Life in the times of Coronavirus continued

We are in week 4 of lockdown.

Schools are on their Easter holiday break. Next week, when schooling resumes, we shall see the new online education system and how it works out.

Things we are doing/would want to do:

We have a huge park nearby. It’s our favourite place to go for walks. We haven’t gone there for a month and I desperately wish to see the cherry blossoms. – Hopefully some day soon.

Keeping in touch with family and friends – We are constantly messaging and calling each other to find out how everyone is managing in these days. It’s hard to accept that we may not see our family back in India anytime soon. Zoom and whatsapp calls are frequent and lengthy.

Reading – Loads of books. Kindle has been a life saver. With no access to libraries, I am back to reading books on the Kindle.

Binging on TV – Netflix, Amazon Prime, Thop TV you name it, I got it. At one time I thought I had watched everything there was, but now digging deep to search for more series and movies to watch.

Cooking – Back to the basics of survival instincts. Cooking food is a coping mechanism especially when you have a child to look after. I find myself cooking more comfort foods. Having more time on hands helps too. We are allowed to go out for grocery shopping but then here’s a thought. If you are going to buy milk, might as well buy ten other things you need. I have never been a meal planner, however, now I plan and schedule and stock up.

I recently read in an article that “One of the ways to interrupt anxiety is to let other senses take over. Touching things, smelling something, listening. When you are cooking, you are doing all these things, immersing yourself in the world of senses. Otherwise you would be trapped in your mind which is not a comfortable place right now.”

Everyone is doing their best to cope in these difficult times. Immersing yourself in an activity, any activity seems to be the best way to cope.

Main aur meri hot bag…

…aksar ye baatein karte hai,
agar ye sar dard na hota toh kaisa hota….

I finally went to the doctor today. Every morning, about an hour after I wake up, the sinuses just work up and give me a splitting headache. Today the pain was so intense that I thought the nerve above my left eyebrow would explode, the hammer just kept on beating! The doc gave me antibiotics but she said that even without the medicine, it would go away in a week. No way am waiting that long.

It’s afternoon now and the hammering has come down to the dull thud, but it’s not gone. This is perhaps the best time of the day when the pain is at the lowest. It will all start again tomorrow!



Look what I got…


After four years, am only just exploring charity shops and second-hand book shops in Edinburgh. It’s such a shame I didn’t do it earlier. There are some fantastic book-stores near Grass-market (with the majestic Castle in the backdrop). The shop I visited was just overflowing with old and new, classic, vintage and antiquity books. Very similar to the Shakespeare and Co. in Paris. I could spend hours in there just browsing through the books. It’s very aptly named – armchair books.

I googled some more after visiting this store and realised there are more of them around this area. So a new goal for this year… visit more second-hand book-stores.

And I’m back after a long hiatus, a bit ashamed to have miserably failed at the January Blogathon. Yeah, that was a long time back!

So how have you been?


What have I been up to?

I just realised that it’s been a month and I haven’t updated my blog. The in laws are here and we have been super busy. It started with the assault on the senses – with all the Indian delicacies that they got from India. We are still enjoying Summer and the weather in last month has been amazing with many bright sunny days. Princess Street and Royal Mile is buzzing. First things first, food!

Biryani in the making…all set to be layered
Layering and adding dry fruits

We went to the Extreme Stunt show and Shantanu had a great time there with all the tractors crushing cars!




For the FIL’s birthday we went to a place called Linlithgow. It’s a 15 minute train ride away from Edinburgh.

There was some wnid but the spot was amazing. 🙂





There was a canal nearby and on this particular day there was a boat race…not any boat race, but a cardboard boat race. It was very interesting and entertaining. Groups of kids came up with artistically built cardboard boats. It was great fun to see them all toppling over each other.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival deserves a separate post altogether!

A sob story

The week had been hectic with Kiddo starting nursery school on Wednesday. Am back to managing cooking, getting him to school on time and doing my work.

Surprisingly, he has taken to school lovingly. Even though we are in the settling in period and I have to wait back with him, he hasn’t cried yet and is enjoying playing. Phew! That is one job done. However there is no guarantee that he won’t bawl the next time I leave him there.

