Monday, August 29, 2016

A little more sensible talking and a little less sensitive listening

I have always been a big fan of animation movies. It does take us into the world of kids and definitely its more peaceful than the world of adults.

I remember watching the Disney movie Bambi as a kid. I also recall feeling terribly sorry and sad when the hunters attack the forest and kill Bambi's mother. Another scene that comes to my mind simultaneously is one from a dubbed Asian movie that I watched as a kid again. This one I dont remember the name, what original language it was in, the actors , the story;Nothing!- All blank. The only thing I remember is the guy telling his girlfriend that his favorite movie is Bambi and that he has watched it 14 times. Why has this stuck on to my memory like it accidentally stepped on some chewing gum? No idea! Maybe the idea of an adult watching an animated move 14 times fascinated me?

I had quite forgotten the detailed scenes from Bambi till I watched it again with my son last year. There is one character who has become my favorite now. Its a little rabbit called Thumper. There is one important lesson Thumper's mom teaches him.

Quite simple and straightforward. But its one advice that can mend a lot of things in the world and in our lives.

We tend to get insensitive about what we say about others which has its roots in lack of empathy.
We tend to get oversensitive about what others say of us which has its roots in ego and maybe stress.

The great Tamil work Tirukkural , a literary wonder capturing almost every facet of life in beautifully coined couplets has a line

தீயினால் சுட்ட புண் உள்ளாறும் ஆறாதே நாவினால் சுட்ட வடு 
Theeyinaal sutta pun ullaarum aarathey naavinaal sutta vadu

A wound caused by fire may heal but never will a wound burnt by a tongue.

A lot of arguments and fights happen, especially in families and social circles, about what someone said during a conflict, rather than the conflict itself.  I think the solution is to just swap the intensity of our sensitivity. We need to be more sensitive about what we say of others and less sensitive towards what others say about us. I don't mean to say to project deaf ears when someone gives us good advise or tries to correct something. If something is said purely with the intent of causing hurt, it could be best ignored.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Getting ready for a photoshoot at school

My little girl is two and a half now and goes to a nearby playgroup for two hours.

On Thursday they were supposed to have a group photo taken.

I decided that I should get her impeccably dressed and ready for the photo shoot. (We mothers of girls are always at it aren't we! )

Well I was busy with something in the morning and the husband was glued to his laptop. Anyone with a toddler will vouch for the fact that a silent house is a most dangerous one. The silence ignited a doubt in me and I went to check. My darling had helped herself to my kajal stick on the dressing table and was now in the bathroom trying to wash herself. Her hands were black, her dress had patches of kajal. The toilet bowl had tiny handprints of kajal all over it. Above everything else, she had smeared it all over her face. I had a mini visitor from some tribal groups in Lakshadweep standing and grinning at me in my bathroom, soot all over her charming face.

After the initial gasp of utter shock I set about cleaning her up. I applied coconut oil all over her to dissolve the stickiness and then gave her a good bath.

She was roaming around the house while I was busy in the kitchen. After sometime she came running to me, this time covered in white all over. Oh dear! Who asked me to leave the curd on the table!

I normally give her a small bindi with eyeliner. As we set off finally she said "I don't want water bottle" and proceeded to remove the bottle that was hanging around her neck. In the process she smudged the bindi and had a huge black line all the way across her tiny forehead. Thankfully I had wet wipes and I quickly went about setting things right.

Finally when we reached school she tripped and fell down. She was not hurt but crumpled the uniform I had ironed with care and the tucked in shirt came out.

Nevertheless I smoothed it out , tucked it back and sent her inside the playgroup.

At the end of it all no photoshoot happened that day. It got cancelled!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Soup, the good old appetizer

I remember writing some post before about a topic that came to my head just like that, Bhindi.

My son has been saying that he wants soup today and hence my next post is going to be about , Soup!

I remember we had a Management course in college where the professor used to say , "In India we say we drink soup because its always a liquid here and in fact is served in cups on trains. But in other countries it has a lot of things like vegetables, meat etc and they say they eat soup not drink it" .

Its become customary starting any dinner with soup as it is supposed to be a good appetizer. But consider the gluttony all of us indulge at treats with friends or eating outside, does one really need an appetizer? What we actually need is an antacid at the end of the meal.

