Candid, not Candied

Monday, 30 June 2014

Day 30 :: End of Blogathon 2014

It's time to pull the curtains, for Blogathon 2014 is over! 

It's been wonderful staying connected on daily basis. I am humbled by your response, encouragement and feedback. Nothing can be more rewarding than people telling me that they read my blog. Yes I am saying this for the thousandth time perhaps. But I just cannot justify my feelings on each of your dear comments. 

I enjoyed the journey and wish you did too. I will be back for sure. Now it's time for some blog siesta! 

Goodbye folks! 

Day 29 :: Happiness, it's your responsibility.

I like such quotes. The ones which don't put others before you! Enough has been said about thinking about others and spreading happiness around. What about us? Why is it not a priority to do what please our core? Why when we think of doing something for us, we are made to feel guilty? Why are we given examples of those who do things better than us? Why are we compared? 

Obviously a whole lot is just clueless what I want to say... But there I just said it! 


Saturday, 28 June 2014

Day 28 :: That moment when

It's 11:45 pm and you realise you have not yet updated the blog! 

:D I decide to write about something in the morning and by the time I reach this page, I change my mind. People anticipate what my blog topic will be for the day, but in reality, even I am not aware of what I am going to say until I actually begin writing! Call it spontaneity or impulsiveness or plain unpreparedness, it is always that. I have no idea myself. 

Blogathon is a big task. The one which you can understand only when you undertake it. This time I decided to take it one day at a time and not think of the entire 30 days process. Hence this time it was one easy(ier) project than the previous two! 

There is a certain kick in doing the Blogathon. It is a challenge that needs to be proved to oneself and not to the world. Blogathon is a learning activity, a process. It is an exhilarating event that flushes out many thoughts and feelings in one go. 

The reason why I started this was just to see if I can do it. Rather it ended up being a big annual event in my blog. 

Yes so as long as this blog is alive and me too, there shall be blogathons. At least an attempt to stay true to my blog commitments. 

Friday, 27 June 2014

Day 27 :: Guest Post By Yatika

Yatika! One of the two crazy girls that I recently met. She writes, but yet t have a platform of her own. Though I am pushing her to get one, she is yet to heed to my advice. Hence, i proposed that she feature on my blog as a guest blogger, and here's what she has written on being a new girl in a city and successfully completing 1.6 years at an IT company!

Wishing her all the luck and good times in future!
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Yatika's Post



It all started precisely one year and six months back. This ordeal was no less than joining an Army Camp. A girl with no hopes of standing on her feet came to this city. She was shy and scared. It was her first day to get up early by her own. It was her first day to iron her clothes all by herself. It was her first day to fetch a bus herself. It was her first day in IT Company. It was her first day to live independently. There was shriek inside the girl's heart. She was astonished by a new city, a new experience and a compeletely new life that she would live fearlessly now. She was friendly yet cautious. The year passed and so did she; she passed the test of being independent. The actual ordeal starts now. She is not a mommy's girl. She is not that happy-go-lucky girl. She is mature now; understands people; fights for herself; follows 'Ignorance is a bliss' quote religiously. She knows what to do and when. She knows it all. 
Now that she has all the rights to spoil herself a she is the owner of her deed, she is really confused. She doesn't know where she is going but she likes the direction. She is just going with the flow. She is standing at a junction from where there are multiple roads. All of them tempt her. She is happy to go anywhere. But..ohhh..She doesn't have the ticket. She has to earn it. She has to choose the best road for her. She has to analyse what she is good at. She has to find her talent that is still under wraps. She has to walk this road all alone. It's her responsibility now. Family, Career and Passion: Which one to choose? Answer: Just go with the flow. If she wants to choose one then she has to put her best foot forward. it's not a cake walk. She is thinking and she is thinking a lot. Everyday she changes her mind. She is not able to focus. The final verdict is in her hands and she has to live upto it and then life would always be 'la vie en rose' Somebody said some wise words to me. 'Each and everything in life is compensated. If you do good, you will get the best and if you are being bad then worst is waiting for you in the other room.' I am waiting for my 'best'(I hope its the best only..fingers crossed) to come soon.
Well..that's how life is. We run, we fall, we rise, we fall again, we learn, we try again, we drift away the dust and try again and then one fine day, we succeed. Everyone has the same story. Nobody is born perfect to take all the best decisions in life.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Day 25 :: Recipe Post - Aloo Beet Soya Tikki

Another of Aarnavi's dabba experiments. It was again veg day for Aarnavi's tiffin and I wanted to feed her with something nutritious. Ooops, do I sound like a mother now?