Just when I was feeling relieved that kiddo is adjusting well in school, this had to happen. Kiddo and I were returning home from school on Friday and I was thanking my lucky stars for his good behaviour. And when I got down from the bus at my stop at around 10:15 am, I realised something amiss. I checked my pockets for my cell phone and realised it wasn’t there!

10:16: Panic!!
Check pockets again. Look back disbelievingly at the bus!
10:17: Shit! What will my pappa say?! Cold sweat all over the body in this cold weather. This never happens to me. How can this happen to me?
10:18: Frantically search all the pockets of the jacket, sweater, jeans! Shit! This cannot be happening. Disbelief at what has happened and dread at what will happen now?!?
10:19: Realise that kiddo is standing next to me and looking confused and I shouldn’t swear! Search pockets again. And again.
10:20: Holding back my tears now and walking towards the house. Cursing myself in my head. What an idiot!
10:21: Need to let hubby know what a moron his wife is! Search pockets again to call hubby. Realise once again I  just lost my phone! Mentally bawl loudly. Stare at kiddo as if he would miraculously hand over my phone.
10:22: Curse myself! What an idiot I am! What will dad say? How will I get my phone back? Will someone return deposit it in the lost and found dept? What will dad say? What should I do? I need to tell hubby. Shit but I just lost my phone! How can I tell him. Kiddo looking confused all this time. Finally he says, dad will get you a new phone, don’t cry! My sweet bachcha! Awwww Oh no my phone
10:23: Reached home. Start crying loudly. Walk towards hubby who is working on his laptop and talking to someone from office. Continue crying silently.
10:30: Hubby is finally off the phone. I tell him in between sobs that I lost my cell phone. He starts laughing out loudly. Yeah, well, he has been there many times, lost his phone before, shoes, and I don’t know what else.
After some time: Stop crying but keep groaning and moaning at regular intervals. 😦 Start ranting. This never happens to me. I have never lost a single thing in my entire life. Take out the two bus tickets and show it to hubby .. see I even got the bus tickets. I didn’t lose them. How could I lose the phone? Why is this happening to me?? All the while, kiddo keeps reassuring me that dad will buy me a new phone. Ahh such innocent childhood.

Hubby calls on my phone. Some kind-hearted passenger on the bus answers it and tells him that he is handing it over to the bus driver. Bless that soul! Then I log on to the bus site and fill up a customer support form to inform them that I lost my phone and please would they be kind enough to let me know if they found it.

With my continuing rants and groans, hubby decides to visit the lost and found dept. to ask about my phone. They tell him that they haven’t got it yet and chances are they will get it late at night on Friday or  on Monday morning.

This is heart wrenching. 😦 How can the dept. be close on weekends? What if someone has lost something really really important and needs it over the weekend. Hubby tells me that if something is so important then one shouldn’t lose it. Then he goes on a mini lecture about data security and what all can go wrong if my phone falls into wrong hands. I should have really thought it through before marrying an information security guy! 😦

Evening: After a glass of wine or two: Rant again, cry, wail, sob…start singing… yeh kya hua, kaise hua….kya se kya ho gaya…yeh dard bhara afasaana…

Saturday: same story…rant, sigh, groan..feel dejected and walk around like a zombie!

Now: Sunday morning: same thing…what did you think? Another 24 hours to go before I go to their office and haunt them!

Pray for me all you readers.


Updated to add, Wed, 31st Oct, 2012: Got my phone back on Monday morning safe and sound and in one piece for the price of 2 pounds. But that’s nothing eh? What would have been a nightmare in India was a cakewalk here! 🙂 Thank you readers for all your prayers!

The fancy tap

I have always dreamt of living in a fancy house. To some extent this desire was fulfilled when I came to live in Edinburgh. French windows overlooking a petite garden, carpeted floors, wooden floors, bath tub, hot water taps – all part of my dream house!

So I was much excited when our agent told us that our kitchen sink tap which had started leaking, had to be replaced with a new one.

And this is the new one!!

Fancier than the old one

And when I thought I could sit for hours and gaze at it and feel smug, all I ended up doing was wash a load of utensils! Hmmnff!

The huge pile of utensils I ended up washing instead! 😦

Now let me tell you something. No matter how fancy your sink tap is, you never get a chance to admire it. All you can see are the dirty vessels under it and how long it will take you to wash them!!

