Author: obsessivemom

Of Diwali Traditions Old and New

Of Diwali Traditions Old and New

Traditionally Diwali has always spelt A.C.T.I.V.I.T.Y since I was a child. We would get swept along on this tidal wave as the adults sat around budgeting, making lists, shopping for clothes and estimating the number of visitors.

Most of all I remember the food

My grandmas and my mother would get together along with the house help and cook up a storm in the kitchen. By the time Diwali came around, we’d have huge boxes full of all kinds of sweets and savouries that would last through the month.

We’d hang around the kitchen…

..pestering them for ‘something to do’, beyond the picking and carrying and fetching. Most often we were handed over forks or knives and we would sit happily pricking the mathris readying them for frying. Or we’d get to work on the gujhiyas cutting them with the help of moulds, getting out perfectly formed semi circles. The adults worked far more deftly without the moulds.

My favourite memory…

is that of my grandmother sitting out in the courtyard frying gujhiyas in a large kadhai (a wok) on a coal fire. My sister and I would hang out of the huge windows of our room that opened out into the courtyard. It was me more than my sister. Food never was quite her thing like it was mine. My grandmom would hand over one to me, its delicately flavoured khoa hot and runny. And I would happily risk burning my tongue as I’d bite into it. Nothing ever tasted quite as good.

After I got married..

..I tried my hand at making gujhiyas and it turned out an epic fail. Each one of them burst out into the oil spilling all their contents and effectively putting me off festive cooking. I didn’t much mind. All I did was go looking for the shop that sold the best ones (by that I meant the ones closest to the kind my mom made). And that was how it was for many years.

However now, as the children are growing up, I am beginning to feel sorry for that lost tradition, among many others. I’m sorry they will never experience the bustle of a busy kitchen fragrant with festive smells, that they will never get to sample a hot gujhiya straight out of the kadhai. And I wonder if, in an attempt at simplifying the festival, I have taken away the essence of it.

In an attempt at simplifying Diwali have we taken away the essence of it? Click To Tweet

Perhaps I have. Could I have done it any other way? I’m not sure. Not as far as the cooking goes that’s certain, that really isn’t my forte.

We have however, set up our own traditions – clearing our cupboards, redoing the house, painting diyas, making rangolis, having our own small puja followed by visiting friends and neighbours. That’s not too bad I assume. The children, of course, have no idea what they’re missing, as for me, I still miss the ma ke haath ki gujhiyas.

Linking up with the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge #writebravely #writetribeproblogger

Confessions of a secret hoarder

Confessions of a secret hoarder

Didi yeh phek doon?’ (Shall I throw this?) queries the maid pointing at my stash of old jam jars. It’s Diwali and the cleaning frenzy is on.

Thanks to the children’s exams I have managed to turn a blind eye to it all. Each time my conscience knocked at the door nudging me towards cleaning, I quietened it with a self-righteous stare that said, ‘Can’t you see how stressed I am? Cleaning is so not a priority.’

Now with the exams over and done with and less than a week to go for Diwali, the knocking has turned rather insistent and I have nowhere to hide. My conscience stands right there staring at me, broom in one hand wash-cloth in the other. No matter how hard I try to hide behind my books and my laptop there’s no escaping her steely gaze.

Come Diwali my conscience stands staring at me, broom in one hand wash-cloth in the other. Click To Tweet

And then there’s my maid…
Somedays I feel sorry for her. She’s constantly puzzled with the things that classify as ‘DO NOT THROW’ in our house. Normally she turns a blind eye to our quirks and the things we hoard. However, with Diwali, she cannot seem to hold herself back. She has a conscience too after all.

For the past week, each day she has tackled a new part of my house dragging out things which she thinks need to be thrown – jam jars, used up tissue rolls, wine bottles, dried twigs, pine cones, big and small cardboard boxes, bits of coloured tiles and oddly shaped stones. And she asks me the same question over and over again ‘Didi yeh phek doon?’

The sane part of me says, ‘Yes, Yes Yes get rid of it all’ and then there’s this other part that says — ‘ooh that red stone’s the one we picked up at Vetal Tekdi, the day we spent an hour waiting for peacocks, it’s so pretty. I need those twigs we picked on our morning walks for that DIY project I’ve been planning for ages and the tissue rolls were to go into the making of a grand castle. As for the jam jars, they are such a DIYers delight, they certainly cannot be thrown.

So then, I fake a nonchalance I’m far from feeling, and I shake my head in a No, pretending not to see the maid’s incredulous look. She sighs in exasperation, satisfies herself with sweeping out the dust and replaces all my treasures where they’ll be safe till next year’s cleaning.

