28 December 2006

This is the last post I'll be able to put in till the 3rd of Jan at least, as we are babysitting our grandson, while his parents go off to Thailand today. They'll be back Jan 3rd. Already I feel sad cos of empathizing with his upset when he doesn't see his parents at night. Well, here' s hoping everything will go off ok and that he will be fine with his Appachen & Ammachy.
Meantime 'myspace all.

18 December 2006

Another evening

Now for this evening--today I went to hear a String Quartet play, yes here in Kottayam! The quartet was composed of young men from Kottayam I think and they were good, at least, to my 'starved for this kind of music' ears. It was a really enjoyable evening and quite unexpected. Only grouse is that some of the audience were total philistines as concerning Western Classical Music:)
Anyway my sis-in-law's group, who did this as a fund-raising event, gave me for one, a great time!

A touching evening.

Last week, my mother's younger brother and wife had come visiting her from Bangalore . She and her brother are the last surviving siblings of their 8 sibling family. It was quite an achievement as my uncle has a heart problem, a stent after a kidney problem, had been treated for prostate cancer and TB , besides which his wife is in the early stages of senile dementia.! They are both 86. They came only because my brother--who is in India at present--escorted them here and back.
Well, anyway, my mom and her bro were really happy to see each other as it's been more than 3 years and they had almost given up the thought that they could see each other. They got to spend 4 days with each other. They had a lovely time.
The evening I'm talking about was on Thurs. 14th, the day after my uncle and aunt came. My mother asked me to bring a guitar along. I borrowed one from someone and spent around an hour and half at the flat that evening. It was so sweet, my uncle had brought a song book for my mum with old English songs that they used to sing. So I played the guitar and the 4 of us sang. My brother was busy working. But he too joined for a couple of songs. He left after a bit though--when he couldn't keep his eyes from filling up.
We sang a number of songs. It was amazing how my aunt--who can't remember a number of people or even where she is exactly sometimes--could sing along to all her favourite songs! She still has a good voice too. There were times when I had to turn my head away and I couldn't sing any more because I was weeping. They were singing away but sort of accepting the fact that this kind of evening was extremely unlikely to happen again. It really brought to me the spirit of Christmas.

09 December 2006


My mother has been discharged from the hospital and is back home. A relief! She seems to have had diverticulitis. She isn't 100% fit yet, but she's really happy to be home I must say.
Well then Season's Greetings all.

08 December 2006

Just time for a quick post. My mother's in hospital. She was admitted on Tuesday morning. She had bad diarrhea and vomiting and so got severely dehydrated and she had some bad infection obviously. It maybe her diverticulitis having become inflamed or just some other infection. Anyway, she's better but still in hospital. I want to blog about some of the stuff we talk about when we sit together in the hospital, but have not enough time to think it out and write.
Anyway, I hope she will be out by Tomorrow or latest Sunday.

04 December 2006

My absence from the Net

The time since my last post has truly been filled with events. Let me see, day by day, and hoping nobody will get bored--
I was part of a school play, at one of the schools I go to, which was being put up by the teachers for the students. You see, we celebrate Children's Day on Nov. 14th. Since the teachers couldn't quite get their act together on that date, they put up the play later. It was a spoof on the musical Oliver, (why Oliver, cos the students had done that fairly recently) and since I am a music teacher I had to provide back up for the singing with my guitar. The play was on Nov. 29th. Besides, at the preschool that I go to, we had a Christmas sale, by the mothers--1st sale of the season--on Dec. 1st!.
In the meantime we went to Munnar, my husband & I, just for the 25th night. By the time we got back Sunday-26th- my daughter, husband & grandson--came home. My daughter had work near here for a week and so we were to babysit K. So till he and his mom left yesterday, life was truly hectic.
But what an enjoyable week! Too bad I don't have any pictures.
K came with me to the preschool most days, and seemed to enjoy himself thoroughly. One of the days I even took him for a practice of the play. A couple of days I left him with his granddad. He had a ball and my husband admitted that grandchildren are special--they get away with things one's children never could! K managed to get Grandpa to feed him his cereal (hardly ever done for any of his kids), got him to get up from his Yoga to walk on the treadmill--one of K's favourite pastimes and generally got away with alot. Grandpa enjoyed himself though.
But now, even though I have time to blog, time to check my mail, time to laze around, there's that little something missing. The house seems so quiet. Anyway, it's all good practice for later this month, when K's parents plan to take a 2nd honeymoon, leaving K with us for 6 days. So now we can look forward to having K with us in around 24 days time.

23 November 2006

Cake recipe as asked for

As asked for, here is the recipe of the cake, which I found on the Net incidentally.
I had to make the applesauce, as it's not available here and as I didn't have a bundt pan, I just used a bowl sort of pan.


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup dark rum 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups applesauce 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar 2 tablespoons dark rum


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray 9 or 10 inch Bundt pan lightly with cooking spray and dust with flour.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream 1/2 cup butter, white sugar, and 3/4 cup brown sugar. Mix in eggs, 1/3 cup rum, and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture in three additions alternately with applesauce, ending with flour. Stir in dried cranberries. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes, remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. In a small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Stir in 1/4 cup brown sugar, confectioners' sugar, and 2 tablespoons rum. Heat until smooth; if mixture is too thick, add water and maybe a little more rum. Drip glaze over cooled cake.

19 November 2006

Today I baked a cake after a long while and that too a new recipe! I got some dried cranberries from the US (care of my brothers) and since I was just eating them, I thought I'd try and find some recipe using them. I came across this recipe which, even just reading the recipe it sounded delicious--lots of rum, applesauce and the cranberries.
I made the cake and it's come out well I must say. Too bad there are no young people around to eat it.

I wrote that on Sunday and then decided not to post it cos I thought what an irrelevant thing to post about and anyway, there are so many of these terrific cooks out there on the Internet. But I realised I wanted to post about it because I was excited by the fact that I had actually followed a new recipe & gone to the trouble to get the stuff for it. I hadn't done that in I can't remember how many years. As I had waded through my depression all those years, somehow cooking was something I just hadn't been able to do; it was a big part of my feeling a failure. The fact that I had done this made me realise how much I had gone forward in the recent past.
To quote from what must be my favourite hymn (since I came across it recently)
"Stand up, clap hands, shout 'Thank you Lord'
For happiness and peace within."

