Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Navaratri seasons greetings...

Happy Dushera to everyone! I know I am late by a week.. But hey here the spirit of Dushera stays for a while.. How you ask? Through Garbha and Dandiya nights!

Growing up Dushera used to be a big festival just because my uncle owned a business and he would make it a grand celebration during Dushera. This festival used to be the one when we would buy expensive clothes. We used to get school break during this period, so we were able to enjoy with visiting aunts and cousins. Many of my friends would come over the puja too, so it would be excuse to see them during the break.

 I remember those days with (endless!! ) cleaning of all appliances, dusting the whole house, gearing up for Saraswati puja, cleaning our bicycles, scooter, kinetic, car… (Yeah, that’s why I said endless!!!! ) planning on the decoration of kaka’s office and workshop, helping to run around for last minute stuff.. The list will go on and on.. Weather is always beautiful around this time of the year in Bangalore. I remember finishing one ceremony at home, then to office, then to workshop… visit them, go there, come here…. Busy busy days.

After coming to US, everything suddenly stopped. All we did here was go to temple on Dushera and come back home. Also I realized it’s not a big festival for many, so everyone had a low key affair. Then I met my friend Frany. That year she insisted we all go to Garbha night arranged by Gujarati Samaj. I was dead against.. I have only seen garbha nights in the movies and in TV.. Never ever been to one in B’lore. On the other hand Yogi was a regular at Dandiya nights back in Mumbai. He has a big group of friends who would go often to Falguni Phatak’s concerts. So he was really excited. I kept cribbing up to that day saying that I have no idea how to do Garbha. Frany assured she would teach me when we get there.

Then I complained that I don’t have dress like them to wear for the dance, so I will skip. Frany had an answer to that too. She said I could borrow one of her ghagra & even jewellary to go with it. So eventually I gave up fighting and got dressed for that night. When we went there, there were quite a few people (probably around 50 on the dance floor) and many of them sitting around watching. Frany asked me to just follow her and try out the steps.. Voila, who knew I could actually follow her steps right behind.. Then as the night progressed, dance picked up… I noticed my son and hubby were dancing away in glory (this was back when I only had him), so I tried to keep on going at it. Steps started to become tougher, but thanks to my friend explaining each step and making me TRY it.

Then.. as they say rest is history….. Now I try NOT to miss the Garbha nights. I am not big fan of Dandiya, but I do enjoy Garbha more, coz of the graciousness and flow in that dance. Frany has moved away from here about three years back, I miss her everyday.. But terribly during Dushera time. We haven’t stopped going to Garbha though. I have to admit I thoroughly enjoy playing garbha (then whole night put hot compressor on the legs! Aha what fun! Sometimes I can’t even feel them!). And now Dushera has become Garbha nights for me. I still love this festival of Navaratri where you celebrate the power of women depicted through various Goddesses. And now I do have added joy during this festival.

Hope you all had a great Navaratri/ Dhashera!! :o)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Her little conversations..

I have always heard and seen that most of the girls talk more than any boys would do. My 2 year is turning to be one.. It is very cute to hear her go on and on and on about something. When we go out for a walk, the whole of the stretch, she keeps talking about whole lot of things. About our trip, day at her school, food, teacher, something that she heard about.. Topics are endless. Funny thing is when I pick her up from her day care, as soon as I start the car, she tells me that she had a good day and then continues to say what she had for lunch and whether they went out for walk or not! All this, without me asking a single question. This is because, we have asked her all these questions before and now before we even ask, she gives out the answers. Of course then she puts her two yummy fingers in the mouth and sits watching outside.

 I didn’t know that she knows her route so well, until one day for the first time there was a long traffic jam on the road that turns to her school road. So thinking quickly I pulled into the strip mall on my right, which would open on the other side, avoiding all the traffic. My little one sat straight in her seat and asked, “Where are you taking me Mamma? We are not going to school?” And here I was thinking she wouldn’t even notice a short cut!!!

I started to write this post to actually write about her imaginary talk with her dad. Saturday nights are reserved for family night. So, kids get to sleep in our bedroom. We hadn’t told about this to the little one, coz we knew that if she would get to know about it, she would want to sleep everyday with us (which she does anyway, after midnight!) But once she found out that her brother sleeps on Saturday’s, she joined the ride too.

Last weekend they came over on Saturday, then on Sunday coz there was thunderstorm outside.. So come Monday night both kids started telling that they want to sleep with us that night too. After telling my son no, he understood and kept quiet. I took my little one upstairs to get her ready for bed. Before that I took her to our bathroom to cut her nails. Following me quietly, she said, “Mommy, are you letting me sleep in your room today? Please say yes?”. I smiled and said “No, it’s not Saturday right?” Then I got busy cutting her nails.

She pretended to pick up an imaginary phone and pretended to call her daddy (who was downstairs & had no idea what was going on upstairs). Here is the imaginary conversation she had….

“Hi, Daddy!”
“I am gooood. Ummm.”
“Daddyyyy, Is today Saturday?”
“Ok. But can I sleep in your room?”
“Please say yes. Yeahhh.. I know it’s not Saturday, but can I sleep in your room?”
(--- At this point I almost start to think she is REALLY talking to her dad and he's telling her No)
“Ummmmm, :( (with her sad face) okaaayyyyyy.”
“Bye, Daddy.”

Then she hangs up the imaginary phone and turns to astonished me, sitting with my mouth and eyes wide open, says “Daddy said, I can sleep in your room. *grin*” I shake myself out of this imaginary conversation, and say, “But I heard Daddy, and he said no.” (Well, I started to hear things now!! )
She stands up, shakes her hands and head and says “Oh, Maaaan!!!!” and stomps out. I start laughing my hearts out at this point! I just couldn’t imagine how she did that… One way conversation and also trying to get her things her way!.. She just cracks me up.

It’s funny to hear her imaginary conversations which she does all the time. But this one stood out the most for me. She is my darling!. Oh wait, I can’t say that in front of her. Coz whenever while cuddling her I say anything that starts with “ You are my…….. “, ex. “You are my doll!” She stops me by signing her hand in front of me. Then continues to say, “I am pappa’s doll, dada’s (her brother) doll aaand mommy’s doll. “ Geesh!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Our lake adventure

This Labor Day weekend we planned a trip with our friends to Lake Of Ozark’s. I have never been there before even though we lived here for more than 8 years. So hubby thought it’s high time he takes me there. Guys started looking to book the hotels. Both of them were on the phone for almost 3 hours, only to find out that it was booked for wrong weekend! J Well, after trying for a week they were able to shift to the correct weekend.

I looked at the two routes that we were able to take and one was passing through Jefferson City. Capital of State of Missouri. So we decided to take that route and make a pit stop to see the capitol. By the time we reached Jefferson City it was almost noon, so wanted to look for the food joint first. But as soon as we took off the bridge we came right in front of the Capitol. I am asking my friend to look for directions and she was busy clicking pictures. :o) At last we found there were quite a few joints just a block away, parked and relished on the sandwiches. Walked over to Capitol, even though we couldn’t go inside, just enjoyed the building architecture from outside and left for Ozark’s.

