Day 28: A meaningless post deserves no title.

Or in otherwords, I haven’t been able to think up a title. Mainly because it’s just a load of nonsense.

You know when you have loads of ideas for potential posts, all popping into your head, when you are at your busiest? And then when you do get the time to sit down to write them down, the mind is completely blank.

What was that brilliant idea that I had? Not a clue. Completely blank. I can’t even remember the vaguest of details, just the fact that I had some ideas and was jubilant that they would translate into posts. If only my memory worked.

I guess, there is nothing I can do about it. So now I have the job of racking my brains to think of something. I was thinking of quitting, and then realized that we had just 4 more days to go. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Doable? I guess(and hope, with fingers crossed).

Have I told you how much I’m enjoying my new job? Well, a lot, just in case you are in any doubt. The only time I wish I didn’t work is when I come home to see twitter full of excitement! Rahul G interviewed! By Arnab too! How annoying that not only did I miss it all, I don’t even get Arnab here. So I went around searching for the you tube link, but before that, read through all the tweets! Those sure sounded more funny and relevant that the interview. Maya, DreamyMommy, I’ve had such fun reading your tweets!

I did manage to get hold of the link to watch the interview, but it’s too late now to watch it. It’s time for bed. My eyes are refusing to stay open. But I do have my entertainment for tomorrow evening all sorted. It’s a date with RahulG and ArnabG 😉

Day 26: Popping Paniyarams.

The house we live in, at the moment, is nice, but unfortunately is one that doesn’t tick a lot of boxes for us.

It was the best we could get at that time, given the fact that I was in India and husband was in Glasgow. House hunting wasn’t the easiest thing. Also this place is very sought after, so houses that come on rent go off within seconds. We were lucky to find something decent in a decent locality.

One of the things that always annoys me is that I have an induction hob. It is better than an electric hob, but very annoying when half the pans I own can’t be used on it. I’m just thanking my stars that both my pressure cookers are induction safe. I had a tough time finding a pan that can double as a dosa pan as the one I got from India was a non induction one. The one pan which I longed to use but couldn’t was the paniyaram pan. We love paniyarams here but my pan doesn’t work on that hob of mine. So it’s been a non paniyaram season for us.

Until I spotted some cake pop makers. They have been around for a while but I never saw the point of buying one until i figured that I might be able to make paniyarams with them.

We bought one of these last Sunday. Didn’t have a chance to do much apart from cleaning it. Today, I decided that I should give it a try.

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All set, waiting for the batter to be spooned in.

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Paniyarams ready to be gobbled up:) They took five minutes to get cooked, and tasted delicious as usual!

I can’t tell you how delighted I am. This also has mini doughnut moulds. I can’t wait to make baked doughnuts. Although husband refuses to eat them unless they taste as nice as Krispy Kreme ones. I guess that leaves me and daughter to polish them off. When they get made, if they get made 🙂

Day 25: I’ll be your friend, only if..

One of the things you get used to living in Western countries, I shouldn’t probably generalize, but this has been my experience so far, is smiling at people you see around you.

When we first relocated to Bangalore, I found that I was becoming an embarrassment to myself. I would smile at people in lifts in the apartment, and then find myself being completely ignored. People would just look through you. However, some were very curious. Now, they might not smile at you, but they would ask you if you were renting. If you said you were an owner, the next question would be when you bought the property. In due course I came to understand that all that was part of the hierarchy of the apartment ecosystem. Sigh. The different types of categorization which would then dictate how they would be with you. You might get a few friendly nods if you were owners, may be not if you were tenants. I’ve heard that even maids are more likely to come to you for work if you were owners rather than tenants..

Although not everybody was like this, but I met plenty to realize that it might not be the norm, but there was more than a few to be called an exception.

In the UK, one of the places, I meet new people is at Daughter’s school. When she started Year 3, she moved from infant school to Junior school. Some schools are divided into sections like that. And all infant schools feed into certain junior schools. In case of daughter’s school, two feeder schools fed into this junior school. Before school started, we had certain sessions and were given information packs. This included the list of children in each class. We glanced through it to figure out which of Daughter’s classmates would be in her new class, and that was it.

On the first day of school, we were walking back to the bus stop(this was in the days before I got my manual driving license), and I smiled at another mother with her child, who was walking near us. She didn’t smile back or anything. Daughter waved bye to the little girl and I asked her if they were in the same class, and daughter confirmed that they were.
Suddenly, the lady turns to me and asks, ‘What is your daughter’s name?’.

When I replied, she says, ‘Oh you are ‘x’ caste, aren’t you?’

Well, you see, my daughter has my husband’s surname, which is also the same as his caste.

‘We are also the same caste’, she went on to say,excitedly, and smiling for the first time, ‘ I saw in that information pack!’.