Aarnavi does not readily eat a new thing offered to her. So I have to disguise it and then feed it to her. Once she likes the taste, then she is hooked on to it.





Aloo Beet Soya Tikki


Ingredients


One medium size potato boiled and mashed
1/2  a beet grated
Soya Chunks, soaked till soft in hot water with little salt, and then shredded to small bits (you can keep large bits if you enjoy biting into the chunks)
Whole wheat bread crumbs
Red chilly powder - according to taste
Turmeric - according to taste
Coriander Powder - according to taste
Garam Masala - according to taste
Salt
Finely chopped coriander leaves

Method


Except the breadcrumbs, combine all of the above. Check the taste. You need to adjust the taste accordingly, because as you add the bread crumbs, the final patty will taste blander than the one without the crumbs. So make sure you have added the powders a little more than what you want for the final taste.

Make small roundels and flatten them. Keep them in the fridge for minimum 20 mins. Shallow fry until crispy on both sides. Serve with chutney/ sauce.



Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Day 24 :: The signal boy

He tapped at her car window. She rolled it down. Something she doesn't do usually. He was a small boy of about 7-8 years of age.

"You are gonna die soon." He told her flatly. 

She was taken aback at this sinister prediction, but soon collected herself. She shook her head and started to drive as the signal turned green.

Sure enough, at the next crossroad, a truck came speeding down from the opposite direction, crushing everything that came in its way!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Day 23 ::

There comes a phase in life when you are truly carefree. Not in a bad way, I m talking about not having too many responsibilities, having a certain amount of freedom, not having to worry etc. 

That phase for me was when I was just married and flew to the US. I still vividly remember the first day when I landed there. Kiran had to rush back to the office and he gave me strict instruction to not to sleep. The food was ready and the house was so inviting! I passed the afternoon in solitude, breathing in the silence that engulfed me. I slept at 10:30 that night, I remember clearly, and didn't wake up until 10:30 the next morning. 

When I opened my eyes, Kiran had already left for office. There was a note beside me stating he would try to come early and also the internet password. Since that day onward till about a year later was an extended vacation. 

Thinking back I realise those were some of the best days I had of my life. No matter what such days of sheer belle life are not gonna return. I love sleeping till late mornings. And Kiran just let me have it. He let me enjoy my beauty sleep without bothering to wake me up for breakfast or for anything. In fact I would wake up to ready to eat breakfast! 

Similarly there was no pressure of having to do housework at stipulated time. I had all the time in the world and it seemed like this was gonna last forever.  

We were feeling nostalgic today amidst our busy Monday morning routine. How life was then and how it is now! Not that it is bad, but what was, was precious! 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Day 22 :: You speak

I am trying something new here. Usually it is me who writes on this blog. My opinions, my stance, my cooking, my experiences. It is all about me. 

There are so many people who read my blog. I come to know about it when they say so personally either to me or to my parents/ husband. Not everyone is comfortable to speak out in the comments sections. But I am sure everyone has their say. I respect the fact that some may not be the "commentors"

Recently, I made some new mommy friends. We are bonded by one common factor motherhood. Each one is beautiful in their own way. Each one is fighting their own battle though outwardly they are calm, composed and content. While in the beginning everyone seemed to live a glossier life than mine, over a period of time, I realise none of them were having a cake walk of life. Just like me they are struggling with something. They are truly an inspiration! 

To look for inspiration, to find a new leash in life, all you have to do is see around you! Here is where you come in the picture. I have learnt that each one, though seems self satisfied, is making an effort to overcome their hurdles. I would love to know from you, what drives you to stay motivated. What keeps you strong and driven? 

Why I ask this is because there are times when I think I am alone in all this. It feels unfair to be suffering (yeah a tad too harsh a word for me to use) while others are blessed with everything. 

No matter how you word it. How much or how little but do tell. Every one has their hidden strengths that sets you afloat. I would live to know what it is in you! 


Friday, 20 June 2014

Day 20 :: Not my Holiday


We are about 7-8 movies old with Aarnavi. She sits throughout without causing much trouble as long as she has continuous supply of salted popcorn. 

With that confidence we went to watch Holiday at Phoenix market city. Oh what a disappointment it turned out to be! No not the movie but Aarnavi just couldn't sit still for more than two minutes at a stretch!! And that was with the promised popcorn! Thankfully the theatre was pretty deserted and hence he loud queries were not met with dirty looks of shhhh. She wanted to dance for the songs so we let her stand. Our gross mistake! She now didn't want to sit at all. Amidst all that she urgently wanted to use the toilet ... Not once but twice. By now I was wondering who Akshay kumar really is. 