Fun fact about Ozark: Lake of Ozark’s is not really a lake to begin with. It’s a large reservoir created by impounding the Osage River. The lake has a serpentine shape to it and is nicknamed “The Magic Dragon”. Aerial view picture from wikepedia -

Our hotel was right by the bridge, with a beautiful view of the lake. After a good nap, we let the men handle 4 kids and went on shopping trip at the outlet mall. It was a fun girl time for both of us. Kids had as much fun at the bumper carts and then diving in the pool, topped with the hot tub. After having dinner we all crashed out for next day’s parasailing adventure.

Highlight of the whole trip was my little dare devil!! My 2 year old baby girl decided she would do Para-sailing with us. I tried to talk her out of it, but she was adamant that she would come with us “Flying”! Son backed out and we thought it was good decision after we went up… Coz there was no way to signal us down if we wanted to.!!!

It was a beautiful view up above.. Sitting up there I was wishing I had a camera with Me to capture that view.! As soon as we went up though, my daughter (who was tied so that she could be in front of me) started calling me softly, saying.. “Mommy can we go down now?” I told her we will be done soon and started showing her boats, bikes, houses, trees, and even birds. I had started to get worried that she might be feeling the same queasiness that I was feeling in me. We just had breakfast and had come over there! But she held on. She did not cry, her face showed she was little scared initially. Then I asked her to close her eyes whenever she felt scared. So I watched her close her eyes in between and then open it to see outside.

They made us take two dips in the water. We had asked to just soak our feet.. That was the fun part! The bad experience of parasailing was their photo package. We told them at the beginning that we didn’t want to take the camera, so we would be buying their package. When we came back home and checked, it was very bad.. Pictures were blurry, not in focus, too far out. So be careful when you would buy any pictures. View first before you pay for it!

Next day we rented boat and took it for a spin on the lake. Though all the kids took turn to sit with us to actually ride the boats, two kids couldn’t handle the ride, we came back half an hour early. The ride itself was fun. Hubbies kept trying to ride it faster and kids would scream at them to give the control to mommies. Eventually kids voted that I should take the control, coz I was the safest. ;o)

Disappointment: After getting instructions from local restaurant and driving 15 miles on inside roads, ended up at Osage State Park rather than Osage beach. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the beautiful evening by the lake. Kids got to do their daring acrobats on monkey bars!

Honorary mention: Hubbies who kept losing their way ALL THE TIME. :o) We had to take two vans since none of us had an eight setter. We girls and hubbies drove separately, exchanging the vans depending upon who is driving. Hubbies kept losing their way even when they were following us! If we were with kids, kids would always ask, "where is Pappa going?" Classic one – While coming back one night, we stopped near our hotel to make a left turn. They were right in front of us; suddenly they get into the previous parking lot rather than the correct one! We both were laughing so hard after that.

Overall, it was a great outing with perfect weather and company!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My baby turned 8!

Yeah! He turned eight this August. When I look back at all those years, I wonder how fast they went. I know I might probably say this every year going forward, but that’s how it feels… On every birthday I wrote for him in his book, about how his year was. But last two years, I have become too busy or lazy to write them down for him. That’s why I thought of typing up over here. It’s always easy for me to type than write. ;o)

~ Still a charmer. One smile melts anyone’s heart.
~ Still says he’s Mamma’s boy (I love you too baby ;-))
~ Had a hard time coping with the weather extremities we had (From snow storms, thunderstorms, tornedoes, high winds to high temperatures!) in this year.
~ Gets on my nerves faster than anything
~ Deaf to his name! (So much so that even his sister has started to call out for him in the same tone as us!)
~ Loves his sister, but have learned to give her trouble.
~ One fine day wanted to start Piano lessons again. And he’s doing wonderful with the new teacher. His memory still amazes me! He can memorize his pieces so quickly. We were proud each time at his piano recitals. He tested at the Junior Federation Festival and received Superior and his first blue ribbon!
~ Willingly went back to Tae Kwando and he has promised he will bring his Mamma a black belt one day. Mamma is waiting for his yellow belt for now.
~ Did his first swimming with Dolphins this year when we went to Cancun! So proud that he tried it and didn’t give up even though he was in freezing cold water.
~ Mommy tried a boys sleepover party for his 8th birthday! It was a great success, but I don't think I will have that theme again though!
~ Some favorite’s songs this year have been ‘Zoobi Doobi’, Songs from Kismet Konnection, ‘Sheila ki Jawaani’, ‘Dinka Chika’. Loves Soft and hard rock music & enjoys American Idol with Mamma.

And of course Dad wrote for him too in the book. Now that he didn’t do that part, I today asked him to write too. ;o) Here’s his part (He wrote after reading mine, so my guess is he didn’t wanted to repeat some of the proud moments of ours)
Experts from dad’s email à
~ Continues to easily get distracted. Not sure if he needs to be maturing more at his age. Example he prefers playing with younger kids and peers who act silly, funny or laugh.
~ Sometimes seem to hog all the attention from parents especially when his sister is there. Could be vitamin “J”
~ Surprisingly he shows good behavior when mom needs it and I am travelling for work
~ Has gotten better in eating by himself and enjoying his activities like summer camp at Andrews.
~ Much better language of Konkani than before, thanks for granny too for this.
~ Additionally understanding Hindi too J as mom found out when he interrupted our conversation in Hindi to give his inputs!
~ Struggles to comprehend when he reads and does not like writing due to fine motor challenges
~ We as parents are learning to be compassionate after reading the books on child with sensory challenges.

We sincerely hope God gives you the strength and will to fight your way to success son à love Dad & Mom

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mindless Looting..

London has been on the news last two days for wrong reasons.. There is looting going on everywhere. Whenever any riots happen usually they just need a mindless trigger. In London, the trigger was a man killed by a police officer. People gathered to first to ask for justice. But it all has soon snowballed into this riots for past three days. I am sure many of the rioters even know what has happened! All they want to do is get as much as bounty as possible in all this commotion. There were many businesses that were gutted down by the arsenic attacks.

The pictures released by police show men and women alike joining in the lootings. They are breaking into jewelry, cash, electronic shops, looting whatever they can find.. There are images of people sneaking into these shops after the looters have left, and continuing to loot some more.!

Walking down the street must be a nightmare to commoner. Even when two innocent people walk past each other, they must be thinking the other could hurt them. No trust anywhere, reminds me of the scene from oscar winning movie Crash, when a scared police officer gives a ride to young black man, kills the boy in an instant when he will be trying to show him that he too have the same angel figure in his pocket as the police officer. Londoners are going to take a long time from now on to trust the person walking next to them.

I saw a video today with an injured kid being mugged.  Seriously!!! Initially from one person trying to help to get on his feet, to mug him situation, in a matter of seconds.. Sickening to see. Where on earth did empathy in people go? They all looked like dogs searching and fighting for scraps!!

Rioters are creating scare in people and not abiding to anything. I always believe in peace, but for their disorderly conduct, and absolutely non-excusable actions from these rioters, they need to be hunted down and punished.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Weighty issues

I read this article today on yahoo.
Funny that almost at the same time I was thinking about going on some kind of regime again to lose some weight. After reading this, oh well, I guess I don’t need to, coz I am going to get them back again anyway. :o)

Growing up everyone would exclaim how thin I was. Well you must have guessed what’s coming next…, you got it right, no one says that anymore. Not that I am on heavier side, [I stand 5’ 6½” and eh let’s just say am at the higher end of wt. for my height. I fluctuate between 12 to 8 dress sizes.] I have struggled with my weight for some time now.

