December 23, 2012

Book Review: Once upon the tracks of Mumbai by Rishi Vohra

Once upon the tracks of Mumbai does not fall into the usual genre of books which I pick up to read. The author asked me if I would like to do a review, and I thought why not... its been eons since I read something romantic to say.

The setting is Mumbai, small, crammed & crowded spaces, families living in any space available and a government quarters is where the protagonist lives. From the onset, one does realize that there is a medical condition which is being described and as the book draws to a close you do come to your conclusion on why the events in the book takes place as it does. As you read on, you would come across many details which have been drawn from real life India and how they attribute and gel into the story the author has weaved.

Characters have been laid out methodically and as you read you see the stereotypes which have also been given a role to play. The college crowd, the ones who skip college, the Indian husband and wife scenes, it is something which will certainly appear to the masses and also where many will have drawn parallels to their own lives. The author has done a good job in diversifying characters building on the different cultures which are present in Mumbai.

When I read the first few pages, I thought the language was good and it did not have the simple tones of a metro read, but as I moved ahead, I saw that the author had toned down the language, maybe to express feelings easier understood by many in a language which would be understood by them also. So, apart from the first 20 pages, the book is very simple and straight forward to read. And, this in turn makes it a quick read also.

The book proves to be entertaining, fast paced and as said before, with many instances which you might draw from real life incidents which has occurred in India over the years. It does give one a deja vu sense with such incidents and also Slumdog Millionaire which was aired so many times in the past years on television. I believe that this is the book which will appeal to the masses, it has been written about the masses and it comes out at a time when women and the problems/discrimination that the gender faces has reached its peak. It is sure to strike a chord with many. 

December 20, 2012

Book Review: Secret of the Nagas by Amish Tripathi

On finishing the Immortals of Meluha, I was set on reading The Secret of the Nagas also as soon as possible. In fact after being through about two-thirds of  Immortals of Meluha, I was so interested in the story line  that I ordered the second part while reading the Part 1 of the trilogy. And now I am looking forward to the third part to complete the saga. I think it would be interesting to see how he will be incorporating the Vayuputras in this battle against the evil. There is so much one has heard about mythology, and here we are taken to a completely different age where our beliefs are completely contrary to the ways of the times.

One of the main criticism which I have read in various reviews is that the language suddenly has become laboured and it does not seem natural. As I started reading the book looking for all these difficult words, I must say, I did not find any words difficult nor did I think that the words seemed to be injected into the text. They did not seem to be not needed in the context or out of place.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and how he opened the doors to the Naga world. How prejudice is faced by many and one could see the analogies which could be drawn in today's world too. The breadth and length of India he has covered in his pages are also worth mentioning, and his descriptions of the Sundarbans and the dangers which lurk in their depths are very commendable. I must add that without reading the first part, one can not understand this and will be a completely wasteful experience. It is truly a sequel and must be read as one.

And, this is my 400th post! I can not believe that I have come such a long way from the early 2007 when I started this blog.

December 19, 2012

[CONTEST] Winners Announced !

I would like to take the pleasure of announcing the winners of the Contest which I had conducted in November on my blog for the Four Fountain Spa.



All participants had to answer the the statement

What do you think - Healthy makes you Wealthy or Wealthy makes you Healthy

The winners will be receiving spa vouchers from Four Fountain Spa.

CONGRATULATIONS to the two winners of this contest.

1. Rani: She wins a Full body massage voucher.

She blogs at www.aquarianlady.blogspot.com and has been a follower of my blog since quite awhile.

Her answer to the question was:
Healthy definitely makes one wealthy as the old saying goes, health is wealth! 
Health is more than just physical wellbeing. To me, health is all about a balance. Physical, emotional, mental, they are all interlinked. I wouldn’t call a physically fit man with a stressful job, healthy. Neither would a woman be termed healthy if she was eating well, working out but having little sleep at nights. Someone else could be wealthy for that matter, with a well paying job, but if he was having difficult relationships that was converting to stress, at the end of the day, he’d only be wealthy, not healthy.
True wealth is an assimilation of many things. The primary contributor is health. Health could be looked at as a culmination of all things in balance- a good, nutritious diet, a illness-free body, a tension-free mind, regular and peaceful sleep and nourishing relationships. That is when we are healthy in the true sense. That, and a well paying job would be the icing on the cake! :)
2. Pooja: She wins a partial body massage voucher.

