Olympic Torch Relay

The Olympic Torch made its visit to Edinburgh last week. I was very eager to go and watch it but was down with fever and cold. My parents and son though did witness it and they tell me it was great fun to watch all the excitement.

It passed through our area at around 6:30 pm and the area was crowded and everyone was cheering. Kiddo came home and promptly got to work – he scrolled up a long sheet of paper and called it “holympi” and was running around the house “like the uncle who was running on the street”

Medicine madness

Ya so right after I posted about my husband’s illness, my son fell sick. With cold, high temperatures and an ear infection. He recovered enough to celebrate his birthday and as if on cue got another infection the very next day. He was on anti biotics for 3 straight weeks. When he got better it was my turn for high temperatures. We are a close knit family you see, we do everything together. In sickness and in health.

I don’t want to jinx it by declaring we all are well now. I have not completely recovered yet. So there…are you happy now viral? are you? are you? Are you loving it to see our misery? I am sick and tired of making calls to the hospital and taking anti biotics.

Reading has taken a back seat and I have a huge pile of books on  my stand. My parents have spent most of their time here nursing our illnesses with very little time left for site seeing. Nothing good has come out of the past month and it is perhaps the worst month I spent here in Edinburgh. Hopefully summer will be better with better weather and better health.

Gadgets and updates

A short update on the happenings:

My parents arrived last Wednesday and I have been doubly busy. Kiddo is super excited with all the gifts he is getting everyday. Books, puzzles, alphabets and action songs is keeping him busy. He hardly has time for me and I get a customary hug once in a while. 😦

I have had an unexpected gadget windfall…I am now the proud owner of iPad (courtesy my FIL) and Samsung Galaxy smart phone (courtesy my dad). Early birthday gifts for me 🙂

Too many gadgets and not a productive thing to do 😦 I have now decided to use each device at least once a day. Whatsapp on smart phone is addictive. It reminded me of the time I first experienced chat rooms on yahoo.

iMad with iPad. Laptop, kindle, smart phone and iPad. iSnob. iBoast. 🙂

Places I want to visit before I leave Edinburgh

There’s only one month left before I leave Edinburgh and I couldn’t be more sad. I haven’t lived in many different cities but this has been the experience so far. It is also the longest I have ever stayed put post marriage.

I honestly don’t think I would find any other city as exciting and lovely as Edinburgh.

Living here alone with my husband and kid has helped me grow personally. In India, we lived with my in-laws and living in a joint family has a sense of security. You know people are always there for you and you can fall back on them for any troubles and fears. Abroad, you are totally alone and independent. When we came here 2 years back, I always had the fear that I am alone with my kid for the entire day in a totally new place. Now I take him to his playgroup, play centres and am even contemplating taking him to dinner when husband is out on his office trip.

This place has also seen many of my first cooking experiences, from baking cakes to biryani, from pasta to dosa, from various chutney to schezuan sauce. Managing finances, planning holidays, map reading, trying new restaurants and new dishes, I have learnt it all. I wonder if I would got these important experiences back in India, probably not.

Apart from these personal experiences, this place holds many emotional moments and important milestones of my son. His first steps near the living room window, his first walk in the garden, first words, first playgroup, first experience with snow and snowfall, first books, first library certificates. It’s going to be so difficult to leave this place leaving behind all these important memories.

Edinburgh is known as the ‘Athens of the North’. Living in the second top travel destination in UK has its advantages – you are living in one of the most beautiful capitals of Europe and you are surrounded by stunning locations and landmarks.

Some of the experiences that I want to relive:

Walk down the Princess street:
The heart of Edinburgh – the central street and the main shopping street. The mile long street with the Edinburgh Castle and Princess Street garden on one side and shops on the other. In August during festival time, it’s packed with tourists from all around the world. It is the best place to be during Christmas with its German markets, fairs and fireworks.

Even though I have been on the Princess Street numerous time, I want to go again to breathe in the air and capture the essence of Edinburgh. And when am on Princess street, I might just take a turn and walk up to Royal Mile.