I was skinny till my college days. Once I started working, all work and no play, made me start gaining weight. I could feel it on me, coz when I would smile I could feel my cheekbone area into my eyes.. :o). Then I travelled to Netherlands on work. Oh what a beautiful country it is! I would walk everywhere and only take train/ bus when needed. Came back 10 pounds lighter and I maintained that till I was married and had kids.

Here in US, there is hardly any workout involved in daily chores. They say the air too makes you put on weight! Well, I did smell that cheese pizza, could that be the fact that my scale shows 2 pounds more today?

Last year when we planned our trip to Cancun, I went to swim suit shopping. With only 7 weeks away from trip, I promised myself that I would try and loose at least 7 to 10 pounds before I leave. And as a matter of fact I did lose. I didn’t go on any diet plan or anything. It was just sticking to the plan and getting core strengthening exercise every alternate day.

I used to work out hard at the gym and never understood why my scale would stare back at me. Eventually realization dawned that if I hit the gym, I was also hitting the fridge more often, coz all that exercising made me hungry. So here is what I came up with.

- I literally stopped gym. Started only stretch and core strengthening routines.
- I made a plan that I have to eat small meals throughout the day.
- Nothing to eat after 6/ 7 PM [Ahhh, I used to be hungry before I go to bed.]
- Stick to home cooked food, no to any processed food.
- Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate with only H2O.

I stuck to my plan for 6 weeks, my plan did work.. But left size 6 me very very hungry at the Cancun beach. Where there was food, food and more food everywhere (our package was inclusive of food and drinks!!! Ehh)… By the time we came back, I was half way back up. Then there was my sudden surgery. Only good thing about that I lost quite a bit of weight for first few weeks. BUT, with doctors order I stopped exercising and remember the article I mentioned in the beginning? Yeah, I am back to square one.

So now to motivate me, I have started a food blog ( ) I want to list all the food that would probably easy to make and prbly the blog will motivate to do more cooking at home because I always keep experimenting and to keep my blog going I will try many more things. Also let’s see if I can get another event or trip to motivate me. May be for our next India trip…Hmmmmmm..

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Me, Trying to Judge Casey Anthony case...

Too much has been written and said about Casey Anthony case. I wanted to write my take on this. For the starters if you didn’t know about this case, you probably are not living in US and don’t watch CNN in your part of the world. Coz way too much coverage was given to this case over here that there is no way anyone would have missed it.

Caylee Anthony, a pretty 2 yr old went missing from her Florida home in 2008 and was only reported missing after whole 31 days by her grandmother (note – NOT mom). During that one month Caylee’s mother was seen partying all over the places. From what I have read, my opinion was that she was a young mother who didn’t really cared for this child. After finding the remains of little Caylee in a trash bag few miles from her mom’s house, Casey was arrested in murdering her little daughter.

I could never come to think of how could any mother kill her own flesh and blood? Now the verdict is out this week. She was acquitted of murder, but given around 4 years for lying to the police. Really???

Because of lack of evidence, Jury declared she was innocent. I do agree with that part. But she shouldn’t have gotten away with negligence and lack of responsibility as a mother for a safety of her child. She should be punished for beating around the bush all the time and keeping mum about the disappearance of her child. That does show that she DID know something had happened to Caylee. Whether she had hand in that or not, God only knows.

After I heard that Casey wants to adopt or have more children, I fell sick in my stomach to even think about the potential kids. We may never know the truth, but hopefully the guilty one gets the well deserved punishment.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy... WHAT!!

Few months back I was on a roll on my blog and had to take a sudden break coz of my health issues. It was the day of my daughter’s birthday party. I had a bowl of cereal in the morning and only a cup of orange juice. After late lunch at 3:00 and by all the exhaustion of the party, I started to feel sick and didn’t have my dinner. As we prepared kids for bedtime, I started getting severe abdominal pains. I took some acidity medicine and went to bed. But in the night at 3:00, I started to get worse and Yogi had to call doctor who lives next door. In snowy rain, he came over to see me and gave some medicine to help me sleep.

Next day was better, only to get worse by evening. My son, who was alone with me did not panic and was offering me whatever he thought dad would have given me. (I am sooo proud of my little boy) That evening my doctor drove us to the emergency and offered to keep the kids with them. After three shots of morphine my pain subsided, but I threw up as they were discharging me. So, they moved me to in-patient section to do more tests.

From then on started a long ride of tests. They knocked me out for an endoscopic evaluation of the stomach. First time I had anesthesia and it was so funny I thought. A second back I was talking to the nurse and then I woke up with pain in my throat (with that big pipe going down the throat). I thought gosh, I lost those hours of my life. Even in sleep I think you would feel you are very much THERE.. But this was kinda different.

Then eventually it was decided I need to have Laparoscopic cholecystectomy to remove my gallbladder because it was functioning low. So this surgeon walks in and says, Ms you need to have this surgery and we will be doing it tomorrow. I was like WHAT!!!! I said, I had this kinda of pain for the first time, do I need to jump into that big step. Next thing you know, this surgeon stands up, says, well, nice meeting you, it’s your decision and walks out.! I lay there wondering what I said was wrong! Anyways, after numerous other doctors consultation, talking to nurses, looking online (within 2 hrs) we made a decision to go ahead with the surgery late that night. I do still regret the fact that I went ahead with that same surgeon( after my doctor’s assurance that he was a good surgeon).

I asked Yogi that night to call my parents and friends to let them know about surgery. My parents call me at the hospital and start crying on the phone. I was little nervous till then, but consoling them gave me an amazing calmness and strength.

Next day early morning nurse comes in to tell me that within an hour they will come to take me to the OT. I call hubby and he says well we are all just waking up, by the time I drop kids and come over it will be around 10:00. So I will see you after the surgery. I say ok and keep the phone down. Then it dawned to me, well I am having surgery here and don’t have anyone by my side. So called back and told him to get to the hospital before 8:00, no matter how. . He did show up before I was wheeled out (Yeah, he loves me. ;o)). After surgery I had four tiny incisions in my stomach to remove the gall bladder.

Tons of friends came over with food for us. Some came over to keep my company till my MIL came from India. Yes, a special mention of my MIL, because the minute she knew I was having surgery and we needed her help, she made a decision to travel. She cannot speak or read English, but she said she would come over to help us. Luckily for us, one of our friend was travelling back and she joined her.

I have completely recovered now from all the stomach pains and stomach upsets. Hardest part for me was giving up lifting my little one. She cuddled next to me after I went back home after a week and said I missed you mommy. I had tears rolling down my eyes when I hugged them both. Now I realize how much woman of the house is important for a family. She needs to be strong and healthy, to take care of kids, family and their needs. This health scare has made me stronger emotionally. My friends have overwhelmed with their love. Hoping to have healthier days ahead of me now…

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A place called, Childhood

Today I was browsing through my sisters pictures. Both my elder sisters were in our native place for Vittai’s son Shamanth’s thread ceremony. Ofcourse, I and Vandu miss many such events now that we live far from India. The pictures captured them and kiddos having fun in beautiful konkan coastal area. It reminded me of our summer visits to those places.

My native place is Honnavar. I was born there at a small hospital that sits atop a hill. Honnavar lies on the coast of Arabian sea and on the banks of Sharavati river. It used to be seaport of British India. I remember that the mention of my little town in the history books had made me feel so proud.

We would go to native place every summer. Between the siblings of my parents we were atleast a dozen and counting kids. Early morning my grandma would lit up fire to heat the water for us all to take bath, then milk the cows. That smell of wood burning still lingers in my senses when I think about it. Feels like just yesterday when we would sometime wake up early and Aayi would ask me to go back to sleep so to rest some more and I would rather be awake and look at all the events unfolding in front of me. It feels like I was in a slow motion movie when I think about it. Everyone talking in soft voices not to wake up the little ones, soft chewing sound of the calf inside the house, call of the cow for its baby from outside, smell of breakfast and tea, somebody going to well to get water… Ummm.., I feel like I am in dreamland now!

Most of the evenings we would go to the beach to play. Even though it wasn’t the best of the beaches (coz mostly since it was a port there was lot of fisheries that would get their haul and sell) we loved playing in the sand, making sand castles, making ditches and covering them so others could fall into it.. We could go into water only from the other side to Kasargod beach, which would mean somebody should take around there on boat or drive around on bridge. Whenever we did go that side it was even more fun. By the time sun would set we would start walking back, so not to get scolding from everyone.

I remember days when I would tag along with my youngest aunt to her friends’ homes. Watching them I would always act as though I am one of them. I would tag along with my grandma to stores to buy things. When I was little older, I would walk alone to the store down the street for her. On those small streets where cyclist would come as though they own that road, moms would drag the kids away from trouble, ladies with nicely oiled and plated hair with flowers from the garden, girls with big colorful umbrellas, men walking hurriedly….. Our home compound entrance sat on a T-junction, so we could watch people whole day long if we sat outside on the side portico.

Can’t even start explaining the fun that we used to have at my mom’s native place Mirjan. Bang behind my grandpa’s house was a fort. Yes, a real fort. That time no one really cared about that and it was pretty much in shambles. About 15 yrs ago government has recognized it as national treasure and archeological dept sent over people to work on restoration. Now the fort looks much different from what it was before (for good though). The fort was always center of all our topics, wondering about the kings who lived there and how they might have vanished and if there were any ghosts living there. We would go there many a times looking for different kinds of fruits and flowers. There were times when I would have nightmares about it, but it was always my favorite place to visit.

One of the incidents I remember was when only we sisters along with my mom and her cousin went strolling inside. Uncle was very familiar with the place, so he was taking us through stair cases and to different parts of the fort. Then we stopped for some time to look around when we reached a big open area, with a big tree at the end. My second sister who got tired in the heat started walking toward s the tree to sit in the shade. It was almost like in the movie, my uncle ran and pulled her back and scolded her. We were all surprised to find out later that, that stone wall was actually the edge of well and not a seat under the tree. The tree itself had grown from inside the well, and it was soo shaded that with blinding sunshine it was hard to spot the well. I still think back and get chills.

Grandpa’s house itself was a trek for us to reach. The bus would only drop on the highway, and then we would walk atleast two miles inside to get to their house. My mom’s elder sister lived very close to the bus stop. So we would always stop at their house for refreshment or lunch and take some rest. My older cousins would lovingly give us their books to keep us occupied. I remember one hot summer day reaching there and passing out on a lazy chair under the fan!

Thought that the childhood fun was never ending. I feel sad now that I can’t go visit as often as I would before. Even visiting India is like on an itenary. Always feels rushed. When I remember those lazy summer days when we would jump into the water tank for hours, run outside in the rain, hold on to the other side of the manual grinder when mom is grinding spices for lunch, drink numerous tender coconut water, pluck & eat mangoes, jackfrutis, pick all sorts of nuts and try to roast them when Granny wasn’t looking, taking out a cleaning brush from the nook of kitchen and finding a snake sleeping behind, wandering in the garden for hours looking for God knows what!...... I feel a sense of calmness, as though everything has stopped around me and I am back where I always belonged.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day

Today is Women’s Day. Why does one celebrate Women’s Day? One day? They should be celebrated every day. ;o). But, on the serious note, I do get it. Why it’s needed and what’s the significance. Did you know that women perform two-thirds of the world’s work and produce half the world’s food, but earn just 10% of the income and own 1% of the property?

Just y’day I read in times of India about a woman, who is a social worker now, was buried alive when she was mere 16 days old by her father. Lucky for her, her grandfather rescued her and educated her. We hear so many cases like this day in and out. There is so much female fetus killing all over the world that it’s just unbelievable. I wish all the parents can be educated to open their eyes to this new era. Where women hold the highest posts and do impossible tasks, that there is no difference between man and woman. Many want boys so they carry the family name forward. Why can’t they see that if they get into bad things they will be spoiling the family name too? 

Today, I want to celebrate the women I grew up with. My mom was one of 6 girls and I am one of 4 girls. Our father’s played a great role in our lives and so as our mothers. My mom would talk about how my grandfather was struggling to meet ends and still wanted everyone to study and earn degrees. They lived in a remote village which didn’t had school or college. My mom was the only one to go beyond school and finish her degree in Arts. She got married 2 weeks before the finals, but gave her exam to earn her degree. My grandma as I knew her always had been very caring and no demanding kind of woman. Whenever we would go visit them, she would make this yummy food. She would keep fruits in attic especially for all her grand kids. I don’t remember much of my grandpa, but I have heard mom always say that he was a kind man.

Growing up when I would hear someone talk about how we are all girls and how difficult it would be for my parents with no boys, I would really get mad. But my parents never looked at us any different. They made sure we are well educated and well groomed. Always encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities. Now that we are all married off, we still share close bond with our parents. My parents have told us numerous times that if they had boys, there might not have been such a close relationship between us siblings.

My mom was a home maker. It is the toughest job in the world I think. I have tried, but I think it’s way too difficult. She would get up early to make breakfast, lunch boxes for us. Once we all leave, she would clean and prepare stuff for snacks. Our home used to be revolving door to many visitors too. So she had to always keep cooking for them. And then when one of us would be sick or something, she and dad would sit by us at nights. Even now, she has helped each one of us through our pregnancies. She just took over and all I had to do was just feed the baby.

Then, there are my sisters. My eldest sister Vittai is our confider, our mentor, beautician (She even did a course, but before that she would try stuff on us. ;o). She still reminds me how I would hate trying something different on my hair and once she is finished, I would like it and would NOT change till she would force me to. Yeah, I am painfully stubborn. LOL ), teacher (always ready to help us with our homework’s!), great singer, sister and above all a great mother (not only to her kids but us too). She is a teacher now. She found her way to that field, but I always knew she would make a great teacher.

My second sister, Sandhya has a heart of a child. Many times she is in her own world we would think, but she has always been there for us. She is very caring and I just admire how she has built her lovely family. We both have been more of friends than sisters (well, twin you could say, coz there were many people who couldn’t tell us apart!) I love her grace and simplicity. I wish I could be so simple and down to earth. ;o). What can I say about my little sister! She has been the baby of our home; we still treat her like one. Love her chirpiness, charisma, spontaneous-ness and care-free attitude. I always tried to boss her around, but she would always get away. She is the only MBA of our house and I am so proud of her.

Oh, how I miss seeing them all. But the distance between us has only made our hearts grow fonder for each other. They are just a call away and everything seems right when I am talking with them. Times when we get together pass on so quickly that I wish I could pause them and enjoy to the fullest.
Happy Women’s day to all of you and remember if there is no woman, there won’t be any man! Cheers to all those beautiful souls out there!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Experiments with nature..

The other day I bought some chicken-less strips from Trader Joe’s. I was wondering how they made it. They had wheat as one of the main ingredient and when I tasted I could distinguish it. It instantly took me back to my childhood though. What is the connection? Back in those days, my mom would never buy packaged flour. She mostly cleaned the whole grains, dried and then gave it to mill to powder them. Strain it and then use the fine powder. Whew!!! I don’t think I can EVER do that! Even till date, some of the things she still does the same way.

Ok, coming back to the grains, when she would put them to dry out in the sun, we would usually grab the fresh grains and eat them raw. She would scold us saying that it will give us tummy ache. But we wouldn’t listen. Once my sisters taught me how we can make chewing gum out of whole wheat. It was so cool. I can still smell those sun dried wheat grains and chewing on them carefully to make it like a chewing gum.

Then, there were summer days! We would look forward to going to native place every summer. All the cousins would meet up in my grandma’s house. There were countless games that we would make up and play. One of them was building up a house. I vaguely remember one of the summer. At my maternal grandparents house we had built a solid house. It was made up of all the heavy lumber that we could find. It had walls and roof made up of coconut tree branches. We all knew how to weave it to make it usable. If you have never seen or done this before this video gives a good training. :o)

They use these sheets to make temporary roofs. Every summer my grandma would call people to build the temporary roof in the summer, so that we kids can play outside and not feel the heat. Elders would let us try many times, so most of us knew how to do it.

Coming back to our games, then we had all these “pretend” utensils, which were made out of coconut shell, banana tree trunks etc. I remember there was a technique my cousins and sisters would use to make idli’s out of one type of leaves. We used to call it Ek paan (I think that’s what they used, if my sisters remember I will have to ask them) I tried finding the information online, but no luck. To make those idli’s they would churn those leaves and take the juice out. Put them in coconut half shell and leave it (prbaly overnight – again not sure). But what I do remember is the wonder of looking at that green thing (looking very very similar to Jello) and thinking WOW! That is soooo cool!

We then didn’t have any PS3’s or Wii’s. And I guess that’s the whole reason we used to try and think out of the box and come up with stuff. I miss that summer, sizzling hot days, when our experiments with nature would go on forever. I am sure my friends from more remote places would share similar experiences like this. Living in city you are mostly limited to what is available indoors and probably play games outside. But the village life exposes you to whole different kind of experience.

I love it even now when we get to go back (once in 2 or 3 years!). I can see the joy in my kids when they are there. Little one got to go only once. But she was in awe when she was watching all the animals around her. I re-live my childhood looking at them. Every time that we have been to native place with Ayush, he has hardly fallen sick (other than getting attacked by mosquitoes). His favorite thing is to hang around with his cousins and play with cow, buffalo, dogs, cats, chicken and look for monkeys. He has this naughty smile on his face all the time that tells me he is up to something. I don’t care what he is up to, coz I know that’s how he is going to explore and learn. Ahhh, I miss my childhood!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My mother tongue

Today I was at lunch and Yogi called. Listening to me talk my colleagues were commenting that they won’t be able to spy on what I talk, since they can’t understand it. I said, even if you would know my mother tongue, still they wouldn’t be able to decode since most of the time I tend to mix 3 languages when I am talking. But mostly we talk in our mother tongue Konkani. Then they asked me if I would do that while writing. I said we don’t have a script, it’s only spoken language. Most of them were surprised to hear that. They literally thought I was nuts. :o)

There are more than few hundreds of languages in India I think and many don’t have a script at all. Only the official languages get printed on the Indian currency rupees. I had to google to see how many are actually official. It currently stands on mere 18. Though only 15 languages are used to write the amount on the note. And I am delighted to say Konkani is Official language and it's used on the currency. Other languages used are Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu

You would ask, so how did they print it on currency? Konkani does not have its own script, so Devanagari is supposed to be the “Official” script. But most of us use the scripts of other languages native to where we grew up. Example, I would use Kannada as primary script to write while growing up. Yogi learnt, Marathi or Hindi which is native to Maharashtra.

This is what I picked up again on Wikipedia. Konkani is an Indo-Aryan language belonging to the Indo-European family of languages spoken in the Konkan coast of India. It has approximately 3.6 million speakers. Whoa!! I didn’t know that! Well, not wholly. Growing up I thought Konkani evolved from Dravidian language like most of the south Indian languages. But my dad used to tell me that it’s evolved from Aryans from north east part of the country. I used to wonder, how can a language belonging mostly in west southern part of India can evolve from north East part.

Konkani is an official language of state of Goa. It's language to many who reside on coastal Karnataka too. But each community speaks in their own dialects. We all have been there; where you get to know that the other person talks Konkani too and when you try to communicate in that language you realize, eh, let’s stick to Hindi or English. :o). Even there is a difference in a way I speak and Yogi uses the language. There are times when each one of us would say that what we were saying was right and not the way the other one was talking. Now we have given up and have accepted the way talk to each other. Though Yogi might not agree to this, coz time and again I tend to stop and correct him (to my way. LOL) The way you speak Konkani also depends upon where you grew up or where your parents are from.

Growing up I used to wonder how these spoken languages have survived all these years. I try and talk to my kids in Konkani, but being here, they tend to prefer English. Hope all the spoken languages survive the test of time. :o)
Each language is special in its own way. I think so of mine too. :o)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Birth dates..

Last week it was my birthday. It was a super fun day for me! My hubby made it all so special for me. I am pretty good with remembering dates and numbers. But after cell phones I am getting weaker in that dept by relying on the phone all the time. Birthdays have become easier with many using facebook now. So, I took off my birth date from FB the week before. ;o). Just wanted to see if I get any wishes. Well, my family, school, college friends remembered and few close ones, whom I know before FB days. Then I was telling that to Yogi that how FB has become a source for everyone, and he went and wrote on my wall to wish me. Of course, all the common friends between us can see this message and then people started writing. :o)

Got me thinking about how many co-incidences I have with birth dates. Coincidences as in the sense knowing the people who share the same birth dates. This post is going to be full of confusion if you don’t read it carefully. :o)

My son’s birthday is on the same date as my co-sister, my college friend, my prev neighbour’s daughter, Ayush’s buddy on the bus, a designer who helped us with our home and my favourite movie star Kajol. That designer, Tammy had an interesting birth dates in her family too. Between her three kids, hubby and her, they had birth dates one after the other ranging from 3 to 7. Three of them in same month of August and other two in June.

As my son shares his birthday with my engineering college friend Rashmi, another friend from same group, Thanu’s daughter Janu shares birthday with me. :o) I do know 2 more who share same birthday. Are you still here with me? LOL

I had met a mom and son at the temple on Feb 29th of the last leap year. They said it was both of their’s birthday! We were amused and she went on to add that even her mother or father (can’t remember) share the same Feb 29th. It is one of the rarest I think.!

When I was expecting Alya, there were 7 of us expecting in the neighbourhood. I was the one with first due date. I hadn’t decided on the name either. Day before I went in for C-section, I met my neighbor who was going in for her c-section the week after. After Alya was born, I checked my email to see that my neighbor had written our kids would be sharing b’day, since she is going in on the same day for emergency c-section. 5 days later, we realized that we even named our kids ALMOST the same. :o) Her daughter’s name is Alma. It’s funny how both have another trait of putting two fingers in the mouth!

Okay I won’t torture more with number games. But one more is interesting to end the post with. My sister and her daughter’s birth date combination is same as my Mother-In-Law and her daughter (my Sister-In-Law). That is 15th May and 5th June respectively. Also my sister shares her birthday with her MIL and a friend of mine.:o).
Look around and see if you can have fun seeing these co-incidences.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


After my last post I was thinking about how many more surprises have happened with me. It was either me planning to surprise someone or someone else surprising me. All in all, it's so much of adrenaline rush :o).

I liked to surprise people, well even now I do. After my eldest sis Vidya got engaged, I came face to face with major surpriserrr! My Brother-In-Law Shailesh. Even now he keeps doing something or the other every time. There are so many instances that I can’t even count. For the starters, he lives in Pune and back then we didn’t have phone at home. So he would call my sisters at our neighbour’s house. It was Dushera time and we both were supposed to go to my uncle’s factory to help with the decorations for the festival. As we were leaving she got a call from him. After the conversation we left. At the factory, we both were directing workers with decorations, I heard my sister scream. I turned around and I screamed. Coz my then would-be BIL was standing right at the entrance. It seems his brother had some work in B’lore, so he offered to do it and in the bargain get to meet his bride and her family. :o)

There are many occasions when my elder sister shows up in B’lore unannounced to surprise. Then my BIL many times shows up a day early, so always unexpected with them. :o). My mom hates all this surprises though. She says that if we tell her beforehand, she will be sooo looking forward to that day with excitement. If it’s a surprise, it’s momentary she says:o). I see her point actually, especially if you are visiting them. Last time we thought we will keep our travel to India a surprise, since we decided to go at the last minute. But then I remembered what my mom says and changed that thought and told everyone about our travel.

Once I went to India after 3 yrs and I hadn’t seen anyone from my side of the family. But since it was Yogi’s brother’s wedding we were supposed to go to Mumbai directly and then to native for the wedding. So I would be meeting my family only after 2 weeks at the wedding. As we went out of the airport, I saw my parents!!! I was sooooo happy, they had come all the way to receive us. Since I was coming after so long, they couldn’t wait another 2 wks to see me. So they flew in. Then I saw my younger sister Vandu with her 9 month old Pranav in hand! I was on top of the world. It was such an emotional reunion.

After coming here to US, mostly it's become baby shower surprises, which includes, Nisha's, Frany's and Veena's (tried one more with Uma and failed!! coz we gave away too much infomation by insisting on wearing a saree!! ) For Nisha’s baby shower, I called up one afternoon and asked her to come quickly to my apt and kept the ph. She came running and we screamed surprise! She looked at all of us and ran back coz she didn’t wanted us to take pics in her house clothes. It was too funny. For Frany, Vishali invited her for lunch (we couldn’t wait for her hubby coming next wkd, coz it would have given away too much) And she had no clue about what was going on. She walked in and I remember she having the same look that I must have had. :o). For Veena, her hubby Vasanta booked a place and brought her in pretext of someone else’s party. I had taken sarees and jewellary to get her dressed. So it all worked out so well.!!!

There are times when I have surprised Yogi, on his birthdays mostly. After few years he started to expect the surprises, so I have given it a break by not giving any. :o)
It’s fun to do it sometime and do it to people who enjoy getting one. So enjoy and cherish the moments as they come!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Surprise baby shower! :o)

Yesterday we threw a surprise baby shower for one of our friend, Sheetal. Well, I say surprise, but wasn’t surprise at the last minute! We planned this elaborate how to do, what to do, when to do and kept it all hush hush! And then….. yesterday her son was playing with a neighbor’s kid and he came over to her to tell that he’s going to come for their party in the evening. She’s like, what party? We don’t have any party and the kid said, no, you do, it’s your baby shower!!! There!!!

Anyways, it was a fun party anyway. This reminded me so much about my baby shower two years back. With my son, I was in India, so it was completely traditional with my in-laws and parents participating in the ritual. When I was pregnant with 2nd one, and I was closing on to my 7th month, one of my friends, Vishali called and said that she would like for me to come for small party over the Christmas weekend. I was like, LUNCH! Are you sure? Coz she doesn’t like to get going early in the morning. :-)

After I kept the phone, I told Yogi that she’s keeping a surprise shower for me. Yogi is like how do you know? Here was my theory. My other friend Frany, who moved to MN that year would not have missed having a shower for me. And if she would come all the way to here, she would want to meet me early. If the shower is in the evening, then she will have to wait almost a day to get to meet me. So, they are keeping in the afternoon. Yogi thought I was losing it!

The week before the long weekend, another friend Shailee called up and invited for lunch on the same day, since Yogi hadn’t been to her new home yet. I said, actually I have plans to go to Vishali’s place that day and she had told me month back and not sure if the plan is still on. (It was my trick question to see if Shailee was invited coz I would have been surprised if she wasn’t invited. ;o)) Shailee said, if the plan isn’t on, she will invite Vishali too, since she hasn’t been to her house either.

Hours later, Vishali called and said Shailee called her and actually her plan had fallen through, since many of her friends were going out of town that weekend. So she had agreed to come to Shailee’s place for lunch. I felt sad that Frany wasn’t coming since it didn’t work out. So on Christmas morning we set out to Shailee’s house for lunch. On her driveway we saw Vijay’s car and were talking that they were already there.

After waiting for some time, Sundar (Shailee’s hubby) opened the door. As soon as we set our jackets, I asked him if Vishali was already there. He said no. Puzzled, I said I saw their car outside. Sundar seemed confused and said may be they are downstairs. Since he was upstairs, he didn’t know if they were there yet. So we reached the basement which was dimly lit and out of that darkness, one after the other Shailee, Vishali, Minaxi, Veena, Aruna, Nisha, Frany, their kids and hubbies emerged. I kept looking at each one, not knowing what was going on. Even after everyone saying “Surprise!!!”, I was still confused. After a few minutes I was able to digest the fact that it was in fact my baby shower!. LOL, I still remember the feeling, but not able to put it in words now.

So I was right in the first place. But they threw me off when the venue was changed. But all my friends thought that they gave it away with the last minute venue confusion. I told them I would have gotten dressed up if I had come to Vishali's place and surprised everyone over there. ;o). Oh the things we all do to surprise people!. LOL.
Well, It was the most amazing thing my friends did to me. They all cooked something special for me. Got sarees, jewellary, makeup etc for me to get dressed up. (Coz ofcourse, I was in some prego elastic jeans and top!! ) It still feels like a dream, a very sweet dream that touches your heart. I still remember that day and can’t believe how fortunate I am to have such lovely friends. And y’day when I saw my friend Sheetal tearing up, I knew exactly how she was feeling. :o)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Living by the fire line

Yesterday I met one of my friends after a gap. I had gotten news that her son got enlisted in the marine. She started talking about it and her eyes were welling up. I could see a mother being terrified for her child. Always felt that there has to be lot courage in a man/woman to enlist for the army. But there is whole lot to it. Not only them, it becomes family decision. Because when they are out there at the frontline, family back home is getting killed every day worrying about them.

