Sunday, 19 July 2015

The Little Master's Home

Hello. I am Coco. I am a little boy. You would ask 'what is so special about that?' I would say, well it is not easy being a little boy. It was easier being a baby. But since I started speaking little sentences and expressing my ideas, the expectations skyrocketed. Though I only know the words and hardly understand their meaning, I am supposed to do what I say. For example, using the bathroom for peeing. I do not get it what the fuss is all about. Though I promise mommy and papa every time that I will tell them, I somehow forget, and while they mostly smile at my forgetfulness, sometimes they give me those looks, especially mommy who has some words too, and I feel very, very bad!

Other than that, I am mostly doing fine. Of course, I do not sleep early at night and as a  result do not get up early too. But, now that I have started going to school, I get up at whatever time mommy wakes me, and readily go to school. I love my mommy, and she is with me most of the time. But I love papa a lot more, though he is not around usually, and I have to make do with mommy. I especially miss papa when mommy makes me eat food that I do not like and does not give me cold drinks. She also does not take me out for 'boom boom bike' riding, though she takes me out in the car when I ask her. 

Taking a bath is so much fun with papa. He lets me splash all the water and play for as long as I wish. But mommy seems to be in a hurry and cuts corners all the time. She seems so strict at times and does not let me play with gas (deodorents and room sprays), creams (cosmetics etc.) and kitchen toys(knives, scissors, of course!), and I am pretty sure she has told papa to do the same. The other day I saw her stashing away a lot of medicines on the top shelf and I know even she cannot reach it without climbing a stool. Oh, how dearly I wanted those! Though she is fine with me playing with all the stuff in her purse which I love, she hides them as soon as I am not looking. That is of no use of course, since I rarely forget and ask for it again whenever I feel like it.

If I overlook all these things, she is mostly a good mommy. She laughs when I talk to her, she listens to my songs and poems and she also lets me wear what I want to wear. I love it when she combs my hair and puts cream on my face, so I look smart and feel proud when I see myself in a mirror. She eats with pleasure whatever I cook in my little toys and praises me a lot. Oh, I think I am good at cooking. The other day, I made cold drink in a little saucer and she happily drank it, and kissed me too. I also make pizzas, pasta and cakes, and she loves all of them.

She helps me build 'London Bridge' and sings rhymes for me. She sings whatever I ask her to, like 'Chandamama' or 'Twinkle twinkle'. Though she can tell me stories too, but I love papa's stories because he can go on till I want while mommy usually tells short stories and then tells me to sleep. Bedtime stories are so much fun with papa. Though I fall asleep only if mommy is holding me and my hands and feet are tucked safely in her arms. Holding papa is somehow not so cozy. So you see, I can neither do without papa nor without mommy. I think they love me, and I love them too.

