Blog-a-thon-The Last Day

First Reaction:
Yippeee!! Last day of the blogathon! πŸ˜€ I did it!

Second Reaction:
Whew! 31 days of continuous brain whacking for ideas.Finally, its done!

Third Reaction:
Wow! So many of us did it together and lived up to the promise despite having some hectic times everyday.

So Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! For those who did the Blogathon, for those who dropped by and commented and for those who did not join this blogathon but still posted everyday πŸ˜€ Awesome! *This* is exactly what kept me going when I was out of ideas or had a long day when I couldnt think of posting anything – the interest of the fellow bloggers πŸ™‚ Boy! Im glad though that I completed it and like everyone else who did this, I dont think I would be getting into another Blog-a-thon anytime in the near future again. I was also thinking maybe we should’ve done this in February – What say? 3 less posts to think of! Hehehe.

RM had asked me to put up links to everyone’s blogs who were doing this but I never actually got around to do it. So on the last day, here’s the links to all the blogs that wrote almost everyday (Atleast started to write everyday πŸ™‚ )- As part of this blog-a-thon or as NaBlaPoMo.

For your Reading Pleasure:

1.Seema
2.Smitha
3.RM
4.Summerscript
5.SnS
6.Ani
7.LF
8.Tharini
9.Deepthi
10.ChattyWren
11.Zarine
12.Pepper
13.Swaram

Finally, once again – One BIG Thank You! to all these blogging friends, feels great to be a part of such an awesome blogging community πŸ˜€

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People to Thank

There are so many people around us that we tend to take for granted. Those that help us on a daily basis. Those that just do their job and get going and we hardly thank them. Remember RMs series (I only linked one here)?

Today, I have a few people to thank, whom I would like to remember and hence this post for posterity:

1. My Current Maid: BhushaNa is her name. Very dedicated lady and very meticulous.Ever since the cook quit, I pray every morning that the maid doesnt take off too! Because that would be too much stress to handle first thing in the morning.
Very early on she confessed that she cannot draw a rangoli-so I just painted one in front of the house. But then, she isnt satisfied πŸ™‚ Every morning she draws a rangoli no matter the lines are all thick and there is no symmetry. This pongal she drew what she called sugarcane but it looked more like a snake to me and mom πŸ˜€ But I dont stop her-ours is the only house she works in and she does all her tasks slowly and quite clean too. Sometimes mom says that she needs to send her home as they would be getting late for work. Best of all-she doesnt crib incase I ask her to do a bit of extra cleaning or to scrape the coconut. * I hope I dont jinx it all by putting it here!*

2. The Auto Driver in the office-No, he doesnt help in anyway but he is there everyday for Chutku to see him and say good morning. He takes no offence when Chutku calls him Pattu and his auto as Toto the auto πŸ˜€ and lets Chutku touch the starter and answers all his questions patiently.

3. The Coffee maker at work – I wonder how he remembers everyone’s choices or is it only mine? He knows I like light coffee a bit more sweeter than what others have and an extra glass to cool the coffee-so I dont need to tell him anything. He just looks at me and keeps it ready making me feel like a celebrity πŸ˜€ Apparently he also knows Deepsi is my friend with whom I go for coffee and he gives her also the extra glass assuming Im with her. Coffee doesnt taste the same if its not made by him.

4. The Volvo bus drivers and conductors – who stop for me if they see me with Chutku, ensure I get a place to sit, dont start until I have settled down ensuring I dont loose my balance with him, even reduce the AC if requested. And putting up with his innumerable questions too incase we happen to sit anywhere near the driver!

5. The Caretakers at the daycare – Last but definitely not the least – They are my lifesavers. Some of them are as attached to Chutku as I am to him. They ensure that he is fed,make him sleep, give him medicine, scold me if I forget to keep something for him (especially some new clothes if there is a Bday celebration at the daycare), tell me to try new veggies and foods which might help improve his immunity and in general tease me that they will feed him non-veg to make him stroner πŸ™‚ I surely am more relaxed knowing he is here at the daycare than leaving him at home with mom/MIL.

