Dear R

I am sure R L Stevenson had a 8 year old around when he came up with the idea of Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde. I cannot tell you how many times I have thought about this recently. You girl, have the power to drive me nuts with your behaviour.

I am at my wits end trying to figure out what exactly is your personality. Are you the sweeter than sweet kid who is ready to take care of your sister for hours when I am unwell or that kid who tells me that You are being mean, Amma when I ask you to sit and do some maths with me for 5 minutes!

Suddenly you have grown up. I am really not prepared for this, you know! I am surprised how quickly in a matter of 5 months you have grown up from being a kid to being a mature kid!

Seriously girl, I wish kids come with an instruction manual! You drive me mad at times, and sometimes I feel what did I do so good in life, to have a wonderful child like you!

You are your sister’s biggest advocate and yet I think you spend 80% of your time with her, just fighting. Your favorite line is ‘Stop annoying me’ (Though I must admit R2 does her best to annoy you *giggle*) 

You hate doing chores and I think 2/3 of our evenings go in me shouting at you to do A B C. Its soooo frustrating to keep asking you to do the same thing again and again! Why cant you just do it????

You are like a sloth in the mornings really. No matter what time R2 manages to wake you up(She is the official alarm of this family!!) you wont go in for a shower until 7.12 and 34.5 seconds! Why, R, why? You can always read that book AFTER you get ready , no?

I now know exactly why my Amma used to scream at me for not reacting to her when she used to call me, when I was reading. You do JUST THE SAME!

Trust me, its sooooo bugging. Karma bites back, eh?

You have issues about the way I comb your hair (but you wont let me chop them off!), the way I ask you to layer yourself because its 5 degrees and you are wearing shorts!!!, the way I ask you to sit and write a paragraph for handwriting practice…actually everything!

If this is at 8, what will I do at 18!!!!’

oh wait, at 18, I will just ask you to go and live on your own *sticks tongue out*

Yours 

Confused Amma

Always there for your sister!

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Dear R2

You have been called a Tornado..yes..that too in a library..where people go for some quiet and peace and to read and enjoy books..you actually have managed the feat of being called a Tornado by the librarian..

She asked me how I keep up with you all day..And gave me this really sympathetic smile which made me realise she really feels for me!

You are a riot really!

Its amazing to see how two girls with the same set of genes can be so same and yet so different..I know, I know..same things have been said about your mama and me..but but..I just marvel at nature’s ability to create something unique about everything..

Like both you and your didi did the same things at your age..she was called a toofan as well! 

You are so much like her in all your mannerisms..The way you laugh..the way you have just learnt to say ‘Haaaallllooooo’ or the way you call me ‘Amma, Amma, Amma, Ammmmaaaaaaaa’

You have her eyes and her twinkling naughtiness! I think you came into our lives just to let me know what I was to my mom! 

You speak a few words but all in opposites..So you say ‘Amma down Amma down!’ when you want to be picked up and say nooooo even as you grab that extra thepla to put into your mouth! You are your didi’s biggest fan and do everything that your didi does!

You can sing Saaaa Paaaa Saaaa pretty decently with didi and me when we get on skype to learn music from your mami thathi! Your mami thathi is pretty impressed by your swaram sthanam :) 

You sing twinkle twinkle little star, open shut them and one more rhyme which your didi has taught you..though, to be honest, only didi understands you..Appa and I just nod our head and smile and look at didi for translation🙂

You are an eater like your didi. Nothing escapes you and your mouth including mud, playdough and your favorite is ‘amma atta taaaaaa’ whenever I am making aata for rotis!

You are too lazy which is evident when you say ‘muddle’ instead of muddy puddle! two words is hard work eh?

We took you for a haircut after your Appa’s pretty unsuccessful attempt to chop your hair off. The hairdresser told us to bring you back only after 6 months saying that should give her enough time to recuperate! Enough said, eh?

You, honestly, are a riot and handling you is pretty exhausting! But you are a darling and some of my best moments in life is to watch you worship your sister and fight with her and play with her and imitate her!

Thanks darling for being you🙂

Loads of love

Amma

This is how we eat channa at home

The lego you made at the science exhibition!


Playing hockey with Appa with your own stick!

