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Archive for the ‘Poetry & Fiction & Books’ Category

My son grew a Daffodil from scratch…I remember the day he got home an ugly pot with nothing in it and insisted on keeping it in front of the house, he would run out every day and check his plant…see the end product…

I read Wordsworth’s poem to K2  today and we are left with a  vision of  the pretty daffodils defiantly dancing in the cold and the rain:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.



Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.



The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:

I gazed–and gazed–but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:



For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils. 
Dinner was a healthy salad with Farro (Cooked) with veggies sauteed in EVOO and tonnes of garlic….use whatever veggies you like : I used Broccoli, Mushrooms, Brussel Sprouts, Zucchini…it was light and yet quite filling. I topped it with sun-dried tomatoes and shaved pecorino. I think the key is I used seasonal vegetable from my farmer’s market. One little step we can take towards sustainability and good health is eating local and eating seasonally…
This dish goes out to Recipe Junction where Indrani is hosting a Spotlight on Winter Vegetables
Done anything good for your health this week?

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Some random scribbles in the notebook on a random sort of a day at a random sort of time:

What do you do when you are feeling blue
Maybe whine, frown or mope,
Or do you sigh, grieve sulk and moan?
Maybe punch a pillow (someone) real hard? 

The sky is blue,
The water is a turquoise blue
My son’s room is blue,
What’s the color blue got to do with a foul mood?

If you were feeling red would you still be in bed
If you were feeling green would you need some codeine?
If your feeling yellow would you go to the clinic pronto,
Blue I think is –  for jumping in and having fun all day

The past 3 days have been quite miserable, intermittent rain showers, cold and a lack of enthusiasm to do much except listen to Carpenters …hearing the news about Steve Jobs made it worse :

The world has lost someone who has truly changed the way we live : a visionary, a creative genius…

What do you do when Life throws you a curve ball – you try to catch it aka you try to maintain a semblance of normalcy…so for me that normalcy meant watching – Michael Madana Kamaraj, a hilarious tamil movie from 1990 – the dvd that I fortuitously found lying in a drawer that I was cleaning and who isn’t ready for a good mindless laugh at a time like this…K2 is sitting and working on his homework and suddenly he looked up and said – Ma, I am hungry, can we eat something !!!

I rummaged in my overflowing freezer. I picked the Annie Chun – Chicken Cilantro Mini Wontons which I pan-fried and steamed and made a dip sauce with low sodium soy sauce, mirin, minced garlic and brown sugar. That is always a sure winner with him (he ate 8).
I also made “Muri-Mixture” — something I hadn’t had in ages but which I associated with good memories – I made it in less than a minute
 

  1. Muri (Puffed Rice)
  2. 2 drops Mustard Oil
  3. Haldi Ram – Navarattan Mixture
  4. Chopped Red Onions (in my fridge)
  5. Thai Red Chilly ( minced – in my fridge)

Put it all in a bowl…mix and enjoy! K2 got a kid friendly version without chillies or red onions. If I was more inclined I would have added some cilantro leaves and some fresh chopped tomatoes. Sending my “Muri Mixture” over to Srivalli’s event – Kid’s Delight Party

I am almost done with my movie – K2 is done with his homework and I am not so “blue” anymore…yet there is a sense of poignancy…a sadness that won’t go away today and I am ok with it remaining : RIP Steve. You sure rocked my son’s world with the ipad2 !!!

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I am generally not a person prone to fears about death and disease and usually believe that there is order and balance in the way that life moves around us. Three distinct events have shaken this belief of mine in a period of three years – Cancer  hit  close home twice, reaching straight for my heart and mind, pulling out ruthlessly all the emotions and fears and creating a writhing cauldron of negative feelings inside me , shaking me to the core…if I thought I was strong, it proved to me that I was weak. Yesterday,we spent time with R&M and I revisited the story of a young mother who lost the battle to cancer, her young child was not even 2 years – there is no justification in your head for such a happening.

Is our body really a ticking time bomb? Am I  being extremely morbid when I say that it almost feels like the immigration office where every single one of us has a number and it is just a matter of when it is called out…does it really matter – all the treating yourself right emotionally, spiritually and physically? Life has left me with a series of questions that – I don’t have the answers to yet …I read a beautiful poem by someone called Crystal (a cancer survivor), it was almost as if she had snatched the words out of my mind…

 Hope

Its Magic & Its Free
Its not in a prescription
Its not in a IV

It punctuates out laughter
It Sparkles in our tears
It simmers under sorrows
and dissipates our fears

Do you know what hope is?
Its reaching past today
Its dreaming of tomorrow

Its trying a new way
Its Questioning All the Answers
And always seeking more”

Hope your weekend has been relaxed and not too introspective as mine.