When we were just about settling, it was time for her to ask for more munchkins, biscuits. By the time the biscuit was over she wanted more of them. It was pretty much her dinner time. 

I had had enough and I decided to cut short out movie trip and head to a nearby restaurant, where Aarnavi could at least eat and hopefully let us eat peacefully. 

We went to Incognito and thankfully she did let us enjoy the dinner but not without her entertaining loud banter. 

Last but not the least, the heroine of our home production!


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Day 19 :: The Liebster Once again!

Eloquent Mind nominated me for this award, and I cannot thank you enough for this. I love accepting awards and the tags that come along with it.


Rules of the Liebster Award –

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

1.     Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2.    Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
3.    Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
4.    Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
5.    Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
6.    Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
7.     List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
8.    Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!

Thanks for the rules, but I am breaking a few of them. Random facts about me are all over the blog. If you have been reading me since long, you should know them by now. Being pressed for time, I don't read many blogs of late. I won't nominate any blogs as of now. Hence no questions from my end. Any one whol is interested enough can take up the tag and answer the question that are posed to me. so here they are

My questions -

Q1. If you had to give up one of your personal favorites forever (like a favorite fruit / food / belongings), what would it be ?
A. This question is so difficult that I am tempted to cheat! If I really had to give up(for a real grave reason), then it'd be eating non veg. Now that's one supreme sacrifice I'd make!

Q2. If you could have one superpower, what would it be ?
A. Invisibility!

Q3. Who has been your biggest inspiration in your life ? Why ?
A. Not one person in particular. I believe in taking inspiration from the right things that people do. 

Q4. If you could choose to view one of the world’s most historical events, which one would you choose ?
A. Thank you so much for this question. I have always been fascinated of Shivaji Maharaj since we learnt in history. I would love to witness his coronation ceremony, confrontation with Afzhal Khan, Aurangzeb, his arrests and escape. Wait did you say one? :P

Q5. Tell us one goal of your life you are working toward.
A. Currently, trying to fulfill the goal of making some money!

Q6. Jewelry or money ? Why ?
A. Money. Because money can buy jewelry.

Q7. What is one song you cannot get out of your head ?
A. None. I am not much of a song and music person.

Q8. If you could bring back one dead person from your life (like a friend or family member), who would it be ? Why ?
A. My maternal grandfather. I loved him, I still do. I feel I could not appreciate him enough when he was with us.

Q9. Name the happiest moment of your life so far.
A. Maybe the day when Kiran didn't propose me.

Q10. A day trip to a big bustling city or a walk in the countryside ?
A. A walk in the countryside. ANYDAY!

Q11. And last but not the least, how long did it take you to write this post ? ;)
A. Considering I skipped a lot of stuff, I'd say 15 mins.

Day 18 :: Recipe - Paneer Mughlai Curry


First of all, apologies for not updating on time. The net wasn't working during the day and later in the evening due to burnt transformer we suffered power shut down.

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According to Aarnavi's dabba theme I had to make any vegetable preparation for Wednesday. Hence I made veg pulav sans the spices or masala. Since me needed some accompaniment, I decided to rack my cookbook section and reached out for Nita Mehta's "Best of Chicken and Paneer" recipe book. And  here's what I found

Paneer Mughlai Curry

Ingredients

Paneer (I wanted to use tofu but didnt find any) - 200 gms - cut into 1 inch pieces and deep fried (I shallow fried them)
3 large Onions - sliced vertically, fried until golden brown and ground to paste
1.5 large tomatoes, blanched, deskinned and chopped roughly
1/4 cup beaten curd
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup water
Oil - to fry the onions abt. 4 tbsp, to fry the base abt. 2 tbsp
Red chilly powder 2 tsp or as per taste
1/4 tsp garam masala
Khus Khus/ Poppy Seeds - 1-1 n half tsp, soaked in water for 1/2 hr
12-15 cashewnuts soaked in warm water - Grind cashew nuts and poppy seeds to a smooth paste
Salt and pepper as per taste
Oregano -One whole Dominoes packet - MY addition



Method

1. Heat oil and add the fried onion paste. Fry on low flame till it turns deep shade of brown.
2. Add the beaten curd. again on low flame, saute for 3-4 mins till the curd mixes well with the onion paste.
3. Add the blanched and chopped tomatoes. Cook till the oil start separating.
4. Add the cashew + poppy seeds paste and let it cook for 2-3 mins.
5. Add milk and water to get the thickness you desire.
6. Throw in salt, pepper, red chilly powder and garam masala and bring to boil.