Calton Hill:
It’s in the city centre, a short climb at the end of Princess street. I have been to the top of Calton Hill once and it is usually a quiet place. It offers fantastic panoramic views of the city including the Princess street and Edinburgh Castle. You can also see the slopes of Holyrood park, Arthur’s Seat and cliffs of Salisbury Crags. The unfinished monument – the Athenian acropolis makes for great climbing.

Edinburgh Castle:
Set across from the Princess Street, Edinburgh Castle is at the heart of the Scottish capital. How many other capitals can pride themselves with that?

The castle itself has many attractions but what holds my interests are the spectacular panoramic views it offers of Edinburgh.

Forth Rail Bridge:
The boat trip from Forth Bridge is itself exciting and the massive railway bridge is a sight to behold. I have been on the boat trip before and seen the bridge from it. Now I want to travel by train over it.

Portobello Beach:
It’s perhaps the nearest beach from Edinburgh, just 3 miles form the city centre. It is very clean and has a beautiful long promenade. The kiddo enjoys a lot playing in the sand and running on the promenade.










Here are a few things that I haven’t done so far but wish to do at least once before I leave:

Visit the National Museum of Scotland:
It’s one of the must visit attractions on tourism sites. Also, I can’t remember the last time I visited a museum.

Walk up to Arthur’s seat:
I have been to Holyrood Park many times but haven’t climbed up to Arthur’s seat. Again it is one of the must do thing and also I want to see the views it offers from the top.

Go up the Scott Monument:
Numerous times I have been to the Princess street gardens but haven’t seen the Scott Monument from inside. The kiddo was small and we couldn’t carry the pram up the 300 odd steps of the monument and then we always ignored it in search of better spots and locations. Will go now.

Take a Ghost Tour:
Again, we couldn’t take the kiddo to a ghost tour. Now that I have my parents visiting us, I intend to take one probably the scariest one is possible.

Take a walk/cycle route:
Edinburgh is famous for its long walks around canals, hills, castles and bridges. I want to go on a long walk or a cycle ride and experience the laid back way of life.

What do housewives do?

‘What do you do all day! except washing utensils and cooking whatever groceries your husband brings home’ asked a relative some time back. Note the contempt. It was said with a sneer even.

‘Nothing! I just sit around all day, read books, watch TV and eat ready meals heated in the microwave’ was my retort or something like that. After all I am just a housewife.

It is a falsity universally acknowledged that a housewife or a stay at home mom has no work and just sits around all day being lazy and making merry.

The working woman is the one who does all the work at office and at home! The housewife should in fact be ashamed to stay at home and be a burden on her husband – as he has to work hard to provide for her.

For the work of the housewife cannot be seen, evaluated and appraised. She doesn’t get a pay check at the end of the month to prove she’s done any work.

Here are some of the chores/housework that takes place automatically/mechanically/magically at my home:

  • The house is always clean – the rooms, furniture, upholstery are cleansing agents – they clean themselves. They do not need a person dusting, washing and swiping at them.
  • The delicious food gets cooked automatically and magically finds itself served hot on the table. Three times a day.
  • The clothes, when spoiled, find their way to the washing machine and when the machine is done, go and hang themselves on the stand. What’s more, when they are all dry they walk up to the closet and fold themselves neatly in the shelves; some of them even place themselves on ironing stands and get themselves ironed – again to walk into the closets in neat folds.
  • The groceries are automatically replenished. Perhaps the refrigerator has a mechanism with the superstore to refill the items.
  • The trash – when it finds itself stinking unbearably walks out into the trash-cans outside the building.
  • If you are in India, the door is automatically answered 20 times a day for salesman, postman, neighbours, watchman, sundry people and their requirements are answered.
  • The phone is answered by an operator.
  • The small baby in the house dresses, feeds and cleans himself without any help from the adult. Or perhaps the fairy mother takes care of the child and looks after his needs.
  • The kids raise themselves with good values, discipline and nutrition. If the child has good values, is well-behaved, obedient and generally a good boy all around – then it must be his inherent nature and he is born with it – the stay at home mom has no influence or contribution in it at all.
  • Note that if you are living abroad, the maid, servant, driver, etc. is all rolled into one person – the housewife. There is no maid to do your daily chores of washing the dishes and clothes. You have to do your own groceries shopping and carry them from the shop to your house.

