15 November, 2012

Thank you Misters


I just got back from a week-long visit to my best friend's place. It was six days of being together, holidaying together, making some road trips watching our three-year-olds play and have their own little squabbles and bond in the process. Over half a dozen years ago, the two of us had gone for an air show in Yelahanka in Bangalore -- one of the many times we hung out after college was long over -- and had a great day. I remember telling her that day that I wished we could, some day take our kids to an air show like that one. The idea was not exactly to watch another air show together but to have a lovely day like that, sometime in the future when we had our own families. Back then, neither of us had even tied the knot, let alone having kids. Fast forward to 2012 and here we are -- married, with kids, and our families just spent an entire week together after a few one-day meetings over the last 5 years. And it was simply heartwarming! Oh wait, I told you about us and about our kids; let me also tell you that the week was also about watching the hubbies get more comfortable with each other. I recall telling bestie several months ago that we had to get the men to sit down and have a drink together so that THEY'd bond and that would be a great thing as they’ll anyway have to keep meeting each other. They have no choice really. *Chuckles* I must say the two have been very gracious over the years. And I give them all credit for going out of their way letting the two of us girls remain great friends. While growing up, I had seen that when people got married, the Wife moved away leaving her family and friends behind. Add a few years to that and the people that the wife had girl-time with, would be the Husband’s friends’ wives. Making new friends is always a great thing. But what of her old friends? She only bumped into them at a social gathering, most of the time. The state of affairs saddened me. I’m so glad our story did not come to passe. I feel blessed that I have a BFF and we get to meet every now and then. And I’m thankful to the men in our lives for letting us be what we grew to be. Thank you guys, Thanks a whole ton!


Maroon Bells, CO
PS. Happy fifth wedding anniversary to my bestie and her better half. 
"Here’s wishing you guys many, many years of love and togetherness (and many more holidays with us).)"

19 October, 2012

The 'Liebster' formalities, finally

A long time ago, two months to be precise, one of  My Liebster bloggers, Mom of A and a sent a Liebster Blog award this way. I can't bear the guilt of not having answered the questions she had sent along with it so let me get to that right away.

Thank you so much, Mom of A and a.

 1.What has been your best moment so far in this year?
It's been a good year with so many good moments. I'm just not able to pick one. The year started off with a fun Pajama Party with some great friends; that was fun. I got to see the Golden Gate Bridge at night (had been wanting to do that ever since we moved here 4 years ago and it just wouldn't happen. We had some memorable birthday parties -- hubby's and baby's. And for mine, hubby took me on a little weekend holiday even though I just wanted to go on a nice long drive into some redwoods. :). Oh, and I got to write about a biker friend from college and won a blogging contest for that story. I found a lot of friends in the blogosphere... (I could go on, honest) Gosh! a year with so many good happenings. Now I'm looking forward to spending a whole week with my best friend. (That's going to be next month. Can't wait!) Ah! whatte year!!

2. What do you hope to achieve (can be a micro goal or mega goal) by the end of this year?
To be able to hit the freeways and highways all on my own. I've got exits-and-merges-anxiety. Got to get over that.  (Sweeping under the rug those weight related goals. ;))

3. Which TV program do you HAVE to watch?
The View and Mad Men. 

4. Which sports figure, TV personality or movie star do you most identify with? Why?
None. (very boring answer, right?)

5. Where do you plan/hope to go for your next vacation? 
Denver, Colorado aboard the California Zephyr. All excited!

6. What trait in your spouse drives you crazy (not with desire :P)?
Not keeping his promises and putting off things (like errands; thankfully only the little ones. Still -- Argh!! )
(It's usually out of sheer 'laziness') 

7. What trait of your spouse do you admire the most?
My being able to tell him anything and everything and knowing that he will still stick by me, even if the rest of the world is against me.  So, 'Dependablity,'(and supportiveness)  it is. :)

8. Ask your spouse the same questions (6 and 7) about yourself this time, and let us know the answers!
(He's travelling at the moment. I swear I'm not lying. He said he'd text it to me before he hit bed and it didn't happen. See, there goes another little promise. :) Laziness, I tell you. ;). He's probably going to say he hates whatever makes me get into the 'we-have-to-talk' mode. 
Anyway, by the weekend, I promise.)
Here I am. :) He says what he can't stand is when I play Miss-always-right. ;). And the for nice trait, it's 'Loving,' :D.

9. What are you currently reading?
(Bhagat's) One Night @ the Call Centre

10. What music do you love listening to?
These days it's come to 'nothing in particular.' Soft Rock, Bollywood, Kollywood and Mollywood numbers. :)

11. Which of my questions did you hate the most?! :D
Really Rosh? Number 8!. :D

@ Mom of A & a --Thanks Roshni for the award. It's such an honour. And so sorry about the delay. 
@ my dear readers -- Those of you who have not checked out her blog, please do visit. You'll really enjoy all the tales about her adorable 'A's (read sons).