7. Once it starts boiling, lower the flame, cover and let it simmer.
8. Before giving it one final stir add the oregano and fried paneer.

Serve hot with steamed rice, veg pulav or plain rotis!







Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Day 17 :: Driving Force

I recently started driving a four wheeler after a big gap of four years. While now I find it very liberating and exhilarating, the prospect of having to step onto the road again was not that pleasing. Yes, over the four years, I had lost my confidence to battle it out on the road.

Hence when we decided to buy a car, husband suggested that we go for a test drive. He doesn't know how to handle Indian cars. Thus it was me who had to do the test drive. To say that I was scared to the core would be an understatement. I shivered at the thought of having to drive. I knew I no longer had it in me to face the cruel traffic and the crazy no rule policy in Pune. I prayed, wished and hoped that the test drive would somehow be postponed. Cutting the long story short, I made it through the test drive without hurting the inmates or anyone on the road!

As soon as we bought the car, and I started driving, the lost confidence started creeping back in me slowly. I am immensely loving the feeling. It truly is an adrenaline rush to drive on a roadful of traffic, because this is where one's skills are tested.

Otherwise, not much has changed. It is the same mindless driving... as long as you don't bang into anything or anyone, you are a good driver. The rules... oh wait, what rules? Green means go and red means go too. In fact red means go faster. The morons are still there. The pests (read two wheelers) are increasing. The careful drivers are still there. And then there are male drivers with ego so large! The last category that I speak of give dirty looks to women drivers, trouble them while overtaking, ogle shamelessly, and do not yield even if it is our right of the way.

There was a time when I used to get irritated and angry even with these species. Not anymore. I enjoy their stupid sense of superiority and take pleasures in popping their bloated egos when I get a chance.

It's fun and it's not too. In a sense it is a big headache to continuously keep an alert eye and drive without banging or getting banged on. In another way it is pleasurable to have freedom of transport.

For the moment I am enjoying being the sole driver of our car. But I am sure it is a matter of a few more days before I get bored of doing the chauffeur duties and hand over the keys to my husband.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Day 16 :: Reassurance

She : Will you hold my hand forever?

He : Yes darling, forever!

She : Promise that you won't leave me!

He : No honey, I will not leave you.

She : Ever?

He : Never ever!

She : Gimme a biiiiig hug!

He : Come here, sweetheart! A good night kissie?

She : You are the best! I love you so much, Daddy!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Day 14 :: It's time we teach our daughters to put themselves first

Right from childhood, a girl child especially, is given a set of instructions; those which are never to be forgotten in life. Things like how to sit properly to how to cook to find the road to your man's heart. The do's and don'ts end up defining a girl's life. Did I say defining? No, it's more like dictating. As little minds, we gulp down these bitter values without further questioning.

As and how we grow up and see more and more of life, we experience these values being tested time and again. You often find yourself at crossroads when making a choice between what is right and what was taught.

A girl is taught to say yes to everything. No need to apply your mind, just say a yes. Even if it is against your wishes/ principles, doesn't matter. What matters is you say a yes, and make the other person happy. In short, never say no, even if it causes you displeasure/ pain/ hurt. You are taught to put the other person as a priority. Be it your parents, husband, children, in laws - you are at their mercy. As long as you nod your head to their wishes and demands, you are accepted. Try saying a firm NO, and you are blasphemous, insulting, disrespectful, and uncouth. You have no patience, intolerant, stubborn, have a loathesome mind, and disgusting even.

What I am trying to say here is, girls are expected to be the softer version of the human species. God forbid, if they are not, they are often asked, told, forced to compromise on their basic nature and qualities. Quoting my own example, I get angry soon, have a little less patience than the "ideal level", and sometimes, I don't see reason. These vices of mine have been rearing it's ugly head since childhood. I have been told repeatedly that I should bottle them because the world is not such a kind place to accept a woman who is impatient and unreasonable!

I would if I could. But sadly, it is my nature and not much can be done to change it. Rather, I don't want to change it. Not now. And certainly not for the sake of people who cannot take me as I am.

How many us have really followed our heart? We have, for more than once, bandaged our wishes and sealed them tight in a box, never to be opened again. Our minds dare to visit them, but never brought on our lips. Is it wrong to wish for something and try to achieve it? What will your in laws say? or your husband will certainly not approve of that. These sentences have murdered many dreams that were not even dreamt of properly!

