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Monday, November 19, 2018

Personality Update!

As I read through my recent posts, I realize they are all about Baby Girl, her yearly updates or our amusing conversations, her antics and so on and so forth....so I can remember these details for posterity! As evident as it can be, my life, heart and mind is filled with thoughts of her, she is truly my life. 




I have changed so much as a person since I became a mother! You can often hear S commenting to BabyGirl that your mother has become so serious now, and add that " she was so wild, impulsive and really silly". My immediate response to that is that i can't impart discipline if I am not disciplined or serious myself! Interestingly, as I sit here, unable to sleep, introspecting how I have evolved over time, I am a changed person indeed. I worry a lot more, am really paranoid about everyone's health or safety, and often have sleepless nights over the tiniest details. Earlier, i would just sleep and not worry about anything and be carefree...not a good change, I know! But it is what it is...

I am blessed with wonderful parents and I have an amazing relationship with them. It has taken me so long to understand that its not a given. There are so many others who do not have the luxury of unconditional love like I do. I would always seek attention, want something especially emotional support from them all the time. Recently, I have begun to finally understand that they are getting old. I should be the one offering at least emotional support if not physical support. I am always missing them physically and long to touch them everyday. EVERYDAY. There's always something that reminds me of Amma or Appa. That will NEVER change either. That's how it should be. As time passes by, I have lost so many loved ones and the first thing that always comes to my mind is that the biggest disservice that you can do to a loved soul is to forget them. Always keep them alive in your happy memories. I always remember you and the good times, Balaram mama...

On the professional front, I have started yet again, from scratch in Hong Kong. I am working independently here, I am my own boss. I can't say i have reached my goal but i will get there, slow and steady. I have never been someone who gives up easily. thankfully, that has NOT changed. I juggle many hats with absolutely no help here and honestly, that's the way I like it too. It makes me feel accomplished, self-reliant and totally busy through the week. I like a routine to my days, not the kind of person who likes it to be a "weekend kinda day" everyday, for sure.

Life teaches you a lot of lessons along the way and you learn to appreciate, acknowledge and embrace both big and small blessings in your life. I have come a long way in that sense. I do not take any relationship, situation or possession for granted, especially considering all that I have today was a dream of yesterday. I have learnt it the hard way that these dreams do not come true for everyone. Its important to be thankful for everything you have, and also for everything you do not have. There is a reason for it, you don't know it YET.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

You are 6 years old!

Dear Aaradhya,
I can't possibly forget that you are turning 6 coz you are always reminding me about it, more specifically, what you want as your birthday gift! A material girl, indeed! It changes quite often ...from "shoes with wheels" to a ukulele ( I had to google it to figure out what it was!)...it keeps changing almost every other day. Your childish enthusiasm is charming.

You are my biggest strength and weakness...and you already know it. There are times when I feel like my love for you will burst in its seams from my heart and there are times when I am so livid with anger while you are smirking away with the hint of a knowing smile that says "I got you!", eh?

I hear this all the time, from your teachers, my friends who interact with you and people who keenly observe you that you are a very strong individual and very confident, in general. I am very happy and proud that you know your way around, you are independant and you are a self-assured child. At the same time, I am scared that it could also mean you could end up growing up into this arrogant person. I am trying my best to make you understand that it's ok to know what you want but it is more important to be kind and nice to everyone. We have our little tiffs about this once in a while. It's ok. we are both learning from each other.

You are very enthusiastic and interested in multiple things. You have a good sense of rhythm, love music and always want to hear in the background even when you are playing, which we are obviously thrilled about, considering we are obsessed with music ourselves. You have begun formal music lessons in carnatic music this year, i am hoping you develop a keen interest in vocals and start appreciating music more and more.You are quite an "artist" in your own words...our home is filled with loads of sketches, drawings and loving notes from you.


You have acquired our love for travel and get most excited when we plan for a holiday somewhere. We had an amazing summer break at Bali as a family and also went solo with T Chithi to Seoul, Korea. You were mostly good and it was a huge relief to me. I was very pleasantly surprised with your kindness, loving nature and learning to share ( brief flashes!). At 6 years, you have been to Paris ( born there!), Andaman, Srilanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Bali, Korea apart from different cities in India ( Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Amritsar to see the Golden temple)...pretty impressive for a 6 year old, girl! You are truly one lucky child. :)

I have an inhouse "girlfriend" already, who compliments me on my outfits, notices anything new I buy or is the first to notice if i am sad or upset and you try your best to make me laugh. It instantly uplifts my mood and I feel so warm and fuzzy inside. I am already looking back at chubby baby pictures or watching your antics as a 2-3 year old from our old videos and you are my constant companion, who thoroughly enjoys watching herself with glee! Full of self-love, aren't you?

You are everything and much, much more than we ever imagined, aaradhya. We hope and pray good health, happiness and want to see you grow in leaps and bounds. My wish for you is that you are always loved and protected by God. I hope you learn to be more kind, empathetic and always remain good at heart. We will both work on it over the years.
We love you with all our hearts, my munchkin,
Amma & Appa

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The view from my window


My favorite corner of my home - the reading alcove overlooking the sea...I am transported to a different world with characters who seem to fill all my senses and become one with me in my little world as it exists! ...

I look at this beautiful serene view of the sea and as I see the boats move slowly from a distance...a sense of calm descends over me and I feel very relaxed. I have my "alone time with my books and thoughts" here everyday and it prepares me for anything and everything for the rest of the day. I feel blessed that I have this view and my beautiful family - that's all I ever want - truly.

The lows and ebbs in life make you realize what is most important to you. Of course, I am definitely one of those people who gets introspective and so very philosophical during a low phase. I always think that i should be grateful for all the people, blessings, food, security, travel, partner, child, good health, friends, family, etc. and focus on being positive. Except, when the good times thankfully roll in, i am just busy living my life and forget gratitude - this time round I want to consciously remember that equanimity in state of mind at all times is key to balance in life.

I am also someone who strongly believes "Happiness is a state of mind". If you believe you are happy, you are! The same logic can be applied to anything and everything - both positive and negative thoughts. Always fill your minds with positivity, gratitude, happiness, contentment and your life will be filled with love, light and everything bright. 

As I sit here at the window, typing away - there are these huge ropes that seem to never end. The window cleaning is in progress. To me, they look like "beanstalk" from "Jack and the Beanstalk", my favorite fairy tale. I love the concept that God is so accessible and I can take the "stairway to heaven" as and when I please to pay a visit to Heaven! It brings a smile when I see the dangling ropes and I am not exaggerating when I say they are endless. In Hong kong, due to constraints in space, apartments are all high rise buildings going up to 60 floors! So it is pretty high and you also have a spectacular, magical view of the sea, the boats literally floating by...it makes me smile :)...especially the "beanstalk"! 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

My evolving sartorial choices!

...when I am bored, I go through my archives and often ruminate over how I have changed/developed/evolved or insert any term that screams self-evaluation and I am going down memory lane! 

I have realized time and again that I am a mellowed down version of my former younger self. Recently, I was reading an old e-mail I had sent to S, when he was my fiance and I sounded so silly and full of words and emotions. I could not relate to that person anymore. I am essentially the same person but I may not express myself so freely or say it all out loud. I am more careful with my words; have replaced them with a smile. I guess that makes me a very cheerful person!!


I also look very different now (..I think i feel different). My style has evolved considerably. I have accepted my body type and feel good about some of my better physical attributes. I have made peace with my thunder-thighs! I have decided to embrace my well proportioned figure and good height and dress according to my personality! It may not necessarily be in-trend or what's in vogue! But hey, I dress myself in an elegant manner and i feel confident about myself. That's what matters. To me. It is such a happy space to be in. 



Of course, I want to be healthy, fit and have all the stamina to make the most of life. It's just that now I am not clamoring to be thin - if that makes sense. So I have embraced skirts - pleated, A-line, tailored - you name and it and I wear it with aplomb. Skirts that enhance a smaller waist and curves. Most importantly, you can't see my thighs! Yay! 

On a more serious note, I am learning to appreciate my positive physical attributes as well as ACCEPT that there are certain aspects that may not be very flattering about me and it's absolutely fine. Accept it and move on. There are much more important things in life to focus on and it's not such a big deal once you realize it does not matter anymore. Once you make up your mind and heart - it's not such a big deal. But this epiphany does not occur overnight. It is definitely a slow process with hurdles of extremely hurt feelings, disappointments, low self esteem etc. 

Anyway, moving on...I have also developed a keen interest in sarees. I always knew I looked good in sarees as I am quite tall but always shied away from them. I was never good with the drape and feeling as comfortable and elegant as wearing them! I have slowly embraced the gorgeous fabric, understand what material suits my body type. Now, I look forward to occasions to wear a saree. There is never a dearth for lovely sarees in a south indian household. All else failing, there is always Amma to borrow or better steal from! 


I am wearing a knit sweater top and a crop top respectively - adds a quirky and interesting twist to the saree and more importantly, you save the time and effort of looking for fabrics and a good tailor to stitch a blouse! You could pair the crop top with a skirt as well or even pair it with a smart blazer/pants/jeans.

To the utter dismay of the husband, I am always looking for interesting crop tops to pair with sarees or contrast prints and colours that will go with traditional weaves to wear - probably when my cousins, nieces, nephews or close friend's kids get married in future! what? everyone gets married at some point...at least you would hope for it! 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Baby Girl turns 5!

...this phrase pretty much sums up how I feel exactly every single day! ...

I vividly remember dreaming of this child and she has turned five already? Life seems to move at lightning speed and you are left catching your breath, wanting to catch up yet not wanting to move ahead. I often tell her that I wish i could put her back into my belly and keep her all to myself. Just me and my Baby Girl.

We moved to Hong Kong last year. While S and I were a little hesitant about how the move would affect her - she took to the new place like a fish does to water! She loves it here, has made a lot of friends, does a lot of new things, activities and loves swimming. She would proudly declare that we have a huge swimming pool in our home! (Can you ever imagine that in HK, considering how people are left wanting for space in their homes? Our apartment has a view of the clubhouse swimming pool from our large french windows in the living room). A child's mind works so simply, doesn't it? Sigh!



I feel really proud of her confidence when she often walks up to some children playing in the park and asks " Can I play with you?" without any hesitation. I am glad she feels comfortable to be independent in a social setting like that. She will also do the same in a restaurant and will ask the waiter for water or anything she needs politely. Though we as parents, have encouraged her to be more independent and feel confident in a social gathering - I doubt it comes easily to a 4 year old. I was not that confident at that age, for sure!



She has just joined "Big School" and she was such a trooper. It's quite an arduous task to get admissions to good schools in Hong Kong easily. She had multiple rounds of interviews in almost all the schools we applied to. She did very well everywhere and we were so happy and blessed that we could pick and choose the best suited school for her in all aspects. She got into a routine seamlessly and she is pretty excited about going to her new school now. I can't believe she is in Primary school already! Another big Sigh! 


One aspect that we both have in common - we have large feet! Jokes apart, she is a lot like me by nature - very social, makes friends easily, wild and crazy sometimes, spontaneous, sensitive. She is also good at a lot of different things I was not very good at - very street smart, keen observation and an elephant's memory! She never forgets even the tiniest detail about a certain day! I am amazed at her memory. 
One moment, she is spouting wisdom like a 12-yr-old already and the next moment her face is filled with utter joy or glee or excitement just as she did as a baby or a little girl and I want to freeze these moments with all my heart! It warms my heart to see so much of myself in her - her spontaneity, her unrestricted crazy wild side, her happiness in the smallest of things - it's all me! She may look more like S but by nature and personality she is totally mini-me! ( S's words, mind you not mine!) :)


Baby Girl and I have this "romantic ritual" since we could understand what I say. I would take her down to play in the park and we would normally play till it would start getting dark. The moon would appear and i would always call her and show beautiful it is! Since then, she would often point it out to me and say "Amma...moonie...moonie". It's our thing. A couple of days back, even though she is a little girl now - she smiled at me and said "moonie"! It's our thing. :)
This year, after our month-long holiday in India - I started teaching Baby Girl the basics of Carnatic music. She sings pretty well but has no patience even for a 10-minute practice session or a class. I am at my wit's end but the plan is to find a good teacher and see how it goes. What I have learnt from this though is that I am not meant to be a teacher! :P Apart from music, she also began to speak more tamizh after we got back home. 

Many of my friends are intrigued/amused that I am so particular that she speaks her mother tongue and often chide or tease me for making such a fuss about speaking tamizh. I want her to feel proud of her roots just as I do and feel that it's very important that she can speak fluently in tamizh. I did not learn tamizh formally in school. Yet my mother made a lot of effort to teach us tamizh - we also learnt to read and write tamizh by reading commercials on T.V.  So it means a lot to me and makes me very happy to hear her tamizh though she sounds like a non-tamilian when she speaks ( as of now)! Her accent is so different but i guess i can accept this version than no tamizh at all, eh?

My dear 5 year old Baby Girl,

As you turn a year older, you are also a lot more taller, more talkative, more imaginative, as inquisitive as ever and can turn a dull gloomy day into a feisty, fun day and make it all come alive. We feel so blessed to have you in our lives, my darling girl.

Stay happy, stay blessed - spread loads of love, happiness and enjoy this wonderful journey of life. I love you to the moon and back! 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Elusive Secret to Successful Relationships!

I am in no way a expert on relationships...however, when my friends talk to me about their failed relationships or ask me how I handle mine....I do share my thoughts. I was very young and naive when I met S but i think it worked to my advantage. I was not too exposed to the world and I really had no expectations when we got together, really. I remember vividly just wanting someone taller than me. I have always been attracted to tall men. that's all I thought ...in my case, I am lucky that I did find a tall guy. It made me so happy then.

Cut to the present, as I see relationships crumble around me or observe my friends struggle to get on with their partner...I feel like they expect too much from their husbands or vice versa and some of them are really very unrealistic. S and I do not look at each other as a "magical solution" to the dread or melancholy in this world. He is just another human being, just like me - but we share similar dreams, similar values and also want to travel extensively - be happy, healthy and be good human beings and raise our daughter to be a great human being as well. This does not mean we are two peas in a pod either! We have different tastes in music, food and its absolutely fine. We have both learnt to appreciate the other's taste - at least give it a try. we have acquired some of each other's tastes. We give each other some space to have some "me - time" alongside each other or some time apart. 

I am a contribting guest author on www.bonobology.com and this* article sums up what I genuinely feel. Of course, who does not enjoy romance in their life? I totally do and we have our moments. But I am also aware that he cannot miraculously change my life or vice versa. we have to be realistic, work on our dreams and our relationship together. We work together as we regard each other our best friend. It is the reason why even after 14 years together, we have so much to talk about, with each other. We have created this safe haven between ourselves where we both feel comfortable to share, say, dream, articulate or blabber anything and everything to each other. 

Edited to Add: *This post was originally written by Nikita Dudani and first appeared on Bonobology.com.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Being Amma's daughter!

"Will you feed me? Please, Amma?" she asks me gingerly, with the most beautiful smile, an almost impish smile...knowing my answer already. My all-knowing baby girl who is 4 already! 


I reprimand myself for being such a pushover and eagerly feeding her, just happy to know that she is eating healthy, nutritious meals or that she is even trying new things that I have hidden inside the food she loves to eat. I want her to be independent, enforce discipline and all the blah you read across various platforms about "parenting rules" while fully being aware of the fact that how long will she ask me to feed her? 

It's a different thing that I long for Amma to feed me, a fully grown woman and a responsible mother( this lovely child in my care) now...I remember vividly even now, Amma rushing to work all dressed in a smart and crisp cotton saree or gorgettes 
( depending on her mood or that time of the month) having a proper lunch at breakfast time to last for a long working day....steaming hot rice mixed with ghee, rasam or sambar and I could just not resist a couple of mouthfuls from her plate, with only her hands. Those handfuls were the most delicious food I ever tasted...even if I ate the same food properly on my own plate, with absolutely no interest later. It did not have the same flavour my Amma's hands could add to it. I can taste that morsel of food in my mouth, even now. Contentment. Happiness. Cherished Love...I feel so lucky and blessed and I truly want to pass on the same kind of love and contentment to my Baby Girl. There are sick days when I would give anything for that warm food only from Amma :-)



Life comes full circle, isn't it? I remember that Amma would often tell me " iru, iru ...unna madiriye unakku oru ponnu porakkum...appo theriyum onakku" which roughly translates to " Wait, wait...you will also have a daughter just like you! then...you will know"!!! Little did I know that my Baby Girl would be at least a 100X more exasperating than I was! Growing up, like everyone else, I sort of had a phase when I hated my mother for being so strict, or wanting to know every little detail about me or not allowing me to do something. But now I appreciate her for being my mother in the truest sense! She would often tell me that even if you hate me, I am doing it for your own good. Thank god she did...I turned out so well. LOL! Being a parent is definitely not easy. It's a really tough hat to adorn - I had no idea until I became one! When you are solely responsible for another human being's mental and physical well being - you want to doubly make sure you do it right, every single moment of it. 

I live away from my parents and nowadays I am always thinking of them. I feel like I am missing spending time with them physically but my life is here. I know it's part of life and everyone goes through it. But that does not make it any easier especially on some days. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Diwali in Hong Kong, this year! (2016)

Diwali is one of my most favorite Indian festivals ever! I get really excited about Diwali and the enthusiasm never really fades...of course, I have celebrated it differently, in different cities, even countries now - with a new set of people, new friends, new surroundings and definitely new experiences. This time it was in Hong Kong since we moved here mid-2016.


Here's some quirk for you right at the entrance...I think S and I love the owls more than Baby Girl! 

When we were in Paris I would feel very homesick when it was Diwali but eventually we found our way around and began to celebrate in our own way with dear friends. In Hong Kong, I have more company and my friends at the society had arranged a Diwali party and it was really a lot of fun. 

There was so much activity around Diwali in Baby Girl's school too and this year I managed to wear sarees thrice in a week! ...which is a record in itself as far as i am concerned. As always, I tried to add a festive vibe to our home decor in my own little way!

My precious uruli  featured in this picture...I also use them to display floating flowers sometimes...it looks beautiful and adds a lovely charm to the decor.




I have some trivia to share about this wrought-iron stand! I bought this stand online for a real bargain but when it arrived - one of the support at the bottom was broken. I was not too keen on returning the product so I found a solution - through the local carpenter or grill makers and fixed it - thanks to my house help who took it all the way by herself and brought it back for me. God bless her...it shipped all the way to Hong Kong with us!



I have a nice collection of brass figurines of Ganesha, Lord Vishnu,Meenakshi Amman, brass bells and other pretty paraphernalia and I absolutely love them. Some of them have been passed on to me from my mother and Mother-in-Law, very kind of them and I cherish them so very much.

