And so it begins. The much awaited and anticipated trip of the year. Next week am off to Mumbai with S. Hubby will come later in the month. We shall be in Mumbai the entire summer. I have been planning this trip for quite some time now. By planning I mean micro-detailing, breaking it down into weeks and days and making a list of things I need to do on those days. This method has hardly been a success in the past, but then one can always hope.

The highlight of the trip is going to be spending some quality time with my grandma. When was the last time I had a sit-down with her? The last I remember is 2009, right after S was born and she was with us. A year after that I had travelled to Edinburgh and even though I have been going to India on holidays, time with her had been short.

Now that she is at my dad’s place, I hope to rekindle and perhaps create some more memorable moments with her. The time she spent in the nursing home, I was engulfed with the most distressing nostalgia and helplessness. ‘Missing her’ wouldn’t cover it. There was this deep emptiness inside me and the thought that I wouldn’t get to spend a relaxed time with her whenever I visited India. It felt like I had to let go of a deep part of me. Time spent with her at the nursing home was limited to an hour. And when you know you have only a fixed time to spend, you can’t really think of all the things you want to say. There was no time to lie down idly and listen to songs and ghazals, there was no time to listen to her little nuggets of wisdom, there was no time to be lazy and be in each other’s company and just be. There was no time to discuss the subtle differences between the urdu ghazal words. There was no time to discuss Lata or Christie or Hardy. Most of the happy memories from my childhood have revolved around her. The summer vacations were spent partly in her home. Being in her company was enough. We didn’t have to do anything special to feel happy.

It has been predicted that this year will have a lot of rain. This looks like the perfect setup to have lots of chai and gupshup with aaji.

A day well spent

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. 🙂

A snowy weekend

After much anticipation, it finally snowed this weekend. My first snowfall, Shantanu’s first snowfall. Though I wonder if he will remember any of it. And for that, we have the video camera.

Parking lot

It started on Friday evening. A soft drizzle at first and then a heavy downpour. The sky was such a slight pink. It was the colour of my son when he was just born. After some time when the snow had accumulated, it reflected a beautiful yellowish pink and it was all bright in the middle of the night. We all stayed up till midnight, taking turns rushing to the windows for different views. We even dared to open the windows for a better shot. The commentary in the videos shoots contains sounds of our teeth chattering and that’s when we shut the windows.

The snowman near the frozen fountain

Shantanu was all excited. I could make it out as he kept flapping his hands all the time trying to imitate the snow-falling-action. It snowed all over the weekend, disrupting transport and traffic. Schools here have shut down with weather warnings issued and these are the extreme temperatures observed in November in many years. In short, all fun and frolic for children. This resulted in 3 snowmen standing proudly with their carroty-nose and cucumber-eyes with a stole around their necks. A family even built an igloo which we still have to go explore.

Ground below our building

The seasons are fantastic. You can actually notice the change in nature. The leaves changing their colours, the migrating birds, the subtle winds; I have already experienced summer and autumn and am now freezing in the cold and snow. Every night, when I wake up in between, I look outside the window and watch the snowfall. It is so serene just  like watching the rain minus the noise. Rain has its own beauty but am beginning to like the snowfall too. 🙂

Aberfoyle and The Lake of Menteith

So we decided to go to Loch Lomond last weekend. However, due to our lack of knowledge of the roads, inexperience of driving in a foreign country and incorrect inputs into the GPS system, we reached Aberfoyle. If only had we relied on Googlebaba before venturing on our virgin drive in Scotland.   

 Above was the route that we finally took. But it wasn’t all that easy. Let me begin at the beginning. We rented a seven seater car with a child seat from Enterprise Cars a day before. We needed to pick our car from the Airport. The beauty of this facility is that you avoid driving through the city and can take an out and out route directly from the airport to the destined location.   

We reached the airport by 10:30 am. Among the 6 of us, we had 4 four bags for a day’s journey. Packed with snacks, cold drinks, Shantanu’s 4 meals, plates and cups and Shantanu’s pram.    

We got our car at around 11 am. From there started our predicament. We had to get the child seat changed since it was small for Shantanu. Then we asked for help and around 45 minutes later we finally fixed it onto the seat. Meanwhile hubby’s colleague tried to feed the route and destination into the GPS system.   

At 11:45 am we collectively let out a sigh of relief on fixing the car seat and working out the GPS system. We were all set to go only to realise, to our dismay, that hubby couldn’t put the car into reverse to take it out of the parking lot. After trying for 5 minutes, we asked the security. He told us that we had to lift the gear and then shift it into position to put it in reverse. Now then, did I imagine him giving us a funny look saying, “desi log, can’t fix the child seat, can’t put the reverse gear and are thinking of driving all the way to Loch Lomond, ha ha ha!”    