Now I've to pass it on to other bloggers, right? (Ok, I'm going to list some of my new favourites )

  1. Poonam of Mommygyan
  2. Khushbu of Corals and Crimsons
  3. Deepa of Hues and Shades
(Shall add more bloggers as and when I find new Liebsters. I just realised that the new bloggers I've connected with are mostly travel bloggers. And now there are too many favourites there, but I'm saving their names for the other blog. )


Meet some of my blogger friends and people I chose to award during the course of the year: 
Tagged, 
Inspiring Blogger & One lovely blog award
Versatile Blogger awards

10 September, 2012

Some serious saree-blouse business

Oh, I feel like I'd been gone for a long time. Anyway, I’m back. So what was I doing all these days? Trying to put down some notes for an event I was supposed to compere, looking up trivia questions, cross-checking the answers and tending to a few other things like that. And of course there was all the cooking and cleaning and trying to keep the little one engaged through all of this. In the midst of all that, a wedding anniversary came and went, ever so quietly, that it didn’t really feel like it was a special day. :(

Now preparations for the event also meant pulling out suitcases that haven’t been out of the closet for 365 days at least, and trying to find a saree that I could use. Now finding a saree actually means finding a blouse that fits. The last time I bought a saree and got a blouse stitched for it, was 6 years ago when I was getting ready to enter wedlock. Around then I’d bought quite a few and for next two years I got to wear a few of them for a some friends' weddings, engagement functions and receptions that came my way. Then we moved to CA and now I barely get to see myself in the oh-so-sensual outfit.

In the 6 years that have gone by, there’s been a baby and whole lot of putting-on-pounds. So actually none of those blouses fit me as they are. For those of you who do not know how saree blouses are stitched, let me tell you that the tailors put in 2-3 rows of stitches along the sides. The stitches run up to the end of the sleeves and so if you’ve added some fat to yourself, you can actually rip off a row or two of stitches. As such, I spent a good part of last week, bent over a couple of blouses, working on those threads and hoping that they’d fit me before I got to the last row of stitches.

Finally, feeling I could fight my way into one of them, I tried it and managed to put on the hooks, even. I was examining the fit and feeling quite good about all the hard work when my 3 year old came peeping in. He looked at the strange piece of clothing I had on and said, “No Molu. It doesn’t fit, Molu.” I was wondering what he was talking about, because it really did fit me fine, when he added, "It (the blouse) has become small for you, I can see your tummy!!"

I couldn’t help but burst out laughing. Little does the poor kid know how long (or short) the saree blouse is supposed to be. :D

15 August, 2012

Tagged


A few days ago, I got tagged! Tagged by Jayashree of Jaish Writes. Now what?

The Rules -

    Link back the blogger who tagged you.
    You must post the rules.
    Answer the questions given by the person who tagged you.
    Tag 11 new bloggers.
    Set 11 new questions for the bloggers tagged by you.
    Inform them about the tag.

Lately I’ve been playing truant here on Odds and Ends. Now this is great way to get a post put up here. Jayashree who is fast making a mark as a great short-story teller (Read her stories here) wants me to answer these questions:

1) Is there any specific time of the day that you set aside for blogging?
2) Do you live to eat or eat to live? :)
3) Name some movies you would never mind watching again and again
4) Which is the best place you have been to on vacation?
5) If you are given an option of eradicating any one social evil in India which one would you pick and why?
6) Name one bad habit you have been trying to change
7) Whats your favorite cuisine and food items?
8) Share something which  a small kid said to you, the memory of which always brings a smile to your face.
9) What was the scariest experience you had in life so far?
10) When you are extremely confused about some decision what do you do?
11) Which is your most favourite genre in blogging  ?

And here are my answers:

    1. I prefer burning the midnight oil. First of all, I’m quite a nocturnal creature. And the best time to get some writing done is after I’m done with the dishes and everybody in the house has called it a day. That's when I get my ME-Time.
   2. Although some foods are really worth living for, I think everybody eats to live. Yeah, even excessive eaters; they’re probably trying to eat away some gnawing pain.
   3. I’m not too into watching movies over and over again. But if, I’d have to, it would be the old Mohanlal-Srinivasan movies. Probably every Malayalee would say that. This duo did several movies that specialise in classic Malayalam humour; the kind that you can laugh for, every single time.
   4. Can’t pick one as such, as far as my best vacation is concerned. I can’t seem to narrow it further so it will have to be RAJASTHAN, NEPAL and HAWAII. Why? -- because these places proudly showed me their culture and threw in a handful of one-of-a-kind of attractions too.
    5. Social evil that I would pick out -- definitely Child Sexual Abuse. It’s silent suffering, the reason being the kind of rules that we Indians are brought up with. (Read about them here.) It time to set up new rules for our kids. Not all ‘good old rules’ are really GOOD old ones.
   6. I’m a late riser. I've been trying to become an early bird and it’s just not happening. Habits are really stubborn; they just don’t go away that easily. A nun at the school I went to, used to say remove the H and ‘a bit remains. Remove ‘a’ and bit remains, remove ‘b’ and ‘it’ remains.
    7. Cuisine? Indian. I’ve been around for a little over three decades and have acquired the taste for spicy, salty and tangy food. Dishes I like? Dosa and stew, fried fish, Pazham pori. That spells Mal, Mal, Mal, right?  I like dry Gobi Manchurian and Chaat too.
    8. Little kids say the most amusing things. Smile? No, I usually burst out laughing if I can help it. Right at the top of my head is this one. It just happened a few hours ago. I was chatting with a friend and she was inviting us to Australia. Trying to make conversation every now and then with the kid who was engrossed in a Caillou episode, I said, Josna aunty’s asking us to go to Australia. Wanna go? The next moment, the three year old’s eyes dilated as much as it could. That and his raised eyebrows made me wonder what was coming. He said a loud Aiyyohh!!! like I’d said something that was against the rules of the house. When I threw him my quizzical look, he said -- don’t we have to go to bed? Let’s go tomorrow. :)
    9. Scariest -- Oh, many. I guess the nightmares that come after an evening of horror movies. I've stopped watching them now. One other incident I remember is when we were staying in a resort that was literally in the jungle. After dinner the manager served us with so many wild stories of the wild animals around there and when we got to our isolated room which was designed like a watch tower, I was so scared to get out of the car and run up the stairs, lest a big cat pounce on me. Read about that night here
    10. If I'm confused when there's a decision to be taken  -- I try to sleep over it. But if it’s too important a decision, I don’t get any sleep. And because I don’t want it to spoil my sleep, I take a decison - for the time being and wake up the next day and think it over. A lot of the time I have to revise it. :)
    11. I like doing what I call my Mummy-diary writing. They are records of my feelings and experiences as a mother. There are lots of raves and rants too. 
I also love travel blogging. Travel makes me tipsy. I always learn a lot in the process. Sharing my travel tales also give me a high.

Now’s time I pick up some people to answer MY questions
Here are they are:





  1. Mom of A and a of Big A Little A
  2. Meoww of Meoww's Musings
  3. Rahul Bhatia of Rahul's Blog and Collections
  4. Muthu of The average everyday - Reality fictionalised
  5. Akshay of The eternal fighter, the ultimate comeback kid


There are some people whom I haven’t read for a while. This is a good time to get them to sign in.

    6. Shalini of Diminutive Corner of my Mind
    7. Sangeeta Reghu of Sangry Words
    8. Sujatha of Conversations
    9. Deepu of Journey never ends
    10 .Suchismita, Hold a thought, Pin it down, Kitchen Karma
    11.Leo Paw of Bigbitz 

Now let’s get to know the blogger in you.
  1. What does blogging mean to you?
  2. How did you get into blogging?
  3. What subjects do you blog about and why?
  4. Which according to you is your best post, till date?
  5. How long have you been blogging and what have you learnt in the process?
  6. What are your favourite blogs? Could you name 2-5 of them?
  7. Name two bloggers you are dying to meet
  8. What is the most annoying trait you have come across in the blogosphere?
  9. When met with bloggers’ block, how do you overcome it?
  10. Where do you get the most support from, as far as blogging is concerned -- fellow bloggers or non-bloggers?
  11. Where do you see yourself (as a blogger) 10 years from now?

People who have not been tagged can also answer/ discuss these questions about blogging in the comments section. Also feel free to link your best post here. Let’s send them around. :)

 

24 July, 2012

Now he must think me very stupid

I should have known after the 'Do you know where China is' incident, that I should not look for opportunities for showing off my knowledge in Geography. Now my 3-year-old thinks I'm stupid, I'm sure.
eiffeltowerillustration
The other day we picked up Ratatouille for some bed time reading. He opened the book to look at the pictures and on the inside cover of the book was a picture of the Eiffel Tower. Trying to do some small talk as I got ready to sit down to the reading, I pointed out to the tower in the picture and told him that, that was the Eiffel Tower and asked him – again not expecting him to give me an answer – Do you know where this tower is?

Then in a tone that clearly meant 'What a dumb question,' he says, "In the book," and shows me the picture. He must think me very stupid, now. Well, he now 'knows' I'm stupid. I guess that's why the next day when he asked me for some water and I asked if it was for him or for the teddy bear in his arms he sardonically said, "For me. The teddy does not have a mouth."
Uh – ok!

23 July, 2012

Let's talk blog awards

They may not be as big as the Oscars, Bookers and the Pulitzers; but blog awards are awards, all the same. Only on a different scale and for mere mortals whose lives are also –among many other things-- about posts and visitors, page views, comments, followers and deciding what to blog about next.
Blog awards, to me, is a way of spreading some love, of showing support and admiration and redirecting our readers to blogs that we enjoy or adore. A few days ago, Uma of My Musings sent some love this way with this:
inspiringbloggerawardonelovelyblogaward