A Weekday in My Life

Ani wrote this post on how her days are and she asked how here we manage. So thanks Ani, for giving fodder to this post πŸ™‚

5:30 am – Alarm ring. Snooze and doze for 5 extra mins. Up and finish bath by 6:00am. By the time I go down to the kitchen, mom is up by 5am and has kept the cooker. If its Chappathis that day-she would’ve evenΒ rolled them and kept ready for roasting (?) cooking. Somedays I take over if she has just started the rolling.

6:00 – 7:15 am – Multi tasking – cooking lunch and breakfast,cutting fruit for Chutku and packing and making milk and coffee. Somewhere in between I gulp down a glass of milk myself-heating chapatis in one hand, or stirring some subji. Plan what to send for snacks/which fruit to send – Im fussy about what I send in his dabba which takes considerable thinking-different fruit, different snack, different brkfast, different vegetable – all 5 days. No repeats in that week-that way I can ensure some amount of everything goes in and he wont get bored (Well, just my thinking).

7:15 – 7:30 – Chutku is up and ready – he wakes up at about 6:30 (rather woken up) and his Dad gets him ready and sends him down so he can get ready too. So when he comes down, I brush his teeth (or mom does) – its worth a mention because it takes a full 3-4 minutes to convince him to get it done. Then I rush up and get ready in whatever few mins left. Meanwhile the husband is ready, comes down, has his milk (sometimes when he knows I will take more than a couple mins, he even grabs a bit of TV or headlines in the paper), wears shoes and takes all the bags to keep the car out.

7:30 – 8:15/20 – Our travel time to work. Our ‘couple time’ our ‘family time’ and ourΒ  ‘chutku time’ too. We talk in general, talk toΒ  Chutku, make him say some random song/rhyme, identify alphabets on the bill boards or he shows us all the cars he knows, we fight-all of it. All the while the radio is switched on so we can catch up on some news or latest songs.

8:30 – 5:00/5:30/6:00 – At work-full time busy, some 1/2 hour time-catch up on the blogs though unfortunately I cant comment from work.

5:00/5:30/6:00 – 7:00 – Out of office and on the way home.If we are lucky, somedays we reach home by 6:30 else its usually 7PM by the time we get home. (If we get later than 7pm my BP Would have shot sky-high).This is mostly my time with Chutku-asking him what he did in the day care, what he wants for dinner, give him some chocolate, and read some book to him. Radio is on and hubby and I are both stressed out. Invariably an argument ensues if we try to have a conversation-so mostly its just time with Chutku.

Somedays if we are very lucky and return home by 6 or 6:30, I get time to have a cup of coffee and sit down to talk to my parents or play for sometime with the little fellow-precious moments that will help me sail through the next few days,smiling.

7:00 – 8:30 – Prepare Chappathis for dinner, knead dough, cut veggies, keep clothes for Chutku and me for the next day. Put clothes for washing. Get updates from my parents on how their day went. Sometimes talk to in-laws/friends/cousins/Aunts putting them on speaker (if Chutku allows). Meanwhile hubby or mom feeds dinner to Chutku and finish their own.

8:30-9:00 – I have my dinner parallely boiling his bottles for night milk and boiling milk. Once done, clean up the kitchen and wrap up for the day. Sometimes the hubby or mom also finish the kitchen cleanup if Chutku is still not sleepy or he’s playing with my Dad.

9:00-10:00Β – Talk to Chutku for a few mins, play around,make him do one last su-su and put night diaper (Yeah this needs mention too coz it takes nearly 10mins). In bed by 9:20. While he rolls around pulling my hand or my quilt to snuggle into, I read blog posts-comment, read my comments, check FB statuses somedays or just read whatever book Im currently reading.Somedays I get so engrossed in all this that it would be past 10:30 and the husband who would until then be reading himself or watching Friends on his laptop (his current obsession) or some cricket match in the living room will warn me of the time.

10:30 – Lights off in the Chutku household.

PS: As I write this, I realise how much I’ve begun to depend on Mom for so many things.

PPS: Sh*t, this is a scary thought. I need to again wean myself from this and learn how to manage all on my own in the next 2-3 months if they go back to their home.

Disclaimer: The husband’s involvement in the evening is assuming that he comes home on time with us-else all hubby tasks are quite obviously on my shoulders.