And now I must go for she’s at the shoe rack, picking out my favourite yellow canvas shoes, the ones that were gifted by my sister years ago, the ones I love to death even though they’re faded beyond recognition to a dull ochre. But they are such a perfect fit with not a scratch on them. I fully intend to refurbish them, paint them over and stencil them with a butterfly design – I’ve known the exact one for years now. I just haven’t gotten around to it. So ‘No’ I tell her before she can ask me that question yet again, ‘Wapas rakh do’ (put them back).

Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is not to glorify hoarding or procrastinating either, those are serious ailments of the mind, I understand that. The idea is:

One, to go soft on the children when I find them hoarding unexplained things. I’m sure it makes some kind of sense to them.

Two, maybe putting it out there will push me to some kind of action and I’ll put at least one of my DIY ideas in motion.

And lastly, maybe someday, years later, I stumble upon this post and if I still haven’t gotten around to painting those yellow shoes with that butterfly motif, maybe I’ll realise that I really need to throw them away.

 

Linking up with the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge #writebravely #writetribeproblogger

Candlelight dinners and other diversions

Candlelight dinners and other diversions

It’s that time of the year again when the twins start to dabble in all of their long-forgotten interests and hobbies. Nope, it isn’t vacation time – it’s exam time.

Remember this post I did last year?

Just as the exam dates drew close N decided she had to have a candle-light dinner…. at home, mercifully. She collected all the candles from around the house and lit them up, switched off all the lights and the three of us huddled around the dining table peering at our plates in semi-darkness.

If I ever complained that The Husband never asked me out for a candlelight dinner, this was the time to send out an apology. And a heartfelt thank-you to Thomas Edison. Seriously, candlelight dinners are over-rated. It’s worse if you’re in the middle of the monsoon season unless of course, you like your food seasoned with a bunch of fluttering moths.

So there I was, trying to figure out whether that black thing in my dal was a jeera or a keera, while thinking how soon I could get the children back to the study table without hurting N’s rather delicate feelings, which become even more fragile during exams.

H however, had no such compunctions. In true sibling tradition, he declared he hated the whole idea and went around the room switching on the lights while N ran after him switching them off. When I finally got them to sit down he resorted to saying things like, “I cannot see your Ffface’ and that he was too ‘Fffaar fffrom the light’ and that ‘we must never do this again in Fffture’ and kept blowing out the candles while N kept re-lighting them.

I gave up all hope of them studying that evening.

Then N decided she wanted to knit

For a long time she has been mildly fascinated with the idea of knitting. Now suddenly she wants knitting needles and also that I teach her how to go about it. I probably would have gone looking for the needles except I have no clue where to find them. Or for that matter how to teach her. Whoever knits these days?

.. and they’re ‘giffing’ 

I’m not sure that’s a real word but here’s how one goes about it – You pick a word or a phrase, couple it with an expression and repeat it over and over and over again till you drive everyone crazy. As if WhatsApp wasn’t bad enough I have real-life gifs walking around the house saying things like ‘Freedom, I want freedom!’

via GIPHY

..and they’re cooking up spells

They jump out from corners brandishing ‘wands’ and shouting out never-heard-before spells. ‘Magnifera Indica’ screams N and H replies with a ‘Triticum vulgare’, which sounded scarily like Valar Morghulis and I wondered where they’d heard that Game of Thrones line. As it turned out they were simply practicing scientific names of fruits and animals. Those  were mango and wheat respectively! Such a relief! Though the shouting still gets to me.

Finally, H decided he wanted to make comics

…to make science easy for other children,’ he said. All his comics have a rather grisly theme – an insectivorous plant-eating up an insect or a lion eating up a deer (I think) as part of a food chain. If he ever does want to take this up as a profession, he will certainly need an illustrator.

 

We’re at the fag end now and I’m hoping we’ll get through with my nerves intact. Keep the prayers coming.

 

Linking up with the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge #writebravely #writetribeproblogger

A happy sidekick

A happy sidekick

This past weekend I was demoted from my undisputed seat as the main villain to a very contented sidekick. But I’m getting ahead of myself – let me explain.

The children’s exams are in progress – they go on for three whole weeks. During all of that time, I transform into the main villain (or vamp, if you like to nitpick) of their lives.

With the long weekend, The Husband came home and rather unsuspectingly,  offered to help them with their Math, which he is quite good at.

Since he’s out most of the time he has no clue that being good at something and teaching that same something to two reluctant and distracted tweens who have much else going on in their lives and who do not have ‘exams’ in the top 10 or even 20 places of their priority list, are two very different things.

Anyhow not one to refuse a good thing when I see it, I handed over the reins to him with a heart full of gratitude.

It started off pretty well. The children were on their better behaviour and The Husband was all enthu too. However ten minutes into the lesson and N had already visited the washroom twice while H had his head stuck in the refrigerator complaining, ‘We never have anything interesting to eat’ – yeah, twice within ten minutes.