15 November 2006

Got some time to spend on the computer after quite a while. Was out with a stomach bug and then when I did get the free time, either there was lightning & thunder or no current. Besides, our modem burnt out during a bad thunderstorm last Saturday. We got a new modem only on Monday evening and then I couldn't get my computer to start.
So I was busy reading. I read a couple of Georgette Heyer--read before but still so enjoyable. Then I read 'Kite Runner'. Had the time to read at one sitting as I was resting after the stomach bug. It was a lovely book. Only there was little bit in between, where I thought the story was too much like a Hindi movie. (I'm sure I'll bring down the ire of many readers with that!) Then read a book called 'Watership Down', which my daughter-in-law says is a classic, but about which I hadn't heard. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
After so much reading, I'm dying for more and so have decided I'll read through old favourites till I can get fresh reading material.

10 November 2006

a long delayed tag

Dot had asked me to do this tag a long while back & I kept putting it off, mainly cos I find it difficult to talk about myself. Anyway here goes;

1.Something no one else should know:
I won't answer that:) I think many of us would have something like that.
2. Two colours I would never wear.
Fluorescent colours--whatever they may be--and dull brown.
3. Three things I love to eat.
I love to eat! Well, fruits, desserts and our very own Kerala appams with meat curry(pic. below); too many things really, have eclectic tastes.
4. Four things I would never serve a guest.
Anything very sticky--never know what people may like;
Nothing violently coloured cos the colour would probably be artificial then
Lukewarm tea or coffee--yuck
Unusual animal meats.
5. Five things I forget to buy at the grocery store.
If someone asked me to get something while I was talking to someone else or on the phone, you bet I'll forget that!
Nothing else really, except maybe personal stuff for me maybe.
6. Dot's tag says 'six things I like about Autumn'. Since we don't have autumn, maybe I should say six things I like about the month of December, early January--the nearest thing to winter we have!
The light is different then, there seems to be so much clarity. Nights are clear, clear, clear after months of clouds and the sky seems impossibly full of stars. Sometimes it's actually chilly in the evenings--by our standards. It's Christmastime and so usually family's at home. The mango trees start blossoming. The bougainvilleas are in full bloom everywhere. The only time of the year it's not damp.
7. Seven things I value about my family.
I guess what I feel is much like Dot's
That they can always trust each other.
That they know they can always count on each other for sincere help and advice.
That they are helpful and hospitable to others too.
That they are kind to the weaker-whether in terms of health, wealth or personality.
That they all have depth to them--I find this difficult to define any other way.
That they are generally able to be open with each other
and that they are always there for my husband and me, if we need them.
8. Eight things I watch on TV.
Well, to be honest, I never put the TV on if I'm alone. So, if I watch TV, it's whatever anyone else is watching and if I happen to be in the same room, or because my husband or children tell me to watch a specific program. I'd much rather read, be online or listen to music.
9. Nine things I loved about school.
Since I changed schools several times, I'll talk about the last school I attended.
I loved my friends. In hindsight I love the fact that I was responsible for no one but myself.
I loved the vast world of books I got into at that time, both at our school library and outside libraries. I loved my English texts and totally enjoyed Biology classes. We had a very good nun who taught us singing and I loved the singing lessons. I really liked the fact that our school was situated so centrally and walking distance from my house. I have a great fondness for a teacher who taught me when I was maybe in the 8th, who helped me a great deal.
The ninth thing I just can't come up with.
10. Ten things I love about life.
My family,
my friends,
my dogs,
my work which allows me to interact with little children and so keeps my spirit young.
the fact that I have a roof over my head and can eat 3 or 4 or even 5 meals if I so wish.
that I live among so many trees and amidst so much greenery.
that I have eyes to see the beauty around me and ears to hear music, the sound of my grandson, the voices of my family.
that I am also one of God's creations and as worthy of God's love.
that we humans have been given the gift of Hope.
that I am here, a tiny thing in the infinity of the Universe, but still with a mind to be happy if I choose.

I haven't tagged anyone else. Feel free to do this tag anyone who reads this and finds it interesting.

03 November 2006

Today I went for jive classes---yes, actually jive classes here in Kottayam!! Of course I was the oldest person there and the teacher was a young man who was my nieces' age(classmate to one of them). But, what a BLAST I had:D!! It was so much fun to dance to oldies and just generally do something I totally love. I know that tomorrow morning when I wake up, I'm going to find myself stiff in many places. But even so.... I am totally looking forward to the next few classes.

01 November 2006

This is something I've been wanting to post about for a bit, but thought it was way toooo crazy maybe. Anyway here goes, if you pictured your mind what kind of room would it look like?

When I do that I always get this room which is like an attic sort of place, right at the top of a house with 3 big windows (yes 3!) looking out at a lovely view of grasslands and far away a hint of water. on some days it's a river and on others a glimpse of the sea. Sometimes I see the back of a little girl (my inner child?) with 2 pigtails, at the left window, gazing out at the landscape. As I write I can see a squashy sofa in the rightside corner (couldn't draw it). But sometimes it's a hammock hanging there. The back of the room is blue, hazy, but curved. There are floor to ceiling shelves and drawers, all closed. Funnily, the floor is always wood(wooden head?) . Generally a peaceful place. I retreat to this place sometimes when life seems too overwhelming, but retreating there is a much rarer occasion nowadays I realise:)

Actually this imaging helped me a great deal during the time I was in depression or found something too difficult to deal with just then, but when knew I had to get on with my life without carrying over all that for the sake of the children I love and who needed me without baggage. So what I used to tell myself was that all the not so good things happening, or memories that made me upset would be dealt with only later, when I was free. I would then imagine them locked up in the floor to ceiling shelves. At that time though, the shelves were way up front and mostly all the drawers were locked with keys in them. But the front of the room was swept clean and was totally empty, so that I could carry on with my daily life without the messiness of my private unhappinesses strewn about. Very rarely, on holidays, I tidied an occasional drawer.
But now, with time and with having finally gotten over my depression, my mind room has become more spacious (issues dealt with and out of the way) and a more relaxed place but still a useful place to have.

So then what do you see when you picture the room of your conscious mind?

18 October 2006

My mother is still unable to sit up long enough without pain. But she was read out all the various comments that people have left. So she told me she would definitely write a post to put up. We asked her write about a picture she has of Malabar Hill in Bombay which was probably taken around 58 years back. Let's see what she writes about.
Just now my sister is with her. So there's someone with her all the time. But I get to go there only around 4 p.m or so because I work all morning. Just now, because she is confined to bed, I feel so guilty sometimes. Anyway, I do hope she gets well enough to be able to slowly sit up for a bit at a time. Unfortunately in an old person it's a Catch 22 situation--she needs to lie down for the pain, but the more she lies down, the faster she loses muscle and bone mass, which is not easily replaced.
I feel so proud of my mum. Please pray for her all.

15 October 2006

No computer for a week is hard!

My mother's not been well. She had a really bad backache, which totally upset her. She was staying with me for about a week. She then went back to her flat when my sister arrived day-before yesterday.

Anyway we now know that it's not anything earth-shaking, but just things she has to live with. She has bad osteoporosis. Then she had a fall 3 years back and had broken her thighbone near the hip. That bad been repaired with a pin put in. But because of her osteoporosis, the pin has sort of travelled in. That coupled with age related degeneration in her spinal column is what caused the pain.

What led upto it though, was that she sat for around 3-4 hours, in one day, at her PC! She said she was so busy playing sudoko on the comp that she didn't think to lie down, even though her back was hurting! She was quite relieved when the doc told her today that she could get up when her back felt a little less sore and sit for a bit at her PC--20 mins. She figures at least that. She's waiting for that. She's also missing writing her blog. I told her to write it out in a book and that I would put it up. I guess now that she's feeling better she might.

13 October 2006

Just wanted to share this hymn with everyone. I came across it when teaching my kids at school singing and just loved the words.

"Stand up, clap hands, shout thank You, Lord,
Thank You for the world I'm in.
Stand up, clap hands, shout thank You, Lord,
For happiness and peace within.

I look around and the sun's in the sky,
I look around and I think, oh my!
The world is such a wonderful place,
And all because of the good Lord's grace.

I look around at the creatures I see,
I look around and it amazes me,
That every dog and bird and cow,
Fit in a special place somehow.

I look around at all the joy I've had,
I lood around and it makes me glad,
That I can offer thanks and prasie
To Him who guides me through my days."

The first is the chorus and is sung between each verse. It has a lovely beat too. So you can imagine the kids and I have a glorious time singing it.

08 October 2006


'Thank You for the world so sweet,
Thank You for the food we eat,
Thank You for the birds that sing
Thank You God, for everything!'

Thank You for the colours that You paint,
For rainbows, sunrise, sunset and rain,
Thank You for my loved ones so dear,
Thank You God, for another year!'

05 October 2006

An ode to the senior generation

I just read a post over at Hip Hop Grandmom's and I so wanted to write off a post immediately.
I have interacted closely with "old" people, who were my family members mainly. I guess I was lucky because many were very strong mentally and very 'all there'. I just want to share a few lines about each of them.
There was my maternal grandfather, (my paternal grandfather died before I was born). He died at the age of 97. He was such an interesting personality. He had been an engineer and a planter. He retired from service maybe when he was 60. His wife died maybe a few years later. so he was a widower for around 30 years. But he was such fun to talk to for all us grandchildren, always interested in the world around him and a very tolerant man. Even now I remember him so often and feel it was such a pity my children couldn't get to know him--he died 27 years ago when they were still small.
Then there was my paternal grandmother. What a woman! She too became a widow quite early. Besides she had to see the death of 3 of her children. Her elder daughter died when she was 38, leaving behind 7 children and my grandmother brought up the two youngest, 2 little girls 18 months and 6 months old then. Later, she came to stay with us very reluctantly, when it was impossible to manage on her own. She too was interested in the world around her. I remember her avidly reading the Reader's Digest, an occasional Time magazine and the newspaper and wanting us to show her in the Atlas where each new place she read about was located and this almost upto the time she died at 90.
Then I have to add my mother. She is now 89. My father died in May this year and she keeps going as best as she can. She is busy doing sudoko, or playing chess on the computer and has recently taken to blogging. Her spirit just thrills my heart.
Well there are too many I see, when it comes to remembering. But I just want to tell anyone who reads this, that it's in the eyes. Look at the eyes of an old person. They always reveal the person's inner mind, even when they seem helpless and can't seem to remember which day of the week it is. I hate to see and old person treated like a small baby. It's true that their body controls may have become like that, but inside their minds they are not like that as the poem at Hip Hop Grandmom's said. The next time you see an old lady--or old man--being treated like a recalcitrant child, just look into their eyes.
Bless you all these older people that I did not even mention who have obviously added to my life in more ways than even I thought.

02 October 2006

I want to add--a little late in the day maybe--but hope all of you had a lovely time during these Puja days. Sitting in the heart of Syrian Christian world, I'm far away from the Durga Puja of my high shcool days in Cal!

I've been tagged.

I was tagged by Hiphop Grandmom quite a few days back. I didn’t take it up till now. ‘cos for one I was down with flu and besides I was thinking hard about what to write.

Anyway, here goes; 9 things about me—weird or otherwise.

  1. I find it very difficult to lean on people. I can talk to anyone and ask about their problems and help out if necessary. But I find it extremely difficult to lean on anyone else—including my husband!
  2. I realise I’m pretty happy with my life as it is now and with me as I am now. I am really glad I’m no longer a teenager/growing young woman, who’s still in the process of discovering herself fully. I realise that I am still learning and changing. But I’m pretty grateful that youthful angst is over.
  3. I love animals and can relate to most animals, though mammals more I guess.
  4. I’m never bored if I’m alone.
  5. Like Hip Hop Grandmom, I have to make an effort to think about my appearance. Getting dressed up is one of the biggest hassles in my day I think. By preference I’m a very casual dresser.
  6. I think I’m happiest when I’m surrounded by young children. I feel one can truly be oneself with small children.
  7. I find it very, very difficult to talk about myself, which is why doing this tag is taking me so long:)
  8. I am not into cooking. I do the barest minimum and the faster the better. Lucky for me my husband isn’t too much into food!
  9. this makes me sheepish to say it but I love dancing—the freaking out, shakin’ it up kind—which I did when I was young and now do mostly in the privacy of my room to the lovely oldies music you get on the Net or Worldspace Radio.