It is a pleasure to find Coco following me in and out of rooms and kitchen and wherever else I go in the course of my day, and a little bugging too at times. That could be the sentiment of any parent, whether they absolutely adore children in general or are just on a survivable truce with them (yeah, that's me!). I am not a 'Buddy Parent'. I aspire to be one, but I find myself far from it, a 'learn-as-you-go' kind of mother, who is happy as long as her child is laughing and playing, gets overwhelmed with mixed emotions as soon as the first signs of trouble show up, throwing bigger tantrums than the kid. Thankfully, Coco has his father to turn to in such cases, who seems to be his best friend, especially in times of need.
Coco's father has quite the way around him, so much so that he looks like a 'baby whisperer' to me. For sure, he is going to be the 'buddy parent' around here, as Coco is gradually growing out of his babyhood and moving on to 'boyhood', a stage where the close-quarters mothering of little years often becomes obsolete to children and they want to have more of their own ways. However, Coco's father's profession keeps him very busy or even away from home for months at a stretch and those are the excruciatingly testing times for both Coco and me, as I frantically search for the remaining morsels of patience at the bottom of my very existence and he is utterly confused by my 'two toned' behaviour, struggling to figure things out, especially 'Where is papa?'. 
Normally, I find myself an observant mommy and know by observation that Coco is an intelligent and sensitive child. When something goes wrong, he knows that it has gone wrong, but he hates to be told so. The catch to handle this situation amicably is that as I see this guilty look on his face, I paraphrase the situation for  him, he nods, I smile reassuringly, hug him, plant a kiss or two and we are good. I guess, sometimes, guilt is punishment enough. And it works very well with Coco. So, this is my little secret that helps us stay peacefully with each other during long periods of his father's absence.
Coco loves little outings, but they cannot be too short. When we come back, he immediately takes the house key and loves to open the lock (with my assistance of course!) and his face glows with pride at this achievement. When I ask him to do something like picking up a fallen object, or bringing the remote, or putting a glass on the table, he does it with such a sense of responsibility that his nose flares at being such a good boy.
He sometimes asks for knick-knacks kept on shelves which are given to him if they are not fragile. He understands his limits too as if and leaves such stuff alone. When parents of small kids visit our home, they are surprised to find crystal out on low shelves, unlike their stripped living room shelves. Though he usually accepts his food and drinks in steel utensils, he likes it served in style in front of guests, and seldom breaks anything. I reckon my husband and his guests have broken more glasses than anyone else, and Coco's contribution to them is negligible. Moreover, a glass object is destined to break someday, and it may be expensive but not as valuable as little moments lost in crying over spilled milk or broken glass for that matter. 

From 'Eidgaah', a heart touching story by Munshi Premchand
Sometimes Coco comes to me just like that and pats me with his tiny palms and warm words 'Bas mamma, bas!', blinking profusely to show that he knows things and can look after me, so I need not worry. The combination of his little self and his grandparent-like antics makes me laugh even during the most stressful of times, as I melt internally. However,there are occasions when I find myself at the end of my tether. Discounting those moments, I get great comfort in Coco's company, in the light of the fact that we have only each other in this 'forest resort' as nowadays his father is out on some assignment, and often we have a sense of soothing camaraderie and understanding that makes our lives run smoothly like a well oiled gear and the time flies effortlessly.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Tumse Na Ho Payega ( Honey, You Cannot Do It)??!!

'You know, I used to wear extra small sized clothes, and now, going through all the sizes, I am fitting into extra large ones!' I squealed in front of my friend, who did not point out due to politeness that sure I could still wear extra small clothes, if only I looked into the plus-size category. There has not been a day when I have not wondered how it would be like to lose my flabby belly and to look like my pre-baby old self again. Its not like I did not try. I gave it a try many times, working out, cycling, swimming, walking, the works, but I could hardly keep it up beyond two days, credits to my laziness, except walking, which I do for reasons I would not like to disclose (okay, because of my husband!)

My eating habits are not worrying normally and I have never believed in dieting. Even if I did, I do not think that it is made for me, because I know I cannot do it. The moment someone says, 'you should not eat this', I start wondering and craving and salivating for that forbidden thing, though I am a regular sabzi-chapati eater and not a foodie from any angle. When I returned from my parents home and saw my husband after a gap of two months, I was shocked. All he had done was study and eat, and was looking round in shape, at least his face was. So I declared that I am not cooking anything (except for Coco, of course!) till both of us lose weight and qualify again for having some real food. Both of us pledged that we will be slim again. 

Apart from being physically active (he is in army, remember?), he is more methodical than me and regularly takes warm honey-lemon water every morning, which he says is a great way to keep weight gain in check. I started having it too, but two days later came back to my plain water. No worries, I had mealtimes during which I could eat (or not eat) what comprised of a healthy slimming diet.

