Monday, September 26, 2016

My morning thing..

Do you have that one morning thing, you absolutely need to set the tone of your day? That morning cup of filter kaapi. Or tea. Or black. That reading you just need to do in the bathroom. That quiet time with your God. That extra cuddling with the kids as they break out of their oh so wonderful dreams. That slokha or song you need to hum. A quick visit  to your balcony garden.

I need my kaapi and my balcony garden peek. And I would never say no to some bathroom reading time.

But then I also enjoy driving my daughter to school, because it delays my immediate urge to tidy up and set thing in order. It is a short drive and I really look forward to the sights and sounds. The whole world is up and about. Parents waiting at the bus stop. Kids primped and proper. The fit conscious doing their daily run. Dogs being walked. Hair washed and chandan smeared foreheads. Lone man saluting the sun in the children's park. Cars being washed. Front porches being washed. Blooming plants being watered. The brown shirted man bravely taking your yesterdays garbage far from your home. A mother pulling at her resistant child as they both manoeuvre puddles. But he just saw something in that puddle.. school can wait! An old man walking unsteadily, pausing as I make my turn. I would not know what its like to be recovering from a stroke.. but he does.  An army of domestic helpers crossing the road finding their way to their workplaces. The vegetable lady with her fresh produce that is just too 'jasthi' for someone. The Ironing 'chetta' heating his coal, bundles piled on his table. Shutters being opened and doorsteps being swept.

I love it. It fills me with gratitude that there are so many of us and we are all just trying to live. We keep on keeping on.

#MondayMusings : Are you there yet?

Have you found it?

Your happy place?

What is it like?

I'm dying to know.

We are all trying to find the way there.  I'm juggling between... Gretchen Rubin and Robin Sharma... between Stephen Covey and Dale Carnegie... between Vincent Peale and the Whoever spilled 'the secret'... between Paulo Coelho and Roald Dahl. Between inspiring quotes and the negative situations (that I'm not suffering). Between the Bible and every other religion.

It reads easy but to form happiness habits are not the easiest thing to do.

The only person who knows me inside out is Google. Just ask my History tab.

How to be a better parent?
How to raise confidence?
How not to yell at your kids?
How to plan better?
How to stay happy?
How not to give up?

But whats interesting is.. there seem to be answers... cos many seem to be asking the same questions...

To all those searching- this elusive little thing called happiness... is roaming free...inside you and out...hope you find a bit of it everyday.

Linking this to the #mondayMusings on


Thursday, July 07, 2016

Wisdom, when you least expect it.

So my son picks out 'Splat the cat and the Hotshot' at the library. And I know I should not judge the book by its cover. But I do. Immediately. I had not read this series before, so I do not think much of the title.. and nothing about the cats posing on the front page. But no amount of persuasion worked and my 'Cat in the Hat' (yes, I sometimes pick the ones I want to read) had to go back on the shelf.

I love reading to my kids. I love how we cuddle up together into our sweet spots. I love how they don't judge my slight lisp.  I love how they get lost in the story. I love how I lose myself. The words and the pictures and the sounds coming together to create a memory. I can read till my throat is dry. And then some more.

But I pushed this 'Splat the cat and the Hotshot' to the last spot. We finished 'Princess Poppy' and 'Pintoo and the Giant'. And then I began reading rolling my tongue around splat, cat, Scott, scouts. My son can read this.. My daughter insists I read, because according to her, the brother reads way too loudly.

Anyways, the book is about how Splat is going on a hike with the Cat Scouts and a new Scout called Scott seems to be stealing the show. He seems to know how to tie fancy knots and build a mean fire. Splat is slightly insecure  and wants to be just as cool as Scott. As the hike progresses he soon he discovers his own talents and figures out what team work is all about.  

Whether you are four or forty, each of us is Splat. We meet someone who's pretty good at what they do. And suddenly we shine all the spot light on them. We forget what we can do. and we just want to be like them, do like they do, have what they have. We forget that 'there are stars in our skies too'.

You know how a book finds you at just the right time. Well Splat found me. In a 'Level 1- I can read book'.

Credits: Harper Collins

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Busy June

More than 30 days have gone by since a post here and... to think I survived the April A to Z 2016 challenge!! Sigh..