First of all, Uma's blog is a space I visit often. I love her simple and straight way of writing and the topics she writes on, too. Her musings cover everything from parenting to travelogues and little tales of her little R to just random things. And every time, she just knows what she's talking about, and she's very clear about that. Visit her space if you haven't already done so. If somebody else had given me the Lovely Blog Award, I'm sure I would have included her on my list of people to pass it on to.
Talking of passing on the above awards, I would like to take the liberty to split the above into two and then do the honours.
My 'Inspiring Bloggers' list includes:
  1. Bhavana of Tilling the Earthwoman
  2. Umashankar Pandey of One Grain Amongst the Storm
  3. Rachna of Rachna Says
  4. Subhorup of Subho's Jejune Diet
  5. Raj of A Beautiful Mind
Who would I give the One Lovely Blog Award (doesn't that sound so cute) to? A lot of people actually. But for now, just to make sure we don't have an extra-long list:
  1. Panchali of Panchalibolchi
  2. TTT of Tangy Tomato Twist
  3. Amit of Safarnaamaa
  4. Abhinav of Rhythm of Nature
  5. Sudha Ganapathi of My Favourite Things
  6. Jayshree of Jaish Writes
  7. Swapna of The Mom Views
  8. Subhorup, this one for the adorable The Story of Parth
I'm forcing myself to stop. I really could go on and on. But wait, a few months ago, I'd actually got more Versatile Blogger Awards (for the 3rd and 4th time, this time from Ruchita Srivastava and Nagini. I thank them you both for this). And I thought I'd  pass it on later and then it slipped off my mind. I guess now is the time to do that. We're talking blog awards after all.
versatile-award2
So dear reader of mine, here are some really Versatile Bloggers. Check them out and see for yourselves.
  1. Ash of M*U*S*I*N*G*S
  2. Kishan of Road Bloke and Ramblings of a dysfunctional mind
  3. Bikramjit of Me and my random thoughts
Now moving on to the not-the-most-important part of this Awards Post, here are 7 Random things about me:
  1. Coffee is my cup of tea. That's the one thing I craved for when I was in the family way. It's what's making me have second thoughts about having baby No.2 ;)
  2. I have a fetish for (finger) rings; silver ones. 
  3. I grew up in boarding school. Home sickness was something I got over a long time ago but I can't stay away from hubby for more than 3 days. 
  4. My guilty pleasures - Roadside Chaat (how I miss them) and Potato chips(whoever came up with the punchline 'No one can eat just one,' was so damn right.) 
  5. If you lend me a book, I'll make sure I return it. 
  6. I am not a morning person, at all. I can stay up till six in the morning but can't get myself to wake up at 6 am.
  7. I'm not a very patient mom. I have a three year old, who knows just how to get on to that last nerve of mine but I love him to pieces.
Seems like you've read that somewhere, before? Open-mouthed smile That was on here on Odds and Ends, several months ago when I got my very first blog awards. Back then, I didn't have half the readers I do now. So if you're reading these 7-Things for the second time, let me thank you from the bottom of my heart – for your continued support. Thank you so much.

PS: Almost always as part of the ritual of accepting and circulating awards, there's a rule that we leave links on the blogs of the awardees telling them that they have been selected for awards. I'm being a little disobedient and breaking that rule here, only because most of the bloggers I have listed above don't really need these awards to tell them that they are good. Their readers tell them that all the time. If you are part of the great Indian Indiblogger family, you probably know them, if not, you just have to visit their blogs. You will not be disappointed – of that I am sure.
Then how will these award winners know of these awards, you ask? They'll learn from their Stats/Sources and – (they'll be ) SURPRISE!! (D)


A note to the above mentioned award winners – I won't be offended if you don't put this up on your blogs. Let it be for the readers of this blog and those who will come across this post long after you guys have outgrown IB, if there be such a time. Here's wishing you many years of blogging and a whole lot of readers.
Smile

21 June, 2012

Design your own fancy clock

A few weeks ago, late one night I was woken up by a loud thud only to find that the clock near the dining table had crashed onto the floor. The glass had shattered into a hundred little pieces and the wooden frame that gave it its antique look was broken too.

clock1 Crying face
Ever had a clock fall off the wall? The next time that happens, you may want to take it as an opportunity for an art and craft project.
Here's what you can do:
  1. Remove the clock hands (it's usually clipped on to or screwed into a little box (the clock's motor with the battery and all) behind the clock.
  2. Run to the art store and pick up some canvas
  3. Make a hole right in the middle of one
  4. Do a painting on it
  5. Fix the clock's motor to the back of the canvas and the hands, to the front and Voila! You have a one-of-a-kind  of clock-cum-artwork.
clock2
At the end of it, your original clock might look a little crippled; that doesn't matter, it's going to the dumpster.
clock3
PS: I suggest you choose a simple picture or design. If you have too much going on or dark colours in the background, you won't be able to see the hands of the clock from a distance.

20 June, 2012

Do you know where China is?

One day I was sitting slouched on the couch examining a toy when I read aloud from it, "Made in China." Then I just looked at my then almost-three-year-old and casually asked him, "Baby, do you know where China is?" 
I wasn't expecting an answer, neither was I expecting him to know it.  In answer he nodded his head and said, "Hmm... on the globe." I sat up straight and my eyes almost popped out. Wasn't he right! 
Open-mouthed smileOpen-mouthed smileOpen-mouthed smile
globe
His Vtech toy-globe. This is where China is. 
Similar posts: There's a Stewie at home 
Tamasha of the day

30 May, 2012

We don't recognise them because --

We all watched Satyamev Jayate. We all learnt that child sexual exploitation is more prevalent than we thought. We brought home the fact that 53 per cent of children have gone through this torture. We know that 53 per cent of boys silently carry the pain of abuse within them. If one in two children has been a victim of this evil, we know, that we know many who carry the weight of sexual abuse; we just don’t know that they have been there and been through it all. Now we know that the abuser doesn't look any different, that the abuser walks among us. Similarly, the abused walks among us.