The Last Weekend of January

Was quite eventful. Nothing major but a lot of fun times and unexpected events.

Saturday – I had invited my friend, Chaddi-dost :-D, if I may say so, and her family for dinner on Saturday. She and I have been friends since I was 4yrs old and she was 6 yrs when they moved in as our neighbours. We would go out walking every evening discussing our crushes and school/college, friends everything until she got married. She was the first one to know about my love story too πŸ™‚ We used to go out as couples until we went to the US and then they went to the US too and then they were in Mumbai for a couple of years. Though they returned to Bangalore way back in May last year, somehow we could never make time to meet. She wanted to see our home and so I invited them for dinner. Whew! What a lot of preamble.

Now, knowing she would be watching the house and what I’ve cooked, I wanted everything to be the best πŸ™‚ My house cleaning started Friday night and the menu preparation too. To add to it-Mom and Dad went out of town and were to return only in time for dinner. Thankfully, hubby offered to take Chutku to his cricket practice in the morning – which was a blessing for me. I got a peaceful 3 hours while I made the sweet-Milkmaid Coconut laddo (which became a hit), cut and boiled veggies for the Bhaji, made masala for pudina peas pulav and kneaded the chappathi dough. Also, prepared rice and rasam for lunch while the husband got breakfast from hotel πŸ™‚ Later in the day, post breakfast, in-laws visited which gave me sometime to put up my blogpost and then I managed to take a quick nap with Chutku too in the afternoon.

My thought process was that they would only come by 7.30/8 pm so I started the actual making of bhaji and pulav only by 6.30 once the chappathis were made. I was so wrong with that assumption! My friend called at sharp 6.55pm saying they were very close and were at home byΒ  7PM. She, her hubby and their 6 yr old son whom I had met when he was born πŸ™‚ It was a fun 2.5 hrs. The husbands got along very well (which they always did), catching up on everybody and everything over the past 5yrs and then dinner on the dining table so that both the sons could also eat with us πŸ™‚ Chutku surprised me by finishing his 2 chappathis with no fuss-because he wanted to be ‘first’!! Their son S was a quite fellow who began to open up post dinner-showins us his Kung-Fu moves and talking about cars πŸ˜€ Thankfully the food was appreciated though I realised that there was no salt in the pulav :-O Blame it on the hurry and over-confidence 😦 to keep the cooker at 6:45! In my defence I only wanted to food to be hot… They left by 9:45pm and we caught another hour of Nach-Baliye on TV and then hit the bed. No, I didnt sleep-I wanted to finish the Marian Keyes novel-The Charming Man and I read until 1:45am. Only then did I get the sleep.

Sunday – There was absolutely no plans for this day. I wanted to go to Chitra Sante but then Seema sent me a link saying that it was on the 30th so I gave up all hopes. Unfortunately read in Sangi’s post that indeed Chitra Sante happened yesterday 😦 Well-no use crying over it now anyway…

Thanks to sleeping late, woke up only by 7.30 along with Chutku. Thankfully mom had already kept the cooker and ready to make Dosas. While they went out, the 3 of us lazed around and played for sometime waiting for my FIL to come home. Once he left, we had lunch and slept until 4.30. πŸ˜€ Suddenly, my parents suggested we go to Gandhi Bazaar where they planned to buy me a saree for their housewarming ceremony in Feb :-D. Quickly woke up the sleeping Chutku, had a hurried bath (yes! we were *that* lazy yesterday) and left by 6pm. By the time we finished shopping it was 7:15pm and I suggested that we eat Churmuri at Bugle rock since we had anyway gone that far – I MUST say here that its my favourite place to eat Churmuri (Nippat Bhel) and Tomato masala and pineapple masala and congress (groundnuts) masala. Yummmmm…. My mouth is watering even as I write this though we hogged on all this just last evening πŸ˜€ Close the dinner with Nandini Badam/Pista flavoured milk. The little fellow too enjoyed though I didnt want to feed him outside food! He ate a little, announced it was spicy, drank some water and asked for more! He also had the badam milk in ‘shtraaw’. Back home by 8:45pm and he insisted he wanted dinner too. So fed him some dinner watching Son of Sardar and were in bed by 10.00pm. In all a wonderful end to an unexpected Sunday πŸ˜€ A new saree and my fave food – what’s there to complain about?

Hobbies and Creativity

As a kid/teenager, I loved doing every other activity except study πŸ˜› So I would be the first one to accept projects during Dussera holidays or summer holidays or would be the first one to jump at a chance for singing/dancing during school days. I have wonderful memories of those times.

In middle school, we used to have a hobby class that I would enjoy. Croche, Knitting,Stitching-they used to teach these during the hobby classes and I would always begin them with full fervor. Only that I would loose interest very soon as I could never imagine what the end would look like. Invariably it would be my Granny, who was very artistic, who would finish these for me. I used to also attend summer classes-like Satin flower making at World Culture or some class in Bal Bhavan.

One thing that did catch my attention was painting. I could visualise how it would look in the end and would want to bring what is on my mind onto the paper. Not that I was ever very good at it-but that was always one hobby that I truly enjoyed and brought the project to closure. So, once I came to high-school and could ride the bi-cycle, Granny spoke to a relative who could teach me Nib-Painting. Boy! I had so much fun doing that Nib-Painting that I did one more and gave it to my aunt πŸ™‚ The same relative also told me how we could do glass painting by keeping the glass on top of any design we wanted and painting on the glass. I had seen a golden coloured Saraswati on a Calendar at a friend’s place that I borrowed and painted on glass. After that there was no looking back-I did quite a few glass paintings-because I always knew how the outcome would be, as I would tweek the painting to my liking though I would have a complete canvas under the glass. I would experiment with colours and it was always easy to wipe it off, if I was not happy. That was how I did a lot of Rajasthani paintings-I gifted them to my aunt, my doctor uncle, my Maama and took pride in seeing that they had all displayed it in their living rooms!

When the talk of our own home came up-I got into a frenzy. Did 2 rajasthani paintings thinking I will do a trio that can be hung on the stairs. Completed 2 and then got Pregnant-Full stop to all such stuff for nearly 3 years.

In November I had a cousin’s wedding and with all the blogging I do, I had seen some nice hand made stuff and I asked around if everyone in the family would use the money covers if I made them myself. I got a very enthusiastic “yes” and out came all my old paints, sketch pens, hand made papers and also lots of glitter glues and card making stock available in Itsy Bitsy πŸ˜€

By the time I finished making 10 of them-I was so excited that I made 10 more! πŸ˜€ and my cousin took them all away saying he would use them for all family functions going forward πŸ˜€Β  Now, I dont want to stop doing it, now, I’ve realised its a stress buster for me. It gives me joy to know that I created it.

So watch-out-Next post would be all about these stuff in pictures πŸ˜€

PS: Am trying to complete something for my parents’/Brother’s house warming ceremony and keeping my fingers crossed that I will complete it on time and it would be worth diplaying!

Eating out-Pre and Post Chuktu

How often do you eat out? once a week?Once a month?

I think we eat out atleast once a month-the husband and I. He loves eating out, he loves food-period. There was a time before Chutku when we used to go out very frequently. Say, mostly every other weekend. Parents would scold us that half our salary would go in eating out. We loved trying out new restaurants and new cuisine. People would call us up to ask where to eat given the occassion and crowd. We would go to a nice 5star hotel if we were celebrating something or we would even go eat yummy masala puri and paani puri at the corner gaadi on sat/sunday evening when we didnt have the mood to get ready and go out.

Post Chuktu-Full stop to eating out. Rather, during pregnancy when the doctor told me that my sugar levels are fluctuating and I need to be careful of what I eat-we stopped eating out. Once he came along there was just no way could do it. Initially because I was feeding him and he was colicky the doc specifically told me not to eat out/eat spicy food and then by the time I stopped feeding at 8months he was becoming more than a handful for us to enjoy a meal outside. He hated being tied to a high-chair,he would scream and bring the roof down and we couldnt leave him out of the high chair either.

Only recently, I guess from about 6 months back we have begun to go out again-and we are clever now πŸ™‚ We take both sets of parents or atleast one set of parents with us πŸ™‚ So while we eat atleast they take care of him. Also, he wants to experiment too-eat whatever we order. So, its getting quite better. Still we mostly prefer leaving him at home with grandparents while we go.

