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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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Monday, August 22, 2016

My 4 year-old Fireball

Baby Girl will be 4 soon! Boy! I can't begin to describe the year it has been...if there is something called "terrible two's", she could have possibly coined the term "threats only work three's"...coz nothing else did!

..." please eat, baby girl...it's getting late, please eat, my darling!....NO!
if you don't eat now...I will switch off the TV for the rest of the day...or tab or playtime...you can insert whatever she enjoys there....THEN she eats! 

..." baby girl, put on your clothes...you will feel cold...develop a fever....while she is running and dancing around the house butt-naked! - NO!
if you don't come right now, I will give your toys away to a good girl! - YES, then she comes..."

..."baby girl, it's getting late...let's go home now. I have to go make dinner! ....NO!
...if you don't come right now, I am going home alone...you can stay here!!...NO!
she behaves like she just can't hear me or will ask for 6 minutes for the nth time!
...if you really don't come now...I will leave you behind while we take the car and go out somewhere....YES!

so you get the drift. You can beg, scold, request, cajole, plead, ask nice...nope! nothing works. Threats are the last resort and that's the only thing that works...that too so far!
She is increasingly adamant and incorrigible. I always say she is not a handful, she is what you call a "bodyful" if such a word exists.

Now that's out of the way, I am so proud about how amazing she can be as 

She has a very sweet side as well. If I am unwell, she will ask me very often..." are you feeling better now?" or she will ask " Ummachi? ( God?) Please make my Amma better...she is a good girl, she takes good care of me!!!!!" 




Extremely intelligent and observant, she will give you directions if you lose your way somewhere and if she has been there before ( even once!). Recently, I got lost trying to find a shop as we were in new in HK ( and i am very bad with topography!)...but she knew exactly where we needed to go! I was amazed and pleasantly surprised! 

She has a wild imagination and can relate and combine different story lines and put it together coherently. She likes to dress up, preen in front of the mirror and has a wacky side, can entertain you endlessly just like her mother. :P ( S tells me that she is sooo much like me, only about a 100 times!)


She has started playing with dolls now and loves babies. She is very inquisitive about babies only as long as Amma does not pick them up or cuddle them! :) However, she is not a girly girl either. She loves cars, guns, buses and is always playing with them....."vroom...vroom". A bundle of surprises, this gorgeous little one! 

She has totally changed me as a person. Of course, I am a mother now to this really interesting little person but more than that I am a totally different person now. My life is upside down absolutely centered towards Baby Girl, a more patient ( Its the hardest part!) person and moving towards being a better person! In that sense, we are both growing up together.

I still can't believe you are a 4 year-old soon, my darling baby! I love you with all my heart and being. Stay happy, kind, healthy and loving , also be wacky, fun, crazy and the absolute feisty fireball you are! God bless you , always be his favorite child.

P.S - This also happens to be my 400th post! Yay! 

Friday, July 8, 2016

My first impressions of Hong Kong!

I must admit that initially I was not too excited about moving to Hong Kong, when I first heard about the opportunity from S... I had a pre-conceived notion that it would be crowded, very cluttered and sort of… claustrophobic! 

But when we went there for a week to do a recce of the place and to find out schools for Baby Girl, I was completely blown away. If I may dare to say it is even better than living in Paris! ( Which I did for 4 years). So here goes what makes Hong Kong interesting and fun ( I have been here for a week only!)J



It is pristine clean, clean roads, bathrooms, lobbies, shops, train stations, metros…you get the drift. People are very disciplined and are “country-proud”. Its just amazing!
      
People are quite friendly and especially sweet to Baby Girl, especially with children. Almost everyone loves children and are very accommodating to their needs and "tantrums" as well.

After struggling in Paris to learn French and having a lot of difficulty communicating with people initially, Hong Kong felt like a breeze. Everyone understands basic English which is a great bonus for me.

People are very fit and health-conscious. I hardly see anyone , just about anyone who is overweight which is a great reminder and inspiration to remain fit!

All women are dressed really well, very smart and trendy, nothing over-the-top but always very well groomed, very chic!

     Everyone, the young and the old alike, teens ( of course), youngsters, middle-aged, senior citizens, even toddlers are all perennially hooked on to their smartphones. To the extent that, even when they are at the zebra crossing to cross the road , they don't even bother to look up from their phones - they just blindly walk across! Phew!!

     Surprisingly (for me), the men are very conscious about their looks. They have all sorts of trendy coloured hair, snazzy hairstyles and what-not. We went to a hair salon to give Baby Girl a haircut and I saw only men getting their hair done!

Every neighbourhood is different – it almost feels like you are in a different country every time coz the ambience is so different and striking from one another.

Being an island, you would expect clutter and closed spaces. But NO! ...and a BIG YAY! There are open spaces, parks, greenery everywhere. That's a huge plus for the little kids and the big kids.

It's a big plus that it is a multi-cultural populace , you see a lot of westerners, locals blending with each other so well that it feels like they belong here. It is a great environment for Baby Girl to grow up in. Hopefully, she will learn to be friendly and social with everyone irrespective of how they look or what language they speak.


I will type away as I explore and observe and find more...

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

10 ways to be a Fusion-ista!

I wrote this for a client but missed the deadline due to some technical error with the pictures ...so putting it up here! 


If you are an Indian woman with modern sensibilities, it is obvious that your wardrobe reflects your attitude. You’d rather be a fashionable ‘fusion-diva’ than a behenji, right?  You can add one ethnic element to your ensemble and look hip…one thing at a time!

®    Pair a long kurta with a waistcoat or a koti instead of a dupatta; you can look hip instantly!

®    Printed Palazzo pants paired with solid coloured tops or kurtis are a great way to blend modern elements with an ethnic look. Pakistani suits, with flowing silhouettes are in vogue and the palazzos are a good twist…

®    Sarees are a classic, and there are a million ways to wear them. Recently, there is a trend of contemporary prints – from animals, fan prints, cameras to language scripts on sarees. A modern twist indeed. Do not over-accessorize and let the saree do all the talking!


®    Women who are up for being bold yet glamorous, can wear a bikini top for a blouse – which looks good on screen. The best way to go is to wear a halter neck blouse with a chikankari  or tussar silk saree

®    If you are one to experiment with different styles of blouses with your sarees, you can go a step further and give the sexy drape a modern twist by wearing a jacket, shirt or a feminine top instead of the traditional blouse, very much in vogue now!

®    Your jodhpuri salwars or Patiala can be teamed with short tops or tunics. Print on print can be overwhelming, stick to one print – either the pants rather salwar or the top.

®    Your grandmother’s traditional necklace handed down to you from your family? Wait no longer, that necklace with a formal white shirt / trousers for an evening out or even a party, is a match made in fashion heaven! Looks uber cool and what an ROI for the necklace!



®    Statement necklaces are in and how! You can make a statement and pair them with your regular ghaghra skirt, a sleeveless top ( preferably in a solid colour) and a bib  or statement necklace! Nothing more, nothing less.


®    Team your bandhini/ lehariya/ phulkari duppatta as a scarf with a white/black/any contrast coloured shirt or georgette top with jeans or even trousers - you are now a fusion-ista! A plain top with no prints will help highlight the colour and embroidery in the scarf aka duppatta!

If you have an unused heavily embroidered duppatta or salwar kameez, you can cut it off and quickly sew the embroidery patch to a simple top, and voila! You have a dressy outfit with some beautiful embroidery – a match made in fusion-heaven

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Yet again, we move!

...As we are moving to a new country (Hong Kong, this time) yet again, I think about how your life can change radically in a second - your home, your circle of friends, your "comfort zone"...but like C mentioned, your "comfort zone" expands and multiplies manifold.


I ponder over what an amazing time we had in Paris the last time we moved from familiar surroundings and the most amazing thing - Baby Girl happened to us there! Unlike a majority of people who detest change, I welcome change. Change for me, has always been positive( I am also someone who only remembers the positives, somehow the negatives don't stay in my mind!) and even if I welcome it initially with a little bit of anxiety and trepidation yet hopeful - all's well in the end. :) 

I strongly believe that if you think change is for the better - it will be. When you think positively, you attract positive vibes. Good thoughts and optimism always work, not immediately but it all works out in the end. 

I am looking forward to the new friends we will make, new places we will travel, new people we will begin to love and be loved, new culture, new cuisines...I love the smell of "new" which will slowly become something I am familiar with...I am waiting to adapt like a fish does to water, to sink into the new place and make a new home, in addition to all the other homes we have nurtured with love. 

Baby Girl turns four this August. She is a very lucky child. We have consciously stayed away from celebrating her birthday with huge parties until she asks for one. Instead, we have been exposing her to love travel, meeting new people, cultures and to develop an interest in wanderlust which we both believe is far more nurturing, and a practical way to experience all the goodness of life. 

Except for the first year, when she was still too young to travel - she has been to Andaman when she turned 2, Srilanka when she turned 3 and when she turns 4 - she will go to a new country as well! I hope she travels to all the beautiful places in the world and we can all have great memories together every birthday! Let's hope God agrees and helps us fulfill our plans too. Our birthday surprise for her, this year is a trip to Disneyland in Hong Kong! I know, she is indeed a lucky little munchkin.

So we did a recce to HK before the actual move and I must say I had minimum expectations and also went with a lot of trepidation. But it was a really pleasant surprise and it quashed all my pre-conceived notions. An extremely beautiful place with friendly people, very organized and I got a good vibe! 

Do think of us in your prayers and I pray to God to be healthy, happy and spread happiness in our new home, literally!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Revel in your blessings

I have recently begun to acknowledge the fact that ( I can only speak for myself) I have been so busy wanting to reach somewhere or achieve something that I forget that I have so many things and people in my life that I could only ever dream of , at one point of time earlier. I have become less thankful for all that i have and i really needed to write down the things I could only dream of, to make me realize how blessed I am.


I can safely say that there is a certain "tehraav" in my mind now, a certain stability. I am practicing yoga and sub-consciously it has brought so many changes in my life. I have begun to accept things as they are, learnt to move away from negativity and most importantly, make healthy choices - in all aspects - food, people, attitude. It is obviously gradual but it astonishes me as I honestly never made a conscious decision to do that. It just happened organically.


It feels like yesterday when I would lie in bed and visualize this beautiful baby in my arms, her baby breath on my cheeks, caressing the soft skin on her cheek...and Baby Girl is 3.5 years already! I remember vividly how I kept asking S ..." is she really mine?" repeatedly when I gave birth to her and they instantly placed her on my chest. It all feels like a beautiful dream except it came true and this gorgeous god-like child is in my life - very loving, calming at times, extremely intelligent, very very active,...she is so full of wonderful surprises....she amazes me and has in fact, changed me radically! I would not have in any other way....she will always be THE one thing that I will always be proud of, whatever happens in my lifetime. I can never thank you enough God, for giving her to us.

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Just this other day I had this conversation with Baby Girl, at the changing table :

I am changing her for school after her bath and maybe i looked upset or sad ( i was thinking about something ...)

Baby Girl: amma, why are you sad, amma?
Me: arre...no, i am not sad baby!
Baby Girl: no amma...you are sad .. you are not smiling like you always do...

Me: i smiled ....

She hugs me , smoothens my hair , cups my face in her hands and says " i will buy you a big toy...a big doll house ? Then you will be happy na???
I was stumped and my eyes welled up with tears of joy at her display of empathy and kindness !
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I have always been a very happy-go-lucky, wild and crazy sort of person. That is basically who I am...but recently, life, being a mother (responsible for another being maybe?), bigger responsibilities have made me more serious, quieter and more philosophical.

As this change is such a contrast to who I am, S tells me often that I so miss your former child-like self.

Until he told me I had no idea that the change in me was that visible! When Baby Girl and I are alone, I become a child again. We laugh, play crazy, do wacky things together - I see a sparkle in her eyes to see her mother being a child again. Ah, the joy a child can bring when the child wants to! :P
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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Summer Coolers!

...it's been quite a while since I posted about my sartorial choices, apart from the "sareetorial" posts , I mean! 

In the sweltering heat, I wish I could saunter away in shorts. Alas, my thighs do not permit. Hence, I settle for flattering silhouettes in fun prints, like this chevron print skirt here in a divinely soft cotton that hugs you in all the right places and can be really flattering, eh?



I am so into these trendy "statement" pieces and really wish I could make a statement. But for the number of pieces I own, there are not enough places I can wear them to, without being too overdressed! So I often look at them longingly hoping the day will arrive when I can arrive as well...sigh! 



The pastel colours on this piece add to the summery feel and looks very cheerful. ( I own this piece btw)...Paired with a soft georgette white shirt or blouse and black slim-fit trousers - this would look amazing with some soft make up. This would look breathtaking with a plain saree in a dark colour too! Someday. 

With every online shopping sites offering a sale almost every other day, you tend to shop every other day too. So I picked these pencil skirts on a whim and was pleasantly surprised that it was not only of good quality and fit - it was very pocket-friendly too. 

I got these in two colours - a bright red and the classic black. Both of them can be paired in a million ways! I am glad I found this range on www.jabong.com

My classic signature syle is to wear solid colours - mostly plain dark colours and to pair them with statement pieces. I would probably go for soft cotton plain kurtas in dark colours, from westside or would buy georgette tops or feminine flowy blouses and pair them with jeans/ trousers/jeggins. Quirky, unique yet interesting pieces like these I picked from Pipa Bella. 



I chanced upon this site when I was looking for something unique to gift my best friend on her birthday. Since then, I have been hooked. They send the jewellery pieces neatly packed in a pretty box and sometimes, even seal the deal with a cute gift. What more do you want?