He said that he will have three rotis from now on in his lunch, I completely skipped my rotis and stuck to dal and veggies only. He said he will have only soup or fruit in dinner, and I followed suit. I carried my new found 'healthy-no carbs-fiber rich diet' enthusiastically almost for a day and a half and then the world was suddenly a very gloomy, lethargic place for me. I had not felt this lazy in a long time as my stamina had completely drained out. Like a zombie, I spent the rest of the week, barely managing to get up and look after Coco. It was almost a week later that the above mentioned friend called and I went to see her. I told her that I had not eaten in the last week and was very hungry. She smiled and cooked a nice simple sabzi chapati dinner for me, and the above conversation about clothes' sizes took place while I was savouring her spicy 'papad sabzi'. After I had my fill, I came home happily and kissed my diet goodbye.

Though, small changes like replacing sugar with honey are really helpful. Dabur Honey has launched Honey diet which is the answer if someone wants to cut down on calories without giving up sweetness in their life, and also enjoy added health benefits like great immunity and glowing skin to name a few.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Making Home..Bit By Bit

(Theme 1)
The lazy woman is a management professional and managing is what she has managed to do all her life. Seriously, I think I can manage various kinds of activities simultaneously. I do not multitask, but I switch to different tasks because my attention span is small, I get bored easily and my hobby/activity spectrum is wide. So I like to include various things in a day, like cooking, crafting, daydreaming etc to stay cheerful. But there are areas where I do not like to venture as I know I am lousy there. Though I would love to plan my day, or organize my home, these jobs are mostly left to the elements or outsourced. Though I keep planning great things but hardly ever get to their execution. The biggest change that I need in my life is to move on from planning and arrive at organizing, speaking in management terminology.

It has been well over a year since we moved in this house and even now I feel like there is so much left to be done, mostly because certain areas in my home are not organized to my satisfaction. But I do not know where to begin. So when I came across an article on, named 5 Areas You Should Always Keep Organized in home section, I went through it immediately and found it kind of answers my question. To begin with, I could clearly name a few areas of my own home which need my time. Great beginning!

Of the five areas mentioned in the article, three are clearly my problem areas. My kitchen, my closet and my bedroom. The kitchen of my current home is much bigger than standard army kitchens but somehow it is always out of control. The containers and small objects usually do not stay in their designated place after a while. So whenever I intend to beautify my kitchen, these objects take all my time and efforts and I run out of my enthusiasm to address the real problems. When monthly ration comes, I have to work hard to find a place to keep those items. I have realized, as the said article also mentions that one needs to devote a few minutes daily to maintain things in order. And separate bins are on their way to my kitchen too.
The idea of an organised closet feels like an impossibility to me, more so after Coco came into my life. I find myself every other day sitting in front of his little almirah, folding and arranging his colourful little tees and shorts, pajamas and socks and love doing it. But finding time to do this to my own clothes looks like a fabulous dream. A friend gave me great tips on organizing closet and time management. In combination with the tips from this article, these few tips have changed a lot about my closet. She told me she does not take out separate time for her closet, rather she barge-opens the doors and just starts working. I followed her tip and now I am halfway through organizing my clothes, that too according to colour, as suggested in the article. This has also helped me see that pre-baby era clothes were taking up more than half of the space (and making me feel nostalgic...and fat!), and I never found anything good to wear. Now I have freed all that precious space and gradually filling it up with 'only what makes you look and feel fabulous' as the article says, and which is my new closet mantra. 

After this initial success at organizing two big problem areas, my morale is high and I have also realized that an organized closet is the key to an organized bedroom in my case, as most of my overflowing closet items are dumped on bedroom furniture. All that taken care of, I am now left with a big almirah full of craft supplies and various odd bits and scraps, medicines and cosmetics, mostly kept there out of Coco's reach, along with my gazillion bangles and junk jewelry lying in various states of clutter (above? Not mine.) Sorting and organizing it is going to be my next project.
Falling in line!
As I am feeling really good now and way more comfortable, I am also noticing that I am an organized person at heart, have always been this way. Plus all the visits to have been truly rewarding! See the proof to my new-found love of organizing in the above picture. :)

I am participating in the ‘Ready For Rewards’ activity for Rewardme in association with BlogAdda.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Glee, Thy Name Is Tea!