All the while the poor man sat twiddling his thumbs ready to walk them through their LCMs and HCFs, his enthusiasm waning rapidly. I could see where this was headed.

I hustled H back to the study table only to find he had no exercise book and his pen had run out of ink. Off he went looking for them.

Meanwhile, N was still in the washroom. ‘I think I have an upset stomach’, she announced when she finally stepped out, suspiciously redolent with talcum and cream, not at all looking like someone whose stomach wasn’t in perfect working order. When The Husband pointed out that she didn’t look unwell, she answered with profound wisdom that her stomach was not well on the inside. ‘It doesn’t show, you know,’ she explained.

H meanwhile had returned with a pen, which turned out to be N’s and if you have two children you’ll know where that is going. The LCM and HCF were quite forgotten as The Husband focussed on maintaining peace while clutching onto his fast evaporating patience.

I didn’t blame him one bit when the lid finally blew off. And at that exact moment I was displaced from my main villain’s seat and relegated to a sidekick’s place – a much-preferred sidekick with a very soft heart, I might add. Like a faithful sidekick, I thoroughly enjoyed adding my two bits here and there, ‘Listen to papa’, ‘Get your own pen, please’ and so on without raising my blood pressure one tiny notch.

Half an hour later, peace had descended, the children though sulking still, were getting along with their sums while The Husband begged me for a cup of tea because ‘his throat was all dry.’

I have to admit handling the children isn’t half as bad when one doesn’t have to do it himself/herself. In fact, it can be quite an enjoyable thing, funny even, if you’re watching the whole ‘performance’ from the sidelines.

 

PS: I didn’t even know I had a sadistic streak. I swear I had no clue till this weekend.

PSS: We still have another week to go, The Husband’s gone and I’m back in the main villain’s seat. Pray for me, please.

 

********

Linking up with the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge #writebravely #writetribeproblogger

 

and with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me #mg

Blogging challenges and a gratitude post

Blogging challenges and a gratitude post

I began blogging last month with a gratitude post and that seemed like a lucky omen. September turned out much better than August for the blog as well as for me. So here I am beginning a new month with another gratitude post hoping October will be even better.

Going through my last month’s post I realised how much more at peace I am now than I was then. I’m in a much better space – happier and more relaxed. What’s interesting is that there hasn’t really been any major change to make things better. In fact, since we’re in the middle of the children’s exams, I expected stress levels to rise. That that hasn’t happened is a small miracle in itself and it reinforces my faith in my favourite quote, Happiness is an Inside Job – that happiness often, has little to do with the things around us.

I’m not much for self-indulgent, psychoanalytical posts so without boring you to death with details of my weird flip-flop mental state, let me just say that while I still haven’t achieved the zen state I aspire to, I am just happier and so very grateful for that.

The uplifting of my spirits might be in part due to the love showered on my blog this past month. I had way more visitors than I normally do thanks to the My Friend Alexa Challenge which I was a part of. The first few days of the challenge I felt a little self-conscious, like someone who knew her house wasn’t in as good shape as she would have liked it to be and was expecting a deluge of visitors.

I wished I had the time to put up better posts, smarter stories and more creative pictures on the blog. I wished I could have tinkered with the layout, made it neater, more inviting. However, once I realised that wasn’t likely to happen with my crazy schedule and decided to go ahead and write just like I always do, things fell into place.

I focussed on my original aim of bringing discipline to my blogging, which I did. I managed to write nine posts in the month which is almost two times what I normally do. So I did complete the challenge successfully. That felt good. And, this might make sense to my blogger friends only, my Alexa Rank fell from 2,244,955 to 1,126,045, a drop of over a million!

I read scores of blogs as part of the challenge and discovered some fantastic ones which I shall be going back to. Huge thanks to the Blogchatter team for their tireless efforts to see us all to the finish line.

Encouraged by this success I jumped right into another one – The Write tribe pro-Blogger challenge. All of October, I shall be joining over a hundred Write Tribers and blogging twice a week, again. Sending out a note of thanks to Shilpa who egged me on to do this, over-riding all of my apprehensions. I remain grateful for friends who always come to my rescue when a blogging slump seems around the corner.

And dear reader, as always, your presence here is much cherished. Wish me luck and do drop by every Monday and Friday for a fresh post. The twins have been keeping me busy with their shenanigans and I have lots to tell.

 

Linking up with the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge #writebravely #writetribeproblogger

 

and also with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle

Meet me on Instagram @obsessivemom06

Load More
Something is wrong. Response takes too long or there is JS error. Press Ctrl+Shift+J or Cmd+Shift+J on a Mac.

RSS On my other blog

  • Two romances and some catching up
    So I woke up early this month, figuratively of course, to find that I was five books behind in my Goodreads Challenge. All through this year I had maintained a steady pace and kept a book or two ahead. But these last few months had been exceptionally trying and I lost touch. I was pretty […]