We don’t recognise her
Because
She chose to hide the pain 
Behind
Her all-deceiving smile.

We don’t recognise him 
Who put
On his bravest smile
Because 
He was trained to bite the bullet.

We don’t recognise her
Because 
She chose to live on
Without 
Hurting those who loved her.

We don’t recognise him
Who borne
It all -- silently, only
Because 
He would not be believed.

We don’t recognise her
Because
She bottled it all up,
She couldn’t
Bear all the blame too. 

We don’t recognise him
Who knew not
That he was being molded
For abuse 
None told him what abusers did. 

We don’t recognise her
Because
She had instructions
Never to 
Disrespect ‘older people.’

We don’t recognise him
For he 
Walks amongst us
Because 
He chose to go on living.

We don’t recognise them
Because 
They vented out in the form
Of creativity.
The pain -- in colours and in words.

***


We have to keep this conversation going so as to save our children this pain. We have to spread the word to save them this silent suffering. The parent in me is thankful for the workshop segment of episode 2 of Satyamev Jayate. If you missed it or want to watch it again - Workshop for children.


Here's a little about the grooming that abusers do Child Sexual Abuse: 6 Stages of Grooming from Oprah.com


You might also want to check out The Silence that Never Was by Bhavana on Tilling the Earthwoman
And here's Indu Chibber's post on How to tell a child is being abused

23 April, 2012

Meet a Real Biker and Bike Collector

Ainsley Wilson
When you get ready to talk to an avid biker, you half-expect to hear him say how deeply in love he is with his beauty-on-two-wheels, that being on the road is his definition of freedom and that feeling the wind on his face is the best feeling ever. Sorry my dear readers, that’s not our man. Let’s put aside those cliches for a while and make way for a real biker.

"Real biking is about knowing your machine and knowing your roads," says Ainsley Wilson, the person whose face came to mind the moment I read about The Castrol Power 1 Blogging contest (Castrol's effort to 'define the Indian Biker').

Everybody who knows Ainsley, knows that he’s this jolly guy who can crack a joke at the oddest hour of the day. Talk to him about biking and you will learn that it is not about wearing expensive gear and zipping through the town or ripping down a highway but about being aware of the risks on the road and being mentally prepared to deal with the unforeseen and untoward. That's how serious he is about biking.

Ainsley’s biking record is not measured by the kilometers he has covered but by the routes he has taken, the places he has seen, his ability to conform to the conditions that a trip may throw his way. Ask him what biking means to him and he will say, “It is about exploring places and doing it on a machine I love." The machine of his choice is almost always a two-wheeler branded Yezdi. If it’s a long ride that has been charted out he would be on his Yezdi Road King, Yezdi 350 or Yezdi Monarch. “These are powerful bikes with good tyres and great lights and better suspension,” he explains. The others are more or less showpieces you can take around the city or for short trips, says he, talking about the 10 other bikes that adorn his garage. Between Ainsley and his brother Gavin, there are 13 bikes that they call their own.

Today the Wilson brothers are active members of the Mysore Tuskers (a biking group that older brother Gavin took the initiative of putting together), regulars at the Southern Raid (a coming together of the Yezdi - Jawa crowd of South India, and bike restoration enthusiasts. Yes, restoration even.

Ainsley tells me that he does not believe in modifying his favourite machines. The idea is to restore an old vehicle and make it like the ‘original’ with authentic parts even if it means he has to undertake a tiresome hunt or shell out some extra cash. “Everything has to be nothing-but-the-original right down to every bolt,” he emphasises. He’s been into restorations since 1998. As a kid he used to watch his father repair his bikes and soon turned into daddy’s little helper and dealt with parts and grease and all. That was how he picked up this interest in restoration, he believes.

With his dad working at a motorcycle factory, there was at least one bike at home all the time, Ainsley recalls. So evenings meant trying out the motored two wheelers and picking up tips and tricks from his father. After years of owning a bicycle, it was a dream come true when he got to own his own motorbike. Since then, there has been no looking back. He’s checked out several places around hometown and probably lost count of the Bangalore-Mysore rides he has had. His first long trip was a ride to Coorg that started at five in the morning, covering almost all of Kodagu and getting back to Mysore a couple of hours before midnight, he remembers. That was 10 years ago. This Mysorean has under his belt, trips to Mangalore, Kodaikanal, Wayanad, Ooty, Kozhikode, Hassan and rides on the Andhra coast to name just a few. I asked him which was his best trip ever and he couldn’t pick out one, "They were all equally fun," he tells. However like most two-wheeler enthusiasts out there, he prefers navigating mountain roads and riding through forests for the sheer thrill of it. “The longer the ghat section, the better," he swears.

