Today, the gates had opened finally!
To be continued...

January 6, 2014


My day this morning started rather strangely when I read an article through a link posted on Facebook. It was a letter to Pope Francis written by Maria Wirth, who is originally a German residing in India. I am posting the link to this letter on her blog, “Open letter to Pope Francis”. In the letter she questions his statement “The future is in respectful coexistence of diversity and not in muting the different voices of religion.” She points out and questions him about how this can be achieved with missionaries and religious campaigns spread across trying to eliminate other religions.  She also shows her support for Hinduism and defends all the myths about the religion. A well written letter indeed.

The point according to me is not about the superiority of any religion, but the mutual respect of each other’s beliefs. To be proud of your beliefs and have the depth to understand others’ respect of their belief. I was raised in a Hindu family in a not necessarily religious but a very culturally aware way. I was educated at a Christian school and learnt hymns and verses before any Sanskrit Slokas.  So much so that if there is a Christmas carol playing I can’t help but sing along even when clad in a Madisar (A traditional 9 yards sari).  At that age it seemed like a non-issue to live in coexistence with two religions, as I followed without giving it a second thought, what I was told at both places.

The time when everything changed was when I moved to Utah and was surrounded by staunch believers of the Church of Latter Day Saints. There were encounters with many missionaries who reached out as friendly students, neighbors and moved on to first discreetly and then passionately talk about their religion in the hopes of influencing my thoughts. These are the times I told them I was a Hindu and am happy to be what I am. That coupled with the fears of being in a new place and new situations led me to want to believe in something Superior. That feeling of being watched and protected made me feel secure and get a goodnight’s sleep. For me an encounter with the missionaries back fired for them. I went back deeper into my roots.

So am I a staunch Hindu, believing and practicing every word gurus and saints say? Not at all. I am one of those who look at Hinduism as a scientific religion and follow that aspect of it. I look at it as a way of life, tried and proven. If we are criticizing the missionaries who try to convert and the extremists who spread it through violence and threats, what different are the Hindu fanatics in the form of Gurus and Politicians? Aren’t they taking away the rights of the people of their own religion by forcing them to practice it in a certain way?  Or if there are people living happily being atheists, why create ripples in their still waters? Or what about some sadistic people who like to poke fun at people’s beliefs just to prove their superiority or savor the consequences?

The point here is not about the superiority of any religion, it is about just letting people be happy in the zone they have created for themselves, even if the zone cannot be categorized into any formal beliefs accepted by mankind!

January 5, 2014

Scrambled States of America

A happened to get home the book “Scrambled States of America” by Laurie Keller from her school library one day. She could not stop talking about the book and its humor. When I read the book with her I realized it is a brilliant book written for kids her age. It talks about the 50 states, is witty and humorous, has lovely illustrations with colorful maps, and best of all it has a funny story. I am all for learning things in a fun way, and this book according to me is one of the best way to introduce the map of the 50 states of the United States of America.

The book begins with a bored state of Kansas deciding with its neighbor Nebraska about how fun it would be to switch places with another state and see something new. All the states are invited to a potluck party (thus introduced to the kids) and later switch places. Later the states miss their home a lot and all return to their original places. There is witty humor throughout the book that remains in the minds of kids.

When A first got this book, she probably knew how to recognize a handful of states, this book aroused her interest and she has learnt to mark most of the states. The best part is there is not a sense of the task feeling boring or laborious. Collecting a state quarter with each state you learn can make it more fun.

January 4, 2014

Memory Challenges

A few years ago I had written a post about ways to remember things when your memory is challenged. I still face the issue today, but I have noticed that it is more to do with how much I am concentrating on the task at hand. With most things done in multitask mode, it is hard to dedicate 100% concentration for each task. So I still use some of my crazy ways to remember things.

My favorite way is to associate it with some related thing which is easier to remember. For example we had to park our car at the airport for 5 days and had to remember the parking lot. So it was Lot A, Q1, Bus stop 10. My way of remembering it was Lot A (My A) who is Queen 1 of our house who is born on 10th.  I irritate everybody in our house with this craziness. J

Now I am suggesting these crazy ways for A to remember facts. Like for example, when she has to remember the types of something or to mark the states on the map.

If you want to read about this crazy way on a lighter note read the post Memory Teasers.
P.S – Talking about States of the USA, tomorrow I will post about a great book we found on this topic. 

January 3, 2014

Stress Buster

If people knew me to be a patient, strict and organized mom when they saw me with A, all I can say is see me now. I am also Av’s mom and she has broken every rule I have set! And she has got cuddled later for doing so. She is my weakness, can get anything done out of me with that look of hers followed by a powerful smile. With words flowing easily now, I am a total looser to her now.

Here are some of my favorite lines.

