Author: obsessivemom

The truth about love and growing up

The truth about love and growing up

A few days ago N came to me one night with a comb and a bunch of rubber bands. She said she’d seen a ‘hack’ on Youtube and that if she tied her hair up in tiny ponytails she’d have curly hair by morning. It was a bit nostalgic for me because I remembered my mom doing the same for me, although my hair used to be way shorter and we didn’t call it a ‘hack’ back then. I sat her down and I rolled her hair into tiny ‘bunlets’ (for want of a better word) and fixed them with rubber bands.

She woke up next morning and opened out her hair. Instead of falling down to her shoulders it stood out in a short wavy mass upto her ears. She pranced around for joy exclaiming ‘Oh I love it, I love it, I love it,’ and ended up with a, ‘It looks so good na, just like yours.’

And I couldn’t help but laugh.

I have to explain here that I have rather weird hair, neither straight nor curly. It’s kind of flyaway thin and wavy, impossible to keep in check. N’s on the other hand is nice and straight. But there she was, thrilled because her hair looked like mine!

This reminded me of a quote from the film The Truth About Cats and Dogs:
You know how someone’s appearance can change the longer you know them? How a really attractive person, if you don’t like them, can become more and more ugly; whereas someone you might not have even have noticed… that you wouldn’t look at more than once, if you love them, can become the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.

Although spoken in an entirely different context it does hold true. Doesn’t it?

N’s teens are round the corner and the day is not far when she’ll want to be and do all things ‘not me’, but for now I revelled in her guileless affection.

And then there’s H. For all his grown up ways, his continuous (but failed) attempts at mastering the eye roll and his ‘don’t hug me in public’ he still seeks me out (probably on his way to the refrigerator) and gives me a hug or tweaks my cheek, the way I used to when he was a toddler.

They turned twelve this summer and yet I continue to see them for the babies they once were. I can now somewhat understand the very cliched comment that kids never really grow up for their parents. At times like these I do want them never to grow up, for the days to just stop so I can keep them close.

Of course I know that’s not possible and when this wave of sentimentality has blown over I will want them out of my way just as much as they want me out of their’s but until then, I’m going to savour the feeling.

 

Linking up with #MondayMusings at Everydaygyan

A time for family and friends

A time for family and friends

This last month, the month of May, has been filled with so many blessings that I’ve lost count. It is by far my favourite month of the year. It’s the time I am truly home, among extended family and childhood friends. The days are about reunions and getaways, about reinforcing age-old bonds and rediscovering the flavours of childhood, of leafing through photo albums and laughing at our tiny ponytails and large bell-bottoms.

There wasn’t a single morning, afternoon or evening when I didn’t have someone around, when I wasn’t planning a meet up, a movie or a dinner. Many an evening, my plans would dissolve into nothing because someone would drop by with the ease and comfort born of years of familiarity, the kind that needs no phone call, no appointment.

The children oscillated constantly between the various homes. The FIL took upon himself to tutor them in Math during the mornings, a family tradition of sorts. Their older cousins have all had to put up with his tenacious love for teaching Math. Despite plenty of good-natured ribbing and calls of ‘It’s your turn to get caught now’, he persevered and surprisingly enough, the children complied without a murmur. That there was a constant supply of laddoos and pedas might have helped.

The children also developed a severe case of ice-cream insecurity. The moment the tubs showed signs of finishing they’d sound an alert and sure enough, one doting elder or the other would order out another.

One night they were carried off to a wedding by my sister, their first ever. I stayed home enjoying a chat with the in-laws. They came back tired and completely overwhelmed, yet thrilled at the colour and the crowd, the food and the festivities and the excitement of it all. ‘The bride was epic,’ pronounced N. She had never seen such finery except in films. Meanwhile, H said the buffet was the best.

I had set myself some tasks for the month including blogging and figuring out some technical concepts which I normally do not get time for. None of them got done. I have to admit the first few days I was a trifle unnerved with this total lack of order, something I normally strive hard for in my routine. It was strange not to be worrying about the children, their food and their studies, specially after a rather stressful year. Bad habits stick on so hard, isn’t it?

Then somewhere along the way I let go and decided to go with the flow. Then on, I had the best time ever.

Sometimes it's best to go with the flow. Click To Tweet

We went off to spend a weekend at my cousin’s farm and then in the middle of all the craziness, we  managed a two-day trip to Agra. The six-lane Yamuna Expressway meant that we could travel the distance in about four hours. Everyone had cautioned us that it would be too hot, that the children wouldn’t be able to handle it, unused to such high temperatures. We decided to go on anyway and I’m glad we did. We spent the mornings and evenings visiting the absolutely stunning monuments and stuck to our hotel room during the hot afternoons while the children took to the pool. It was as idyllic as it could get.

I often talk about how much I love my hometown but it’s the connections and warmth of relationships that continue to make it special – a place where friends are family and family are friends.

Linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle

Food and fitness in Lucknow

Food and fitness in Lucknow

I’ve been trying rather hard to keep an eye on my weight this year with some decent amount of success. But then the children had exams and they seemed to need help the moment I put on my sneakers for a walk. The stress of it all meant walks and exercise took a backseat.

Moving on – right after the exams came vacations. We travelled to Delhi and then to my hometown and that meant F.O.O.D.

The first morning in Lucknow I woke up to a pile of jalebis and khastas at the breakfast table. I’ll probably need to do a whole post on the Lakhnawi jalebis but for now let me just say that they served to kick off my food fest. It would have been absolute blasphemy, not to say inconceivably rude, to not be ru-ba-ru with my old favourites. If you’ve been with me on Instagram you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. While the children waded through cartons of Amul Icecream, I renewed my friendship with Lakhnawi sweets – malai chamcham, kaju pedas and motichur laddoos. That’s not to say I didn’t sample the ice creams. This season the Caramel  Cookies flavour from Amul absolutely topped my list.

Coming back to Lucknow, the chaat here is something else. The pani puris are perfect. As Goldilocks would say – not to hot not too sweet, they’re just right. And there’s matar – boiled and mashed white peas fried over a low flame in lota-fulls of ghee (The chat wallahs actually keep a lota full of ghee on the edge of their giant tawa). When it’s garnished with crisp crushed papadi, green chutney, fresh coriander and long ginger juliennes, it’s a party in the mouth.

Matar

And just when the party’s getting too hot you take up a pattal of sweet cool kulfi topped by pista flakes and two types of falooda.

Kulfi with two kinds of falooda

Then of course there’s the ma-ke-haath-ka-khana, my favourite – jackfruit fried to a crisp in mustard oil and singhade ka achar (water-chestnut pickle) – I’m not even sure many have heard of those. My mom, the strongest advocator of healthy eating and the loudest YOU-NEED-TO-LOSE-WEIGHT voice was torn between serving up my favourite foods and exhorting me to not binge. That was seriously funny.

Deep fried jackfruit fritters

Oh and this isn’t really a food thing but I have to make a mention. Each year sometime in the month of May is the Bara Mangal – a grand celebration of Lord Hanuman. I’ve written about it here. Numerous pandals serving free food and drink come up overnight, every Tuesday for a month. It might essentially be for the poor but the puri-and aaloo-kaddu ki sabzi one gets at these pandals is absolutely delicious. No matter how hard one tries, it is impossible to replicate at home. A bit like the kada prasad one gets at gurudwaras – it never tastes the same at home. So every Tuesday my lunch (and sometimes evening snack) menu had puri-subzi.

 

Aloo puri, the staple at Bara Mangal

To make matters more complicated, my sleepy hometown is slowly awakening to diverse cuisines – national and international. So we also have to do cafes and coffee shops, sizzlers and mocktails, fine dining and lavish buffets.

Sigh!

Did you see that? This was meant to be a stock-taking post on food and fitness but fitness seems to have taken the far back seat! This, right here, is what my problem is. I need focus, focus, focus!

For the first few days I managed to stick to a morning walk. Since my two homes – the in-laws and the parents are really close by the walk worked well because I’d start off from one place and drop by at the other for my morning cup of tea. But then the charm of lazy morning conversations took over and the plan went bust.

Now I’m back home and just as I was gathering the courage to step onto my brand new weighing machine the maid did the disappearing act (yet again). I’ve been spending my days mopping and dusting, lunging and squatting more than I’d ever done in my one hour a day at the gym. So my fitness routine should soon be on track. It is true, you know, what Coehello or SRK or whoever said – The Universe does look out for you if you want something with full shiddat.

What’s more my evening walks are beginning to make me happy. The nights are turning cool with the monsoon expected any day now. The days when the wind Gods are happy it’s an absolute delight to be out in the open with my iPod. Most importantly I get to switch off for those thirty or forty minutes from the chaos up at home.

While on fitness – I’d love some help on healthy salad recipes. Do leave them in the comments. Any other happy low-fat diet ideas would be great too.

Linking up with Shilpa and Bellybytes for #FlavoursomeTuesday. 

Vacations, train travel and other happy things

Vacations, train travel and other happy things

April is the fastest moving month of the year for us because it has so much crammed into it. It begins with exams, moves ahead with results and ends with travel and vacations. Quite perfect actually. And so it was that I didn’t quite notice how it crept up upon us and was over before I knew.

There’s a lot to be grateful for this past month.

First things first, the children’s exam results. They were my top worry for months together and I am glad and so very grateful for the way they turned out. The kids weren’t top of the class but they were pretty much what I’d expected, even better maybe. I always worry that I don’t worry enough, that I don’t push the children enough so it’s kind of reassuring to know that it’s alright, that we’re doing fine. So very grateful for that.