Her answer was:
We live in a super-fast age. The Internet has shrunk the world dramatically and people are connected 24×7. Multitasking is the order of the day as we struggle to fulfill our responsibilities to everyone in our lives. In this melee, too often we forget to spare time for ourselves.The stress levels continue to build up until one day a major collapse may make us aware that in all this frenzied activity, we have forgotten to take care of one important thing - our health. As we spend days shuttling between hospital and home, subjecting our body to one test after another trying to find out what has gone wrong, we are forced to remember that Health is indeed Wealth. la vraie richesse, c'est la santé .... :)
The winners will be intimated on the next steps to receive the vouchers over email from a representative from Four Fountain Spa.

Happy Spoiling yourself :)

Image Source: http://i3.sdlcdn.com/img/deals/main/P_FourFountainSpa_M_3.jpg

December 5, 2012

Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi

Being a huge fan of historic fiction, when I came upon this title I was sure this was going to be on my to-read list. I finally got down to reading it only recently after the second in the series was also released.

A fictionalized account of a God was not something I was expecting, though I did know it was called the Shiva Trilogy. On starting the book, I was drawn in by the setting and how the whole scenario was different from what you would expect in the God times. The thought which was put into creating the setting was real nice. In fact it gave me a feeling similar to when I read the very first book in the Harry Potter series.

Through the chapters, the story unfolds beautifully and Shiva is seen to be a man who has been deemed God through superstition, and a man who is constantly trying to live up to expectations. The concept of their society and how they kept crime and violence at bay was interesting, even though it does not do justice.

One of the flaws which I felt on reading the book was that some details were just merely grazed upon and I felt that it was not done justice. The description of the Nagas and their method of operation, I felt that this was not described to its full potential. It might be because he was saving it for the next books in the series. I have to read them to find out. Another aspect which I felt was not dealt with well, was the war in itself. It was not clearly described and personally, I had to re-read to get the flow right.

Nevertheless, the story was captivating and the characters were varying which had me hooked. I liked how he created some smaller characters within the army who had different equations with him and how these relationships drive history.

A good read, though not something which you would say is a literary take, will surely keep you rooted in the story till the last page. 

November 27, 2012

[CONTEST] An hour of bliss

An hour of bliss, that was what the Four Fountain Spa offered me a few days back. It was lovely to get a chance to go and experience their treatment. I had seen a few times that their new spa had opened up recently and when I got a chance to go and check out their services, I jumped at it. I visited the Koramangala branch and here I host a contest for you to win some vouchers with them. The contest is open till December 15 and the winner will be notified on the blog itself following the 15th.

My Experience:
As I stepped into the spa, I liked their spiked door handles, gives one a soft massage in your palm and the reception area was simple yet elegant. I liked how they understood my daily routine and then went about suggesting what kind of a treatment would benefit my body. Once the treatment was decided upon ( an aromatherapy de-stressing massage), there was a questionnaire to understand any ailments and any detail which I would like to communicate to the masseuse prior to the start of the treatment.

The rooms were very clean, sparingly decorated, but it did not seem empty. the colors used were mute shades like cream and pale yellow and all the furniture were in shades of dark wood. Something which I liked particularly was the disposable clothes that they provided, something which I have not come across prior to this. Overall the massage was good, the masseuse checked at various intervals whether the pressure was right or if I would prefer anything to be done differently. Each room has a bath area sufficiently equipped. When you look at all the above and the price at which it comes for, I believe this would be one of my top suggestions for a spa in my experience.

Contest:
All you need to do is answer the question below by leaving your answer as a comment below. The top 3 winners will get vouchers which can be redeemed across any of their spa locations, pan India.

What do you think - Healthy makes you Wealthy or Wealthy makes you Healthy


October 31, 2012

Eggless Chocochip cookies

Eggless Chocochip cookies
A huge fan of chocochip cookies... that is what I am.

Love them but hate how most of the store bought packet ones are so crisp and not chewy. The chewy imported stuff that you do get... I can not swallow after paying those prices.

I just attempted an eggless recipe as this is something which a friend has been asking for some leads... so I thought why not try something and then send the recipe across :)

So, have been attempting some stuff and this eggless chocochip recipe is a sure keeper...

Simple.
Quick.
Yum.