Eventually, we did start our journey at 12:05 pm chanting “Ganpati bappa morya”. I even imagined Ganpati bappa smirking. As you can imagine, all of us were talking non-stop, laughing at ourselves and discussing our stupidity that we couldn’t hear the GPS instructions. We missed out on our exists, took wrong turns, drove into a wrong lane once, got honked on. Had I been in hubby’s place, I would have snapped and barked out at everyone to stop talking. But the wonderful hubby, bore our irritating talks and drove on. The only sane person apart from hubby was Shantanu, who sat quietly in his seat. I had feared whether he would sit as he has never sat in one. But he took an instant liking to it and looked smug and happy. Maybe he was happy that he had finally got his seat.   

After around an hour of wrong turns, we found ourselves on the correct lanes, right roads and right turns. And then we started enjoying the sights around us. Soon we were enjoying the smooth roads, the disciplined driving, minimum to no overtaking, no honking, and finally finally no traffic. The scenary around was incredible. The white and grey clouds casted beautiful shadows on the mountains, the lush green farms were scattered with big fat sheeps, DDLJ like cows and hay rolls.    



The sheep were on a balanced diet and we were not allowed to feed them anything apart from the food purchased from their shops.


The clouds were just breathtaking. I have never seen more stunning clouds ever.  


Trail by the river




 We reached Aberfoyle  at around 2 pm. Aberfoyle is situated at the base of Craigmore. It is a base point from where you can visit the different lochs and trossachs. It is also a part of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. The Trossachs are also known as “Scotland in miniature” because of its stunning scenary. You can take many foot trails from here or visit the different lochs around the place. After a quick lunch, we took a small trail by the river. Then we decided but could never reach Loch Lomond. Instead we went to the Lake of Menteith . Shantanu went crazy on seeing the water and wanted to run right into it.  

The Lake of Menteith


 By the time we got comfortable with the GPS and the roads, it was time to return. This time it was no to difficult, we only had rains.

The lunch and the genes and then some…

So it all started with a request from hubby for making lamb curry at 8 in the evening on one weekend. Then another weekend I made lamb liver and lamb curry. And today I made lamb curry, lamb liver and fish fry. All three dishes. At one time. It goes without saying that this is improving my culinary skills but at the same time my hubby’s demands for dishes is increasing. Currently I am enjoying my new found confidence in cooking but I sincerely hope that it doesn’t turn into certain conversations. But then I think some things are meant to be. They Patterns repeat. Only the people change. 

Right now, am sitting with a full stomach, still heavy with lunch and contemplating whether to have dinner or to skip it. There’s something about a lazy late lunch on Sunday. The obvious joy of Sunday, being with the family, the scrumptious meal and then the much desired afternoon nap. This is the magical time. However, as the evening approaches, the monday blues set in. I think Sunday evenings are more agonising that Monday itself. Just like the  anticipation of a pleasant episode is much more gratifying than the actual event.

Held by the securities

Overheard at US airport security counter:

Officer: Sir, we think you may have items of suspicious nature in your bag. Could you please open your bag for me?

Man (thinking):  I wonder what these jerks want this time. This is my eighth trip to the US, for crying out loud.
(aloud): Sure.

The officer takes out a packet Rin detergent soap from the bag. “Sir, what is this?”

Man: It’s washing soap cake. My son likes it very much. He wants me to wash all his clothes using this detergent.

Officer: Ok.

He then takes out a parcel of Puranpolis. What is this?

Man: Sweet Tortillas!

Officer: Ok. He then takes out a bottle containing white powder, “Sir, what is this?”

Man: It’s Johnson’s baby powder for my grandson.

The officer then pours the entire bottle of powder on a big paper sheet. Adds drop of liquid to test if it’s cocaine or some such dope. It tests negative. He then smells it and exclaims: “Oh, it’s powder!”

Officer: You may go.

PS: Based on a true incident. For more details, leave a comment. 🙂

The day I had a heart attack

Image Courtesy:

I obviously survived it since am here to tell the tale.

You somehow know it when the time comes. It happened yesterday afternoon. After two weeks of having “me time” while kiddo slept, yesterday I finally gave in to the temptation and decided to nap with my son. Loaded with an entire week’s tiredness, I fell into deep slumber the moment my head hit the bedpost pillow.

It must be after about an hour’s sleep that I felt heaviness in my chest. I dismissed it from my mind and went on dreaming about paani puris and vada paavs that I am missing here. But the pressure only kept increasing. 

Suddenly I found it hard to breathe. I started sweating in my sleep. I found it hard to wake up maybe due to excessive hogging. Alarm bells sounded in my head and I wondered how would I contact my husband and who would take care of the kiddo till that time.

I had also become immobile. I was not able to shift to my side, nor raise my hands. Was it a paralysis attack? I shuddered in my sleep.

When I got a tight slap across my right cheek I let out a contended sigh imagining it must be the emergency medical team who had come to my rescue miraculously. Afterall it’s UK, must take much less time to travel than in Mumbai. Someone from the team must have slapped me wake me up. They must be using some emergency medical procedures on me to restore circulation of oxygen and blood to my system.

I would be alright again in some time. I sent up a silent prayer. Somehow I couldn’t hear any commotion. Isn’t there like a whole big team coming across in such situations?

Only after the second resounding slap across my right cheek again, did I open my eyes to see Shantanu sitting on my chest with his hand raised to slap me again. 🙂