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She said “Amma, I am coming home”…a deluge of emotions and feelings flooded my being. My baby was coming home. What a journey the past three decades have been…from the moment I knew Vani existed my body craved lime – like Kali assuaged the darkness with sour and pungent – Lime Rice, Lime Pickle, Lime Juice became a part of my existence for the next ten months. In fact, the meal I had the night I delivered Vani was Lime Rice and a spicy Lime Pickle. Her coming was not easy – the night was long, the pain intense and of course she had to make her entry feet first…she had a lot of reasons to cry for and cry hard she did – born into an orthodox Brahmin family where the girl was taught to be submissive, with an impulsive mother who saw herself as a thwarted artist…an autocratic father who was rich in material matters and yet impoverished when it came to emotions. When Vani was two, we moved across the oceans to an unknown land where the sun was pale, the air cold and the food was tasteless. Yet, we learnt to make it home – I planted a Lime Tree in the back yard which over time grew big, beautiful and strong like my baby. Ironically, Vani’s comfort food of choice was Lime Rice or Chitrannam as she called it – every time I knew she had a tough day I would boil a pot of rice. In a few minutes I would pluck a couple limes from the garden and have her favorite meal prepared with crisp papadam and a home-made pachadi.
Time flew, my baby grew up all of twenty one – the sweetest and gentlest daughter a mother could hope for – yet there was a part of me that wished she stood up to her father a little bit more. Instead of saying Yes to all his aggressive choices for her life and career – I just wished she had learnt to stand up for what she believed in….or maybe I wished I had taught her to follow her dreams…instead of being the silent hand that comforted…the unsaid left unsaid. When her Appa said – marry Sanjay – he is a doctor, a prime catch, he owns a house and is of our caste– she agreed silently. I saw the disappointment in her eyes, and yet we left the words unsaid. Every year she came visiting, I saw her losing a bit more of herself…I gave her the Chitrannam and Pickles – comforting with food where I should have been comforting with words and actions. Sanjay, the doctor turned out to be not such a prime catch – a womanizing lout with not much time for his simple wife — I never told her to leave him, or that I am here for you. Vani’s Appa blamed fate but I silently blamed him – one day he was not around to blame anymore. I lived alone in my big house with the lime tree in the backyard wishing I had taught my daughter to stand up for herself. So today, when I got this call almost a little too late – a part of me grieves for my poor Vani and another part rejoices that my baby girl has been set free…maybe just maybe we can turn back the clock  and learn to live again. I finish cooking the Chitrannam and as I am adding the final sprigs of Cilantro to the rice, I hear the bell ring…

To make Lime Rice –

  1. Heat Sesame Oil
  2. When the Oil is shimmering add Hing.
  3. Add in the urad dal, mustard seeds, chopped ginger and green chillies and curry leaves
  4. When the urad dal is golden brown and the mustard seeds are spluttering, add in ½ teaspoons of turmeric
  5. Add in the boiled rice (2 big cups).
  6. Add in the squeezed juice of 3-4 limes (as per taste).
  7. Garnish with fried peanuts, sprigs of cilantro and lots of love and hope.

——-
This story is pure fiction and title credits go to Padma Vishwanathan who wrote a splendid book “The toss of a Lemon”…however the story line is original 🙂

Chalks and Chopsticks is an idea concepted by Aqua and this month’s event is being hosted by Desi Soccer Mom

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With relationships,
There’s one sad truth in life I’ve found
While journeying this road –
The only folks we really wound
Are those we love the best.
We flatter those we scarcely know,
We please the fleeting guest,
And deal full many a thoughtless blow
To those who love us best.
                                      —A Wise Person

My father and my son’s father are two people I take for granted in my life. Two incredible human beings that have taught me so much in life – while my father taught me that life does make you fall, it also makes you rise, treat every adversity with a smile, courage and dignity — what the father of my son taught me is – it is alright not to be in control all the time, it is OK to let go and enjoy the moment, live in the present.

The love that I feel for these two human beings is immense- however, like the wise person above said – they are also the people I hurt the most with my criticisms, my high expectations and unreasonable demands. The truth of the matter is – without you in my life, I would be incomplete. Thank You for everything.

Happy Father’s Day to all the special Fathers in my life (you all know who you are 🙂 )


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Life gives me both a cheese pizza and a chocolate cake and I choose to eat both….

Life is a sunny road, or a choppy grey sea and I choose to venture beyond my comfort zone…

Life gives me friends who are old and …some who are young and I have learnt to cherish them both….

Life lets me ride high one day….and low another and I have learnt to take life in my stride…

Life is every where
Life is fleeting and sometimes eternity
Life is like the road winding…ending…sometimes neverending
A bundle of contradictions and yet so clear,
Life kisses me good night and wakes me gently in the morning…
Real at times and unreal sometimes
Yet like a true friend…never lies
Life Etc….

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The kids screaming, phone ringing
Dog barking at the mailman bringing
That stack of bills – overdue
Good morning baby, how are you?
Got a half hour, quick shower
Take a drink of milk but the milk’s gone sour
My funny face makes you laugh
Twist the top on and I put it back
There goes the washing machine
Baby, don’t kick it.
I promise I’ll fix it
Long about a million other things

Well, it’s ok. It’s so nice
It’s just another day in paradise
Well, there’s no place that
I’d rather be
Well, it’s two hearts
And one dream
I wouldn’t trade it for anything
And I ask the Lord every night
For just another day in paradise.

                                                                                                —Phil Vassar

Caught up in the mundaness of life…the incessant traffic on 101, the early morning calls, the constant rush to get lunches and dinners ready…kid ready and the dog walked…I forget to take a minute to stop and enjoy the beauty around….The crane waiting…waiting for right moment

The pink blush of the Cherry Blossoms now an event of the past…they blossomed and now the trees are a bright red…mostly unnoticed.

The beautiful wildflower I almost missed as I stare unseeing from my bedroom window, as I sip a cup of herbal tea.

Just a day in paradise…
We are taking K2 whale watching tomorrow…what are your weekend plans?

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