The best quality a girl could have is to give in. The more easily she does it, the better. Obviously it speaks volumes about your upbringing. Under the pretext of "respecting elders" and being "cultured" one has to constantly shush the inner voice that is screaming within you. It continues to sting and hurt but all you do is choose to keep quiet because you know what humongous storm transpires later.

I remember my maternal aut telling me about the "life lesson" my grandma gave to her. It was about our humble tongue, who being soft, is vulnerable to being bitten by 32 teeth. Yet, the tongue takes care that she doesn't. A girl, especially after marriage, is expected to be like that tongue. Always being careful of her words and actions. Always soft, kind and taking care that she doesn't anger anyone?

I have a different interpretation of the same example. I think the tongue is a very clever thing. Even amidst 32 teeth, she says what she wants to say, nimbly, fearlessly and yet takes care that not one of those vicious teeth hurt her. Why can't we be like her then?

It's time to teach our daughters that their first priority are themselves. It's time to tell them that saying NO when you mean it is not wrong. Doing what your heart tells to do or say is not looked down upon, as long as you weigh what you want to say. It's time to tell them that it is ok to make mistakes, because they are humans. It's time to teach them to protect themselves from getting hurt time and again for not speaking their minds. It's time to say You needn't be sorry for something that happened which was out of your control. It's time to make them understand that when you don't believe in something and communicate the same, you are not disrespecting anyone but being your own independent self!

I have a daughter and I am making this my mission to tell her that she is just as important as is the rest of the world.


Friday, 13 June 2014

Day 13 :: I need a vacation already!



I am so looking forward to this weekend. This week just stretched endlessly. By Tuesday I wanted to take a break already! I wonder how mothers and grandmothers did it all these years, without once making us feel like we were a burden to them! Phew! 

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Day 12 :: Maid it!

I need my house clean. Need, not just want. Not necessarily tidy and neat every time, but clean, always! The habit of living in a clean - and I mean real, sparkly, spic and span type of clean - stems right from childhood. My parents, both of them are sticklers for cleanliness and neatness. Honestly, I hated it then. Always wondered why it was necessary that the house be so ironed! Only after I had my own house, did I understand what it meant for me.

Recently I hired a maid for the daily sweeping-mopping. Not that I was happy with the prospect, but then, considering I had other commitments to honour, I just couldn't afford to lose time in doing the daily chore. Let me mention here that in all my growing years, mom had never hired a maid. So I hardly have the knack, or the patience even to handle one. Coming back to my new employee, S. S was supposed to start her duty from the 15th of April. Mutually consented date. A few days before the D day, she informed me that she had some sort of a vrat, and hence would start at a later date. I agreed. After all, what could I do.

When the first day dawned, I made my stance clear, stating how clean I expect the house. A weekly day to wash the balcony was also decided upon. I also stressed that I don't like to nag, so she would get the freedom to do her job as long as she did it properly and sincerely. So far so good.

The next day she forgot to sweep the balcony. And the day after that too. The third day I reminded her, and she promptly cleaned it without a word. Fourth day, she informed me that she was gonna remain absent for 2 days. Yes, I know, already! I managed to give a peaceful approval. In the 15 remaining days of April, she bunked about 6 days, but by informing me. That way I couldn't slice her salary. However, I decided to play tough and point out that if this happened often, I am going to have to cut her pay.

That wasn't all. The balcony, remember? Well, she forgot to sweep it every single day. But didn't forget to silently get angry at how she was taking me for a ride. Oh yes, call me mighty stupid, but I cannot tell beyond  point. I don't like to keep nagging. I believe every person should do his job with integrity without having to be told every now and then. The day I reminded, she would do it.

Work wise also I was just not satisfied. Obviously I didn't have any impossible expectations of her cleaning every nook and cranny and under the table and bed stuff. I know that's all a fairy tale, or one has had to have done some punya ka kaam in previous lives to get a bai who does all that! S completed the entire set of work within 7 minutes. She would shift the dust and dirt from one place to another conspicuous place. I remember how once there was one chaii stain on the kitchen floor and how it remained there for days, despite her mopping over it every single day. I would cringe at her work, but kept mum that I had someone do the work for me.

The whole of the above paragraph happened in the first 9 days of May. Because after that-yes, you guessed it right- she was going for a vacation! for full 22 days! And surprise, she was doing me a favour, by giving me a replacement bai.

By now I was fed up and frustrated of living in a dirty home. I had had enough. I told the replacement bai that I wouldn't be needing their services any more.