Time: 30mins
Ingredients

1 and 1/4 cup - All purpose flour/ Maida
1/2 tsp - Baking Soda
1/8 tsp - Salt
1/4 cup - Butter softened ( I think this can be reduced if desired)
1/4 cup - Vegetable Oil
1/4 + 1/8 cup - Granulated Sugar ( If you like them less sweet, make it just 1/4 cup)
1/4 + 1/8 cup - Firmly packed Brown Sugar
1 tsp - Vanilla Extract
6 tbsp - Milk
1tsp - Vegetable Oil
1 heaped cup - Semi sweet chocolate chips

Method
1. Set the oven to preheat at 190 C for 15 minutes.
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and the salt.
3. Cream butter, sugars and the vegetable oil
4. In a small bowl, mix the milk and 1tsp vegetable oil. Add vanilla extract to this mixture
5. Add the above mixture to the creamed butter and sugars
6. Mix the flour in slowly mixing all through.
7. Finally fold in the chocolate chips and any nuts if you wish.
8. Spoon it on to a baking sheet, lightly greased.
9. Bake for 8-9 mins.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies
Inspired from: Eggless Cooking

October 30, 2012

Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Sister of My Heart was something which caught my eye with the author's name. I have heard wonderful things about the author and her novel ' Palace of Illusions' so I thought why not this one too.

After I finished the book, what I felt was that there could have been so much more which could have been done for this book. Did it evoke in me a strong feeling towards the characters? Yes, it did. But, by the end of it, I was not sure whether I bought the entire story. Maybe it is possible in the times that are being described, but I am not sure. I must add that I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, but there was just not that zing or awe that it could create for me. Maybe I am just done with the Indian writing which is intended to open the culture to the outside world. In fact, that is what this book felt like to me. There were so many instances of where in I felt this book would be seen as wonderful by a different audience.

The story in itself was beautiful, women centric and showing so many emotions which pace through our lives as we deal with so many people. We have our own ways of handling things and it also highlights how our feelings and thoughts mature/ change when faced with different scenarios. How elders tend to protect, how youngsters rebel and how everything seems to be good once you are married, and there suddenly seems to be no restrictions for a girl once she is married.

It is a quick read, a page turner, but if you are looking for great prose, character details, then that is not what it has to offer, but it does do a good deal of justice to bring out the India as seen through the eyes of middle class women.

Image Source:
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/d/chitra-banerjee-divakaruni/sister-of-my-heart.htm

October 26, 2012

Impromptu = Goa

Goaaaa... that is what I feel every single time I decide on making a trip to Goa. The beach, the food, the sun just makes for the most wonderful break one could ever ask for. There is something which is so relaxing and lovely about not doing anything much in Goa. Lazing about the beaches, reading and munching on stuff. It is certainly not the best place to be if you are watching your diet, and I ceremonially always put an end to all my diet controls before I head to Goa.

My first trip to Goa was back in December 2008, and then followed that by December 2010. This year we thought why not break the December deal and do something a little earlier, with fewer tourists around. I was obviously wrong, as the throng of people were a wee bit less. I really do doubt whether if at any point of time there would be an empty Goa. Anyhow, that did not deter the fun, and this time around being Tee's first trip to the beach, this was going to be a special occasion.

This time we decided we should visit some places which we have never been to and not hang around the usual shacks and party scene. Also added to it was that we would not be really on the party scene with a 15 month old toddler in hand! I guess that was for the good... we did go to Old Goa and Aguada as a result and had lots of fun at the beautiful beaches of Sinquerim. I would say this is one of the most beautiful beaches which I have seen of Goa. Lets do a count... Calangute, Baga, Candolim, Vagator, Mobor,Varca, and Sinquerim, these are the beaches of Goa where I have been to and amongst them, my favorites have to be Vagator and Sinquerim.

We also managed to cruise along the river, the evening boat cruise at Panjim. It was strictly ok... and nothing which I would suggest someone should do, it is a river and there is pretty much nothing to see. Having been on the Seine in Paris and seeing the Eiffel light show  from the Seine.. this would certainly rank as one of the least important things to do in Goa.

All said and done, here are some pics to make you want to plan a trip to Goa quick!

Cathedral de Bom Jesus

Fort Aguada

Fort Aguada - Fishing

Fort Aguada

Sinquerim Beach


October 25, 2012

Review: Sony Xperia Go

I have always been a Sony mobile phone fan, and in between I did move to a Samsung Galaxy Pocket, only to run back at the earliest possible chance that I got.  The last Sony phone which I used was the Mini Pro, and now I have moved to the Xperia Go.

The Xperia Go also was procured after weeks of research and finally I came down to the HTC One V and the Xperia Go. I was inclined towards the Go because of Timescape, which I was more comfortable with, apart from the choice of a cherry yellow colour!

Anyhow, here we go into the details which I thought were relevant when I was comparing HTC One V and Sony Xperia Go.