Oh boy! What a relief to get that over. Now who to tag? Beks will you do this tag? Dotm, again! Momma knows best will you take it up? Maybe Baby Powder. That’s only 4. I don’t know who else to ask!

20 September 2006

I have been wanting to put up new posts for quite a while. Sheer laziness at the thought of typing is the main reason I haven't I think.
My husband & I were away in Chennai for a week, to spend time with our grandson. When I came back I wasn't too well and then schools (where I teach) reopened. Besides, as I said, I was just too lazy to type. Then I've been helping my mother update her blog.
I had a good time in Chennai. Us women (my 2 daughters-in-law, daughter, a cousin & I) went for a local production of 'Cats' . It was fun. It may not have been the greatest production, but some of the singing voices were really good and a great deal of effort had gone into the costumes and stage settings.
I also got to spend quality time with grandson. I wish I had got a bit more time to hang out with my son & wife, who live in Chennai too, but they were busy shifting offices. My husband & I got only one evening to spend some quality time with them. I think Steven Covey's idea (in his book for Effective Families)of making a date with just one child at a time is a good idea, but which I have been unable to execute properly till now. I often think about doing that. Sometimes I try to go for a drive with each of them alone. I find drives are very conducive in getting men especially to talk. Maybe I'll make a date with my older son on my next visit there.

31 August 2006

Unexpected tears.

Today, a friend of my eldest son, who can be said to be physically challenged, told me how she had asked him to be the godfather for her daughter. Her little daughter is disabled too, having been a very premature baby. She said she told him, “One day when she is a teenager, she may feel that I, although her mother, will never quite understand how it is to grow up as a physically challenged person. Then I would like to know that she can come to her godfather who can tell her what it’s like and help her to become strong as he is.” She said this and I felt so touched and my eyes filled. Then came memories of how he has struggled over the years and the tears came in earnest. The tears were immediately controlled of course. But this remained in the back of my mind the whole day and so I wanted to do a post on it.

Bless you my son. I am so proud of you. Many times I have had to be tough, to never let even a doubt or a worry creep anywhere into my conscious mind, so that you would feel strong enough to do anything. I’m deeply sorry if I have seemed unsympathetic but it is a thin and difficult line, at any time, to walk between overprotecting a child and disciplining him, so that he can become a strong, positive human being and this becomes ever so much more difficult if your child ids physically challenged. Only the parent of another such child will understand that fully. But, as to living with the disability itself, only another disabled person will ever be able to empathize, because for us physically whole people, we can never quite know how it feels to be in that skin.

I love you and I love you too daughter-in-law dear, for the kind for wife you are to him.

22 August 2006

Hurray for blogging

Every now and then I get this feeling that my blog is so borrrrringgg that maybe I shouldn’t blog anymore. Then I tell myself that it’s supposed to be mainly for myself that I’m blogging. Actually blogging and reading so many different types of blogs has really helped me. Technically I know that one should be interacting in the real world, but for me blogging has helped get over the last bits of my depression. I still have occasional downs, but now I realise they are only downs and not the depths of down that it used to be or the depths of self-loathing (because I used to feel I was the loser to end all losers) that I used to go to. Now I know I may still not be this great winner, but it doesn’t matter all that much at the present time and I’m also better able to choose not to get pulled down by negative statements or random criticisms.

Then the other blog I have, --For the family-- which is a family effort, has been a lot of fun.

So here’s to blogging!

15 August 2006

Happy Independence Day!

Today is India's Independence Day. We celebrate both the day we became independent of British Rule (59 years today) and the day India actually became a republic, which was only in 1950 (2 ½ years later).

For most of us today Independence Day is just a holiday, the story of which we learnt in our history lessons. But, for people like my mother who were there then, to whom it was time of great excitement, it still means a great deal. In fact she called me this morning after watching the Independence Day Parade at Trivandrum on TV to complain: “Imagine, they were marching to ‘My Bonnie lies over the Ocean’. Even now, after 59 years, why do we have to march to ‘their’ songs? There are so many patriotic songs in our many languages which could be used as marching songs. I want to register a protest! I plan to write to the newspaper.” And I thought, to my husband and me, the idea of watching the parade hadn’t crossed our minds.

My mother has told me several times of what it was like at that time. My parents lived in Bombay then. My two elder brothers were there. She says on August 14th 1947 the excitement was so high. She says my father and she got out with their two sons to join the throngs on the street as it neared midnight, when freedom would be officially declared. She says my father carried the younger of his two sons on his shoulder (who was 3 then) and the older one (6 at that time) walked along. She tells me of the joy and exhilaration in the air. She says they all walked and joined friends and stayed out till early morning. When she used to tell me about it her eyes used to light up, even so many years after.

For my mother and her generation the India they had hoped to build didn’t quite work out. But she does concede that a great many positive happenings have taken place and she is definitely proud to be an Indian citizen of Free India.

Jai Hind

08 August 2006

Fruits I love

Mango season is almost over. Mangoes top the list of my favourite fruits. The other fruit which vies for top spot has to be mangosteen, pictured above. That’s in season now, here in Kerala. I can eat any number of them at one sitting. It has the most heavenly taste—to me anyway (my daughter doesn’t like it!). So I thought I’d make a list of my favourite fruit.

1.As I said mangoes and mangosteen (not from the same family at all) occupy top spot. 2. Then come pineapples, no doubt about it.

3. Then I guess come peaches & nectarines (which I ate fresh for the first time when I visited the US a long while ago).

4. Fourth are litchis, which we used to eat fresh in Calcutta, when I was growing up. Here I only get to eat tinned litchis.