Since the day I have had to maid-it, I am at peace. Yes I have to wake up early in the morning than I would like to. But as compared to having a bai, early mornings seem worth it!

You might argue why I cannot employ another one, or that why I cannot be stern with them. I just cannot. I am sorry, but I cannot be a nag. And if I have the time to nag around, I might as well do it myself. I don't like to engage in everyday verbal battle. I find it an interference in my time, to give orders , or to remind, or to correct. Not to mention the forever waiting for them to turn up at the right time.

Well, for now I am gloating in my clean house that remains so till I clean it again the next morning.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Day 11 :: Recipe Post - Dahi Idli


Dahi idli has to be one of my most favorite food item. 1. It tastes yum. 2. It is so simple to make, that even I make it!

Dahi idli is also called Rava Idli by some. The ready-to-make rava idlis are real sad excuses! I prefer to make them, fresh and so instant! Yes, instant! When guests arrive at a short notice, Dahi Idlis are a quick fix for me. They can be eaten anytime - for breakfast, a healthy snack and for me, it is a pick me up!

These Idlis are so flavourful that they can be eaten as they are, without any accompaniments like chutney or sambar. Nevertheless, they go very well with tomato rasam, chutney, sambar and pickles even!

I usually make it a day in advance so that it serves as breakfast for the next day! So without further ado, the recipe.

Ingredients 

Again, eyeballing the measurements. 

Dahi/ Curds at room temperature - 1/2 kg
Bombay Rava/ Sooji/ Jada Rava - I took about 300 gms, I think :P
Oil - 2 tbsps
Mustard seeds - 2-3 tsp
Urad dal - 2 tsp
Roughly chopped Curry Leaves - as much or as little as you like it. But trust me, the more the merrier
Finely Chopped green chillies - again according to your tastes, and depending on the mirchi itself
Lots and lots of roughly chopped Cashew nuts
Finely Chopped Coriander leaves - Optional. I skip it.
Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp or less
Salt to taste






Method

  • Heat oil in a wide kadhai and add the mustard seeds to it.


  • As soon as those lovelies start to splutter, add urad dal. Stay put till they turn a tinge brown.

  • Add the curry leaves, chopped green chilles and cashew nuts.

  • Turn the flame to low and saute the ingredients till the cashews develop a slight brownish colour. Make sure you turn the flame low or else you will have burnt tadka and black cashews, which obviously won't look and taste that great.
  • By now the aroma should be wafting in your entire house.
  • Add the sooji and toast it, as you would for upma, till it slightly changes colour and gives off a toasty smell. Switch off gas and set aside to cool off.

  • At this stage you can add the chopped coriander, if you have opted for it.
  • When the mixture cools off, add salt, baking soda and curds.
  •  Don't add too much curd at one go. Add as much is needed to soak up the mixture and let it rest for 3-5 mins. Add more curd if the mixture is too dry.
  • The final consistency of the batter should be paste-y and not runny.

  • Grease the cups in which you are going to steam the idlis with a little oil. Add the batter but not upto the brim.

  • Steam them in your idli steamer on high for 10 mins and then on sim for around 5 mins.
  • Peel them off the cups and enjoy them steaming hot!


    Do you see a smiley face?

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Day 10 : Aarnavi's First Day at School

Today was a big day for Aarnavi and for me and KK too. Her school starts today, and we were as excited as was she! Since the day of enrolling her in the school, I have been conditioning her about the school - what it is, who she gets to meet there, what do the teacher do, what she will learn etc.
Ready to go!


She happily went inside, looked at all the toys and squealed in excitement, and called out to me.
As soon as she entered the school premise

Enjoying the uppp-downnn

After 15 minutes of letting themselves be, we were all ushered in the class room. Though the class lasted only for half an hour, it was fun to see kids of different temperaments come together under one roof and explore the new environment and each other. Most were friendly and involved into the activities, some seemed visibly upset, some never left their mother's sides! All in all it was fun to be there and experience it all!

Aarnavi cried because we told her it was time to go home! She loved it there. Yes it remains to see how she will hold up without me there - which is gonna happen the day after tomorrow.


Monday, 9 June 2014

Day 9 :: Airport Journey

Last year I travelled from Chicago to Mumbai with Aarnavi; who was then 1.5 yrs old; all alone. Now, travelling from US to India in itself is a torturous part, and with a toddler by your side, the torture is almost doubled.

