Conversations with my toddler

There are a lot of things that make me happy and my kids undoubtedly top that list. This week had been pretty uneventful except for the little excitement that my toddler brought to each day. 
He is at that age where he is exploring the vocabulary and learning to express his thoughts. Here are some exciting conversations that occurred between us this week.

Scene #1: This one happened just the other day when I was trying to put him to bed 

Me: Sweetie, come lets go to bed.

Toddler: No!

Me: Hey, its bedtime!

Toddler(holding an egg in his hands): No, iss eggtime!(No, its eggtime!)

Scene #2: When I took his infant brother in my arms while they were playing together, he demands, “Hey, gimme back my bvothaa! (Hey, give me back my brother!)”.

Scene #3: While teaching his grandmother (my mom) how to play a jigsaw puzzle on iPad, he goes, “Vook gvama, put this heere!(Look grandma, put this here!)“, pointing to a piece. When my mom gets it right, he goes, “Wevv done gvama!(Well done grandma!)”.

Scene #4: Playing with my mom yet another time he goes, “You notty notty pivate, gimme back my thoys!(You naughty naughty pirate, give me back my toys!)”. Yes, that is two naughty’s together and I am sure he got this from Morphle, a kids show he loves to watch.

Scene #5: He approaches his little brother, coddles him and goes, “Aww, thayyudu is so cute!”.(He calls his brother thayyudu).

Scene #6: When I invite him to go out with me, a homebody that he is, goes, “Bye bye mommy! I stay home, watch bugs with gvama!”(Bye bye mommy! I stay home and watch bugs with grandma!”).

His words are still broken and he occasionally messes up his grammar, yet the lilt in his tone and the intensity of his emotion sure make me chuckle. I can see his budding personality shine through words.


Family antiques

This is my first attempt at the weekly photo challenge and this weeks theme is transition, passing of time and change. And I thought, what best can represent passing of time and transition than my dads wrist watch from 1974 that still ticks and a family mirror from 18th century.

Dads watch, a gift from mom

Dad still wears this watch and has hardly had to take it in for repairs other than regular maintenance. This was a gift from my mom on the occasion of my dads graduation. 

Great grandfathers mirror from 1900s
And this mirror is from 18th century. It belonged to my dads grandfather. Apparently, this mirror had a twin and both were attached to a cot on either end. When my great grandfather separated from his brother, each took one mirror from the cot. So this one ended up with us. I am not sure where the other one is or if it is still preserved, bright and sunny like ours.



My aunts rooftop garden 

How many of us dream of a retirement from the rut of our never ending jobs and settling down in the suburbs with a small organic farm? Well, my aunt did exactly that!

She is a retired schoolteacher and an ardent fan of gardening. A humongous nature lover, she commits atleast half her day tending to her garden come rain or shine. I would be remiss if I didnt post these pictures during my stay here at moms. She lives on the ground floor while my folks live on the first. 

It is because of her hardwork and dedication that we get to enjoy fresh vegetables almost everyday. Seldom have I seen my parents buy vegetables from the market.

Bitter melon
Yellow brinjal
Aloe vera
Green brinjal
Holy basil
And this is the picture of our 4.00 PM visitors! A day doesn’t go by without their tiny tummies fed. 

Pigeons – our everyday guests
More pigeons

The cow people

It is a well known fact that cows are revered in India and have been worshipped since ancient times. If you live in this part of Hyderabad, you get to witness the devotion in everyday life.

I call them “The cow people”. These people walk their cows door to door in exchange for something. Usually money or food. Oftentimes, the cows are adorned with jewelry and flowers. Their foreheads are decorated with vermillion and turmeric. Bells are looped around their necks, so their entry and exit never goes unnoticed as they walk these narrow lanes. People honor the cows by offering them rice, mangoes, bananas and take the blessings from the mother cow. 

Now, as much as I honor and respect the tradition, I often question the motive of the people that walk the cows, but I will leave that argument for another day!


Trying to be productive 

I just realized that I am quite capable of being super busy yet unproductive. That has been the story of my life lately. Well, atleast since past couple of weeks. No matter how early my day starts and what course it takes, in the end I would have nothing to show for it. 

I have been trying to finish this book that I started about 10 days ago but haven’t gotten past 70 pages. I have been thinking of enrolling into a course but havent had a chance to figure out the institutes yet. I have a few chores to take care of, that I haven’t been able to get to. I have started a few blog posts but never finished them, so never got to post them.

So what seems to be keeping me busy? I cannot put a finger on one thing. Just random stuff, but mostly my kids. Amidst the madness of settling down the kids in a new place, I have stretched myself too thin. This brought about a lot of guilt inside me. The feeling of not doing anything for myself. So I decided to do something productive today – write! 

Write something, anything. Doesn’t matter if it’s just a line or two. But write! So here I am, blogging about nothing! Just so I can sleep and quiet my ever yapping mind!