June marks the start to the new school year and the monsoons.. and all the associated drama. With school there is new schedules, more clothes to iron, snacks to pack, more groceries to plan for, home work and projects, after school classes, making new friends, missing old teachers and always those 5 extra minutes of precious sleep everyone wants... Now that a month has passed things are falling into routine. My daughter who just started kindergarten is amused that she has to go to school everyday.

And the monsoons don't help either. Definitely a welcome respite after the scorching summer months. But aren't rainy mornings meant for extra cuddling under the blanket? You cannot forget your umbrella even if the sun is blazing because the rain clouds could come from nowhere and devour it splashing you in the process. Clothes take forever to dry and now I know what the wise meant when they said - Make hay while the sun shines.

But a lot has been happening... I have been trying my hand at various things... from story telling to some card designing to more decoupaging.

So yes, I have missed the blog and missed the writing and the reading that I got to do during the holidays, but feeling grateful that my June was packed with excitement.

Monday, May 30, 2016

The show must go on. #MondayMusings.

Imagine that one picture, maybe taken on a birthday or an anniversary surrounded by all your loved ones and all your presents. Your zenith. That moment when life is brimming in goodness. And then suddenly the universe decides to 'photoshop 'something out. Not that favourite watch or that expensive necklace or that silk Saree or that Corelle dinner set.

But the person sitting next to you. The person who held your hand and made a promise of 'forever'.

I cannot even imagine the depth of this pain.

But I spent the weekend with some one who did. Some one my age who was thrust into a life of luxury and wealth and charm. Only to be left there alone after some years.

Death can be the biggest show stopper. But not in the way show stopper's are meant to be. Suddenly luxury can seem like a burden. Wealth can seem meaningless. Charm can go back to the books. 

And you begin to wonder what the purpose of anything was anyway?

But the sun rises and the sun sets. The earth rotates and the earth revolves. And flowers bloom again. The show must go on. Slowly.

And its also fascinating to see how the universe laser-cuts you through this process of pain. Giving you new form and new perspectives and new strengths. More charm and more grace.

Dedicated to all the people who have suffered the loss of a loved one...

PS: This is my first post for  #MondayMusings on hosted by Corinne Rodrigues at

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Written by... Illustrated by...

As a kid, I don't think I got to read enough picture books. Which is why I love the fact that I have kids. Not only can I read to my heart's content, I can also read aloud!

Come on, think about it, unless you are a writer or an illustrator, how many of you (without kids) would actually go check out children's picture books from the library?

When reading to my kids, I make it a point to read the name of the author and the illustrator. Sometimes, I even make them repeat it. Why? Because I want them to know that 'someone' lovingly wrote this beautiful story and 'someone else' lovingly drew it for them.

Kids respond best to visuals . 2 to 6 year olds most likely cannot read much on their own. So definitely the pictures speak to them first. And as we read aloud to them, they begin to connect the pictures with our words and the tone of our voice. And suddenly the story comes alive.

This is when I realize the importance of the illustrator. The reason a book is picked up and taken home. The reason why a quick silent reading and or a even a cute giggle is guaranteed before mom is urgently summoned to the reading rug.

Last night, my kids and I read 'More pies' by Robert Munsch (and illustrated by Martin Martchenko). We pounce on Munsch's books whenever we can, even though I haven't got my hands on the famed 'Love you forever' yet.
His stories are simple, heart warming and sometimes outright hilarious because how can a boy eat a large bowl of cereal, 2 milks shakes and 3 stacks of pancakes and still be hungry enough to win a pie eating contest.

But Martin Martchenko is the reason I picked the book. The details he adds, does it for me. You should see the expressions a fireman, a lumber jack and a construction worker, all have when they notice a small black kid eagerly competing with them for the Prize Pie.

May writers always find great illustrators, so we can have tons and tons of great picture books. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Doodles of fun!

On Mother's day, I got to do something that I would not normally dream of doing on a Sunday morning. I went for a sketching workshop. 

If you are a stay at home mom with small kids, you know how Sundays are. Even the earth cannot seem to rotate unless you are up and about on your toes. And now you can understand why this post is coming in long after mother's day... I just could not grab some time to post...