Riding in the night, having to use flashlights in cases of headlight failures, setting things right under street lights, brushes with wild animals... he’s been there, done all that. This seasoned Indian biker says he firmly believes that real biking goes beyond just riding to being prepared for breakdowns, being able to do basic repairs, riding responsibly and knowing your route, yet being ready to take on the uncertain.

Ainsley (extreme right) and his brother (centre) with some bikes from their collection

Also check out Castrol biking on fb


June 6th, 2012 
The Castrol Power1 IndiBlogger Contest Winner

http://www.indiblogger.in/topic.php?topic=54&sort=popular


Thank you Castrol, Indiblogger for this opportunity.
Most of all, Thank you Ainsley for letting me tell your story. Thank you so much.  That Power 1 biking jacket is for you. I hope it'll be of some use to you during your many biking expeditions. Keep biking. Keep rocking.
- d. Nambiar

10 April, 2012

We must be so resented

We moms, especially the stay-at-home kind,
Must be so very resented.
We must seem like hags to you little ones
For dictating your little lives.

Every morning we draw those blissful blinds
And wake you up from dreamland.
Whether you’re hungry or not, breakfast, lunch
And dinner are a must.

We limit TV-time, playtime, junk food,
And everything else that spells fun.
We give lectures about veggies and the need
To brush your teeth.

Till you pick up after yourselves, Till you
Finish that last morsel on your plate,
Till you finish your homework and
Pare those toenails, we pester you.

We point out what’s socially unacceptable
What’s naughty and what is nice.
We switch off the lights and put
A full stop to your  fun-filled day.

We decide what the world would call you.
We put an end to the luxury of diapers,
Allow the doctors to prick you,
And even pick out your clothes, shoes and toys.

Oh! we must seem like horrible, horrible women
Who mark your boundaries.
We moms, really must be so very resented
For breathing down your necks.




Previous mommy-post - Of mommy-guilt and mommy's separation anxiety

28 March, 2012

Kindled!

I love books and reading. But I’m no bookworm. I wish I could be one; I really wish I could spend all day lost in a book. For now, I’m just thankful to myself for being able to steal a few minutes off everyday to read a few pages at bedtime.  That said, let me tell you that I was one of those people who would never let the thought of switching to an e-reader ever cross their minds. I remember the first time I heard of e-readers and seeing pictures of the device and I remember saying that there’s nothing quite like holding a physical (paper)book and turning its pages. Apart from that, the musty smell of old yellowing books is something I love and always will.

Over the years, things have changed. I’ve had a kindle for over a year-and-a-half and I love it. I still read paperbacks and hardcovers. They are a class apart but e-books are more convenient these days. It is easier to carry an e-reader than a 600 page book to fill in those spaces of my life as I wait outside the dentist’s office or sit through 20-odd hours of air travel. The last time I made my trip home, I remember having to take out my copy of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom from my ‘hand bag’ because it had gotten too bulky; I couldn’t remove the diaper pouch and sippers instead. So in went my 8-ounce Amazon Kindle and while waiting to board the flight, I downloaded a Sparks’ novel for the flight.

Now if only Franzen would come this way and read what I just wrote. It’s ironic that I once replaced a heavy book of the very author who would -- a year later -- condemn e-readers and people who use e-readers.



I repeat, I still read paperbacks and hardcovers but every time I read one after finishing a book on the e-reader, I get a little irked. When I come across one of those words I’m not familiar with, it is a bump in the flow as I will have to pick up a dictionary, look up the meaning and then pick up my reading again. A lot of the time, I make do with the contextual meaning and carry on with my reading, hoping to look up the word after I was done with that sitting. But then, sometimes there are several words I think I should look up and when I finally get down to doing it, I remember only half the words. On the contrary if I’m on an e-reader I just have to click on the word and voila! I have the explanation.

So what, if the Kindle isn’t back-lit? The e-ink makes sure my eyes don’t hurt and it is the closest thing to reading print on paper. What are book-lights for, anyway. If your mommy switches off the light at 9:00 pm or your spouse can’t sleep because your bed-lamp is on, believe me: an e-reader paired with a book-light is far better than a heavy book and a flashlight beneath that blanket.

I admit: I love the Kindle. I love the fact that I can mark my favourite lines. I love the fact that I can click on an insightful paragraph and instantly share it on Twitter. I love the fact that it can hold over 2000 books in it. I love almost everything about it.
I admit: I am Kindled!

01 March, 2012

Growing up in nature's playground

A few nights ago, we were just finishing dinner when all of a sudden my world went colourless. We were engulfed in complete darkness as the power had just walked out on us. Now, power-cuts are like strangers to us ever since we moved to what while growing up was ‘the other side of the world.’ Until then, it was the days without the power-cuts were that were strange to us.