So, what we do? We leave him in the daycare these days πŸ™‚ Yeah – Daycare. One advantange of us working in the same Organisation is that we can escape for a quick lunch sometimes πŸ™‚ So the past week already we went out twice-now that the husband is a little relaxed he pesters that we eat out and try something new. And OMG! What options we have to explore now! We were surprised we hadnt heard of so many places and so near the office that too! Awesome food!

So, we’re going to do it more often (provided the wallet allows ofcourse). We had been to this place called Habanero (TexMex- awesome gaucamole), Herbs and Spices (Indian and Italian) and if nothing our very own Pizza Hut-yummmm. Plenty of north indian/south indian options too. We are slowly getting back to the groove now – yes its a little heavy on the pockets if we eat regularly so we think we can go out atleast once in 2 months and steal sometime for ourselves while the husband enjoys the food πŸ˜€ Yeah, I enjoy the time-off too.

Care to join? πŸ˜‰ But lets please not talk about the increasing waistline.

Driving a Car

How tough is it for someone who has driven a 2 wheeler for over 15yrs now? And someone who loves the speed and the power and freedom of driving one?

Let me admit-tough!

Years ago-maybe 7yrs now (much before my marriage) Dad sent brother and me to a driving school and insisted that we learn how to drive a car and also have a valid license.” You never know when you might need it” he said. So we did – both of us, took driving lessons and even took Dad on a round one day before we gave the driving exam and got the DLs. But, we did not buy a car right then.

Soon after, I got married and there was already a car here. My FIL drove, my husband drove-so there was never a requirement for me to drive or a necessity. Every weekend when I wanted to go out the husband would come with me. Now and then I would crib to my mother that I am not able to drive and she would pacify me saying “Dont bother, why do you want to become independent when your husband is willing to drive you around everywhere. Look at your Dad, he knows I can drive the 2-wheeler and never comes with me anywhere-you get time with your husband this way”. And I left it at that and never bothered again-It did make sense then.

What a big blunder that was-I realise now. An year ago when the husband was working late hours I began to take the office bus and get home and even then though, I did mention that I should practise driving, I never did. Now, again, the husband has begun to say that he will be late for some project and my worry is Chutku is not a small baby anymore. He throws terrible tantrums and cannot sit in one place for long, so it gets embarassing for me to take him back home in the office bus where people would grumble about the noise. I take him back home either by the volvo bus or sometimes call for a taxi or auto (both of which are expensive). I guess its time I start practising and driving again.

But Im afraid. Yes, Im scared now. I dont have that youthful confidence I had initially that its no big deal. I can never get when the clutch needs to be pressed, when the gear needs to be changed. Everytime I sit in the driving seat, even before I start, the husband’s instructions would’ve started – change gear now, leave a little clutch and press accelerator, you have to control the car with the clutch and accelerator only – dont use too much break to slow down – and I get confused and cant remember any of these instructions. Now that we have a bigger car, Im afraid I will not be able to see the left end of the car and might get into some ditch or the husband again saying “Look into the rear-view mirrors and then suddenly he screams look front” Huh?!! How can I look both places at once? By the end of 5 mins, I would be close to a nervous breakdown and the husband would have red eyes indicating his increase in BP levels. I just pull over and stop. Add to this, Chutku’s constant screams of “Amma driving beda!!” if I try to practice on the way home. Whew! Im close to giving up.

But, my ego isnt allowing me to accept defeat! I WANT to learn to drive! I KNOW I can do it! And no-I dont blame the husband either-knowing him, he’s trying to sincerely teach me so I stop cribbing about not being mobile enough and having to depend on him or public transport. ( Wait a min! On second thoughts-is he? Coz he knows once I learn, I will want to car every weekend and he will have to make his own arrangements to go play cricket?! Huh? πŸ˜‰ Hubby-if you’re reading this-I am going to question you today! ) But something is stopping me from taking that last step in insisting I begin to drive. A Co-sister recently bought an i10 and she’s loving it. She’s even willing to give me the car so I can practice and tells me that gear and clutch is not a problem at all as its automatic. But it would be wrong to borrow her car-what if I bang it somewhere!!