I sighed a relief when we touched down. I was in one piece, my mental state, that is! The immigration officer too was kind and smiled and enquired about the tough journey I had had. I smiled at the change that had undergone with the immigration officers who usually were rude and demeaning to the passengers.

I almost cried tears of happiness when an 'airport assistant' approached me voluntarily to assist me with my baggage and stuff. Yes, those 3-4 garangutan bags each weighing 24 kgs! The assistant waited patiently for almost an hour while I was busy running behind my kid, all the while lugging a 14kg bag on my broken back! As soon as my bags arrived, I only had to point it out to him and he hauled them onto the trolley. Relief is such a small word o describe what I felt!

Alas! the so called relief died down in a matter of few minutes. For the customs scanning, I had to take off my 14 kg bag too, in which I had brought my jewellery. Now jewellery doesn't mean kilos of them. They were my mangalsutra, dharemani(another GSB wedding symbol) and one swarovski chain and earrings. The lady scanning the bag, who seemed perinially disgusted with phoren reetaarns, decided to take up the khunnas on me - the  bechaari, worn out woman with a child, who is ready to drop dead at one single authoritative, provocative statement from Her Highness! So this is how the conversation went , all in marathi though

Her (in a disgusted, rude tone) : Medem, you have jewellery in your bag?
Me (ignoring the disgust) : Yes
Her : Show me the bill for the same or pay the custom.
Me (now disgusted and angry) : Pay custom for what? It is my personal jewellery and not even kilos of it that you demand that I pay the custom duty!
Her : (doubling the rude quotient): What is with you US return people?? First you buy so much jewellery, don't keep the billand then we have to face this! Don't you know it is the rule?
Me : (more frustrated now than angry) Rule? Which rule are you talking about? I have travelled to US and back before with the same amount of jewellery, and not once have I been told to show the bill or pay the duty! It is my wedding jewellery. The wedding took place 3 yrs back and you expect me to travel around with its bill? If it is a rule nobody sent me any notice to my US residence that I should know of it.
Her : Medem, it is a rule!
Me : Fine it might be a rule but it needs to be communicated. I have been away from India the whole of previous year and if some rules change here how am I supposed to know and how can you hold me guilty for the same? Let's go to the chief customs officer and if he can clarify I shall gladly pay.
Her : You are holding up the line. You can go this time.

After she gave me her 'permission' to leave, I gather my stuff with the assistant wand walked away. The assistant in turn tells me, this is the routine. They will trouble the passengers for no reason. Saying this he stopped. And so did I and asked him the reason. He says, in full khoofiya style, "Ma'am, paisa idhar hi do."

I didn't get him at first. Then it dawned on me that he was asking me for his 'bakshis'. I pulled out Rs. 200 out of the 500 that I was carrying and handed it out to him.

And he said, "Kya madam, dollar main dene ka tha na." I was baffled at his audacity! I mean seriously! I stared at him like I had seen an alien land before me. I just couldn't say anything. I shook my head and walked out of the gate.

People have wrong perceptions about those returning from the US, rather from any foriegn country. Not everyone who comes back from there is a millionaire. I surely wasn't one! And those 3-4 enormous bags of 24 kgs each? They don't necessarily carry any hotshot electronics or expensive cameras or exotic chocolates or perfumes, or battery operated toys that forever eludes our country mercilessly, unless of course, demanded by relatives and friends! They are clothes, shoes, utensils, documents and other routine life things that one didn't have the heart to throw away in the garbage bin. There might be some boring Ferrero Rochers and Hersheys that, though easily available in India, people still want those staying abroad to bring for them.

I don't know why it gives them kicks to be rude to passengers. One need not be friendly, but is a little courtesy too much to ask for? You, as a passenger probably would not take up a fight either because you are expended after a long journey, or because there is an impending journey before which you don't want to spoil your mood.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Day 8 :: Just a day of my life

We had a wonderful time out from the usual routine. We decided to take a small break and visit my cousin who lives in Thane. We spent an enjoyable day with lots of fun, food and endless chatter. 

For me especially, who really needed to get away from the routine, just before a new chapter unfolds - today was a relaxing respite! 

Here are some snaps and don't miss Aarnavi's ice cream eating video



video

Friday, 6 June 2014

Day 6 :: Left is not right

We were pleasantly surprised when V's first born turned out to be left handed. Both parents being right handed, we were wondering how D turned out a lefty. We later learned that one of my cousin and a niece are lefties too.