My pitch black surrounding, the faint glow of candle light and a walk to the balcony to see what the outside world looked like, brought back a barrage of memories. I was transported back to the holidays I spent in Kerala, where daily half hour load-shedding was a part of everyday life. Every week this power cut would move to the next half hour slot till it hit 9 or 9:30 pm and then it would start all over again from 7 in the evening. I was taken back to the many evenings when amma, ettan (older brother) and I spent ‘power-cut time’ sitting outside our ancestral home and having our daily chit chats. The house was surrounded by plantations on three sides and paddy fields on the other. So nightfall meant crickets coming out and announcing the end of the day, birds noisily rushing back to their nests and probably shouting out good nights, and blood thirsty mosquitoes buzzing around our ears. The mosquitoes in the cities go about their evening chores quite quietly, don’t they? These were of a different kind. They were bigger too.

Then there were the fireflies. What a beautiful sight it was to see these little creatures fly around the branches of certain trees and light them up, making them look like Christmas trees, whatever the season might be. Might I add that those pretty insects seemed biased to some trees? That was quite obvious to me.

Now let me tell you about something I had been oblivious of for a very long time. On most days we would hear the hooting of an owl that had gotten comfortable in one of the trees near there. Where exactly the nocturnal bird sat, nobody knew and that added an air of mystery. The hoots came from somewhere close by yet it was never close enough to give away the wise bird’s hiding place. One evening achan (dad) made me listen very closely to the hoots and I heard a far away owl respond to the owl that had become our neighbour. Honestly -- there would be one hoot and then from afar -- two faint hoots. That was some communication!

I also remember hearing foxes' cries. They were so eerie; they sounded like distress calls in the quiet of the night but I got used to it. We don't hear them anymore. I wonder what happened to those foxes.

There's another side of life at the plantation -- the creatures that horrified me. There would be days when our pet dogs barked like they had seen something from outer space, and almost always it was a snake slipping into the grassy area that bordered the front yard. Sometimes these reptiles would play uninvited guest and creep through the rafters of the outer rooms of the house. Many a time, during my strolls, I’d see one working its way around a tree trunk or slithering across the path just a few feet ahead of me. Those were the days I found it difficult to fall asleep.

Yet another living thing that liked calling upon us was the mighty elephant. Now is that difficult to believe? I’m not making that up. Around our place, most estates seem to have jack-fruit trees in the midst of the coffee shrubs. In summer, these fruits lure the pachyderms out of the jungle and into the plantations. It is anybody's guess that there would be some damage if one came by but thankfully no human being has met his fate with one, as far as my knowledge goes. Word goes round if somebody sees one or spots signs that an elephant has come a-visiting. On those days every one who cares for dear life makes sure to get home before dark because its after sunset that these huge creatures feel free to walk about; after all they are in human territory.

If it’s coffee season, we saw monkeys have a gala time chewing on coffee berries. I could tell you stories of boars and rabbits that roam the area, of storks in the paddy fields, of the fish in the river that flows nearby.  I’ve even been lucky with the occasional peacock sightings. I’m not kidding. I could go on but stop I must. And take you back to power-cuts, from where I digressed. Wayanad is a plantation district in north Kerala. Due to its abundance of trees and heavy rainfall in the monsoons, strong winds that accompany the rains often bring down trees and a lot of the time, they fall on electricity lines. And when this takes place it usually happens in more places than one and so it just means you have to manage without power for a day or two. That’s nothing out of the ordinary there. People survive.


[100% real. 100% true. Written for The Kissan 100% Real Blogger Contest]

19 February, 2012

Versatile Blogger Awards, Spreading the love

This was what I woke up to one morning last week. 

Thank you for this, Vijay.

Now that was my first ever award from the world of bloggers and I have Vijay Shenoy of Mind's eye of Life to thank for that. Thank you so very much Vijay.  

(A little note to the whoever is reading this post)
Dear visitor, 
If you haven't been to Vijay Blog, Mind's Eye of Life, please drop in there. His short stories and poems are very pleasant. The simplicity with which he writes makes sure you are not distracted from the soul of the post. 

Coming back to the award, I got this one several days ago, but it took me a while to get this post up, as I was busy trying to decide which bloggers to pass this award to. (I'm a new to IB and haven't had the chance to check out a whole lot of great blogs in there.) And while I was in the midst of frantically looking for Versatile blogs, Saikat Basu of http://saikatscribble.blogspot.com/ directed me to http://saikatscribble.blogspot.com/2012/02/cloud-no-9.html and I swear, I'm on Cloud 9, now. Thank you Saikat, that was such a BIG honour. I'll try not to put you down. And hey, I'm a fan of those amazing sketches you do, eh. Great job, honestly. You've got something for everybody.

Now, Saikat was already on my unpublished list of bloggers for the award. (Really, Saikat. So here's another award coming your way. Congratulations again.) And seeing that I had to speed up this post, I'm sitting up way past my bedtime to put this up. 