Our home in HK came with this big display unit in the living room. At first, I didn't really like it so much but gradually i began to realize how useful it is especially when you live in a relatively small space than you have been used to earlier...it's a great way to display all our memorabilia and to hide all our ugly wires and unnecessary necessities inside the drawers that come with it! Win-win!
 It was a busy and fun Diwali, quieter than it would be back at home but definitely enjoyable. Wishing everyone in this world a happy diwali and a year filled with goodness, hope, happiness and tons of love! 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Life in Hong Kong

You can read my first impressions of Hong Kong here

So its almost exactly three months since we moved here but I honestly feel like we have lived here forever....is that good or bad? I have no clue...we feel pretty settled more or less. After setting up our home and generally settling down with work, school etc. we have moved on to being tourists in Hong kong. We are exploring all the popular spots and Hong Kong has a lot to offer and its really a pleasant surprise.


This is from picturesque Stanley Pier, in quaint beach town of Stanley, just a bus ride away from where we live. As soon as we arrived, it gave a boho-chic European kind of vibe. You get a bit of everything - nature, quaint local market, street food and the mall - a quintessential part of Hong Kong! 

The street filled with restaurants, small knick knacks, little gifts, local goods as well...

They also have a "lover's terrace" akin to the love lock bridges in Paris! I personally felt even this display exhibits discipline and order of sorts which is so typical of Hong Kong. 



On another weekend, just by chance, we managed to take a bus to the Peak! The view is just stunning and i felt like we were somewhere else. The ambience, the people, the gorgeous gorgeous view of the city is simply stunning. It literally takes your breath away, I almost imagined as if God looking down at earth!!! :P

I was initially very intrigued about how fitness-conscious people are...people of all ages exercise regularly and are very active. It has now become something that motivates me to be very active and workout as well. How can you not join the locals when they are in such amazing form, glowing skin, healthy hair...part of it can be put down to their genetics but they also work towards maintaining it. Kudos to them! 

I see an elderly gentleman slogging away on the cross trainer, dripping and soaked in sweat in the gym. He never misses a day, relentless and very very dedicated to his workout. He is my inspiration. What I love, is how considerate he is, to the next person using the cross trainer. He will religiously clean it with a tissue and anti-bacterial even when there are support staff doing the same. Truly a gentleman!

I am not sure whether I am getting fitter with workouts but my skin is definitely getting better and looks healthy! Yay!

We are slowly trying to move outside the comforts of our home and family to socializing with others and taking baby steps. But I am happy with the progress - it is always nice to meet new, good genuine people who eventually become a part of your life and us in theirs! Touchwood.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Conversations with Baby Girl!

I have these really interesting or really funny conversations with Baby Girl and I want to put them down here, so I can come back here to smile later! 

Baby Girl: Amma, when I grow up and be a big girl, I will have a husband too!
Amma: um hmmmm...
Baby Girl: ...and then he can play with me all day, right?
Amma: ya...sure
Baby Girl:  then, my husband and your husband can be friends and you and I can be friends too.
Amma (amused): who is my husband?
Baby Girl: arre...my appa! 
Amma: (trying not to smile!)...of course, we will be friends with your husband. In fact, we will love him too.
Baby Girl: yes, I will not fight with him at all , you know?
Amma (stunned): !!!!!!!!

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Baby Girl: Amma, why are you doing your face like that?
Amma: My stomach is paining baby ( it's that time of the month and I feel like just lying down all day)
Baby Girl: why, Amma? you ate too much? 
Amma: ummm hmmmmm
Baby Girl: Oh Amma....don't be sad...Ummachi ( God)...make my Amma better soon ummachi....please ok?
Amma: all smiles despite the pain..
Baby Girl: wait Amma...I will get you manundhu ( medicine)....
runs off quickly and gives me one of her vitamins...
Amma promptly pops it into her mouth...or else she will sit on me and make it swallow!
Baby Girl: Amma, lie down in my manini( lap)...
Amma lies down....
Baby Girl smoothens my hair and face...
Amma is in heaven now, pain is all forgotten. Amma lives for these moments with the Baby Girl! 
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