Sigh! How do I get rid of this mental block and start driving? All my friends have been very encouraging. They insist they have more confidence in me that I can do it and they all know how tough it gets for me to take Chuktu home alone-so driving would be a boon to me. As well as going out over the weekends to do my own stuff-now that the little fellow is also quite grown up-I can strap him to the car seat and take him around. Im dreaming about all the independence I can get and all the places I can go…I just need that one big shove from the back – someone willing to give me one?

Online Time Pass

Online no longer is just the laptop/desktop. We now even have all those Apps that can be downloaded on the smart phone for timepass.

Me- Blogs and Facebook – easy and interesting timepass options. Though FB has kinda become stale now and I hardly ever check it once a week though Im logged in through my phone at all times. Blogs totally hooked. I have to admit that I was so addicted to reading blogs at one time though I didnt comment much that I used to spend complete days catching up from their first post to the last like reading a novel and then from there jump to some other blog looking at the comments list. I would loose sleep so I could catch up. I would get completely involved. Then I realised this was going too far and for a couple of months decided to back away. I now tell myself that its ok if I dont read/comment every day and I can always catchup when I have a little bit of a free time. But that was beginning to become a vice.

I love reading/browsing the Interior decor’ and design blogs. Especially just before Navaratri,Diwali, Christmas and New Year. Awesome ideas – makes me want to try them out at home. That is the biggest timepass on the net for me when there isnt much work.

I used to read online novels too earlier, I think I can still do it. I would get as involved in it as I can with a real book. Another vice which I realised soon enough to curb before it became harmful!

Most of all-my best fantasy online-Browsing through exotic locations and countries and the 5 star hotels. And pestering the husband to see those links too πŸ™‚ I can drool over those pictures, read the history and plan an entire week’s trip including the costs and where to stay and what activities to do sitting right there at my desk. Away to dreamland πŸ˜€

Im sure you can now guess how much of browsing I must’ve done for that Europe trip? πŸ˜›

So what’s your online timepass?

Books on the bedside table

I wrote the previous post on the Mahabharatha books I read and now I thought will just put up all the books/Authors that I’ve read recently or are on my bedside table right now.

Marian Keyes – The Charming Man – My friend F picked this one up at the airport on the way to Hyderabad and said its a good read. So have just begun this and am already feeling its going slow.

The Promise by Danielle Steele-Remember the hindi movie ‘Yeh Waada Raha’? This is the story. Within a few pages I realised it was this story but still couldnt put it down. I need to admit I like Danielle Steele.

Truly Madly Manhattan by Nora Roberts – 2 novels M&B style-light and romantic read. I love reading such books before going to bed – gives me happy dreams πŸ˜‰

The Angel in the Dark – Tilly Bagshawe (Sidney Sheldon)-Starts off well but the suspense doesnt remain for long. About 40-50 pages into the book and you get to know the story. I picked this one up only because the story line was Sidney Sheldon’s

David Baldacci – husband is hooked to David Baldacci and everytime I run out of my books I pick one of these. Thrilling read and complete time pass.

The Secret Wishlist by Preeti Shenoy – I ordered this on Flipkart along with Ashok Banker’s Seeds of War. Ok-Ok read. Predictable storyline and very much on the surface of things. Doesnt actually go deep into any character and kind of seems frivolous.

Midnight’s children by Salman Rushdie – Borrowed it from Deepsi but she said that she couldnt read beyond a few pages and somehow I havent begun it either. Want to read atleast one of Salman Rushdie to see what the hoopla is all about – any inputs?

The Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh – Been wanting to read this for a long time and finally picked it up at blossoms a couple of weekends ago. Anyone read this?

The Time Traveller’s wife – Have been reading good reviews on this on the blogsphere (I think Bride put this up) and so I picked this up though Im yet to begin.

Books on the wishlist:

Ramesh Menon’s Ramayana
Ashok Banker’s Krishna Coriolis series
Couple of Nora Roberts latest both as Nora Roberts and as JD Robb ( I LOVE her Indeath mystery series) Unfortunately didnt get them in Blossoms and am planning to buy them on Flipkart.

What are you all reading?