We got both the girls winter boots, and one day when we were asking them to wear it she was throwing a fuss. All she would say is “no no” and cry whenever we told her to wear boots. After a little crying she said “No A wear Boots, Av wear DoLa(Dora)”. From that day on we haven’t dared to call her boots anything but Dora while her sister wore the monkey. J

When B and I speak at home, we talk our version of English. You know the kind where you can converse in a language you are used to with each other, but still have a satisfaction of talking in your mother tongue. So the person who is heavily influenced by that right now is Av. So recently when my friend asked her when her birthday is, she thought for a second and said “Gone off”. Or if she sees any of us combing our hair, she will feel her freshly tonsured head and say “My hair gone off”.

She loves playing with dolls these days. Recently she pushed her doll in a stroller and came into the kitchen saying “Mimi look at my daughter”. When B asked her “Where is my daughter”, she ran to her toy chest and pulled out another baby.

She is in that stage where she loves singing songs. One game she plays is to choose a song for each person to sing and when we all start singing our song, waits to see who switched to the other person’s song. The other thing she loves doing is making up songs and her favorite tune is “Are you sleeping Brother John”. Like one day when I was busy doing some work, she was singing, “Where is Mimi, where is Mimi… there she is, there she is. Working, working, working, there she is”.

A stage of a lot of questions too. “Mimi what is that?” Ants Av. “What are they doing?” Crawling Av. “Where are they going?” To find food “What food?” Something sweet. At this point she won’t know what to ask next so she makes this most puzzled face and puts all her emotion into it and asks “Why Mimi?”

She loves to copy her sister, talk like the way she does. And during the day drops those new lines she has picked up on me.

“Mimi what is that?” My dress “Ooh la la fancy fancy Mimi”.

“Mimi look one for you and one for me, its purrrrfect!!”

“Great job Mimi I am so proud of you”

“I am going upstairs ok? Alright! Ok? Ok fine” (even before I respond)

“Look at this monkey, it’s a funny one, right Mimi?”

“Manu see your Gunnu baby is here” (Read as “Madhu see your Gundu baby is here”, she can’t say “Da”)

“Xcoooz me” (if I am in her way)
There is not a dull moment with her around, our little stress buster!

January 2, 2014

Fighting to fit in

I have had this issue forever, I have always bent myself a little too much to fit in. Wherever I have been, a small group, a big crowd, a new place, I have always wanted to be able to fit in without having to stand out as the odd one. Doing that in your 30s can be quite something, especially when you are beginning to realize there are no pre-made gloves that you can easily slip into, the only way out is a custom made one.

I often find myself hiding behind friendly smiles when I am in such a situation. I just want to shout out and tell everybody what I really think, but what stops me is the feeling that I might hurt them. I just like to be the amicable person at that point, but it bugs me when I mull over it at later. And on days when I have awoken with the rare determination to do and say as I please, I would have crossed the line and hurt somebody.

So this year I am in search of that delicate path upon which to tread, to be who I am and still not come across as indifferent and rude. It is just the beginning of the quest but hope to get there. As a first step, I think I have an understanding of what it takes and am working on that.

Being confident in your skin. It is especially hard, if you are not the one to follow norms. There is nobody ahead of you whose path you can follow blindly. People question your every move and go “Really”! As my little one listens to The three little pigs in the background, what is required here is building your confidence inside a house of bricks, so that the big bad wolf can’t blow it away. J

Knowing you cannot please everybody at all times. There is nothing more tiring than this. And this one is the one I find myself in most of the time, trying to please everybody.

It is ok if ok if somebody is miffed with you. If they care enough things will be back to what it was. This one is the hard one, I don’t like this feeling at all. But if I master the first two, I will face this one better for sure.
Essentially this year I am going to quit fighting with my inner self to fit into any given situation. It is not going to be a smooth ride, but any time I want to feel lighter I have a ready stress buster. More about that in tomorrow’s post! J

January 1, 2014

Happy 2014

Back at another fresh start, a new beginning, a new calendar with a new year. The favorite line of many at this point is “Time flies”, yes it is a cliché but so true. If I have to give an account of the last 365 days, I would have to pause and wonder, “Really did 365 days just roll by?!?”

It has been hectic playing a Mom of two, to say the least. But I was the kind who would scorn at people who claimed they are very busy. Really how busy can a person get? There has to be some time they can make to write a few blogs in a month right? These thoughts would have been so me before I went about a whole year writing just 8 posts after claiming to write more  the very start of the year.

A year wiser I realized there are two ways to be busy, physically and mentally. And my case was a bit of both. There were many confusions up there through the year, clouding my thoughts. So much so that I’ve had movie scene like issues with writing. I was not tearing papers and making balls of them and tossing, but stared at empty word documents liberally using the delete key.

I found myself turning philosophical during the course of last year, and one of the biggest realization came just in time for the New Year. If you are doing a hundred things and you do great with 90 of those, don’t beat yourself about the 10 you didn’t do perfectly. Spend time enjoying the 90 you got right, your new confidence will set the rest of the 10 right too. Simple, but it took me a while to realize!

I will not start the year making big promises, but will take baby steps to get back into the groove of writing. The first step will be a month’s challenge of a post a day.  So here is to many days of happy writing!
Wishing everybody a happy, prosperous and fulfilling New Year!