I love to draw and I do draw a lot for my kids and my craft projects. But not having taken any training or any practice of any sorts, I know I am more of a amateur doodler than an artist. 

I read by this feature in the local newspaper about a studio called 'Kokaachi', couple months ago. The name totally got me. 'Kokaachi' means monster or scary person in Malayalam. The quintessential boogeyman of our childhood. That monster that nobody can perfectly describe but anyone can imagine. The one that lurks under every child's bed and in every dark corner. The one monster that is conveniently summoned by parents to get chores completed, home-work done and vegetables eaten. I know, I know definitely not a best practice for parents. But our parents used it on us.. and I do catch myself calling the 'Kokaachi' at times when nothing else works!

Amused by the name, I hopped on to their website and Facebook page only to further amazed by their work. Run by a very creative couple - Prateek and Tina,  they have taken on the task to tell the world all 'the untold stories'- through drawings, graphics, comics, doodles. 

I was interested to know  that they had a monthly sketching workshop ('Vara')  for 'anyone who loves to draw'. 

I just needed to go. 

But my mind was scattered. A 100 questions. What will my husband think? What about all the tidying up that needs to be be done? The laundry? I'm not even an artist, and so what if I make a fool of myself? Will I look like I'm old and trying very hard to be cool? How does a mother validate the urge to want to go sketching for a few hours on a Sunday when her whole world depends on her. A mother puts everyone else first. She facilitates everyone else's plans. I was feeling guilty even wanting to go

After a few hours of beating myself up I managed to tell my husband who sounded super enthusiastic and agreed to babysit. 

I felt like a rebel. Borrowing my 6 year old's colours and an sketchpad I got as a birthday present 7 years ago, I went for it.

It was exciting to realise that Prateek was  junior from college and we knew each other at some point. And he assured me that the session was just a bunch of fun activities to think out of the box and express oneself through drawing.

The three hours was a real refreshing mother's day present. Met some super talented people and had lots of fun. (even though my drawings were amateur... LOL). But overall I felt great. And I was reminded of how much I really love to draw.

So to all the other moms out there.. you rock. Yes your little world depends on you for everything. That said, if you can get some help once in a while, take it and go do something for yourself. Do it. Don't forget who you are. 

Sunday, May 08, 2016

#AtoZChallenge- Reflections

I read about this challenge when a fellow blogger posted about his participation and shared it on the Indiblogger community. 

The first thing that amused me was how perfect the month of April seemed for the challenge. 30 days minus 4 free Sundays and so yes... one alphabet per day. 

Considering how infrequent my blogging is I decided to let it pass.

Then I saw it again and again while blog hopping. More bloggers were posting about it and suddenly I was curious.

I was intrigued that someone created such a challenge. I was impressed that it has been running for years. Well planned and with hosts and co-hosts and teams. I was nervous that the linky list was growing. I was intimidated there was a theme and thousands were participating. I suddenly realised that there is a big big blogging world out there...outside my corner window. And something was urging me to take a better look.

But my persistent pessimistic gene reminded me that this would turn out to be another unfinished project. To close that window and draw the blinds. That all the others were much better at this. They had all done it before. That they already had 100 plus followers. That I was right- there was no way I could do this. Especially with house chores and kids on vacations and other errands.   

I think I oscillated for a week. And finally signed up on the last day. I nervously posted about my participation and started thinking about a theme.  

Well being a 'new mom' was technically all that I have been doing since the last 6 years... so that decided the theme.

The writing was fun. Somedays were like staring into a brick wall. I felt great if I was done with the post in advance. The time management was challenging. I stuck to my blog visitors and increased my blog visits occasionally. It felt great to post content daily, something I had never done before. And nothing compares to the victory of completing a challenge. 

So amazed by the amount of effort and creativity that bloggers are putting into this. Found so many gems that I am holding on to .. :) Loved it from start to finish.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

#AtoZChallenge - Z is for 'Zzzzz'

Thank God  Zzzzzz means sleep. I have no idea what else I would have done with Z!

Sleep is a luxury. Insominiacs know it. So do new parents. 

It starts off in the last trimester of pregnancy. Nights are long. Bathroom visits are often. Sleeping pillows are useless and no position is the right position to sleep comfortably through the night.