I remember going to restaurants with my dad and he loved adding all the sauces placed on the table into his soup. My mom would insist that those would actually shadow the whole taste of the soup and I think she was right. Of course every person has a basic birth right to eat what he wants to , the way he thinks is right!

He would also panic whenever I added salt to my soup assuming that I was mistaking it for pepper. Once he did not and the lid of the salt shaker actually fell into my soup. Of course along with its entire contents making my soup not at all consumable and an expression of "See this is why you need to be careful" on my darling dads face.

We once went to a restaurant , just me and my dad. The soup was obnoxiously spicy. Without realizing that he proceeded with his usual ritual of adding all the sauces including chilly sauce. The moment he put the first spoon in his mouth, his eyes welled up .  My poor dad! I remember how he did not want to waste what had been ordered and painstakingly somehow tried to finish it.

These days I see so many peddlers outside parks selling soups early in the morning. Somehow the word soup is associated with health conscious or sick people and so we have a variety of soups using all the traditional herbs meant to be good for the body.

I love trying different kinds of soups at restaurants and my favorite is Sweet Corn Vegetable soup. My kids love tomato soup or Tamatar Ka Shorba as its called in Tandoori restaurants.

Well thats not a bad post I guess. So what memories does the word 'soup' kindle in you?

Monday, May 9, 2016

Being fat invokes teasing

During my teens and early twenties I used to be an overweight person. Well there are those whose metabolism makes sure that any food they consume is converted to 100% energy even if they don't spend any of it. Unfortunately I did not belong to that group.

Being overweight is one thing. The amount of teasing and bullying that happens on that account is another thing.

You are nicknamed idly or jumbo.

You sit on a chair and someone will make a joke that it might break.

You step on someones toe by mistake and they tell you they must have a fracture.

Coaches tell you that you do not need to play basketball. Your mere presence in the field would scare the opponents away.

You already look like an aunty. Who will marry you? someone says.

Of course the extremely lean ones also have their own share of woes. They are drumsticks or cluster beans. The wind will blow them away.

Who is perfect physically? But the fat ones or the lean ones are easy targets for everyone to have a good time. Usually they just laugh along and sometimes even make self deprecating jokes. Thats just to avoid being left out or shunned.

But you know what? It hurts. Really hurts. Especially when one is in their teens or young years with dreams just like everyone else. It makes one feel like a mole.

Yes one needs to do positive thinking, think about whats good about oneself, all is fine. But when someone else keeps teasing about this it shatters their self esteem.

Once in a while, a joke is okay. But there are those who tend to overdo it.

Of course looking at it from a bright side, it sometimes does give one the motivation to try hard and lose weight. The focus of course should be more on being healthy and staying active.

Next time you see someone making someone feel miserable by commenting about their physical features at least try not to join and laugh along. Someones feelings there are getting hurt real bad.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Silly things can make one happy! :)

There are some silly momentary things in life that can give us immense pleasure, excitement and a feeling of fun. It does not have to be a vacation to an exotic location or a big achievement in studies or work.

Like yesterday I got a new toothbrush. Just opening the pack and using it for the first time fills me with a childish excitement. What the heck! A toothbrush is a toothbrush....But unwrapping it in its pristine form and using it for the first time is fun, isn't it?The same does apply to taking a new bar of soap and using it for the first time! :D

When I buy a new notebook and start writing on it, it feels good! Its like a symbolic representation of a new start, a fresh beginning with unlimited possibilities. The smell of fresh paper and the way the ink starts making forms and meanings on it is wonderful.

When the tube light becomes old and we replace it with a new one - Switch it on and Whoa! The world is suddenly much more brighter....

When we rearrange some shelf and once we are done with the task - the neat organized appearance definitely lifts our spirits a bit!

When you get something free with something that you buy....It could be a floor cleaner bottle free with a toilet is free for the customer...Those companies know this psychology and they make the best use of it...Buy 2 get 1 free, buy 1 get the other free, buy a tshirt get a cap , buy soap get shampoo, buy biscuits get a pencil..The list goes on ....They make sure to cater to the age group...As kids a miniature figure of a cartoon character or a simple sticker can make our day....Become adults and it needs to be more sensible though!