So then what do housewives have to crib about?

Today if a woman chooses to stay home it is usually because she has the option and wants to care for her children. The fact that despite being well-educated and worked hard enough to make a career, these women have made a conscious and rational decision to give up their jobs to take care of their children, I think such women should be respected for their choices.

Looking back…

2011…what a year it has been. I never expected I’d be where I am today. But I honestly couldn’t be happier.

My dearest aaji – my grandma or Miss Marple as I fondly call her, suffered from acute bronchitis illness in the middle of the year. I wasn’t with her at that time. She had recovered well when I went to Mumbai and we spent a few weeks laughing, chatting and even dancing until early one morning when she fell down and broke her hip bone. She was hospitalised for almost a week and when we brought her home she was very weak. This was such a shock. I have never seen her so weak and frail. She had always been my pillar of strength and she was always there. To see her lying in the bed and being dependent on others for even a glass of water was very unsettling. However, she is recovering well now and is looking forward to our visit to India next year.

Other losses are trivial compared to my aaji’s weak health. The first year of my life spent jobless. I did absolutely nothing productive except looking after my son and monitoring his progress.

Real friends are still around and have been by my side.  Books, books and more books. I have read more books than ever in this year. I hope to read many more in 2012. Hopefully the library will grow its collection.

This year has also given me more than my fair share of amazing moments, great memories, lots of laughs, love, and friendship. It might also be one of the best years I’ve had when it comes to personal growth, finding out who I am, where I am going, and who I want to be. I still have those moments when I falter, when I let things get under my skin and turn into someone I am not proud of momentarily, but in general I am proud of the way I live my life.

I have missed my family and friends but I have an amazing family and friends in my life. I often take them for granted. The long distance relationship with my family has in fact made me realise how much I value them all and how important they are to me. They are a part of who I am and how I have made it through everything in my life. I wouldn’t be who I am without these people.

My parents have been supportive, kind, and caring. and yes they often drive me nuts, but they love me and are there for me when I need them. My brother got married this year to the love of his life and I haven’t seen him happier. My brother is a true role model although he probably doesn’t even realize it. He sets goals and he reaches them. He follows his heart over money. He knows what he wants to do in life and he does it.

My hubby has been a source of strength and support throughout this year. He has patiently heard me out through my vents, anger and other passionate outbursts regarding my job, family, friends and every other thing that I crib about. Anyone else would have given up by now but not him. He has amazing patience and will power and he sure does listen. He is a great listener.

And my son – who has taught me so much about love & life. He is my sunshine on a cloudy day. He sure knows how to put a smile on my face. This year his vocabulary has increased tenfold and so have his questions. Most of the evenings, hubby and I find ourselves laughing silly to all his talks, questions and anecdotes.

Looking back on the good times, the lessons, the hurdles, and thankful for how I got to be where I am.

I can’t wait to see what 2012 will bring.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year to you and yours!

Fun Weekend at ED Book Fest

The weekend saw us at the Edinburgh Book Festival. It wasn’t sunny throughout the day but it was pleasant enough to spend an entire day outside.

That’s the entrance to Charlotte Square Gardens which hosts the event.

The photo below is taken at RBS Book Shop. Kiddie activities were held throughout the day – where kids can run off their energy and we – the tired parents can relax. 🙂

See Shantanu pushing the green chair on left

The kids’ drawings, paintings, colourings were put up on the activity board. We opted to put kiddo’s painting on the board too, instead of taking it back home with us.

That’s kiddo’s! Thank you very much. 🙂 Those who think it’s too perfect to be coloured by a 2-year-old, let me tell you that his Dadda helped me colour it. Generously.


The Birthday Week

One day is not enough to celebrate your birthday, seriously.