After that I can’t really rank them—concord grapes, cherries, custard apples, papayas (with a squeeze of lime &a smattering of sugar), watermelons—try adding a bit of crushed mint, oranges especially loose jacket ones—I think they are called tangerines in the Western world,

William’s pears, apples especially those which are slightly tart & firm, guavas and of course the jackfruit. In fact I think I like almost every fruit I’ve tasted so far-both dried and fresh-except muskmelons maybe & something called tree tomatoes, which we used to get when I was in boarding school in the Nilgiri Hills.

So tell me all of you, what are your favourite fruits?

27 July 2006


One of my dogs died on Monday morning. It was upsetting.

Allie was a Doberman and she was 4 years old. She was actually my daughter’s dog. But when my daughter moved to Madras and was unable to get a place where a dog was allowed, she asked me to keep one of her 2 dogs. So I took Allie, firstly because she was female. Besides, she had already been spayed & also because I felt she was very sensitive & would be very unhappy in a new situation, whereas she already knew me & this place. She came to me in 2003, when she was a pup of around 10 months. Allie very soon became my dog. My sons used to call her my tail. Although a Doberman, she loved to be petted and would wait for you to sit down to place her head strategically on your lap. She was very much my dog. But when my daughter or her husband came, she was ecstatic. After all it was they who had brought her up from the time she was 3 weeks old, till the time she was 10 months! So much so I think she was just a bit jealous of their baby.

This May Allie had turned 4. She had mellowed and was no longer the jumpy puppy she was when she came to us.

I really don’t know what exactly happened. She seemed a bit quiet, but I thought that was because she had finally quietened down. Suddenly she started throwing up. We took her to the hospital. One vet said it was distemper, but another said that she didn’t have enough signs. All I know is she was really ill, and seemed to have some internal bleeding. The doctor at the vet hospital treated her for distemper and gave her a dextrose drip for dehydration, as she had been throwing up a lot. But it was of no use. She had terrible convulsions in between, which was agony to watch. But the saddest was hearing her crying through her sedated sleep. Anyway, she was out of her misery early Monday morning. We buried out among the trees. It will take a while to stop missing her.

09 July 2006

It's a lovely Sunday here today. It's one of those breezy, sunshiny days that come during the South-West Monsoon. I look out of the window and everywhere I look is lush, new-washed green. There is an abundance of butterflies of various hues and sizes. My rambutan tree is full of fruit, slowly ripening and it looks beautiful covered in red fruit as in the picture. I can hear the chittering of squirrels and the twittering of birds. I'm listening to Latin jazz on Internet Radio, with a background of the breeze in the trees.
Lovely, relaxing Sunday!

04 July 2006

When I Asked God for Strength
He Gave Me Difficult Situations to Face

When I Asked God for Brain & Brawn
He Gave Me Puzzles in Life to Solve

When I Asked God for Happiness
He Showed Me Some Unhappy People

When I Asked God for Wealth
He Showed Me How to Work Hard

When I Asked God for Favors
He Showed Me Opportunities to Work Hard

When I Asked God for Peace
He Showed Me How to Help Others

God Gave Me Nothing I Wanted
He Gave Me Everything I Needed

- Swami Vivekananda
So well put! So wanted to share it with everyone.

23 June 2006


Jac's comment on my post with the dandelion picture made me hunt for this poem I wrote based on the dandelion. It was written a number of years ago when all my children left home and I was still getting used to the idea.

I stand, a dandelion stalk in the breeze,
Each gust takes away a few more tufts,
Some fly high and are wafted far;
Others fall nearer.
With the passing of each breeze
I am left a little more alone.

Yes my children, as you each go,
Your friends along with you,
I feel a bit more forlorn,
A little more blue.
But I will never stop you,
Even if I could.

It is your time to fly,
To go your own way,
To follow your own path;
While I will pray
For gentle zephyrs
To waft you high,
Then deposit you gently back to earth
Where you will take root and grow your own
Dandelion stalks swaying in the breeze.

21 June 2006

When searching through my desk for some old poems I had written along time back, I came across this written by daughter, maybe when she was in 7th or 8th grade, about her family. It made me feel so touched, I thought I’d put it on the blog.

To God for my family
Who can find a family so good, whom every moment spent with is time cherished;
Who grow in love and understanding as each new day comes forth?

Distance will not separate this family, nor will difference of opinion.
Each has found appreciation in the other, a wonderful and happy existence.

Common interests like music, cricket, cards and travelling tie the bond tighter.
The love of life and the ability to be content, are found in each and every one.

A father who reads out to his children, a mother who is ever so understanding,
Two brothers and a sister, who understand and enjoy time together.

Well, who can find a family so good, who laugh and cry with you?
I have found a family so good and I thank Thee for it.

18 June 2006

40th day prayers

The official mourning period for my father ended on the 10th of June, when we had the 40th day prayers and ceremonies. In our Orthodox Christian church here in Kerala (and maybe all the Orthodox churches), the belief is that it is on the 41st day (or maybe the 40th day, I’m not too sure,) after a person’s death that the soul finally leaves the earth. For 40 days the soul is supposed to be in this realm among the things, places, people, that the person knew, loved, yearned for, etc. There are significances for certain days. It is only on the third day after death that the soul leaves the grave/cemetery, as Jesus’ resurrection was on the 3rd day. Then there are specific days that the soul remains in the house, town, up until the 30th day, when the soul can go anywhere in the world. On the 40th (41st) day the soul leaves the earth. This is based on the Bible’s account of Jesus having remained on earth for 40 days after his resurrection. On that day there are prayers in church and at the grave.

For these 40 days, the bed on which the body lay before being taken for burial, is kept where it was—usually in the front room— and covered only with a white sheet. A cross and an oil lamp are kept at the head of the bed. (This would be in the west, as the body would have lain facing east.) The lamp is kept burning constantly throughout the 40 days. In the old days Mass was said for the deceased every day of the 40 days and there were prayers by the graveside. But nowadays it may not be so often. On the last day, after the Mass and the prayers at the graveside, the priest comes home and prayers are said at home and then the priest puts out the lamp and removes the white sheet.

I had been through this 3 times before, when my sister-in-law first and then my father-in-law and then mother-in-law all died from various types of cancer in the space of around 9years. I realised that these rituals were very helpful in coming to terms with the death of the loved one. I saw it helping my husband and his siblings. Of course, the void that the loved one left can never ever be filled. But it certainly does help in assuaging the grief at least a little. Then praying at the graveside every year on the death anniversary and on All Souls Day also provides a balm for the sorrow.