The responsiveness of Xperia Go was better than the HTC, and moving from a mini pro which had just a 600MHz processor to something which has a dual core 1Ghz processor, there was certainly a big difference.

The HTC sports a bigger screen hence for me, it was simpler to type out messages etc.But, on saying that I felt the layout of the HTC keyboard was different from the usual qwerty and hence that made things difficult for me. The main difference was in the alignment of the special characters, and that made it difficult for me to write messages and mails.

The camera quality was the same in the first few test shots which I took, and the camera was quite quick too in both cases.

The overall size of the Xperia Go was better for me. My main constraint has been that I need to be able to put this mobile phone into my pocket at any point of time. I can not be holding it all the time, and another plus with this phone was that it is dust and water proof. Knowing me and my tendency to keep dropping the phone and leaving it just about anywhere, this was a great plus.

So if you ask me, I am always in for Sony, I believe they have amazing sound and camera features. I am not a user of business phones, but rather great personal devices, and till date Sony has never let me down. 

October 18, 2012

The Bikini Murders by Farrukh Dhondy

The Bikini Murders by Farrukh Dhondy is based on the serial killer Charles Sobhraj, his life, killings and prison tenures. Through this book, I felt that Dhondy has not really tried to show us the mind of Jhonson Thaat, the character for Charles. He has rather shown us the life story of this serial killer. How he came to be in contact with folks who were linked with killings and how he turned into the vicious person who he ended up being.

The book keeps you hooked, and you do want to know how the story pans out. It is very fast paced, but if you are looking for some character sketches and understanding of  what happened and why, then there are no answers. This is a fictionalized account of the life and murders. The book does not disappoint one bit with regard to the story, but for some reason I did expect a more detailed view of the surroundings and times. This was missing, or maybe not required to detail the life of this character.

This was a book which I picked up at the library out of curiosity and did not know the plot or had not even heard of the book. I was not aware of these killings also, so this proved to be a great insight into the story which had unfolded during the period of 20 long years.

This book is a quick read and it is a story which will remain with you knowing that it draws from real life incidents. But, the writing and style is nothing to note or remember. 

October 16, 2012

Trafficked by Sophie Hayes

A real life account of a British girl who was trafficked and forced into  the sex trade under the pretext of love and friendship. It opens up our dimensions to understanding people and how calculative they can be.

The story pans across her childhood, fears, family, friends, work and how a man walked into this set up and took complete control of her life for 6 full months. Being at the mercy of someone else, not being able to take in food, being beaten up and then soothed in the name of love. It all seems so confusing that it might seem that maybe they are even right in what they are doing. That is what Sophie thought. And, this is a very possible thing, as when you trusted one person and they stood by you through thick and thin, you start to see their rights as THE RIGHT.

It was horrific to see how she was emotionally traumatized and blackmailed into believing that this is the right way to be doing things and this is just a phase which will pass. She is made to believe that the man would eventually be with her and love her, and all he wants is her help. He has made her believe that everyone is her enemy and he alone can help her, and a wrong move means that her family stands to face his wrath.

This is a book which I picked up on an impulse when I saw it at my library and it was a quick read. At times I felt that the intensity of the horror was lost with repetitive situations which I do understand might have been the situation. She was leading a life of monotony, standing at the road side and being picked up by clients through the night and sleeping through the day. At the end of it, you start to look at the casual people standing around with a question in your mind. That is what happened to me...

October 5, 2012

How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran

Is this something which every woman should read?

Is this what every woman will relate to in someway or the other?

I think the answer to both the questions is YES.

There is something in it for every woman. Any woman would know how it was when we were going through that puberty phase for the very first time. Any woman would know how difficult it seems to get as we become older, and the world hands it to us that being a woman is no joke.

How we understand having kids changes everything for us, and then it all becomes a craze and for quite some time a complete daze. And moreover, we are also thought to be so motherly that we do not seem to ever mind it. Well, you know what? We do!

This is a book which starts to make you see how feminism needs to be seen. It can be seen as something which every woman would have thought and felt, but maybe not expressed. But, here is a book which will put your thoughts into words.

This is a very quick read, simple language and moves across the author's life pausing at all those instances when our lives as woman usually experience a blimp. Something one should pick up when you want to have a light funny read.

September 12, 2012

And we begin...

I can not believe myself that this process has already begun!

I used to believe that kids will play and be naughty for a long time before they trot off to school.

I thought parents creating a bee-line for school admission forms and checking out schools when the kid is just born was way too much, but here I see myself doing this before she is even 1.5 years. Maybe I am just getting too worried with all the school thoughts, but there are already some schools which might be difficult to get into because of age issues. I just did not imagine this happening!

Now, as I run helter skelter visiting schools and pre-schools, I have so many thoughts in my head.

Montessori or Kindergarten?
Small school or Big School?
Close by or a little far?

How do I actually make a choice about these things if I have no idea about all these things in the first place. I did not go to a montessori and I do not know if that is truly a good way to teach kids... I have heard such rave reviews of the method, but then I have just words to take for it. Would we have turned out better if we were in a montessori?  Added to that the fact that montessori schools do not admit children before 2.5years and there is no concept of a pre-school for them. I, for one, feel that if children interact with other kids and learn some things, it would be good. Maybe they will learn something, else they will just play, socialize and come back. As I see Tee, I see that she is bored with the no interaction with kids and being at home with a help means the 'stupid box' is turned on for a considerable period of time. B & I do not usually watch much T.V and hence Tee is also not too keen on it, but when the T.V is turned on with all the soaps playing, she is drawn to it and stands there watching whatever comes on it. This is something I want to avoid at all costs.

At times I also feel that maybe I am just looking at options to keep her occupied, and not really go about putting her in a school... a part of me says she is just 16mo where does she need to go to any school now!

Image Source: http://techinspecialed.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Preschool1.jpg

August 8, 2012

Italian herb mini loaves

Zesty flavours was a new blog which I happened to come across when I was looking for a quick bread to make alongside my pasta. I had just about 2 hours on my hand and I was also not in the mood for too much of kneading and proofing.

I did some changes to a recipe which I came across there and these mini loaves came out perfect. Soft, fluffy, and with a bang of flavours. These are those small everyday dinner breads you would want when not in a mood for some serious baking. It does not take too long, nor effort. But, the end result speaks far from it!



Ingredients ( Yields about 5-6 mini loaves)

Active Dry Yeast - 1/2 tbsp
Luke warm water - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1 tbsp
Olive Oil - 1/4 cup
All purpose flour - 1 1/2 cup
Salt - 1 tsp
Garlic powder - 1 tsp
Dried Oregano - 1/2 tsp
Dried Parsley - 1/2 tsp
Dried Rosemary - 1/4 tsp
Italian Seasoning - 1 tsp

Procedure

1. Dissolve 1/2 tbsp sugar in lukewarm water, follow it by mixing in the yeast. Let the yeast get activated, which should take approximately 7 - 10 minutes.

2. In a bowl pour the olive oil and 1/2 tbsp sugar. Beat well, by hand or using an electric mixer. Now add 1 cup flour, salt and the flavouring ingredients, change over to a dough hook or knead by hand. Once the dough starts to form, add the remaining 1/2 cup flour slowly so that the dough becomes simpler to handle and starts leaving the sides of the bowl.

3. Continue to knead for about 10 minuted by hand or else about 6-7 minutes on the hook. Grease a dough lightly and let to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled, covered with a towel. In case the ambient temperature is a little on the lower side, place the bowl over a vessel with warm water and place a towel covering the entire setup.

4. Punch down and divide the dough into 6 equal parts. Roll out the dough into a rectangle, brush with olive oil and shape into a mini loaf. Now place this in a baking pan. Let the loaves rise for another 30 mins.

5. Preheat the oven to 200 C. After 30 minutes, lightly brush with some olive oil and bake for 15 - 18 minutes. The done loaves should sound hollow when tapped.

These can be served with some plain salted butter or some garlic butter too. 

July 27, 2012

Very first mother daughter shopping trip


Yesterday, I was on a shopping trip with Tee. We had no particular agenda for shopping, it was pretty much anything which caught our eyes. I had decided that I will not be carrying her about as usual, but rather let her walk about, while I look about and check out some stuff to try.

Tee was thrilled with her freedom to walk about, and since I was in the clothing section, there was nothing breakable which I had to worry about. She walked about looking at the different tags, pushing about the clothes on their hangers and trying to pull the tags of clothes which I was carrying to be tried on.

She did love the trial rooms with their mirrors all round, and I am pretty sure everyone there would have heard her Baby... Baby chant all through looking at herself in the mirror.

Shopping for herself is something she doesn't seem to enjoy. I needed to pick up 2 footwear for her and she hated those 15 - 20 mins the most of the entire shopping experience. Another thing which she loves is the shopping cart ride... and obviously pulling out things from the various accessible points. But she still enjoys the ride the most, and is really happy to sit in it unless she is hungry.

Overall, the experience was nice... I learnt that I need to let her walk about on her own to ensure that she is happy and so that I can shop. I need to keep a lookout for her as she wanders about, and while I shop too. I see this to be start of many such trips, mostly because I need to get out and shop, and its a new place for her.

Image Source: http://www.knickledger.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/mother-daughter-shopping.jpg

July 23, 2012

Attempts


Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls


Chocolate Swirl Cake aka Marble Cake


Chocolate Swirl Cake aka Marble Cake

July 22, 2012

Vanilla butterscotch chip cupcakes

I had some butterscotch chips which my mom got for me, and I did not know what to do with them.Cupcakes were the first thing which came to my mind, and I did try a batch earlier, but then I got this idea to do a Vanilla butterscotch chip cupcake with some chocolate ganache on it! It looked real good in the image that it formed in my head... but I wanted to see how it would come out.

What do you think? These were the last three remaining from a batch of 12! They vanished!


July 18, 2012

A parent of today - 2

I had posted earlier about this incident at a apartment complex where our friends stay. Now there seems to be an update.

The guard who picked up the girl was taking her towards the lobby of the building, and the girl thought she was being carried towards the basement. But, he did pick her up. And why did he pick her up? Because she was standing there and picking on the flowers.

The father beat up the guard pretty bad... with bruises and also injury to his groins. There is a great deal of noise from the other residents on his behaviour and they are demanding that he re-think what he has done and if he thinks this was not the right behaviour, he should go and meet the guard and talk to him to put things in perspective.  There is a lot of question about how folks ill-treat those from a lower income background and they expect them to be fine with the ill-treatment as they need the money.

The guard is said to be traumatized, and shocked that he was not even allowed to speak what happened before he was humiliated in front of children, colleagues and all. He feels he can never work as a security and now will have to go back to his hometown. He is the sole bread winner for his family, so every penny counts and he is already thinking on what are his other options. He just wishes to leave Bangalore as soon as he can be discharged.

Was this father's behaviour rational? Was it in any way right? Was he just acting as a worried, shocked father of a daughter?


July 17, 2012

A parent of today

Recently there was an incident at a apartment complex where our friends stay ( and where we ourselves stayed for over 2 years) regarding a security guard misbehaving with 2 kids, a girl and a boy.

The girl (8 year old) was playing with her friends, and when her friends ran towards one direction, a guard who was on duty started asking her questions about which apartment she stays in and so on. Once her friends were out of sight, he tried to pick her up and carry her towards the basement car park.She started to scream and asked to be put down, on hearing which her friends came running back. The guard put her down and walked off. The girl went and told her parents, the guards were rounded up, and the culprit was identified by not only the girl, but her friends too. He was given a thrashing by the dad and handed over to the police and an FIR filed.

The boy (6 year old) was playing near the visitors parking, where he was trying to climb onto a parked motorcycle. The guard on duty, scolded him and not to repeat it. The boy repeated it, and the guard asked him to go and stand facing the main door of an empty apartment on the ground floor of a block. The boy went to his mother and told her that the guard took him into the empty apartment on the ground floor and he felt like he was being kidnapped. The father was promptly called back from work and he came and quizzed the boy more about how the guard got the key and what was he doing when the guard took him into the apartment etc. When the boy felt cornered, he told them the truth.

Now, there are folks questioning whether what the girl told them is true, and what if that is also a fabricated story?

I thought that was really sad... I agree kids might lie or more like twist the truth a bit, but then a girl who came home crying and scared should not be questioned whether she what she is saying is true.

But, I also feel maybe what the father did was also not right. Why did he beat up the guard? As B says... there is always that chance that his intention was not to hurt her, there might be a different explanation... right?

July 7, 2012

Review: Samsung Galaxy Pocket

My trusted Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro had some issues following continuous assault by Tee. It had to visit the doc and in replacement for a short duration I took up the Samsung Galaxy Pocket. The Xperia returned but today I decided to move back to it. I wanted to do a short review based on the short period of use I had of the Galaxy Pocket.



Firstly what I liked about the Pocket was that it was thin and light. Xperia was slightly more heavy and definitely more bulky. But, I like my phones to be such that I know I am holding onto something solid, not something too delicate. I tend to drop my phone and maybe jab it at corners too.

Secondly, I liked that the touch keys on the top panel were very receptive and one need not have to repeatedly touch to achieve a task. But, I must also add that as the RAM seems to be a little less, the response of the OS is slightly slow, and especially if you have more than 2 apps running simultaneously.