Daily prompt – Tender

The “chai” ritual 

Something I have utterly missed in the US is my morning chai(tea) ritual. With a busy life trying to balance work, home and kids, I seldom have a moment for myself. Something always takes the priority and I would often put off my morning tea/coffee routine.

Now that I am home at my moms, the first thing I got to do this morning is guzzle a piping hot cup of chai. The routine of chai-biscuits is ingrained in Indian lifestyle immensely, so much so that your day almost never begins without it. It is akin to the usual morning visits to a nearby Starbucks in the US. The only difference is, in India it is almost always a family affair. You get to sit around with your parents, spouse, children, aunts, uncles, sometimes even neighbors and enjoy some small talk before you get on with the day. 

Then there are street vendors parked in almost every street corner that set up their shop in the wee hours of the day, enticing the early birds. People from different walks of life gather around the chai cart and take a serving or two while discussing religion, politics, festivals, almost every thing under the sun. It has a mojo of its own as it evolves into a community affair. 

No matter how busy your life is, or how many appointments you have for the day, the morning chai is never missed. It allows you to put a pause and self reflect, if only for 15 mins, before you go adrift with the day. To me personally, it gives a perfect kickstart to plan a perfect day!


My week in a snapshot

The past week had been the most eventful week of my life. Fitting it all in one post is not easy but I will try. 

(PS: I am throwing in a little challenge for myself to see if I can make use of the daily prompt words for each respective day in this one post. Lets see! And yea, that image is our home that we have to bid bye to!!)

Day 1: May 11th was our milestone anniversary, with it being a tenth one! It was grandly celebrated in the presence of our close friends and family! We went to P.F. Changs for dinner and treated ourselves to the most decadent chocolate cake on earth! I also got to walk around the lake and show little fish to my toddler who was otherwise having a “not so pleasant” day! Anything to see that beautiful smile on his innocent cute face:). The day ended with pink roses, meaningful greetings, loving and caring family and friends, good food and yummy desserts!

Day 2: May 12th was officially my sons last day at the daycare. It was also the day the daycare decided to celebrate the mothers day. So they arranged a little event called “Muffin with mom”, where all moms would get to enjoy a muffin with their little ones. But unfortunately, I was a tad bit late and missed the event. Needless to say the insurmountable mommy guilt in addition to the disappointment in myself. I had to do something to make up for this, so I took him to a nearby icecream shop and spent some time with him there. I know it still does not fill that void, it is atleast comforting! Not for him, for me! While this mistake of mine left me in a maze of emotions, he is happy and cheerful as always and never really cared if I showed up for the event or not, all he cared was that I came by to pick him up! What a little angel:)!!

Day 3: Our final week in Des Moines, Iowa is almost coming to an end. In just one more day, the movers were going to come by to pickup our stuff to ship to Atlanta. We had to get a lot of boxes taped, labeled and ready to be loaded into the truck. May 13th was one of those craziest days ever, as we were on a packing and cleaning frenzy. There was so much to pack, so much to throw away, so many bags of clothes and stuff for donation. So many decisions to make! Phew!!

Day 4: May 14th – There were two main highlights for this day. The movers were to come by to pick up stuff and we were to board our flights to India. By we, I mean my dad, my kids and me. My husband decided to stay back and sell the house and make the move to Atlanta as smooth as possible for me and the kids. Well anyway, the trick was in the timing. Movers promised to be between 2.30-5.00 and we were to report at the airport by 5.00. The situation got even more trickier as the movers didnt keep their promise of arriving before 5.00, so my husband had to move some things around to get us to the airport in time without disrupting the appointment with the movers. We ultimately ended up boarding the flights and were on our way to Chicago and to London from there. And from there to India. A long flight with a toddler and an infant and no bassinet for one leg of our journey, not easy. Additionally, the hospitality of British Airways was horrendous. (Believe me, I am not trying to make up lines just to fit in a daily prompt word here, this is something I truly experienced and I am almost leaning towards doing a blog post exclusively to throw some light on the horrible service rendered by British Airways). I am usually not the one to rant, but I cant help but point out that one of the stewardesses went to an extent of lecturing me on “how to be a good mom”! Well, I will leave it at that as I don’t want this post to take a negative tone!

Day 5: May 15th was spent in a haze. We were somewhere high up in the sky, crossing oceans and continents with a sick toddler and an unhappy infant(he is usually a happy little baby but clearly flying didnt seem like one of his things, so…). Something my 3 year old ate on the first leg of our journey didnt sit well with him, and he ended up vomiting in the aisle of the airplane. Now, when this happened, I am pretty sure some of the passengers were not happy. But being a mom of this sick child, all I cared about at that moment was how to comfort him. He was warm, dehydrated and wasn’t enjoying the flight. Thanks to my dad, without his immense patience, help and collaboration, the journey would have been a nightmare!