I guess my dishwasher was happy. It got a day’s rest after all.

Festivals and vacations

Where should I start? It has been such a happening month with lots of activities to keep me busy that I couldn’t find time to update my blog and more horror…no time to read! Now I have more books added to my climbing TBR mountain list!

So let’s start from the beginning. The book festival was fantastic. I attended a couple of events  – one was Ruth Rendell and the other was ‘Co-operative learning for 21st Century’ – the latter more specific to my job needs. I thoroughly enjoyed the Rendell event. She talked about her latest book – The St. Zita Society, read out a chapter and answered questions. I admit I have read only one book of hers – The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy but what I read I liked and when I told her that I immensely enjoyed this book, she told me, much to my shock that it was based on a true story. Go grab it, it’s one of the best. I got her latest book autographed and so excited was I to tell everyone about me attending this event that my cell phone was completely discharged in all the chatting and when the time came to take a photo of her, my phone lost all power! How dumb of me! 😦 PS: I still haven’t read the book.

There is also this Turing Festival for 3 days every year which is essentially about events organised around the digital technology. The saint and I attended one event each and took turns at babysitting our kiddo. I attended this event and it lasted for a long 3 hours. A lot of food for thought!

The other major event is that I have finally started working again! Yay!! And the best part is that I get to work from home – yup am freelancing and it is sooo gooooddd!!! This has put me on a whole new level of organizing and managing and the lazy summer days have turned into frantic chaotic mess. Even though the saint won’t agree to it, there is order in my chaos if you can manage to find it. The other day I told him that I read somewhere “A clean house is a sign of a wasted life.” when he remarked on the mess around. And pat came his reply, “A messy house is a sign of a rested wife!”

We shall be travelling this weekend to India and staying there for a whole of 4 weeks!! This trip is specially for attending the Ganpati festival. We have this system at my in laws of a rotating Ganpati (if that’s a term??!!). Every year it is held at a different uncle’s place and the saint has 7 uncles. So it is at our place after every eight years. Coincidentally this would also be the first time that I get to be a part of it. In 4 years of marriage I have somehow missed it.

Here I am submerged in a lot of work and a lot of mess. The saint is going places these days – travelling a lot for his work – travelling Europe!! He left today for Sweden and would be coming home just a day before we travel to India. We have managed to pack a lot of stuff over the weekend but there is still a lot to do – all last minute packing and checking off items off our list. And here I am seeking solace in blogging with all the mess around me.

Readers, so please send me some inspiration, enthusiasm and will to get of my butt and start cleaning and packing! And what have you all been upto these days??

Parental anxiety – should you force your child to do things?

Imagine this: I am working in the kitchen and kiddo is playing with his puzzles. I get a call on Skype from my parents and I see that they are eager and excited to talk to my son. But kiddo doesn’t rush to the laptop. Perhaps he is engrossed in his game. Or maybe he needs some time to warm up to them but for whatever reason, he won’t budge nor raise his head so that they can take a look at him. He is just not feeling it. Repeat this scenario with his other set or grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, great grandma, in short, everyone.

And I can’t help but feel it. Can he not just wave at them? or at least say a quick hello? Feeling the pressure and not wanting the situation to get any more awkward, I tell him to come and say hello, show them some random toy, tell them what you did today, just anything. But as soon as I say those words, I feel guilty for making him perform an act just to satisfy other’s desires. He has told me quite a few times that he does not want to talk and has refused to come into the room. At other times, he is over excited and eager to talk to them and cannot contain himself. But in situations like these you can’t help but feel a bit awkward, guilty for your kid’s sake and even a bit pressurised, can you? I know kids can’t be expected to make small talk and I have absolutely no idea how to change this situation without the risk of manipulating him into talking.

Another incident: A couple of weeks back, we had been to Gambado, which is a soft play centre. There we met a colleague of Saint’s and his family. His son is about the same age as kiddo. His parents kept nudging and telling the little boy to play with kiddo. Now I had never had to deal with the situation where I have to tell kiddo to share and play with others. He does it on his own. Being an only child, I find it amazing that he has the will to share his toys with others. But I know that yelling, scolding or even repeatedly telling your child to share something with another or play with someone is not going to make them do it. It has to come from instinct, compassion and generosity. In the playgroup I have seen kiddo waiting out patiently for his turn to play with a toy and after sometime when the playworker tells him nicely that another boy also wants to play with the said toy, kiddo has promptly let go of it. Kids do listen, nice and easy.