One of my main quirks with the Pocket was the time it took to get the screen active from idle mode. One can either press the home key on the top panel, or the side button which is also used to lock the screen. There have been times when I have had to press one , then the other and then the first one, all in vain, as I desperately try to make a call quickly. I do not know whether there is something wrong in the way I was going about it, I doubt that, but nevertheless, it was a PAIN.

Another one was the touchscreen. I am not a touchscreen fan, on phones. I love the iPad and can type out an entire mail there, but I need the space for the keyboard to allow me to do so, which clearly a touchscreen phone does not manage to do so. I would be totally frustrated with the typing of messages and mails. If its a smartphone where I can check mails, then I do expect to be able to reply to them too. This was one of the main reasons I wanted the Xperia Mini pro, which had the qwerty keyboard in place when required.

So, all in all, I think the Pocket is a great option if you just wish to browse the web, read some messages and make calls, but this is not the option I would use if I want to use it to the full ability of the Smartphone. 

June 26, 2012

The Painter by Deepanjana Pal


'The Painter' a biography of Raja Ravi Varma by Deepanjana Pal. Starting from his birth into the small princely state of Kilimanoor , the book traces the painter's life through schooling, marriage and his growth as a painter and a national figure.

It also covers many aspects of aristocratic Kerala and the various norms of the typical Nair household. Being a Nair myself, I felt this would let  me see the history and practices in a very different manner, and as for every Keralite, Raja Ravi Varma is a name not to be ever forgotten.

The book deals exclusively with the way his career as a small time painter to the most celebrated painter in India. The underlying political stage which was set and epidemics which raged through India have all been woven in beautifully to show how the life of this painter was affected by every such instance. Starting from being a kid interested immensely in the arts, to eventually the court painter at the Travancore court and then moving on to a highly travelled painter for many commissions from royal families, the book shows how this young man learnt every stroke on his own with constant support from his maternal uncle. The book details all his accounts, relationship with his family, wife and children. It shows how he and his brother were so close and his brother's death eventually took a toll on his life too. It shows a man who was so immersed in his art and career that he almost gave up his family life and moved along with his brother, who was his confidante and partner in painting.

Written based on facts from various sources, and also included are tit bits of gossip which are not recorded anywhere. The author has explained very well what is the narrative style and what are the facts and what are gossip. The writing style is very simple, and attempts to draw a story through a third person narrative. But, I feel that many a times I was not drawn so much into the story as I was in other parts, so I would like to believe that it was just a question of not so good editing. Or maybe the life of the painter at that time was not that lively and enjoyable as at some other instances.

Nevertheless, when one finishes the book, you feel its a long history that you have read and something which you would have had no clue about when you see the Ravi Varma paintings which are so beautiful. Every painting has a story which the author has tried to infuse and also show us how difficult it was to paint woven in the earlier days with questions arising on every new work.

June 24, 2012

Wholewheat Mango Muffins


Sunday Breakfast is Muffin breakfast.....

Today it shall be...

Wholewheat Mango muffins


Ingredients
Granulated sugar - 2/8 cup
Oil - 1/8 cup
Mango - 1; 1/4 diced and the rest pureed
Egg - 1, beaten lightly
Vanilla - 1/4 tsp
Multigrain flour/ Wholewheat flour - 3/4 cup
Baking Powder - 3/4 tsp
Baking Soda - 1/4 tsp
Ground cinnamon - 1/4 tsp
Walnuts - 1/2 cup chopped (optional)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 175 C. Spray the muffin moulds and keep ready.
2. Mix the sugar and oil. Now add the pureed mangoes, vanilla and half of the egg.
3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Now fold in the diced mangoes and walnuts.
5. Spoon into prepared moulds and bake for 20 mins.
6. Toothpick test would show whether its cooked and a little brown on the top looks real pretty too !

Enjoy!

June 21, 2012

Oatmeal crispies

I have had some Oats lying about every since B stopped having Oats porridge for breakfast. I personally am not a very big fan of oats, so I do not have porridge or the upma variety of Oats. I prefer my simple Kellogg's if I am to have a cereal for breakfast.

The past three months have been few of routine, workouts and measurements. I have been very regular at the gym and I have been trying to tone my body up and get rid of the pregnancy and lactation effects ob my body. In spite of the gym, one of the key factors for a very minimal differenece on the scale was courtesy a very bad eating pattern, and on consulting a dietician, there was really nothing wrong in what I was eating, just that I need to organize meals. That is where these delicious crispies came in. I needed a morning meal prior to my workout.. so that I can follow it up with a good lunch once I am back.