I hope it has helped my mother a little. I know that just 40 days can never lessen the sorrow of losing a partner after almost 68 years of marriage, but I pray that she will gradually get some peace. She tries to go on as normally as possible, because as she said once, fairly recently, ‘Anyway till I die, I have to live.’ So she makes a pretty good attempt to live as well as she can.

God bless you Mum and may your soul rest truly in peace Achach.

04 June 2006

An ideal.

I came across this post about perfection on Make the most of U. After I read that, I’ve been thinking about perfectionism and related topics. I realised that I was not a perfectionist. I’m not one of those who want everything I do to be perfect. Mostly, I just want to get things done.

But being ideal is another thing. I found that I had wanted to be the ideal mother, the ideal wife. I am most definitely not the ideal wife. I found it required too much of me trying to be someone I wasn’t. I also painfully realised I could never be the ideal mother either. I hated myself for that for a long time. It’s only fairly recently that I have started realising that for one there is no ideal mother. Believe me, it was a big wrench giving up the idea of being the ideal mother. But I think because of that I have started forgiving myself—not completely, never completely—but on the road, for being a human being!! In this context, I used to love Erma Bombeck’s column in American magazines—when we came across them and I have read a couple of her books. Wish I could lay hands on more of her books here. But I still can’t help hoping my children would have forgiven me for the mistakes I did make!! (Proves the picture of ideal motherhood still resides in a corner of my mind)

24 May 2006

Belated Mother's Day bouquet to my daughter

Mother’s day has long come and gone and I had put up a tribute to my mother. But now I thought I would like to post a tribute to my daughter, a one-year mom. She is a working girl and feels all the guilt that many such mothers feel. She was so very upset for example, when she missed seeing her son’s 2nd tooth. She desperately wants to work from home and is trying to get such a job. She juggles her work and her home like so many other women I know—and so is not special that way. Besides, being here in India, means that she has house help to help with cooking and cleaning.

What made me think of doing this post was that not too long ago she asked me if she was a good mom and I was able to say wholeheartedly that she was. To me what I see is a mom who loves her baby. He knows he’s top priority in her life. She’s easy with him meaning the right amount of flexibility, an absolute essential I think when bringing up kids—if you don’t want to go berserk. Of course it maybe that the Supreme Power has given her son an easy-going nature. But whatever it is, the fact that the baby is friendly, and self-confident, shows, to me atleast, that she’s a first rate mom. Here’s to you daughter dear, belated happy mother’s day.

17 May 2006

Happy birthday Ma

It is my mother’s birthday today and besides it was Mother’s Day on the 14th. So I thought I would post a tribute to her today. I know I had written a post to her before but I feel compelled to do it one more time. I found this online and felt it said exactly what I wanted to say about her.

GOD said--

"When I made woman,
I decided she had to be special.
I made her shoulders
strong enough to carry
the weight of the world, yet,
made her arms gentle enough to give comfort...

I gave her the inner strength
to endure childbirth
and the rejection
that many times will come
even from her own children.

I gave her a hardness
that allows her
to keep going and take care
of her family and friends,
even when everyone else gives up, through sickness and fatigue without

I gave her the sensitivity to love her children under any and all
circumstances. Even when her child has hurt her badly....

She has the very special power to make a child's boo-boo feel better and
to quell a teenager's anxieties and fears....

I gave her strength to care for her husband, despite faults
and I fashioned her from his rib to protect his heart....

My mother is all of the above and more. I love you mum.

Fly away, fly away, go where you may wish!

I have sort of gotten over feeling sad about my daughter’s proposed move away. My children have the right to live their lives the way they want and sometimes it all turns out for the best. It is just that, as we grow older, it takes longer to get comfortable with a big change. So, bless you daughter, whatever decision the two of you take and wherever you fly to.

12 May 2006

My daughter, or rather my daughter’s husband is planning to move to Mumbai form Chennai and I HATE the idea. I feel sad even thinking about it. I so much prefer the southern Indian states to bring up children. Mumbai has become so soulless. Also of course there is the fact that they’ll be moving much farther away from home. Then there is the strong family support that is available in Chennai as opposed to none at all in Mumbai. Is more money and prestige worth it? I really don’t know and I also know that I whatever my feelings, it’s their life and beyond giving my opinion, I have no other right. But I am sad.

06 May 2006

My father passed away on Tuesday 2nd May, in the morning. He was 93 and had been suffering from senile dementia since 2001. His condition had gradually deteriorated over the last year or so. In this last year, the number of times I have been able to have any kind of conversation with him can be counted on my fingers. All of us siblings watched in sorrow at seeing our brilliant father like this. At some point I came to terms with it and said a farewell to him because I realised the father I knew had left quite a while back.

When he started breathing difficulties, my mother called for me around 11.30 p.m. on Monday night. When I heard his breathing it didn’t sound too good. My mother didn’t want him to be taken to the hospital. So, I sat by his bedside the whole night, holding his hand and massaging his chest, while my mother sat on the other side of him. Sometime during the night, while I watched him struggling for breath, I realised he was nearing his end. I just prayed for him to get release. I said my last farewell to him then. When he finally passed away at 7.45 a.m., I was relieved for him and really glad I that I had been able to be with him.

I was never a ‘daddy’s little girl’. It is my mother who I am close to. My dad was a constant, but distant figure in my life. I could never confide in him, or joke with him or even just chat with him. He was a workaholic I guess and most of the fun things we did as children was with my mother & other extended family. My dad was the one who helped with maths and science homework, or the one you discussed serious philosophical points or the political scenario with—things like that. We rarely saw the lighter side of him I think, though I do remember him taking my brother and me to a disco in Delhi (it was 1970), because we couldn’t afford it on the allowance we had while in college. So I remember feeling surprised and touched when, two nights before my wedding he told us about him going pub crawling with his friends after passing his Bar exams in London!