And then there are other similar issues of my misguided anxiety – whether he is eating enough, if he is cold and should I make him put just one more jacket. After all, mothers know best? You do however know that things are going to get bad if they just are. He will catch the cold if it’s meant to be and that is not because of the jacket, wet hair or being barefoot.

I know I have to let him be. All I can do is facilitate his activities or offer him a choice and not push him into doing something he is not ready to do but hell, it is hard especially when all I need him to do is just talk and respond.

I am not being paranoid today, just a bundle of nerves with all these questions. Any ideas? advice? suggestions? All welcome!

On turning 30

So 30..yeah.

I have never thought 30 is a big deal and I won’t let marketing and media get to me. I never had a 30 by 30 list (but then I found myself nodding my head vigorously at this list) and I am not going to the store to buy my first anti wrinkle cream.

The last five years have been pretty exciting. This is my 5th birthday after marriage and out of these 5 I have spent 4 outside India (1 in Singapore and 3 here in Edinburgh).

So 30…yeah!

I know I am supposed to feel older and mature and wise (!) But in my head I still feel about 15. Who doesn’t?

Kiddo has made the largest impact on my maturity levels, if any. After you have a child your priorities are forced to change. Quite ironically, he has brought out the child like qualities inside me yet has managed to turn me into a responsible adult. Life has literally changed after him. The fact that I can cook a decent meal says a lot about my change and those who know me well will agree. I have also in fact, developed quite a liking for eating food and trying out new dishes. The credit for this goes to the Saint and it is going to be his fault if I turn fat. Now can you see how I tend to digress to the topic of food?? 🙂

Anyway, so yeah…30!

The Saint and kiddo have baked me a cake! No help from me. They even searched for this recipe on the net and didn’t use any of mine.


No big surprises and no extraordinary celebration to mark this supposedly important landmark. I believe that is good. 🙂

Passive aggressive anger from fellow passengers

No, I am not talking about the seat acquisition game that is part and parcel of Mumbai locals – where you struggle and strategize to outwit fellow passengers to get seats on trains.

What I want to talk about is perhaps more complex. We went to York this weekend – just a day trip to one of my favourite places. Our return train was late by half an hour and we heaved a sigh of relief when we finally boarded.

After we settled down in our seats with reasonable commotion, hubby went off to visit the loo. Within the seconds the ticket collector came asking the recently boarded passengers for tickets. Now, usually, the passengers who have boarded the train at the last station immediately hand out the tickets and the TC does not ask each and everyone. In our case, hubby had the tickets and he was not there. The rest of us made no attempts to tell the TC that we need to show our tickets and he just passed us by.

Now there was this lady probably in her mid 50s who was sitting opposite me a few seats away. She had a big round face with a straight nose, sharp blue eyes that looked down on everything around, frown lines creasing her forehead, curly auburn hair cut in a nice bob and a scowl on her face which was perhaps permanent. She seemed the kind of person who was completely pissed off with life.

When she scowled at me, I thought that she thought that we don’t have tickets and hence didn’t show them to the TC. She eyed me with this haughty contempt look. There was this another lady sitting next to her who was probably her sister. She murmured something to her and the sister started laughing with little interest in the matter. Now then this lady again swept the compartment with a disdainful look and looked at me as if I was utterly unworthy to be sitting there.

This all happened before hubby returned to our seats and I gave him a quick update. The saint took one look at her and said that she is probably frustrated with her life in general and it is none of her business whether we have our tickets or not. (This is why I think men don’t understand visual cues and body language!)

To add to her frustration, we soon got out our snacks of bread and chutney, cheese, khakra, chiwda and got into a discussion. Now I am the kind of person who gets angry with such behaviour. I hate being made to feel wrong when I am obviously not wrong. In this situation however, I had no opportunity to perpetuate the anger/rudeness/contempt by talking to her as she got down at the next station.

Oh how I would have loved to fan out our tickets like a pack of cards or even better, make everyone rush to the next compartment in the false pretext of not having tickets just to irritate her further when the TC came back later.

I hate not being able to give back!