Day 6: And we finally land in Hyderabad, my hometown in India, after what seemed like an eternity! May 16th has shown us the land, smiling faces and the comfort of home. Although my toddler is homesick and jet lagged, he is happy that he is finally home! He is also starting to feel better as he is getting the much needed nourishment and love of the family. The only qualm I have right now is about how hot the weather is, but that’s going to settle down in a few weeks. So all is well!!


I am a hoarder!

I am a hoarder. A big time one at that! I keep hoarding until I fill up the closet space, the pantry, the refrigerator, almost everything! And I am not proud of that! I owe it to my poor decision making skills (I am a libra, so…). I always account for those elusive “may be” situations!

Here’s a little peek into my thought process on making a decision about giving up something: That pink top? Hmm, lets keep it, it will look cool on a black jeans, when I buy one! Those blue earrings, lets keep it for when I go to that party. How about this masala(Indian spice mix), lets store it for that curry when I get around to making it! 

And so, they live on in my humble abode until the eternity. Atleast the perishables stand a chance at getting the clearance because they have an expiry date. But my wardrobe takes the most brunt. I do occasionally clear some clothes out for goodwill but I dont think I do a good job at that. The rate at which the stuff comes in is nowhere close to the rate at which it goes out, hence the pile up!

The picture above tells you the story of my shame. I have been on a clearance marathon since two days off and on. And it is not an easy task to sort through 10 years worth of clothes in a couple of days. So why this temporary madness now? Because we are moving to Atlanta (I had been meaning to write a post about that since forever but havent had a chance) and I need to get sensible about what to take and what to give up! 

To make the decision making easier, I adhered to the below cues: 

  1. There is either a yes/no, no maybe. 
  2. Do I fit into this and is this comfy enough?
  3. Is there a value in keeping this?

After the grueling process of weeding out the closet, I am glad to admit that half of my burden is gone. And I can sleep guilt free now. I still have another ocean to swim with my kids wardrobe, but that is for another day. For today, I feel I have accomplished enough (or call it complacence:))! 


The farewell!!

So this past Wednesday was the day when I returned my office stuff and said the final goodbyes. I toured the building one last time to catch up with my soon to be ex-colleagues before I left. Some were sad, some were nonchalant, while a few others gave parting hugs and promised to keep in touch through Facebook.

I have been associated with the company for almost 8 years. I interned there, then landed a full time job. Worked in different teams, met some wonderful people, made some lifelong connections. 

As I leave, I take with me so many memories, experiences and so much knowledge. While I look forward to the challenges of my new life, I will fondly cherish the moments of my old. The good ones and the bad ones too, I will cherish the friendships, the team fun, the silly bickering, the luncheons, the food days, the monthly/bimonthly movie-lunches, the monthly releases, the driving to work for 4.00 AM project releases, the gym and the yoga sessions and so much more.

The fact that my husband and I worked in the same place meant we had a lot of common friends and colleagues. Although we worked in different teams, our paths often crossed and sometimes we would end up in the same meeting. It gets particularly interesting when we have to interact as colleagues! In situations like these, we both would try to put our professional selves forward and not let the personalities get in the way. But I will admit, sometimes it’s hard to keep a straight face! In any case, this gave us a lot in common and I am certainly going to miss that. 

In a nutshell, this is the place where I grew professionally. Learnt the tricks of the trade! Wherever the future takes me, I am sure it is going to be, as my 3 year old says, “all better“:)


Indian summers 

They say you re-live your childhood through your children. I got to experience that today. Well, sort of!

The weather in Iowa is finally settling down and we got to see some sunshine. The bright sunny evening beckoned me to celebrate and I couldn’t resist. So I quickly finished preparing the dinner and joined my husband and my 3 year old in the yard, while my dad, my 3 month old and Mugsy(our dog) enjoyed the views indoors.

The grass was lush green and although there was a little nip in the air, the sunshine subdued it. So overall it was a pleasant evening. 

My son, who seldom gets to enjoy an evening like this (due to the midwest weather), was thoroughly at it, plucking leaves and flowers, uprooting the grass and examining the roots, and such. Watching him be so much in tune with the nature took me back to my grandmothers vegetable garden during my childhood. 

I got to reminiscing about how my sister and I used to walk underneath the squash creepers and our excitement to see those budding bitter melons. About that sweet smelling jasmine plant and how we would take it upon ourselves to water the plants. I still remember waiting with so much anticipation for the “fruits of our labor”. About how my mother or grandmother would turn those fresh vegetables and herbs into something delicious and how the entire family would gather around to gobble it up. 

The warm feeling of those Indian summers filled my heart. The smell of those mangoes and the make ahead fruit custards, the studying for those annual exams and the sugary musk melon treats. So many memories flooded through my mind and I was filled with awe!

In a few weeks I am able to take my kids to India for the summer and I cannot wait to show my 3 year old that side of life. I am also glad to be able to relive this experience through him!