He was very liberated in many ways. But I guess he could never quite forget his upbringing. So he was more old-fashioned in his treatment of us daughters. He treated us as helpless frail creatures, which used to irritate me then. Much later, around 10 years ago maybe, I had a big argument with him and told him that it was insulting to us, his children, to be treated as though we were incapable of looking after ourselves. Yet now, I don’t feel any resentment. I think it’s been a long time since I stopped seeing my parents as gods and started loving them as fallible human beings, which makes everything so much easier to forgive. Also, seeing them old and frail, but trying hard to be independent, made me realise how much I love them, warts and all.

My father was fairly well known in India in his heydays as a professional manager with great ideas and an undying loyalty to his country. What I admired about him was his willingness to help whomever he could, the fact that he was a consensus person, very good at getting people across the spectrum to come to an agreement, his ability to get to the crux of the matter very quickly. But the quality I most admired (and which influenced all of us siblings) was the way he treated his employees and those less fortunate than him—all equally and with respect, unfailingly polite to all.

Goodbye Achach! I’ll miss you.

29 April 2006

On Growing Old

When I visit with my parents usually, my mother and just sit and chat about day-to-day stuff or maybe any of her problems. But today when I was visiting with her and we chatted, I realized how much old people dread being a drag on others, but at the same time so need to feel wanted and loved. In fact, the older you get, I think the greater the need for the warmth of love—just as one would give a little child.

My mother is an independent person and does not like to bother anyone. So if she gets no other visitors but me, she doesn’t complain. But how she loves it when her grandchildren or nieces and nephews visit. Today my daughter was in town with her little baby. She went over to visit with my mother. I know my mother totally enjoyed the company of her granddaughter and great grandson. But if my daughter hadn’t visited she wouldn’t have said anything though she would have been quite upset. The feeling I get is that as one grows older, being in the company of younger people makes one feel more alive, more in touch with the future—even though the that future may not have you in it.

Unfortunately, many old people do not inspire the love they deeply need, as easily as little children do. I am truly lucky my mother is someone I enjoy spending time with.

I just want to say to anyone reading this, if there is some old person in your life who you used to love when they were younger and who loved you, and you have been out of touch with them, let them know you remember them and that love.

19 April 2006

The story of two women.

This is a story about 2 women, from my town—lets call them Su and Sa, both from a lower-income group.

This is the first story. Sa is a hard-working woman in her late forties. She got married around 9 years ago. He told her he had nobody and she says she felt sorry for him. Also, her mother had died and she was staying alone in the house she had built and thought having a man around would be a source of strength for her. Some source of strength!!

Firstly, he said he was very ill and had something wrong with his brain for which he had to go to see a doctor far away from the town, which required a great deal of money, as far as they were concerned. She worked hard and gave him the money. Then there was some business he wanted to do, of planting ginger (or whatever). All of that was financed by her. She bought a TV on loan, got a cable connection, made the house as comfortable as was possible with her work. He was usually too ill to work. It was only after about three or four years that she found out that many of the times that he said he was ill he was just plain drunk!! Then he started beating her up occasionally when he was drunk. Mind you, he and she were around the same size. She could probably have defended herself, but didn’t.

But one day he overstepped himself. He sold gold jewellery that she had carefully collected over the years, while she was out at work and what was even worse, sold the goat that she loved like a child. That was too much for her to take. She decided to take up a job which required her to stay out of the house.

Even so, out of sympathy, on Onam—the biggest festival here in Kerala, India—she went to cook the traditional goodies for him. But he, he was drunk and wanted more money from her to drink. Apparently he slammed her against the house wall, he hit her, verbally abused her. She did defend herself. So she didn’t get more hurt. She ran out of the house. She decided that she had had enough.

But their saga continued. He locked her out of the house. When he found she had a key too, he changed the lock. Recently he set fire to the house while he was drunk. The precious TV, on which she had just finished paying back her loan—burnt too. She went and confronted him. All the neighbours came out to listen. Believe it or not, a neighbour, a politician & woman mind you, spoke on his behalf, telling her she should take care of him as she had been living with him for so long!!!!!!

The story of Su is similar. But she is already a grandmother although only in her late 30s, as she got married at 16 and has two daughters, the elder being married. Her 2nd daughter is studying nursing.

But in this Sa has far more advantages. 1. The house and property are in her name. 2. She is not legally married to this man, luckily for her in this case. So the law is on her side. 3. She has no children. 4. She can easily support herself as she is so hard-working. 5. She is not a meek woman. Also, while she is working to get him out of her life permanently, she has a secure place to sleep and a safe place to keep the rest of her possessions which she moved from the house.

But for Su, as she told me, “Where can I go? The house is not mine. My daughter is still studying. Also my elder daughter is married & lives very near to my house. If I leave my husband will never allow me back. Then where will I go and how will I be able to see my daughter and grandchildren?” Her only insurance is this daughter, who is studying nursing, who she hopes will take her of at least a little.

What then is the meaning of being a woman?

11 April 2006

To my mother.

This morning I was visiting with my mother, who is 89. I was there because she was very upset about some personal problems in her life and had asked me to run across (she lives next door to me.) We made a couple of phone calls and she asked me to check her mail. Then she wanted to hear the hymn “Whispering Hope”. So I found a MIDI site with the lyrics and we both sang the song and then sang a few more hymns. Then we sang some of the old songs she knew like ‘Ramona’, ‘Beautiful Dreamer’& ‘Far Away Places’. She was always into Western music and was also pretty clued into our songs when we were growing up. So we also sang along to ‘Blowing in the Wind’. She used to love some of the Joan Baez songs as well as some of those of Simon and Garfunkel. Those she has CDs of tho’. It’s only the older songs like 1920s, 30s songs that she loved, that are difficult to find.

I truly admire her indomitable spirit. She looked after her younger sister for five years, watching her deteriorate in front of her eyes. [My aunt had Parkinsonism and so by the time she died in 2001, she was completely unable to move, or communicate in any way.] Now she looks after my 93 year old father who has senile dementia and is mostly in bed, though she herself broke her hip & walks with a walker. She has help it's true. Still.......... I know she is sometimes weary of this life,but she soldiers on with the help of music, books, e-mails to children & grandchildren and phone calls to far-flung nieces & nephews who were always welcome at our house. This post is a salute to my mother and others like her out there in the world. Here's to you !