I remember the scene from a Tamil movie where the college going heroine is excited about a kaleidoscope that her neighboring little boy has. He refuses to show it to her and she goes to a very crowded market to get one for herself. The hero braves the crowd and manages to get her one and she gets super happy on getting it in her hands....

So what silly things make you happy?

Monday, February 29, 2016

Glasses, sunglasses!

I used to wear glasses some time back.Then I decided to sacrifice myself, as a practice specimen,  to the surgical skills of a local ophthalmologist. A LASIK surgery made sure I did not need them anymore. Boy! the first few days after a LASIK surgery is fun. Everything looks a lot brighter than before, and you can suddenly spot things really far away with an eagle vision.

I think I have mentioned it in some of my earlier posts. A few hours after the surgery I had to spend without opening my eyes. I did an imaginary salute to the millions of blind people in this world who carry on with their lives depending on their senses and somehow fight against the odds.

Before that when I used to wear glasses, there were umpteen times I would place the spectacles somewhere in the house and search for them like mad.The amazing clarity in my vision would never remind the preoccupied me, that they were safely perched on the bridge of my nose and were now slightly sliding down towards the tip. Finally when I would look at the mirror casually while searching it would strike me! Eureka!!!

Last week I had been to the local florists. None of the flowers seemed bright and all the colors seemed really dull. That is when I realized that I was still wearing my sunglasses. The dark purple had tinted my entire vision as I was indoors now at the wet market and the dim lighting there did not warrant a pair of sunglasses at all. I removed them and Voila!! The flowers were beautiful.

I could not help getting philosophical. Many a time in life what we see may not be what actually is. We put on sunglasses of a specific perspective and then it becomes difficult to see reality as is. Sometimes we need to take a step back and check if we are wearing sunglasses after all. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Ladies Fingers and Gentlemans Toes

A few ideas had been stemming in my mind for my next blog post. Nothing seemed solid or interesting enough. Pondering over this, I was preparing good old vendaikkai a.k.a bhindi last Wednesday. I said to myself or rather to the hexagonal slices of the vegetable I was sauteing in my saucepan " If I am unable to think about anything else, my next post would be about you" . And so here I am , sitting and typing away about the good green vegetable.
By കാക്കര (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

I have always remembered the English name for the vegetable as ladies finger. I really cannot imagine my fingers shaped like a bhindi(Alright !Alright!who called you ladylike?? I hear it!!!) but I wonder what prompted anyone to give it that name.  It was during my visit to the US that I discovered that its referred to as okra in those parts.I was amused to find frozen versions of it in the freezers there. In fact ice is the only thing that we would freeze back at home. Who knew that vegetables could be frozen?

There is a technique to be applied, while picking this vegetable, that I learnt from my visits to the market with my parents. You had to hold the pointed end and try to snap it. If it breaks with ease, it is tender and good to go into the basket. If the stalk stubbornly holds on, its not okay. Good old vegetable vendors of the local market were absolutely fine with their customers going snap-snap-snap before deciding which lot to buy. In the neatly weighed and sealed-in-polythene bag versions that we find in today's supermarkets how on earth can we apply this trick?

My paternal uncle believed that bhindi was good at getting the grey cells to work and would request his mother to make vendaikkai poriyal  on the eve of his Maths exams. If Kelloggs or Maggi learn of this secret the next Oats released in the market would be in bhindi flavour.
"Be it Maths or Hindi, have a cup of Bhindi" the jingle would go.

Thinking of these points for this blog post I went through the items in the weekly vegetable bill. "Gentleman's Toe - 500g". My eyes rolled in full circles a couple of times and I set about finding out which vegetable had that name. Ladies may be first but the gentlemen would always compete. Go Google and Eureka, I found out! Thats another name for kovakkai or the ivy guard.I really like that vegetable though some believe that its more useful for cleaning slates and blackboards :D. A friend recently told me that she read somewhere that it has a detrimental effect on ones memory.  I have been eating it for quite some time and there are things I would like to do a Shift-Del in my memory but they stick on with vigor.
By Aravind Sivaraj (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Well be it ladies' fingers or gentleman's toes make sure the cook is good. Eat more vegetables. Have a healthy life ladies and gentlemen.