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

#100DaysofWalking

Remember when I wrote how I went from 0 to 10 to 0 again!

I realised that I have been putting on way too much weight..and I do not want to spend money on any clothes any more! I have enough and more…So the point being..we were talking about something yesterday on this Whatsapp group and the lovely Monika spoke about #100DaysofWalking…who wants to join me?

RM: Kya hai woh Monika..tell me, I want to join in..what is it?

Monika: hehehhe! I just made it up

RM: !!!!!

But Monika being the super lovely one, agreed to actually take up this challenge of #100DaysofWalking for me, with me. She said, lets do it..I was like okay yayayay! and then the super Deeps and awesome Pixie agreed to be a part of it as well..

When Monika tweeted about it…folks showed interest and so we decided we are doing #100DaysofWalking starting August 17th, 2016…thats today..yay!

Since, I am in Australia, I am in an early timezone, which means, that it is still morning or previous day night, in most parts of the world..which means, folks reading this right now, can definitely join in!

Here are the rules:

Actually, there are NO RULES at all :):)

You can do the following, IF you wish to

  1. Tweet about it every day (I plan to do that, just for my sake)
  2. Use the hashtag #100DaysofWalking
  3. You can walk 1 km, 1/2 km, 4 kms, 10 kms..whatever suits you
  4. You can use the treadmill or walk in your back yard, or take a walk in a garden, or even walk around your house..the point is to get moving, so that the body gets out of lethargy
  5. You can take pictures of anything interesting everyday and put it up on twitter using the hashtag #100DaysofWalking (I plan to do that, till I can hehehe)
  6. You can walk alone, walk with a friend, walk with your spouse, skip with your kids, or hop with your bunny..whatever suits you…the idea is to just keep moving, at least once a day
  7. Walk in the morning, walk in the noon, walk during lunchtime at work, walk to work, walk from work, walk after dinner, walk to the ice cream parlour (indulge in an ice cream!) whatever works for you…the idea is to just keep moving, like I said earlier!
  8. Edited to Add: Here is the Facebook group, Monika created, which you can join in to add your milestones daily  – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1644960152486744/

Errr…I did say there are NO RULES na..I mean it..just walk for yourself…Monika, Deeps, Pixie and I are doing it because we thought, doing it together will be so much more fun….So come and join the party…either here or on twitter!!!

Twitter handles you can tag are @readingrsmind (Thats me), @deepstweeps (Thats Deeps) or @Monikamanchanda (Thats Monika)

Come and join the fun..who knows some of us may go beyond the 100 days as well!

*Goes off to check in the calendar, what the end date is? If anyone is faster than me, do let me know :)*

Posted in Uncategorized | 22 Comments

The Sound of Silence

One of the things I am still getting used to about Tas is the silence. And its not silent silence, its this ABSOLUTELY SILENT SILENCE where you can even hear the typing of the fingers even if the phone’s keypad sound is off. Do you get what I mean?

Its so silent that I can hear the next door neighbour’s oven going ‘ting’ after they finish baking whatever wonderously fantastic cake or cupcake they have been baking (the aroma is intoxicating!)

When we first moved here, we had got accomodation in a service apartment. And do you know Tasmania has no ceiling fans!!!! (not that you need them, its freezing here) But for an Indian, who is used to putting the fan on 5 even in peak winter and going underneath 2 blankets in the non winter Bombay to avoid feeling cold, it is sheer torture. How does one sleep really? The ceiling fan is my lullaby! It reminds me of the warmth which I felt in my mother’s womb and the safety I felt in my father’s arms…errr you get the drift, eh?

So imagine no ceiling fan!!!! The girls and I just could not fall asleep in the first few days. There was no noise to make us sleep, you see. RD contributed the lack of sleep to jet lag, but we know the truth, eh?

Then we shifted to this rented house. Its an old house built in the 1950s with wooden flooring and wooden ceilings. So you can imagine how it feels. Since the R family knows only how to stomp and walk (all four of us are elephant sized!) you can well imagine the amount of sound we generate! Plus we are loud when we talk. I am hoping that these houses are sound proof or else the neighbours in the third house on the left will know that R keeps forgetting to wash her milk glass in the morning or that R2 throws all the spoons and forks out of the topmost drawer by climbing on a chair, every morning!!