This subject is very close to my heart. I have always regarded the soldiers than anyone. I think they need to get the highest respect than anyone. First of all I (and most of you all are) am against war. But then it’s become inevitable in today’s world. So every country needs to have armed forces to defend it and also help other developing countries to keep themselves safe.

Well, I wasn’t gonna start talking about the peace between the countries. Coming back to topic of soldiers, I have to salute to all the parents, spouses, kids, siblings, friends who let go of their beloved ones, so that …. We can be safe and have a better life. I am at loss of words, now that I am getting more emotional. Just hoping and praying for all of you out there!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cancun trip - Part II

Yeah, we did JUST vacation this time. What I mean by “Just Vacation” is that usually whenever we take a vacation to any place we don’t relax. We always plan ahead on what we want to see and do. And this time, all we had in mind was do NOTHING. Oh, we did want Ayush to try swimming with Dolphins. Since the dolphins were at the resort itself, we thought if he keeps seeing them he would want to give it a try. And try and go see Mayan ruins on one of the days.

The relaxation part was so huge that we came back grinning side to side. First day when we went to beach, anyone could have make out that it was our first day (Coz we were able to make out from next day onwards on others ;-)) We were all just sooo in awe of the beauty there, that it was hard not to show all that excitement on you!!

They had Explorer’s club at the resort where we could drop 3 and above age kids. With only one kid to drop off, we didn’t leave him. But the few times he decided to join, he had loads of fun. They would close the bar and discotheque at Desires bar for the kids to come and enjoy the music and dance. They would go on scavenger hunt, bungee trampoline, painting, rock climbing, art and crafts, you literally name and they had it.

For adults too they had many activities throughout the day. There were beach volleyball, water sports, kayaking, trampoline and rock climbing right in the middle of the ocean, riding on the mechanical bull. All fun activities! We would literally be either at the beach side or in the kid’s pool all the time. Made lots of friends because we would bump into same people every day. And Ayush made many friends at the club and also coz of us. He got attracted to this really cute girl I think. Her name was Sophie. She looked like a doll with all the curly black hair. Actually, when talking to her mom, she said Sophie looked just like my baby when she was around that age.  One day saw her at World café having breakfast with her dad and Ayush asked the hostess to make us sit right next table. Throughout he kept smiling at her, but would not go talk (though they played together when at Explorer club). It was just so cute.

Then there were evening programs where they would either have some kind of acrobatics/ magic/ music/ pirate theme or shops from local vendors. The clown at one the show asked Yogi to come up on stage. It was a pretty funny act and he was happy to be part of it. All the acrobatics that we saw were just jaw dropping. Pretty neat.

The weather cooled down for 3 days in Cancun. One of those days we decided to go to Tulum, which has Mayan ruins and many had recommended this place, since it’s closer to Cancun and had beautiful setting. En route the guide kept talking about the Mayan culture etc. Pretty interesting, though I would have liked a nap! Once reaching there too, the tour was pretty long. Then when we were left with one hour, they said we could explore by ourselves. The ruins were right next to the beach, so we went towards the beach. Oh, it was one of the GORGEOUS beaches I have seen. We have to get down at least 3 or 4 stories down to get to beach, had beautiful stone carvings and just plain beautiful and peaceful ( even though it was bustling with people)

Next day we had booked for Ayush to do swimming with dolphins. It was very cold outside still and we were wondering how cold the water will be. Of course it was freezing water, but my boy didn’t let go of the opportunity to swim with dolphins. He enjoyed every bit of it, especially riding on it. I am sure he will cherish every moment of it and his pictures brimming with happiness when those dolphins kissed him, oh my gosh, just priceless!

Even when I look back at our vacation, all I think about are the moments when I just sat there on the beach and did NOTHING! It was just pure serenity, tranquility whatever you want to name it! One day I got early and went to see the sunrise at 5:30. It was just an amzing experience. We came back with so many wonderful memories to last us a life time. Wish to make few more memories like these with my loved ones.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dreamy Cancun Trip - Part 1

Oh, starting to write about our trip itself is making me nostalgic about the place. It's one of the most beautiful places I have been to. It was a totally different experience.

Well, let me start from the beginning. (ok, my guess, this is going to take 2 or 3 posts. ;o) )As we flew into Cancun airport, we all were eager to peek outside and see the shore. The land was pretty flat and could see the ocean for most of the part. Cancun airport itself is located about 20 minutes from the actual hotel zone. What is hotel zone you ask? Well, it is shaped like number 7 and has all the hotels and restaurants in that area. I do not know if they would allow any residential building over there.

We got picked up by prepaid taxi that we had booked from back home. It was a huge SUV and a very posh interior. Way out, it was very clean roads and nice landscapes throughout. We saw few shopping malls on our way through the hotel zone. Since our hotel, “Dreams Cancun” was located, right at the tip of “7” we got to see all the hotels from down south up. Hotel is located on cul-de-sac.

As we got to the reception, a waiter came over and handed up water bottles and champagne! We were like, oh, here we go!!!! Our package was all inclusive when we booked. That means, you can eat/drink in any restaurants on the property any amount, any time, can do room service, everything included in the price that we paid up front. Yeah, one thing that happened to us during this trip was we forgot how it feels to be hungry. :o) (My guess again, this post is going to be all about food post!) Wherever on the property we were, someone or the other would come over to ask you what you would like to eat or drink!

The hotel property was beautiful. They had 5 restaurants on the property, one bar and discotheque, 3 snack bars. My kid’s favorite was “World Café” that would have theme every day and buffet style. Best place for breakfast. They had more than a dozen varieties of freshly squeezed fruit juices. Pineapple, papaya (yum!!), guava, mango, beetroot (my favorite!), orange, musumbi (another favorite), cactus(Oh, yeah, I tried it. Didn’t really care though ;o)), celery.. We loved trying each and every of them. Kids would go on trying one after the other.

Then there was huge choice of food and beverages. And of course who can forget desserts! They had delicious tarts, mousse, cakes (coffee!!!!). Awesome of the lot was icecreams. Yeah, they had only strawberry, butter scotch, chocolate and coconut flavors. But they were the most delicious ones. Even after a huge meal, we all would still want to have few scoops. ;o).

The first one we tried was “Oceana - Seafood Grill”. It had variety of fishes prepared in different ways. We add some swordfish, salmon, and fish tacos. All were so good that we went back to that place quite a bit. Only problem was they were not open for family dining in the evening, it was couple only. Then there was Himitsu, an Asian flavor. It was right by the beach, so most of the nights it was so windy to go there. At last we get to go there once and they had great sushi, and flavorful entrees.

Ahh, I am feeling hungry. I guess I will stop for now and continue the journey for my next post… :o). I think I will put the title as Part 1, that will encourage me to complete my posts. :o). BFN..

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Apture Highlights on my blog!

Got to know about a cool little widget. Images, videos, information anything you name it, you can get to it by just highlighting any word. When a word is highlighted, you can click on the Learn more button and it pops up a window to list all kinds for information. Once the browsing part is done, the user can simply close the window and be right back on your site. And the best part, it's FREE.

BTW this window is not blocked by pop-up blocker, which is REALLY nice. How you ask? This is what is there on their website "Nope! Apture’s windows are filled with content, not advertisements and are designed to complement the content on the page. They do not use traditional pop-up technology and are not filled with traditional pop-up advertisements…"

Experience it on my blog, just select a word ( not words like the, a etc, select Wikipedia and see what it gives you :o) ) and it should give you a little
button. Click on it and you can see Wikipedia definition. It can link up to youtube, twitter and more. Hopefully this will help the traffic to stay on my site and search rather than moving away from it. :o)
Here is an example of me trying to look on Wikipedia.

Enjoy blogging. :o)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hurdles at the Airport!!

Our journey is never less in excitement. And usually to add to it we always have anxious moments at the customs. Last two times that we were at the airport we had those moments. One when we were travelling to India a year back. After looking at the papers, the security guy said that they were not enough for our travel. Showing AP didn't help. He said that's for us to come back to US, but not for travelling out of States. Infact, we don't have a legal status he said.! I was completely dumbstuck. In that moment, my happiness of travelling to India, preparing for it for months, everything came shattering down.. Then, we pulled the last card our of the folder. Which he took and said, oh, you should have shown me this first. And he let us go.! Whew....

Rewind back to 2 days ealier, Yogi was keeping all the required documents in a folder and I casually asked him if he took EAD card. He said that's not required. I insisted saying it's just a card, doesn't hurt keeping it. So he agreed and kept it in the folder. We both were so happy that we decided to keep that. Otherwise we would have missed the flight and may be an enquiry would have put on us... You never know.!!!

Last december we went to Cancun (if you haven't read my previous post :o) ) 4 or 5 months before we had started preparing for it. Main thing was to get AP and EAD ready. Someone said we need Mexican visa. So we started looking at probably going to Chicago to get it done. Then Yogi came across a clause in the visa requirement. It said, if you have a valid US entry papers then you don't need to have Mexican visa stamped. So he called up their consulate just to make sure and they confirmed that we don't require visa stamping, coz we have valid papers to enter back to US.

So in all excitement we reached the airport. No issues. At the stopover, we had time to grab food and then go checkin at the gate. So we at lunch and went to the counter. We had about 1/2 hour to our flight. He looked at all passports, since my kids carry american passport they were good. He held onto ours and said, you guys don't have Mexican visa stamped. I started to explain to him the clauses, he would not listen. He kept saying that if he lets us go, we will be immmediately deported back!!!!! My son who was in all excitement of vacation, heard this and started crying out loud that he won't be able to do the things that he thought he could do!!!! While Yogi tried to handle both kids, I started expalining him more about talking to consulate etc. Then he called his supervisor. She took our passports and other documents and said she would try to call Mexican consulate and come back. Just as she was leaving another counter lady asked for help and she asked her to wait and left. Lucky for us that she was called first at our gate!.

Here we have only 15 more mins to the flight!!! Those last 10 mins were agonizing!. Imagine we were all packed and thinking of this vacation for last 6 months and these last 10 minutes were bringing all that imagination down. I must have thought about all the Gods and all the good deeds. Atlast I saw that lady coming back and not looking at me. My heart almost sank and she came close by and said, let them go.!!!!! YEY !! Those were the best words I had heard in a while. :o). So... we got to sit in the plane and continue to imagine all the good things that were in store for us at Cancun. :o)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

As I said goodbye to 2010....

I kept thinking that this was a most eventful year! Just thought I will recap my year. I am just writing in points so it's easy to read and not coz of any other importance. As many know me say I give importance to every little thing! don't know if it's a good thing though!!

* My baby girl turned one! Oh what a year it was with her. She has so much personality. From walking to running she has progressed so much that it's become hard to catch her when she starts to sprint away from us. She has a knack to get what she wants! I can't believe I am saying this, but she does. Even when I want to say no to her, I end up saying Yes.! When she widens her big eyes and rolls her lips to mouth 'pleassseeeee', there is no way any one of us could say No to her!!!! Talking up a storm in both our native language and English. Nowadays literally repeats whatever comes out of her brother's mouth!. Not a good thing always.

* My boy is growing into handsome little thing, with heart up his sleeves. From beginning of the year till the end, he has already changed his decision on marraige. Well, specifically about who he is going to get married to! Come to think of it, it isn;t that bad... He's just on his 4th or 5th one!!! He's doing well in his 1st grade. Still loves dinosaurus, knows tons of facts about them. His profession choice changed this year from horse trainer to scientist or a palenthologist. ( Whew!!!!! )

* Got our concrete patio and landscaping done this year. We had a slope back there, came up with an innovative design to cut into the hill and create a little sitting area and fill up the whole yard to make it flat. Couldn't believe that we had so much usable space out there. Put in a playset for kids and whole summer it was difficult to keep them away from there. Even the little one, as soon as she learnt to walk, she would walk over with a waddle and start climbing up the slide (yeah, you heard right, up the slide!!!). She is more interested in climbing than sliding.. And the play area gave them innumerable oppurtunity to create stuff out of sand! I love my side walk and front walk and ofcourse all the beautiful path lights!

* My little sister and nephew came to visit us this summer. I seriously don't remember any day just sitting in summer. It was so busy and fun that I miss that lovely summer of 2010. I am so thankful to my BIL for sending her to spend time with me. And for her to making that decision to come over to see us. It was a total blast with my kids fighting over the attention of my nephew, who happens to be right in the middle on the age scale. We had a first hand experience on "If I had three kids!", which wasn't that bad, considering three adults were matched against three little ones. Oh, Thanks to Yogi for helping with kids, when we sisters went on tons of shopping trips. :o). Shopping, that gets me to another point..

* I don't think I have shopped as much as I did this year in any other year! Year was started in India, so ofcourse I shopped quite a bit before I came back. Then as soon as my sis decided to come, started shopping for that. After she came we shopped even more.. Consider this, when she came, she got two bags full of gifts only.. First weekend we were shopping, and at the end she took back 4 bags worth of shopping. In the meantime, I shopped for myself too. ;o). Then came the suprise from my hubby for our 10th anniversary, so I shopped again! I (rather everyone) have started noticing that my taste have changed in clothes. Hopefully for better. ;o)

* Multiple trips were on card this year. Beginning of the year we came back from India. In May went to Boston for my cousin's graduation, along with my sis. Then went to Niagara, which was a complete waste, since it was freezing out there, we didn't do anything but come back. Great trip in all, coz got to meet some of my beloved friends. Then decided to take my uncle/aunt and sis to Chicago. I dropped out at the end and they went with Yogi. Later friends decided to go to Chicago in Sept. So we all went over the long weekend, stayed in a hotel and just chilled! Then again in december my beloved friend visited me from CA, so decided to drop her back in Chicago! So for Christmas we drop again. Chicago friends might be already bored to see us so many times this year. :o)

* This was the year, we completed a decade of togetherness! So Yogi wanted to surprise me by booking a trip. But then he got a cold feet, thinking what if's.. So he decided to let me in on the surprise.. He had already planned where and when to go.. It was sooooo very romantic of him to decide to take me on this trip.! Also got a big rock as a gift for our big day. ;o) Diamonds are girls best friend right? :) :) Our Cancun trip is for another day blog probably. To summarize, it was the best trip I have ever had till date.

Here is a hoping that all coming years will be as eventful as this one was for us and everyone out there..