The most interesting bit is that N maxed her Art exam while H scored the highest in Science. Seriously, these two couldn’t have been more different!

The other highlight of the month was our 20-hour train journey from Pune to Delhi. It’s a whole different kind of wonderful to share a bit of your childhood with your children and to watch them enjoy it just as you did.

Trains were a very happy part of my childhood, perhaps because travel back when we were children was ever so rare. We’d squabble for the window seat, gaze for hours at fields golden with wheat or dotted with neat bundles after it had been harvested, we’d twist our necks trying to follow the trees that rushed by, we’d wait  for every hawker who came by, begging for a paper cone of bhel or peanuts.

I am glad to say that not much has changed.

Despite the fact that the children had carried along their tabs they did pretty much all what we used to. They went around inspecting the compartment, hung up their rucksacks on the hooks by their berths, spread out their sheets and blankets and settled down quite happily. The welcome tetrapack of juice was all it took for them to become Indian Railway fans. The feeling was only strengthened as lunch and snacks arrived at periodic intervals. When ice cream was served as dessert, they were completely sold over.

We read, talked, played word games and worked on N’s story. It was such a happy day.

The next five days in Delhi were completely relaxing. We managed to visit Kidzania which was a long-pending tick on the children’s list of fun-things-to-do. Although they were a wee bit grown up for the experience, they had a good time. I strongly recommend it for all children. Do try to visit it, there’s one in Mumbai too. The best bit is that it is extremely parent-friendly. I loved the super comfortable parents’ lounge. I ordered in a masala chai and ‘lounged’ on one of the huge sofas with my kindle, leaving the children to do their own thing. Those were happy five hours for all of us.

And now we were in Lucknow. I have so very many things to be grateful for here that I need a whole post, or maybe a bunch of posts.

Is there anything better than being in a place filled with family, friends and the happiest memories you’ve ever made? Click To Tweet

This new month promises to be wonderful.

*********

Linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle

The exam checklist

The exam checklist

We’re almost done with the children’s exams – three whole weeks of crazy days. Each small windows of free time that I’ve had has been taken up by housework since the maid has been playing hooky since the day before exams. But the mandatory exam-post needs to be done.

You remember the one I did during the last spell ? Well here I am again.

Exams affect different people in different ways.

Each exam time I find my children changing in interesting ways.

This year they turned into authors.

Their creative juices are in full flow. The only catch is those juices are directed in every directions except towards their books. They have both decided that being a writer is their calling after all and have started work on their debut novels. The daughter is writing a book on an Indian girl who strikes up a friendship with an English Girl. She informed me today that she has written 1021 words over the last two days. She just might finish her novel by the time exams are through.

H’s masterpiece looks vaguely like Rick Riordon’s work, only in an Indian context. The Gods and goddesses have names that are part Indian part Australian (since they have Australia as part of their syllabus, in excruciating detail). One of them, I clearly remember, is called Yirdaki,

Meanwhile I have turned into a queen of confiscation.

I have currently, in my possession

Sponge balls – 3 nos
Rubix cube – 1 no
Tub of slime – 1, small
Water colours – 7 bottles
Nail paints – 6 bottles
Toy dinosaurs – 2 nos
Fidget Spinners – 2 nos
Guns – 2nos

I’m fast running out of space to hide away all the confiscated items. And if you’re beginning to feel sorry for the children, Don’t, for toys are mere props to their rich imagination. They are currently in the process of fine-tuning an adventure sport that involves jumping from one bed to the other because the space in between is a volcanic field covered with ‘bubbling lava’ visible of course, to their eyes only. I’m not sure how long their Pepperfry particle board beds will bear the onslaught. The way they jump and clamber, even my grandma’s teak would have groaned and died.

Other things that have kept the twins busy are as follows:

H has discovered a new shop of ‘imported chocolates’ in the neighbourhood (Where on earth do they get their information from?).

Also, as he very proudly informed me, he is fourth in the world in some online game he plays where he, quite darkly, calls himself ‘Death’.

The other day as I settled down with a book he jammed his fist in my armpit. As I straightened after picking up the book I had dropped, he explained, “I read that children resemble their parents in six aspects – colour of hair, colour of eyes, smell of armpit…. (I forget the other three) so I was checking whether the theory was true. He proceeded to thrust his other fist in his own armpit and then sniffed at both his hands, nodding in agreement.

QED

N has found a way to make coloured slime (resulting in a coloured bathroom sink everyday) and is now in the process of adding glitter to it so she can patent her own glitter slime. She got pretty offended when I refused to believe that she could continue to study with ‘full focus’ while kneading that bit of slimy dough.

Even as I write this they’re deep in planning their after-exam social calendar which is chock-a-block with lunches, dinners and rendezvous at Ice Cream parlours.

I’m off then, to sort my TBR list.

Happy days ahead.

Meet me on Instagram @obsessivemom06

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