I reiterate, I'm new to this network so for now, I'd like to recognise these 15 bloggers whose works I've come to enjoy within these few days of my IB membership:

Saumya Kulshreshtha - Nascent Emissions
Debajyoti Ghosh -Some facts, some nonsense
Harsha Chittar - Curious Dino Photography
Kajal Nayar  - Purple Chronicle
Saikat - My Scribble Art
Jairam of - Mahabore's Musings
Nikolai Kinny - Adventures of a tiny lady
Pankaja Date - Photokadha
Rupert Wind - Pages off Life

And then, there are these travel blogs that I absolutely love. 
Jitaditya Narzary - Travelling Slacker
Vaivah Todi - Greener Pastures
Arun - Payana 

Apparently, the rules for acceptance of the award are:

1.Paste this award on your blog
2. Thank the person who gave you this award
3. Pass this award (that Vijay sent my way) to 15 fellow bloggers. Saikat's award let's me hand it over to yet another person, so I also chose to recognise Bharti Puri of Crazy Pop Lock
4. Share 7 random facts about yourself

Now that I have checked off the first 3 of the list, here are 7 random things about me. 
  1. Coffee is my cup of tea. That's the one thing I craved for when I was in the family way. It's what's making me have second thoughts about having baby No.2 ;)
  2. I have a fetish for (finger) rings; silver ones. 
  3. I grew up in boarding school. Home sickness was something I got over a long time ago but I can't stay away from hubby for more than 3 days. 
  4. My guilty pleasures - Roadside Chaat (how I miss them) and Potato chips (whoever came up with the punchline 'No one can eat just one,' was so damn right.) 
  5. If you lend me a book, I'll make sure I return it. 
  6. I am not a morning person, at all. I can stay up till six in the morning but can't get myself to wake up at 6 am.
  7. I'm not a very patient mom. I have a two year old, who knows just how to get on to that last nerve of mine but I love him to pieces
Additional note:
Deepak Karthik and Sangeeta Reghu, I read you both too. You guys touch upon several topics and are really Versatile. I see you have already got this award. I just wanted to tell you 2 that I also think you are versatile.
To the rest of you out there: you'll hear from me in due course. 

Happy Blogging everybody. 

Thank you very much, Saikat, for this award. 







06 February, 2012

Fall Flashback








Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.              
- George Eliot




03 February, 2012

Sometimes Quitting IS Winning


They say “Winners never quit and quitters never win.”

The first time I came across that line was was when I was about seven years old. I had seen it on one of the many wall hangings that adorned our school's corridors. Back then, I didn't know the meanings of 'quitting' and 'quitters,' And because I did not know what those words meant, I thought it was so improper to say that somebody could never win -- whatever a Quitter meant -- because it was far from motivational. Anyway, some time later I learnt what Quitting was and who a Quitter is and then that adage'Winners never quit and quitters never win,' did make some sense to me.

But then, hubby quit smoking.
I say: sometimes you QUIT and you actually WIN ;)
And you say ---


05 January, 2012

Of mommy-guilt and mommy's separation anxiety

I chose to play stay-at-home-mom for a while. The idea was to keep an eye on my little one at least till he was able to talk. Much as I loved being a working professional, I've always wanted to be able to stay at home when my kid(s) were very little, unless of course, I couldn't afford to.

I know that there are places that offer excellent daycare. I know that there are some great nannies out there too, who probably would do a better job than I do. It is just that I was not comfortable with any arrangement other than my watching over my kid till he was fairly good with words. I admit I'm not the best mother in the whole world. I don't spend every minute of my day with him. I don't give him undivided attention all day long. I spend a good part of the day doing my chores and my reading and trying to find some time to do some blogging, amongst a whole lot of other things. I do feel guilty about not spending more  'quality time' with him. I guess mommy-guilt is here to stay, no matter what. Even if I were to spend all my hours playing with him, I'd still have felt the guilt every time I had to make a trip to the loo.

Even though the guilt lingers, even though I continue to miss work and a part of me is crabby about having put my career on hold, I have been happy about one thing -the fact that 'I' have been in charge of my precious little baby.

Now the toddler can talk. He can communicate. He's tired of his toys and probably bored of seeing too much of mommy and daddy. It's time he ventured out of the protective walls of his home. It's time he had his own friends and its time his world got a little bigger. And now that he can express himself, it is the right time for preschool; a few days a week at least.

I'm prepared more than ever to let him go. Considering the stage of life that he is in, I am a braver mother. I could actually do with a few guilt-free hours to do my own things. I should be happy for that, and I guess I am. But I worry too.

I know my baby can tell his teacher if he needs something. I know he can come home at noon and tell me if something was not right at school that day. I know I should learn to trust some more people with my boy. Yet, anxiety is getting the better of me. I just filled up a few pages of his admission form, and the questions about what has to be done in the case of an emergency are freaking me out. I know the school wants to do the right thing with my consent but I'm getting all choked up.

04 January, 2012

Is it just me?


When you're a mommy, especially that of a toddler, there's one thing you can never have enough of. That is time. I could do with a few more hours.

These days, if it's five in the evening, it is dark. It's depressing. I don't quite like the idea of shorter days. I love nights but when the day ends early, it makes me feel like another day has gone by and I haven't done much in the hours that just went by.

This is my fourth year in CA, but I still haven't gotten used to the idea of sunset at quarter to five and setting the clock an hour forward and backward every 6 months (let's not even go there). Having spent over 25 years  in a country where there are more or less equal hours of day and night, to me, that's what is normal.

If it's Fall or Winter, this is exactly how I feel:

Is it just me? Does anybody else feel this way?


And then there are the days when I do like to see the sun go down ;)