And its so silent when we go to sleep. Do you know old wooden houses often creak? How do you think people come up with ghost stories? They just come to Tas and live in old houses for inspiration. Trust me, the first one week, RD and I always woke up with a start hearing some creak here or there, though both would pretend not to be petrified, until one day, I confessed to RD that the sounds scared me and he admitted they unnerved him too🙂🙂

And then there are mice which run underneath the wooden floorings and birds up the roof..On cold winter afternoons when R2 and I are alone at home, we can hear all sorts of creaking, squeaking sounds🙂 R2 is not really bothered🙂

And the mornings…when I get up early to have a bath and cook, I can hear the occasional car on the main road which is half a kilometre away..I can hear the roosters from 5 houses away and I can hear the cat next door, slowly move over our fence in search for food..I can hear the water boiling in the kettle and our old fridge’s compressor resetting itself, giving me assurance that it is always going to be there with me🙂

Its so silent that I can hear RD turn in the bed and the girls whispering to each other as they wake each other up. 

Its very silent here. Throughout the day, there are barely 10 people and 3 cars which pass our house. Sometimes the silence scares me, sometimes the silence makes me feel lonely, but most times I can hear the silence speak volumes to me and take me to a happy place! 

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

Queen Of Jugaad In The Kitchen – Part 2

So I was complaining about the electric stove na? It stopped working *bursts into tears* and our lovely landlady replaced it with an INDUCTION STOVE ! I mean, really????

This one is a black sleek device which makes a sound that goes guuuunnnnnnn! and imagine early in the morning when there is absolute silence (that is another post in itself), the stove goes guuuunnnnnn guuuuunnnn! And to top it all, my cooker does not work on it…it is not induction compatible *bursts into bigger tears* out of my three kadais only one works and the chapati tawa doesnt work! One small frying pan does, which means I have to make dosas, parathas, rotis and all that in one tawa…we have stopped having dal and subji on the same day..only one kadai na..so either I make dal or I make subji😉

And the fact that it costs 100s of dollars and should be scratch free makes my heart goes thud thud thud every time I use it :( 

And it is such a contrast to the electric stove because this heats up in seconds..So for the first week it was installed I managed to burn the only got set of patrams I had left! I should rename myself from RM to BurnM really! I have made fantastically blackened dosas, jale hue besan ke ladoo, burnt theplas and what not! 

We went and got a rice cooker in desperation! So rice is not an issue (btw I made dal dhokli and soups in the rice cooker..queen of jugaad na!)

And then all this phoren vegetables and fruits*laughs loud*

I have learnt a lot of things about cooking and vegetables and fruits in the past 5 months

1. Frozen cut bhindi can turn as slimy as a snake. The way to cook it is – Put it into the microwave for 10 minutes, make the subji in a wide sauce pan and use lots of oil …(They don’t grow bhindi in Oz :()

2. Zucchini can be used to make theplas, avial, handvo, pasta, kootu and errrr…I dont know what else I have used it in!

3. I miss kadipatta so much! I have not been able to find them here AT ALL!

4. There are some 150 varieties of apples in Tasmania and each one of them is yummmm

5. The Australians call the smaller sister of orange as mandarin and the orange musambis as oranges…In short, I am super confused what to call what!

6. Corriander and mint are verryyyy expensive so I use them very very carefully..

7. Frozen green chillies are 10000 times hotter!

8. The carrots here are bright orange so the halwa I make turns out to be unrealistically orange in colour..R asked me the first time if I had added orange colour to it!

9. Coconuts are a rarity..I have not used coconut at all in my cooking..On Vishu day I made avial with dry dessicated coconut heheheh!

10. Ginger and garlic are super expensive too! 

11. Beetroots are sold with their leaves so I use them to make theplas too!

12. There is something called silverbeet which is like spinach. However my family refused to believe that my silverbeet corn subji was the same as palak corn! hmpf!

13. The strawberries here also are sour! So much for thinking that only Indian strawberries are sour! Though the girls love them to bits

14. There are so many exotic veggies I see when we shop like brussels sprouts, asparagus, boychok  or something..I still dont know  why we are not buying it yet!