Once the baby is out. There is no concept of day or night. Time is redefined into 2 hours slots. Sometimes the baby wants to play all night and who would not want to watch. Night feeds, burping, nappy changing, add to that some vomit and the sleepless nights can really get to you.

Towards the 6 month mark, most of babies start sleeping through the night and then teething starts.. so yes more trouble. 

I really admire parents who get their kids to sleep by themselves very early. I never did. We co-slept with our babies. And now they refuse to leave and no one one has any room. 

I'm signing off the challenge with this really funny illustration from about 'sleep positions' when kids share the bed with parents.  

We have a lot of Snow angels, H is for Hell, The Roundhouse Kick and the Neck Scarf happening in our place.

Friday, April 29, 2016

#AtoZChallenge - Y is for 'Yoga'

When you think about it, having a baby is like doing yoga. 

Well, in yoga they tell you to take deep breaths and slowly. Don't we do that when we smell our little one.. Oh that scent! Milk + baby powder + I don't know what else, but its good.

Yoga tells you hold your breath. Of course! This is exactly how we get through the diaper changing process. 

Yoga teaches you about meditation. Tell me humming a lullaby does not put you in a meditative state. 

Yoga improves self control. The baby vomits all over your hair and new dress. What do you do? You swallow any swear words. And you go "Aww, lets get you cleaned up sweetypie..." and you clean up. (this takes practice though)   

Yoga teaches you about stretching and 'asanas' or poses. You find yourself stretching like a rubber band. Ever tried reaching for a phone with your toe while feeding the baby? 

Yoga improves balance. Its amazing how much you find yourself doing with a baby in one arm. From cooking to  eating to ironing to grocery shopping to everything.  

Yoga is said to give inner peace. Yup its indescribable. That peace when the baby finally goes to sleep. 

Yoga tells you how to end your session with a Shavasana or the corpse pose. Oh yeah! We sure are knocked out by the end of the day.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

#AtoZChallenge- X is for 'Xanax'

I had no idea what to do with X for babies and new moms. Then I remembered 'Xanax' from TV advertisements while I lived in the US and that it was used as an anti-anxiety and and anti-depressant medication. So this post was reserved for X and is dedicated to all moms who go through this ugly thing called postpartum depression


Its interesting, how we give birth and suddenly we are supposed to transform into super-moms

Until now the baby was inside. And technically our lives didn't change much. But now that the baby is out. Everything is different.

No one told us how awful it is to be sleep deprived, even if we are waking up to the most beautiful thing, every two hours

No one told us how much it will hurt- everywhere.  

Its not someoneelse's baby that you can cuddle for a while and then return. This one is yours. Forever. And suddenly you are not sure how great a parent you are going to be.

And for some moms, this anxiety keeps growing and feelings of sadness and hopelessness continue to increase. They don't feel motherly and joyful and they can't seem to bond with their babies. They just don't feel like getting up and facing the day. Food may not be appealing or they may binge. Nothing seems worthwhile. They are miserable and in extreme cases they feel like ending things.

Moms who feel this way should not feel guilty. They just need to get help

Love can be hard work sometimes. We can do this.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

#AtoZChallenge - W is for 'Words of Wisdom'

We get so used to doing everything for our little children that we assume they know nothing and whatever they learn is only what we expose them to

We sometimes we forget that they observe and understand a lot more than we think.

And then suddenly they stun us with pearls of wisdom. Wisdom that is organic and unadulterated by knowledge and cynicism. Wisdom that uses limited vocabulary but is deeper than deep, truer than true and cuter than cute.

Once my son and I were doing some craft and he suddenly looks up and said, 'Amma, you sound really strange when you shout.' I tried to explain that I was having lot of work to do around the house and so I got upset and so on; to which my then 4 year old replied, 'When I grow I up I can make you a cleaning robot and then you can smile'.

And another time a friend came to visit and as soon as my son saw her he eyes lit up and he squealed in delight, 'You look like a monkey'. I almost died with embarrassment. My friend was sweet enough to laugh it off. She is actually a very nice looking person. Its just that her ears are a little big and protruding and her eyebrows were long and arched like ... erm... Curious George?

What words of wisdom has your little pearl taught you?