There is too much excitement, you receive assorted gifts in the coming days from friends and relatives and mostly there is too much food to be hogged and you just cannot do it in one day!

When we are small, we have birthday parties, one single get together with friends and family to celebrate your birthday, grab the gifts, eat cakes and other delicious food. And then you are done. The excitement is over. Just like that. But as you grow older, the birthday parties are rare and not organised every year, the number of gifts dwindle and in general it’s not a big deal. 

To recreate the fun, we (mostly me and my uncle-aunt) decided that birthdays should be celebrated for the entire week – a few days before and a few days after the big day. It should be a more elaborate event. Like Diwali – each day you have something to celebrate, more fun, more sweets, more food – in all a darn good time over a few days. We started having impromptu dinner parties at home and restaurants, ordered takeaways, indulged in roadside chats, paani puri, ice creams – the reason always being, someone’s birthday was due in a couple of days. That way you could enjoy for more than one day and eat all your favourite foods and specially feel special and important.

Why am I suddenly being nostalgic and ranting about this. My birthday falls in this first week of August. Fortunately this week also marks the beginning of Shraavan. Although we are not following Shraavan, no non-veg food can be consumed during this entire week as festivals are marked throughout. Be still my heavy heart, we can still have fun with the veg food. Afterall, ghaas-phus can be made interesting.


So am officially announcing the commencement of celebrations for my birthday, besides, the world is a better place because of me. I have already started my celebration with mutton chops, Pomfret curry and strawberry wine. Go ahead, stop fretting, stop worrying, indulge yourselves, eat out, have fun, go on a holiday you have been longing to, meet your loved ones, have that tempting plate of food (to hell with the calories) and have a great week. In case anyone asks or you have guilty pangs, blame it on my birthday.

Things I wish/want for my birthday:

  • Mental peace, an anchor, something to hold onto – to rest my mind from the tangle of thoughts that obstruct my clarity of vision and judgement.
  • Get a hold on as many books as I can since I have the feeling that this is the only leisurely time I will ever get to read and relax.
  • A job: Something that will make me productive again – something to which I can apply my mind to and feel satisfied with the results. I miss those deadlines, pressure and anxiety, yes I miss feeling miserable.
  • Self actualisation: My grandma will agree with me that age has not brought me what it is supposed to bring in people  – wisdom, astuteness and some personality. I can’t at times find any changes in myself from when I was a teenager. Anger has always been my downfall and letting it get the better of me has often led me into trouble. People will not bother with who is right and who is wrong – they will only pinpoint at the person who is angry and shouting – and mostly that is me. Still need to change that.
  • Physical exercise: Have never done it, nor likely to do in near future unless advised by the doctor. But I always feel good after a coming back from a walk or running after the brat.  Need to do that more often. Need some fresh air and here it is plenty.
  • Music: There was once a time when I lived and thrived on music. I used to carry my Walkman to college and listen to songs during my commute. I used to go to sleep at night listening to songs. Nowadays I hardly ever turn on the music. Nursery rhymes, Thomas, Chuggington, Tom and Jerry are the order of the day. I want to make an attempt to listen to more of my favourite songs. Find that iPod!
  • Take a break: from my routine – from cooking, cleaning, other household chores, being a mother and care taker. I need a break. I mean a real break from all that I am doing 24/7. I need a carefree life for sometime for at least a few days. I know it will come soon but till then need to hang in there.
  • Chocolate: It helps, really it does. One bar of dairy milk can work wonders and I have been indulging since quite some time now. I want to dig up more recipes for all sorts of chocolate milkshakes, cakes, etc for this summer. A girl needs her chocolate, that’s the bottom line.

That should do for now. 🙂

It’s a full house

I know a long post with pictures from Amsterdam is quite past its due. Right now I am super busy with my in-laws who have come to visit us this spring.

Nevertheless, we had awesome fun at Amsterdam in our short trip of 3 days even though we missed the tulip fields. The spring being too hot this year, the tulips had bloomed fully in April and all that was left were the lush green leafy rows. But we did sing dekha ek khwaab toh yeh.. in the Keukenhof Gardens. 🙂