I was flabbergasted to hear that! People still look for their ‘castes’ before deciding to be friendly. This lady did not even smile, before she figured out the caste equation!

Needless to say, I don’t have much to say to this lady. I still smile and give her a friendly nod, when I do run across her, but that is about it.

This whole caste thingy annoys me. I have been brought up in an environment where my parents always stressed on how things like caste are of no importance. My grandfathers, both of them, had different ideas for not naming their children with the caste names. My paternal grandfather was a Gandhian and felt strongly about equality of all sections of society. My maternal grandfather was a communist, who again believed in equality of all castes. The combined effect has been for us to grow up literally blissfully ignorant of the caste equation around us. It helped that we lived in a wonderfully cosmopolitan place where I’ve never heard of caste based divisions while growing up.

So I find this diffucult to come to terms with this slotting of people into ‘castes’ for various reasons. I have heard people assume that because some people of a particular caste is successful, ‘it must be because of reservation’. Or people trying to find out my caste because my surname doesn’t give a clue. But this was the first time, a person completely ignored me, showed no signs of being friendly, suddenly was bursting with friendliness as soon as she realized that we might be of the same caste!

Is it any wonder that caste based politics works so well in India? I could have understood this reaction had it been from a person in some village with no access to a different value system, but when you see this sort of attitude in someone who ought to know better, someone, who I assume is educated( or may be not), I feel sad. Just sad.

Day 22: Joys of Walking

One thing I’ve enjoyed since forever must be walking. Ever since we came to the UK, it just got a little more pleasurable.

When we first came here, we used to walk a lot. Walk to the tube stations for work, and then on weekends and Friday evenings, we would spend the hours on our feet, walking around Central London. It was a wonderful magical time. Walking through the busy tourist areas, tiny alleyways, by the Thames, I actually miss it all, just thinking about it.

Daughter, when she came along, changed a few things. We still walked but not as much. Just the necessary bit to work, nursery and back. But that was quite a bit too.

Once I went on a break from work, in London, I would pop Daughter into the buggy, and we would go to the local playgroups or the library. At least a few miles of walking under my belt everyday. It was a lot of fun, and some exercise. My walking continued when we shifted to Leeds. It didn’t reduce, but it did become more interesting. The first house we stayed at, had a lovely wooded area surronding it. We have spent several weekends as a family, walking and exploring. There were cute little meadows that looked like something out of Enid Blyton books, to blackberries growing wild. We moved houses, but we were lucky yet again to find a wooded area very near where we lived. It was even better that the shortest route to Daughter’s school was through there. And we made the most of it. I have hardly ever driven to school, and most days after dropping her off at school, I would enjoy a long and refreshing walk.

Then, of course, came the time when we decided to go back home to Bangalore. Now, Bangalore is one place where walking wasn’t the most easiest. While in UK, you could happily walk on footpaths, secure in the knowledge that you are safe, in Bangalore, well, not so much. Daughter and I have had terrifying experiences of bikes on footpaths right behind us, without the slightest of worries that they are on footpaths. It was totally up to pedestrians to keep ourselves safe 🙂 We did, however, manage to find a lovely lake close to where we lived. It had a path all around it, and there was this portion of it which was totally serene and it made you feel that you were in a different far away place, away from all the pollution and noise of the city. The only sad thing was that it was gorgeous at dusk, and I got to truly enjoy it only when husband was around on holiday. I didn’t feel safe enough to venture there by myself. Which was sad, but well.

Back in the UK, we were in a new town. The neighbouring areas not as picturesque but walking was still fun. I would drop off Daughter at school and walk part of the way back, or sometimes, the whole distance. I was not walking through picturesque areas, but I still enjoyed it.

Now, that I’ve started working, walking has become a little more limited. I don’t get as much time to walk and enjoy it. Whatever walking I do has a purpose, and more often than not, extremely hurried. You would find me rushing to work or rushing from work. Hardly a frame of mind to enjoy the surrondings or the views, but every once in a while, nature forces me to stop, and soak in the splendor of nature.

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Day 20: Randomness and Books

You know those Mondays when you actually feel relieved that the weekened is over? It’s one of those Mondays.

A Monday that feels quieter than a Sunday, even though when I look back, it doesn’t feel like a day when a lot got done and yet, I felt swept off my feet with work. At the end of day, all I could do was hit the bed. And I managed to miss yesterday’s post. For some reason, I thought I had posted already, only to realize this morning that it was Saturday’s post that had been posted. I didn’t even have a draft to post. So not good. Will try and get in an extra post one of these days. If I can. Let’s see. Although, having said that, I do hope that I don’t jinx it by saying it out loud, and Monday turns out truly manic. Well, wouldn’t be totally surprised if that happens.

Have been reading Alexander McCall Smith, back to back these days. I got hold of Tears of the Giraffe(Second in the No. 1 Detective Ladies Agency Series). It was cute, and cozy, but I didn’t love it as much as the first. It’s probably just me. I’ve started ‘The Sunday Philosophy Club’, and love it so far. I’ve been sneaking reads whenever I’ve had a chance, but the last few days, I haven’t really had much time. I feel sad just writing this down. Yesterday, when I could have done some reading, I forgot to take the book with me. Normally, we go on an hour long walk when Daughter is at her keyboard lessons. I also carry a book, just in case. Yesterday, we walked only for about 35 minutes. We came across a very wet patch, and decided to turn back, as neither of us fancied walking about in wet shoes. That left me with around 20 minutes of reading time, and no book. I did catch up on the news, but it feels sad to waste 20 mins off reading time. I’ve got a few books on the Kindle that have been waiting for ages. I have to stop picking up books from the library until I’ve read a few off the Kindle.

Daughter, on the other hand, has been reading all sorts of books. She was quizzing me on the First World War, based on some stuff she found in her Horrible Histories Collection and I just realized that I hardly know anything about the war. This is what happens when you don’t really pick up much in History when you were in school. I guess I will have to read a book based on the First World War, to prompt me to go and research it 🙂

So what have you guys been reading? If you guys are on Goodreads, please join me there, I love finding out new books from everybody’s updates! I absolutely love Goodreads. I know I have said that before, but I can’t say it enough.

And how was your weekend? Did you get to do something exciting?

Day 16: You want to kick yourself when…

.. you wake up in the morning realizing that you forgot to hang some clothes to dry, and amongst those are the ones you planned to wear today

.. lost in your thoughts, you take the wrong exit at a roundabout, and then end up having to travel a full extra 4 miles to get back to your original route, which was only 2.5 miles in total. And this is the route we take every single day. Argh! Thank god though, it was on the way back home rather than on the way to work.

.. you reach half way to work only to realize that you have forgotten your id tag back at home. It makes things worse, when you are new to the place, and certainly don’t want to come across as an absent minded idiot.

.. you realize after you get home that you have run out of provisions.

.. lost in work, you forget to grab lunch and when you remember, it’s too late to go get something because you are 5 minutes away from your next meeting. Of course, the headache that came free with it, hopefully will ensure that I never forget it again. Hopefully.

Day 14: Dilemma

What do I do when I don’t feel like writing a post?

I’ve always maintained that I post when I want to, not because I have to. Coz then it becomes something less enjoyable. Something forced. Blog marathons however are usually fun. It’s been fun this time too, when I get a chance to blog hop. But the last few days, I’ve been busy. Busy at home, busy at work. Too busy to switch on that laptop. I just about manage to write a post on the phone.

So my dilemma is, do I post when I’m not in a position to enjoy the entire process. Or should I post until it starts feeling like I’m forced to do it, which at the moment I’m not feeling. Guess it’s not even half the month down, plenty of time for that to come 🙂

Anyway, I’m not sure what to do. I don’t feel like checking the prompts, it’s even tougher than writing some completely random stuff that I’m currently writing.

Since I can’t think of anything more interesting, let me tell you about the weather. After all living here, makes it the most exciting thing. Ever. Yesterday it was sunny and beautiful. This morning it was sunny and beautiful. Cold, yes, but still gorgeous. But sometime in the afternoon, the weather gods decided that we’ve had enough of good weather and decided to bring back the rains. It rained so heavily that I was almost completely drenched by the time I walked from work to the car park. A wet winter coat, let me tell, is the worst possible thing ever.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to post today,but since I’ve managed to write a load of meaningless nonsense, I guess it’s just right I post, yes?

So there you go, dilemma sorted until the next time I have to do a post 🙂

* All my posts these days are unreviewed phone posts. So please do ignore any typos and errors

Day 13: Sunday Rituals

Most people have special Sunday rituals. Some have some special food or go to the temple.. or something like that.

One of the things that husband and I do is go for a walk in the countryside while Daughter is at her keyboard lessons. Her keyboard lessons are on a farm, far away from the madding crowd, and it’s just wonderful to walk there. Every Sunday, we go geared up, in layers of clothes, warm hats and walking shoes.

Today, we weren’t sure if we would be able to walk. We woke up to a frosty morning. I’m sure I wouldn’t be so excited about a frosty morning on Weekdays, but on a relaxed(relatively) Sunday, this was exciting. Also, this whole winter, so far has been rather disappointing when it came to frost and snow. Not that I’m actually complaining but I don’t mind a touch of frost when I’m not in a hurry to go anywhere.

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Sometimes it could get slippery and difficult to walk, but we went prepared. It was a beautiful morning. Extremely cold, but beautifully sunny. After weeks of rain, this was an absolute treat! So what if it were freezing, just the sight of the sun is enough to warm our hearts.