10 April 2006

Empty nest syndrome.

When I see blogs by so many young mothers, I remember the oh-so precious moments when my children were very young. I enjoyed them thoroughly.

The empty nest syndrome hit me like a ton of bricks. As each child left home to go to University it hurt so much. To me, their vulnerability in facing the tough world outside (maybe because we lived in a small town), added to the sadness of missing them. When the youngest left, it was by then such a deep physical ache that took so long to fade.

But somehow, when they each found their own partners and were happy, it eased the ache in my heart so much. Now, even when they come and visit and leave, there is no heartache, if they look happy. But the minute I feel one of them has a problem, the ache comes, even if I know that I have to leave them to deal with it on their own.

The children always tell me not to worry. But then, as I am sure other parents will testify, one’s child is always one’s child, whether 1, 19, 30 or 50. As my own son admitted after seeing his nephew for the first time, “No wonder parents find it so difficult to see their adult children as grown up, after seeing them in this helpless state!”

05 April 2006

joys & sorrows

I think one of the hardest things for me in being a mother, is seeing one’s child in pain and knowing there is nothing you can do to take the pain away. This is more so when the child is an adult, because then there is the fact of invading their personal space. It takes all my control not to interfere, to be involved without being pushy. I have gone through this a lot because my eldest son has suffered a lot in his 32 years of life. He had an intra-spinal tumour, with all its attendant problems and pain, made worse by the fact that it was detected only by the time he was 16. He was operated upon at that time in London.

He recovered from all that and went on to become a lawyer who enjoys his work. Also, he got married 3 years back to a lovely girl, also a lawyer like him.

But then recently he underwent another surgery for correcting his scoliosis, (developed because of the earlier tumour) which was extremely painful. My daughter-in-law coped somehow, both of them working from his hospital room whenever possible. It was then, seeing him in so much pain that it made me feel even more helpless, probably more so because I knew that now I was only on the periphery of his life. All I could do was pray and to be there if they needed us. Anyway, I know I respect my son tremendously, for the way he deals with his pain and his life and I am truly grateful to my daughter-in-law for the loving, patient way she copes. To any of you out there in a similar situation, my prayers are with you.

02 April 2006

How others live and cope.

It's really interesting to read the blogs of so many women from around the world. I only wish I knew more European languages to be able to see into those cultures too. I have yet to find a blog of someone like me—a post-menopausal just become grandmom and am really hoping to do so. But I thoroughly enjoy reading the blogs of these mothers of young children, Queen of Spain and Baby Powder. Thank you ladies for giving me an insight into being a young mother in the US.

01 April 2006

I've changed.

I started blogging entirely for myself. I hoped that by publishing my take on my life, I would gain a new perspective. I suddenly realise that I have gained and when I read the first blog I wrote, I can see I have changed. I feel far less depressed now. Of course I still don't think I'm the greatest. But I certainly feel much better about myself. Then it may also be because all the hormonal changes of menopause are finally wearing off! Incidentally, I just want to share with all those women going through menopause out there, I am truly greatful to be post-menopausal. I know I will have to be a bit more careful about my health, But I am truly glad. The peri-menopause was rough though. Anyway, I am soooo glad that's over. Life seems to be far less stressful now.

31 March 2006

Fun day

After my previous post, my daughter-in-law very sweetly planned a day-just-for-fun trip for me. We went to Cochin by train and then took an auto to Vallarpadam church, which, for me, somehow brings to mind Mt. Mary Church, Bandra. It is supposed to be extra special for mothers praying for their children and I did want to specially pray for my son. Then we took a ferry to Fort Cochin and wandered around like a couple of tourists. There was no real purpose except chilling out. We had a good day. It was almost like my college days. Its been a long time since I did something where I knew there were no demands on my time. I guess I'm really lucky with my children-in-law.

24 March 2006

sorry for myself

I had so planned on going on a holiday for atleast 2 days with my husband and thought this was the perfect time. Everything seemed to be fine. But now he can't go because he has to sign something on Monday morning. I guess holidays just for fun are no longer in my stars! I feel as disappointed as a kid missing a treat. Well, I guess I'll just have to talk myself out of it.

20 March 2006

a gutsy lady

Today I just heard that someone I knew had passed away last week. It was a shock. She was a young 82. She had encouraged me a great deal, a long while ago, in my early days at the Y. The news brought back memories of the kind oof person she was, gutsy, enthusiastic, smart. I will miss her though I didn't see her that often.

06 March 2006

green today

I see that my last two blogs have been depressive. So here goes, some descriptions about where I live.
I live in what seems to be the last bastion of woodland in this fast developing area of our small town. So, I still get to hear bird calls when I wake up, though there is competition from bus horns. I get to see a wide variety of birds and butterflies. I see the occasional mongoose, crossing the garden when he knows my dogs are sleep. Very rarely now, I even see a monitor lizard. I guess it really is quite idyllic and certainly a lovely place to bring up children. I have to admit that, even though I am still at heart a city gal. When I look out of my window this afternoon, its green as far as the eye can see. Very peaceful!
But then again, I never had any qualms about the place. I wish everyone a peaceful green day

27 February 2006

a new day

After so many years of reticence and not enough writing, it's very difficult to write down random thoughts. I find that suddenly I am 54, overwieght, stiff in the joints and feeling utterly useless! While my children were growing up I was an active involved mother. Now that they are all getting on with their own lives I don't now what to do. Being a mother was a job I thoroughly enjoyed. But I am not really used to thinking about myself. So now I feel totally directionless. At the same time I know I am extremely grateful to the Supreme Being for a wonderful family and for all that I have. Its just that i don't seem to have enough energy and enthusiasm to even look for what I want. I hope by maintaining this blog I'll be able to drum up enough enthusiasm to live more fully.

26 February 2006

first time

I am a mom and grand mom and maybe depressed. Figured that maybe blogging might help me feel better about myself and maybe meet other women online like myself. I have lived in the same small town for the last 32 years. Before that I was very much a city girl. I have tried adjusting to this place ever since then, but wonder if I have been a failure. The empty-nest feeling hit hard. Somehow, that now my children are all gone and I've become a grandmom, there seems to be no purpose to my life.