(Theme 2)
A blogger friend is very fond of tea, and she asks for a cup of tea whenever she comes home, and so I am very fond of her. Actually, I am bound to like someone who likes tea. I also love people who display their association with tea in any manner, for example in the following picture, because at once it is two things I love the most, tea and flowers. Though I am friends with people who love coffee and shun tea too. Doesn't matter. One has to have all sorts of friends.
We are a family of avid tea drinkers. Almost tea addicts (My husband calls me something which could be 'tea-holic' in english!) I am having tea since my teenage years, though I remember ginger-holy basil tea served to us kids whenever we got drenched in rain. I remember lemon tea was prepared at home for various reasons: The milk had gone bad, after a non-vegetarian meal when milk is not advisable, to feel refreshed after a heavy meal, to aid digestion (in combination with caraway seeds) etc.
Perfect day for a steaming cuppa!
I have hardly seen my father in the kitchen. When someone tells me about how their dad makes the best chicken curry or rustles up the greatest cheese omelette, I quietly listen and wonder. Once or twice I have witnessed how the kitchen turned upside down when my father was looking for a cookie box or was trying to find the sugar container, while the object of his search was right there. But, but... my father knows just the perfect recipe for lemon tea. The yummiest, most refreshing tea!

And why are we suddenly talking about tea? Because today when I was reading articles on spending quality time with family and family bonding in the family life section of, I suddenly remembered how I have bonded with friends and family over cups of tea, mostly with our shared love of tea. Surprisingly, also has this amazing write-up about mood altering teas in its time saver recipes section which made me nostalgic and I started missing my cup of lemon-tea like a long lost friend. Whether the lazy woman wants to kick herself out of her reverie and get going or whether she wants to calm herself and slink back to her lazy comfort, the most refreshing, tangy, fragrant lemon tea is there to her rescue. And how do we does my father prepare this magical concoction from heaven? In the following few simple steps:

1. Boil a cup of water with a teaspoon of sugar (or to your taste).
2. Meanwhile, squeeze half a lemon (or to your taste, again) in your teacup.
3. Just before removing the boiling water from heat, add a pinch (strictly, a pinch!) of your regular tea-leaf.  Turn off the heat immediately. DO NOT wait for the tea to boil or take colour. It will do that on its own.
4. Strain the tea mixture into the teacup.
5. Sit on the veranda/balcony with a book and tea. Enjoy!

The awesome ginger-honey-lemon tea from Landour Cafe, Mussoorie
The above recipe is the original method of preparing plain lemon tea. Although, with changing lifestyle and food preferences, the recipe also got a face-lift and one of its many forms is known as ginger-honey-lemon tea, which I recently found being served in a cafe in Landour, Mussoorie and immediately fell in love with it. Preparing this tea is incredibly simpler than its name suggests:

1. Boil a cup of water with half a teaspoon of grated ginger.
2. Add a teaspoon of honey and squeeze half a lemon in a teacup.
3. Strain the boiling water in the teacup.
4. Dip in a teabag of your choice. Your steaming and superbly refreshing cup of exquisite ginger-honey lemon tea is ready. Sip your way to heaven.

After sipping this tea, I realized that it helped clear my blocked nostrils and buzzing head which was slightly aching due to cold. So there. My best friend!
A couple of friends visited Sri Lanka this winter and brought back nuggets of information about tea along with some great tea. As they told me, our regular tea has health benefits equivalent to green tea. Though we ruin a lot of its qualities by adding milk and sugar. Of course, drinking plain black tea will take a lot of sacrifices and efforts from me, as it is clearly an acquired taste. Lemon tea is the closest that I can ever come to having black tea. So lemon tea it is!

While we are on this topic, somewhere in our country, these were spotted:

I am participating in the ‘Ready For Rewards’ activity for Rewardme in association with BlogAdda.