There were some spots, however that the sunlight hadn’t warmed up yet, and I was happy to capture them.

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Look at that stone! It looks like marble. Check out the centre!

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I just love how frost defines every thing and makes them look so much more beautiful.

So that’s what we do on frosty Sunday morning. Instead of the planned brisk walk, we savoured the beauty, basked in the bright sunshine and took pictures(on the phone, alas), and broke our Sunday ritual of an hour long walk. Can’t say we regret it though.

How about you? How was your Sunday?

Day 12: Notes to self -1

Do not leave the books you read, around the house.Or atleast have answers ready if someone picks it up and interrogates you about it.

Unknown to me, Daughter picked up the book I am currently reading -‘ A Last Kiss for Mummy’. The blurb says,’ A teenage mum, a tiny infant, a terrible choice’.

She came running to me, ‘ Have you read this book?

Me, ‘No’.

Daughter, ‘ It says here, ‘a teenage mum! How is that possible? I thought you had to be a grown up to become a mum?’

Me, fumbling for words, ‘Err, yes, well technically teenagers could become mums, but it’s not a good thing, is it? Because they are children themselves, aren’t they?’

Daughter,’ They are not children, they are teenagers, it’s different, you know. But is there a magic potion( after effects of too much Harry Potter, I think), to stop teenagers from becoming mums?

Me,’ Well, there might be, actually, but lets discuss that some other time, shall we, when you are a little older?’

Daughter,’ Alright, maybe if you read the book, you will know what happened? You haven’t finished reading the book, have you?’

Me, ‘ No, I haven’t’

Daughter, attention back to other innocuous things, ‘ Tell me, can you remember Dumbledore’s full name, his whole name, not just Albus Dumbledore’.

Day 11: Life( and Work)

I loved this post by DreamyMommy.

The whole thing of people being oh-so-curious and passing sweeping judgements about our working/non working lives.

I remember from over 10 years ago, there was a lady, someone we knew who would always run down ‘working women’, sometimes in front of my husband, knowing fully well that he had a working woman for his wife. He would be seething with annoyance, but unable to retort back for being impolite. Another time she told us that children of working mothers consider their nannies their real mothers. We, at that point,didn’t even have a child, so we were in the worst possible category. Working woman, and not even showing any signs of having a baby!! God! What is the world coming to!

When I did have a baby, and decided to go back to work, there must have been people judging, but I don’t remember anybody telling me anything or maybe I was just too preoccupied to pay attention. I did pay attention when I decided to take a break from work and I had friends lauding my decision because it was ‘good for my child’. What shocked me was that they used my example to tell their niece that she should not work or refuse to work if her would-be husband didn’t want her to. She had apparently refused to get married to someone who refused to let her work. So they used my example as some one who’s been working and finally ‘came to her senses’ and decided to quit. Needless to say, I put the record right. I’m not sure what happened with their niece but hopefully she got married to someone sensible. Hopefully.

And then of course, there were some from the other side of the spectrum. ‘Don’t you feel bad about asking your husband for money?’, ‘Don’t you feel bad about wasting your education?’, ‘Can’t your parents or in-laws look after your child while you work?’. Sigh.

It makes me wonder about how much people judge, and decide that they can map out our lives for us. No, I never felt bad about asking for money, because I never did, ask for money, that is. It’s not just his money, it’s both of ours. I’ve never been in a situation that I’ve had to ask husband for money. He has had to ask me ,though, because he never remembers to carry his wallet 😉 And about wasting my education, well, I can only ask, can education ever be wasted? As for asking parents to look after my child, well, I wouldn’t have had a child if I can’t look after her. Our parents have done their job of parenting, it’s now our turn, and we choose to do it in the best way we can. Also, don’t parents have a life of their own? Why would we assume that it’s alright to ask them to uproot their lives so that yours can continue unhindered?

Of course, I’m one of the lucky ones who could afford to take a break, and lucky enough to be able to get back to work as well. Some don’t have that luxury. People are of course, quite forgiving of people who have to work. And quite critical of those who chose work over being a stay at home parent. All I can say from personal experience is that you can be a great parent no matter what you do, stay at home or go out to work, and the reverse holds true as well. From my own experience, if you are happy doing what you are doing, you are more likely to do everything well.

As for now, that I’m back at work, I can genuinely say that I did it because it felt right to me. It feels fulfilling and after a few years of being a SAHM, I had started longing for more. I feel happier, more energetic and satisfied. Also a lot busier. Life is more hectic and but that’s something I can handle for now.

Although it does come with some free mummy guilt, which means that I end up baking cupcakes for school cake sales after coming back from work, but that was well worth the trouble when daughter came back saying that they were delicious and all of hers got sold out 🙂

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PS: Please do ignore typos and errors. Again a hastily typed phone post. Sigh. When will I ever learn to plan and schedule my posts properly?