I have, of course, tried loads and loads of new recipes, more misses than hits but hey who cares? Its all about experimenting and experiencing eh?

PS – Folks in India, if you are into handlooms, here is a wonderful place to get them – http://www.facebook.com/Panache-735358513234119/

Posted in Uncategorized | 21 Comments

And We Saw Snow For The First Time

It was Sunday morning. The weather has been totally in love with Elsa. Her magic has spread all over Tasmania, I think. We witnessed snow in our backyard..well not snow really but more of raindrops which had thickened enough to fall as fake snow. R and I tried to catch the fake snow drops on our tongues. We both pretended that we caught it but I doubt she did and I am sure I didnt🙂

Then Sunday morning, just as I sit cribbing about how cold it is and we should get the fire going, RD says lets go see the snow! What, what, what, I say. Are you mad? Its so darn cold there. I will freeze. I go on and on but he has bundled up the girls, got me my 7th layer to wear and is already pushing us into the car.

Amma, quips the elder one, stop cribbing and start enjoying. I shut my mouth. 

Off we go up the hill. We see cars coming down with snowmen on their bonnets. I can hardly contain my excitment. I am ready to park the car halfway and walk up. Apparently the whole of Tasmania wants to see the snow too. R says “why is everyone coming to see the snow? They see it every year no?” 

And then there is a jam. RD being RD, the intelligent guy just takes a u turn, parks the car and says lets walk.

So we walked. And met miracle. I could not believe I was seeing snow. Not only seeing it, I was touching it. R was enamoured. R2 looked around her and shrugged her shoulders at our excitment! The grand old lady isnt too impressed eh?

R and I built a lopsided tiny snowman. RD hit me with snowballs. R defended me. We would have played snowball war if R2 didn’t make a fuss everytime we hit RD. She is such a daddy’s girl😉

It was half an hour of sheer joy. I was drenched since RD hit me on the back of my neck with a snowball, cold snow trickling to freezing water, down my back. Surprisingly, I didnt complain. The sheer joy of being in snow just made up for everything. R2 fell and drenched her bum! ( Thank God for diapers)

We had the best time ever! Sometimes, I am glad RD insists we listen to him🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | 25 Comments

Seriously? What Was I Thinking!

…rather what were RD and I thinking when we decided to have another kid!!!

The first one is already giving me grey hair and the second one will ensure I have NO HAIR left!

R2 is a riot really..and I am at my wits end at times, dealing with her..She is like this bunny with a never ending supply of battery always jumping and shouting and screaming and dancing..I go to bed every night so exhausted that most times I am asleep even before RD says good night to me!

R, on the other hand, is turning into this If-there-is-a-question-you-must-answer-it-or-I-will-bug-you-so-much-that-you-will-have-no-choice-but-to-answer …search Google Amma she told me the other day when I told her I don’t know what silver tailed dragons are!

I mean really!!!! gee thanks baby!

I tell RD I need a new kadai for my bday..one of those flat bottom ones which will work on the great electric stoves…

But Amma, you already have so many patrams..ask for something more exciting na! says the older brat!

Or when I ask her to go and have a bath… Amma, our teacher said Tasmania is facing drought conditions so I think I will skip having a bath every other day so that I can help save water..

This is like the height of laziness!

Or when I am in my crib mood telling RD about not being able to find a job and how frustrating it is!

She says ‘Look Amma, you cribbing all the time wont work! You will get a job..dont worry about it so much..if you stop worrying, you will get it faster!’

I didnt know how to respond to that one!

Or when she asked me for a chocolate and I refused saying eat it tomorrow..She said ‘Amma, why did we buy the chocolate? To eat it na! Let me eat when I feel like eating..it will make me happy..dont you want me happy?’

I just gave her the chocolate!

Or when I was trying to complete a job application and R2 woke up..I looked pleadingly at R..

She not only made R2’s milk, she also made her drink it sip by sip and put her on the potty..She would have even cleaned the bum if the guilty me hadn’t gone to clean up🙂

Guess this is why RD and I had R2! *Makes note to self to come back and read last part of post whenever I get bugged at R*

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments