Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Touched!

Yesterday evening I came home with a slight temperature and very uneasy. Not able to control himself - hubby told MIL that I had fever. She touched me, said 'Yeah, you are warm - eat your dinner, take some medicine and sleep - you'll be fine by tomorrow morning'. Which was what I did... Meanwhile she proceeded to 'nazar utarna' for him while I continued to have dinner. We both just looked at each other surprised (he was perfectly fine!) and kept quiet.

Today morning when I went down all ready to have breakfast and leave for work, she asked me:
She: how are you feeling now?
Me: Fine, much better.
She: Will you take your lunch from home?
Me: No, I'll stick to fruits for today - think I'll give my stomach some rest.
She: But, why? You havent been eating out at all...
Me: Amma, full weekend i've eaten out! Havent had any meals at home...
She: (Relief in her voice) - Yeah, maybe you are right - take care.

By then I had finished my breakfast and washing my hand. She came up behind me,turned me and did 'Nazar utarna' for me too... then she said: "I spoke to someone yesterday morning and that lady was praising both of you... how we are all a family and how we take care of each other, how well we all get along with each other etc etc; and she was saying it in a very jealous way...and then the next thing I know you come home sick. I got very worried that the lady must have had an evil eye - so I did this. I wanted to do it yesterday but you looked so tired that I left it and waited till morning to do it. Now off you go - you'll miss your bus otherwise - You'll be fine by the time you come back!"

She rarely ever calls me but today called me in the afternoon - just to ask how I was feeling, if I had my lunch and did I need any medicine! I was so overwhelmed! Here is the mom I was always looking for, in her. Though the son came first-I came a verrry close second! And I'm happy,very happy.And touched :-)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Peaceful


Yesterday night when we were returning home, I saw the full moon. Being a little cloudy the moon was playing hide and seek with the clouds. It was soo perrfect.The full moon in the sky, the lake next to the drive-way,the gentle breeze. Hadn't felt so peaceful in a long time...

It also reminded me of the night we all drove to New York from Columbus. Another perfect full moon - just over the horizon - as if we were driving to it. Just stretch your hand and you could have it...

Takes very little to bring a smile and a lovely memory.

दोस्ती

वोह पल वोह लम्हे
जो बिताये थे साथ हमने,
वोह हसीं वोह ख़ुशी
बुलाते है हमे...
वोह साथ खाना मौज मस्ती
बहोत याद आते है सताते है हमे,
कभी भी ये न सोचो यार
के हमने भुलादिया
कभी तुम भी भूलो मत हमे |
फिर से मिलने की उम्मीद भी है
और यकीन भी...
तब तक हम इंतज़ार करेंगे
और आप भी क्या याद करोगे हमे ||

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Modern Day Daughter-In-Law

Was asked to read this extremely one sided personal view about the 'plight' of mothers-in-law. And thought why nobody ever writes about the state of the daughters-in-law! Being one myself and knowing a lot many (of course every household is different) I thought I would put my personal views here.

Disclaimer:Nothing personal and no grouse against any moms-in-law.

Yeah the DILs are able to go to work - thanks to them. But I don't see the need to pity her! Right- agreed that the modern day moms-in-law are still looking after the house rather than typically 'hand-over' the ghar ki chaabi to the new DIL. Has anyone ever thought that its because they still want to be in control? They might not want to hand-over everything to the DIL who might be more street smart and able to manage the house as well as her job better! Or even if they do say that the DIL has to now take care of the house - are they satisfied with the changes that she might make? Will they welcome the changes? Or stay possessive about 'my' house and
'my' kitchen? Before marriage the MILs insist that the girl should be going to work
and then later they crib that she doesn't have time to help with anything. And the poor DIL along with working whole day comes home tired and she cant relax - you see,MIL is busy preparing dinner for the family and she is expected to help.And the dinner has to be perfect - A little spicy/tangy/salty - wont do! "Oh! You know you
cant cook as good as your MIL". So the DIL has to do everything/everything right! get commented upon and still not speak - you see - 'Kaam karthi hai-toh badon ki izzat nahi karti hai-isiliye zabaan chalathi hai!" And its an unwritten rule in most homes where the son after a tiring day is asked to put his feet up and relax where as the DIL after an equally tiring day is expected to help with whatever MIL is doing...

Apart from all these - she has to be available to talk - if not- 'Oh! She's so busy, she cant talk to us... see her DIL or his DIL - she's such a sweet girl, she's VERY close to her PILs - she spends more time with them than with her husband", yeah ok! But have you also noticed that she doesn't work? Or works part time?Or even she doesn't have the work pressure? And of course she spends more time with PILs as hubby is away at work. - the comparison doesn't end there- subtle or blatant - its always
there.If something hurts/upsets her - she's termed sensitive/immature!- Isn't she human too?

Come weekend - MIL/FIL have already planned to go out and they want the son to take them out. It never once crosses their mind that with both of them working through the week its only during the weekends that the couple get any time for themselves too!

As for the functions - The DIL no matter how tired/exhausted/work loaded has to attend all/every wedding and functions in their family. If it coincides with any event in her parent's family/ friends - it goes without saying that it takes the least priority.Working does not give her the chance to visit her parents/relatives very rarely and the only opportunity to do that just vanishes into thin air - why? Priority event...

Isn't it a bigger juggling act for a DIL, both mentally and physically, who lives with PIL - managing work/home , keeping in-laws/parents/hubby happy, make something out of her career - where is the time for herself? Who is going to ask her if she is happy? If she has any concerns? Is she doing what she really wants? Does anyone really care?

I would love to get comments on this...

For the uninitiated:
PIL: Parents-in-Law
DIL: Daughter-in-law
FIL-Father-In-Law

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Courage


.......You say it is hard for you to change.

Ofcourse it is hard to jog along in humdrum toil for the sake of being honest when acquaintances all round are getting rich by leaps and bounds.

Ofcourse it takes courage:

~to refuse to bend the knee to questionable methods,lies,schemes and fraud,when they are so generally used.
~to tell the exact truth when a little deception or a little departure from the right would bring great temporary gain.
~to refuse to be bribed when it could be covered up by a little specious mystification.
~to stand erect when by bowing and scraping to people with a pull you can get inside information which will make you win what you know others must lose.
~to determine never to put into your pocket a dirty dollar,a lying,deceitful dollar,a dollar that drips with human sorrow,or a dollar that has made some poor gullible wretch poorer,or has defeated another's cherished plans,or robbed him of ambition or education.
But this is what character is for.This is what back bone and stamina were given us for,----to stand for the right and oppose the wrong,no matter what the results.

Do we have it? ...

Monday, March 10, 2008

SFO and Ghirardelli


Writing about chocolates reminded me of the yummy hot brownie fudge sundae I had at Ghirardelli square in SFO. When SIL got to know that we were spending 3 days at SFO, knowing my love for chocolates she suggested we eat/buy chocolates at Ghirardelli Square. On the first day we didn't know where it was so we just spent all the time at the fisherman's wharf and generally did all the touristy things. But when I spoke to SIL again that night she insisted that we had to eat there at least the next day (it being our last day in US of A!). So the next day we went in search of the place. Ghirardelli's has a huge square near the Fisherman's wharf and they have their own cafe' where they serve yummy chocolates/ice creams in all unimaginable varieties of chocolates. They even make chocolates and fudge right there!

We had a chocolate coated strawberry - which unfortunately was sour :-( and then I ordered the special Brownie sundae and hubby ordered the famous hot fudge sundae. Waiting for our order we saw how they made the fudge (just thinking about it is making my mouth water now) When our orders came to his dismay hubby found that it had a lot of honey - which he just cant eat but it looked soo tempting that he ate all the fudge part without the honey :-P As for me - what do you think?! I cherished and enjoyed and was simply lost in the taste - eating every spoon of that yummy ice cream along with that hot melting brownie and chocolate fudge! yuummmmmm. Took a couple of chocolates for little brother and he loved it too. But him being in Stanford he can eat there whenever he wants... *I'm Jealous*

On the down side - I can still remember that taste and now, even the cake fudge at corner house doesn't taste as good!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Chocolate History... yummmmm....


What Triggered it: I have a habit of keeping Cadbury's with me in my purse - its a weakness and my reasoning is: Its an instant source of energy! And I have this colleague of mine - who's equally fond of chocolates as me - if not more! So the other day we were eating my last 2 pieces of chocolates and he exclaimed "I want to thank those people who came up with cocoa and chocolate-they make life bliss!"
So read on...

Warning!! Long post. Don't read if you have no interest in chocolates.

I did some 'googling' and here's what I came up with:

~ Before chocolate was a sweet candy, it was a spicy drink. Some of the earliest known chocolate drinkers were the ancient Maya and Aztecs of Mesoamerica.

They ground cacao seeds into a paste that, when mixed with water, made a frothy, rather bitter beverage. Drinking chocolate was an important part of life for the Classic Period Maya and the Aztecs.
- Hmmm bitter? Thank God! Its now sweet!

~Folklore 1:Aztec Indian legend held that cacao seeds had been brought from Paradise and that wisdom and power came from eating the fruit of the cacao tree.
Ancient chronicles report that the Aztecs, believing that the god Quetzalcoatl travelled to earth on a beam of the Morning Star with a cacao tree from Paradise, took his offering to the people. They learned from Quetzalcoatl how to roast and grind the cacao seeds,making a nourishing paste that could be dissolved in water. They added spices and called this drink "chocolatl," or bitter-water, and believed it brought universal wisdom and knowledge.
Quetzalcoatl was cast out of paradise for the blasphemous act of giving this sacred
drink to humans.(The gods felt that only they should have access to chocolate.)
-Gods being Selfish?!- If chocolates can do that to Gods, than what to speak of mere mortals like me?!

~ Folklore 2:A myth from the northern Andes that speaks of the crucial role played by cacao (from which cocoa and chocolate are made) in restoring the balance of nature after a greedy being snatched all wealth for himself. The myth begins with an omnipotent deity named Sibu who could grow animals and humans from seeds.......

Sibu transferred his powers to another deity, Sura, giving him all the precious seeds. Sura buried the seeds and left the site for a brief period. Unfortunately, while he was away, a third deity, a trickster named Jabaru dug up all the seeds and ate them, leaving nothing for the creation-work of Sibu and Sura. When poor Sura returned, the trickster Jabaru slit Sura's throat and buried him where the seeds had been. Very pleased with himself, Jabaru left the scene and went home to his wives.
After a time, the trickster Jabaru passed by the place again and saw that two strange trees had sprung up from poor Sura's grave: a cacao tree and a calabash. The omnipotent deity Sibu stood quietly beside the trees. When Sibu saw the trickster approaching, Sibu asked him to brew him a cup of cocoa from the tree. Jabaru picked a bean-filled pod and a calabash fruit and took them to his wives, who brewed the cocoa and filled the hollowed out calabash shell with the rich drink. Then the trickster Jabaru carried this vessel back to Sibu, holding it out to him. "No, you drink first," all-powerful Sibu insisted politely. Jabaru complied eagerly, gulping down the delicious drink as fast as he could. But his delight changed to agony as the cocoa born from poor Sura's body caused Jabaru's belly to swell and swell until it burst wide open, spilling out the stolen seeds all over the ground.

Sibu then restored his friend Sura to life again and returned the seeds to him so that all humans and animals might one day grow from those precious seeds and enjoy Earth's bounty.
- Courtesy: Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.LATIN AMERICA: THE LORE & HISTORY OF CHOCOLATE

~ The Mexican Indian word "chocolate" comes from a combination of the
terms choco ("foam") and atl ("water"); early chocolate was only consumed as a beverage.
Chocolate was consumed by the Gods in Paradise, and the seed of cocoa was given to man as a special blessing by the God of Mexican mythology. Tonacatecutli, the goddess of food,and Calchiuhtlucue, the goddess of water, were guardian goddesses of cocoa.Each year they performed human sacrifices for the goddesses, giving the victim cocoa at hislast meal.
God and goddess to guard Chocolate?!!! But human sacrifice?- sounds gross...

~ As part of a marriage ritual a mug of the frothy chocolate was shared. - this is something we can introduce too-isn't it? ;-p

~ Of course now that chocolate has been considered an aphrodisiac-everyone knows.But did you know that it was banned in churches?! ...Opposed to chocolate because they thought that it awakened "lascivious desires," which must have seemed doubly sinful on fast days.

Hmmm, a lot of history to our favorite chocolate! But in the end-who cares?! As long as I can continue to have it whenever and how many ever I want... :-D yummm... Am going to finish the bar I have now - irresistible...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Fitness - Finally...


We've both been thinking of getting fitter for quite sometime now. He wanting to loose weight and me wanting to build more stamina - we have totally different needs. And what with the many fitness centers that have sprung up like mushrooms around home and watching really thin people going in and out of it everyday - we decided to make up our minds too :-)

So this Saturday We went to check out a few of these centers. Can you believe that these 2 are just 3 buildings apart from one another?Most of the gyms have these standard 2 treadmills and 1 step-up and a couple of weight instruments (or should I say machines?). Also they didn't have any trainers to keep a check on the weight loss or even if we are doing the right exercises. So, we wanted to check out a more 'reputed' gym/fitness center a little further from home and were really impressed.It has all that we were looking for - enough trainers/physiotherapists and dietitians who would put us on a fast track to loosing weight and getting fitter.

So hubby finally joined yesterday and he's already feeling lighter on the pocket by a good 15K (hehehe) and as for me - the guy there said I didn't need to loose any weight! wow! Felt good hearing that - but now I'm tempted to go too... atleast for a couple of months - by which time that guy promises I can build up stamina AND loose some flab! Hmmm, I sure am interested -very curious to know the 'fat content'in my body (they do a thorough checkup as soon as we join - he already finished his!). Another incentive is that we both can do something together! They also teach salsa there but *sigh* - one look from him said it all...

Well Am still confused and thinking - do I or don't I - timings is a problem what with reaching home at different times everyday. Might end up being impulsive today and just go for it - hell! whats 6K when it comes to fitness - right?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Daal Batti Churma and other food memories


Yesterday night we had dinner at a rajasthani food court. Looking at the menu we were thinking what to order when Dal batti Churma caught our attention. Brought back memories of US - yes, again!

We remembered the time when Keerti took the trouble of cooking Daal Batti Churma for us on a week day. Our last week at Columbus was full of eating at friends' houses as we had a lot of shopping and packing and wrapping up to do and they all offered to help so that I didnt have to worry about cooking. Since everyone was inviting us and preparing something special Keerti decided that since no one would be preparing any authentic rajasthani food and we had never eaten any before she would cook it for us. I remember on a wednesday we went to their house at 8 pm and she had cooked everything HOT. The bhatti as I know takes a LOT of time and she had spent the entire day preparing it - just for us! It was soo filling that we both had to skip breakfast the next day!

This also reminds me of the innumerable times she brought over parathas or khichdi for us at lunch/dinner time :-) I especially remember the time they called to ask if I was home from work and brought over hot saabudaana khichdi because a friend at work had told KK that I regularly miss lunch at work!

Keerti - Thanks for introducing us to your speciality! We still remember the taste of that Daal Bhatti Churma - full of ghee and love! (Very senti? - yeah it makes me soo).

Tuition Saga


Read this and it reminded me of my childhood. Of days when I didn't have to go to tuition and my parents were strictly against it!

I remember when I was in the 1st standard, I had a friend who went to tuition. I thought it was something great and so wanted to go with her.My parents refused. They said I didn't need tuition and they were very happy with my marks (At the time, I always stood first in class) and that they would rather prefer me playing until 7 pm and then get done with my homework and in bed by 9 pm. But no! I wanted to go... So one evening without telling anyone I just took my school bag and said I'm going out to play and ran out of the house before anyone could see me. I went happily with my friend to her tuition classes finished my home work by which time it was past 6.30. I panicked and decided to run home before it got too dark. As I reached our street I found granny and grandpa standing outside near the gate and Dad and mom searching for me! They had found that I had taken my school bag with me and realised that I had gone for tuition with my friend - gone to that tuition lady's house only to be told that I had left and they had called the police! (That's what Dad said at that time) I was thoroughly taken to task for lying and going when they had refused. Also,since I had already finished my home work, was made to go to bed by 8 pm (I HATED going to bed early) which was my punishment! I can still recall very vividly, me standing on the blue sofa and Dad sitting on it, so he came to my height, and telling me that he's called the police and they would reach any minute. Then I remember him calling the police to say I had come home and they weren't needed. I had freaked out! (Years later Dad said he faked the call and they hadn't called the police at all since they knew where I was).

So finally, I had missed 2 hrs of my play time, got scolded AND put to bed early all because I went to tuition! And today I see that parents are sending their LKG,UKG studying kids to tuition - just so they get some peace of mind at home. I really pity those small kids who are cooped up in a room and made to recite endless rhymes and write A,B,C,Ds

Thanks Appa and Amma for not sending me to tuition so early in life and letting me enjoy all those years of carefree playing in the evenings and not letting me get bogged down with work so early in life...