Aarnavi is also lefty. Her gross and fine motor skills hinted that she would turn out one, but they say kids are ambidextrous till they turn two. She is well after 2 now and is definitely a lefty. Hardcore one at that. She even eats with her left hand. Now that she has turned out one of the 'minority' population, she is met with surprise, shock, excitement, and I am sure some people have even cringed.

I had not realised this until now. But left handed people do have to face some disgusting truths living among the right handed ones. First and foremost, people think they are born abnormal. They are perceived to be born with deformity, one that needs to be 'corrected' at the right age.

This particular incident took place when I was carrying Aarnavi. The neighbours at my laws place have a daughter who is, (I now think, was) left handed. When the topic arose, her mother told me they are steering her from being wrong handed to right handed. And how? By hitting her left hand when she used for eating/ shaking hands etc. By discouraging her and blaming her for using her dominant hand. I was dumbfound! Obviously no child deserves that. I tried to explain whatever little knowledge I had had on the subject. And I am sure it fell on deaf ears. They spoke as if some spirit had resided in their daughter! Never again did I have the courage to ask.

A friend shared this link and although it is funny, it does speak about the most cliched problems that lefties face. Oh yes, I hated sitting next to a lefty at exams or even in class for there would be elbow battles unless we swapped places! Aarnavi's gonna be at the receiving end, I know.

Recently when I was at my hometown, we got to visit temples. And everywhere, Aarnavi was extending her left hand for the prasad. I wonder who says right is  superior to left?! For her, and for every lefty, that is the dominant hand and thereby the superiority.
They would do the typical clicking of their tongues and make her extend her right hand. When I mentioned that she is left handed, they said "but yes, prasad is to be taken by the right hand only." I wanted to fight but realising the futility of it all, kept mum.

I met the lefty-hating neighbours too. And they were shocked to learn that Aarnavi was one among those possessed ... :D I did not encourage any further talks on the matter, rather mentioned quite haughtily that left handed people are far more intelligent than right handed ones. :P ;)

I encourage Aarnavi to use her hand as she wishes. I did not try to avert her from eating out of her left hand. Yes, I am wondering how I would teach her to write from my right and her left. I am wondering if she wants to crochet, or learn guitar, or violin, how will she manage. But then I think of thousands of other lefties who have made it. I am confident that she will too!



Thursday, 5 June 2014

Day 5 :: Breathless

She rushed into the waiting elevator, hurriedly pressing the button for 13th floor. She was out of breath. 13 floors - she had approximately 15 seconds to catch her breath.

The ting signaled that she had reached her destination. The elevator door separated promptly. As soon as she walked out, people waiting at the floor let out piercing shrieks! She was alarmed. She turned to take a look.

She saw her body slumped down against the railing in the elevator.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Day 4 :: Recipe Post - Kadhi Gole

Like I said, I am going to write one recipe per week to try and kick some enthusiasm into my cooking spirit. The moment I see more than 5 ingredients in a recipe I deem it impossible for me to make it.

Today's recipe is nothing new, but the fact that I made it is extraordinary. I was craving for some Kadhi Gole and decided I would make it.

Obviously, I am a dufoos at innovation. I had to resort to an online recipe blog. The original recipe is found here.  Do hop there for great maharashtrian recipes. I have tried some from there.

Coming to what and how I made it. I am really bad at accurate measurements, hence skipping them. I usually eyeball the amount and generally (thankfully) turns out fine.

Kadhi Gole

Ingredients for the kadhi
Buttermilk
Turmeric
Besan
Oil
Mustard seeds
Curry Leaves
Methi seeds
Jeera
Ajwain
Hing
Ginger
Garlic - I am lazy so I used GG paste
Cut Green Chillies
Salt
Sugar







Ingredients for the gole
Chana Dal soaked for 3-4 hours
Green chillies
Ginger
Garlic
Jeera
Turmeric
Garam masala- a tiny bit
Salt

Method for the kadhi

Make a paste of besan and water and add this to the buttermilk. I even added the turmeric at this point because I tend to burn the turmeric in the tadka.

Heat oil in a kadhai

Add mustard seeds. Add jeera, hing, green chillies, curry leaves, ajwain and methi seeds once the mustard seeds start spluttering

Fry for 30 seconds and add the buttermilk mixed with besan paste
Add Salt and sugar according to taste

Keep stirring till it starts boiling
Let it simmer for 2-3 mins on low flame

Making the gole

Grind all the ingredients of the gole in the mixer with no water. Make small balls out of them.





Add the balls into the simmering kadhi for 4-5 minutes, so that they soak up all the wonderful flavours

Serve hot with chapati, or enjoy with steamed rice


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