I came across this recipe when I was scurrying about the web in search of how to make some small brinjals/egg plant which I had. I chanced upon Kath's blog and then not only the brinjal but these oat crispies were also tried. They are the perfect morning energy bars and in fact with the walnuts in them, they would be quite nutritious too. I added a little raisins too along with the walnuts, and I think any nuts would be wonderful with oats. Might try almonds and raisins for my next batch.

Here is the recipe. Also do check out Kath's blog for some great meal plans.


Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups (180 g) flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
3 cups (360 g) quick-cooking oats 
½ cup chopped walnuts

Method

1. Thoroughly cream the butter and the sugars together. (I mixed them at medium speed in my stand mixer for about 5 minutes.)
2. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well.
3. Stir together the flour, salt and soda. Add the flour mixture to the dough and mix well.
4. Stir in the oats and chopped walnuts.
5. Shape into 2 or 3 logs and wrap with wax paper. refrigerate overnight. You can also put the wrapped logs in freezer bags ad freeze for later use.
6. This would yield about 3-4 dozen crispies :) baked at 180 C for 10- 12 minutes.

June 10, 2012

Double Chocolate muffins


A sunday morning is complete only with some warm, fresh out of the oven stuff to dig into. And today we had as the title suggests, some double chocolate muffins. This recipe is inspired from the Double chocolate chunk muffins over at Crepes of Wrath.

 The muffins are oh-so-soft and fluffy which is something I loved about this recipe. I did a minor change to it though, and did not have any chunks, I added all the chocolate to my mixture itself in the melted form.

Here is the recipe which I followed for 12 regular sized muffins.


Ingredients

Unsalted butter - 3 tbsp
Unsweetened chocolate - 2 ounces
Sugar - 1/2 cup & 1/3 cup
Unsweetened cocoa powder - 1/6 cup
Baking Powder - 1/2 tbsp
Baking Soda - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Butter milk - 3/4 cup
Egg - 1 regular /small egg
Vanilla Extract - 1/2 tsp
Demerara Sugar - for sprinkling

Method

1. Preheat oven to 190 C and prepare 12 moulds for the muffins.

2. Chop the unsweetened chocolate and put it in a bowl alongside the butter. Now, microwave the chocolate and butter for 1 min in two 30 sec stretches. After 30 seconds, stir the content once. After the contents are melted, add 1/2 cup sugar to the mixture and stir well. Keep aside.

3. In a bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg and vanilla essence. Following this, add the butter-chocolate mixture into this bowl whisking continuously to incorporate.

5. Now, slowly fold in the flour mixture into the wet mixture. Do not over mix.

6. Now spoon this mixture into the mould, so that the moulds are half filled and sprinkle sugar on the top of each.

7. Bake for 20 mins and check whether a toothpick comes out clean at the end of the time.

Note: In case you are not using liners, then once slightly cooled, remove the muffins from the mould to prevent bottom burning.

June 3, 2012

Oatmeal Mango Muffins

It might seem that I am on a rage of baking. But, the truth is, I try to make something at home so that I am not tempted to head out and get something from the closest bakery. Its fresh alright, but also more fattening! I want to make warm fresh stuff for breakfast, and for small eats, as these are the usual culprits which I pick up during my routine grocery shopping.



Today I tried a Oatmeal Mango Muffin. We being in the mango season, and mango slush being very simple to create, why not in a muffin. I found an Oatmeal applesauce muffin recipe with a very simple method to follow. Also, I did not have many ingredients which were asked for in other recipes. There are many recipes out there, but I chose this solely on the basis of available ingredients. I also made only 6 muffins, just enough for us for Sunday breakfast.

Oatmeal Mango Muffins ( makes 6 regular muffins)
Adapted from : Oatmeal Applesauce muffins

Ingredients

Instant Oatmeal - 1/2 cup
All purpose flour - 1/2 cup
Brown sugar - 1/4 cup
Cinnamon Powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Baking Powder - 1/2 tsp
Baking Soda - 1/4 tsp
Vanilla Essence - 1/4 tsp
Milk - 1/2 cup
Mango slush - 1/4 cup
Egg white - 1

Method

1. Chop half a medium sized mango into rough pieces and blend it well. Add a little water if you think the contents are too thick, else skip the water. Measure 1/4 cup of this slush and keep aside.

2. Preheat oven to 200 C and line 6 muffin cups.

3. Mix together all the dry ingredients except Oatmeal in a bowl and keep aside.

4. Mix Oatmeal, milk, egg white, vanilla essence and the mango slush together.

5. Now slowly fold in the wet ingredients into the dry mixture kept aside.

6. Pour 1 tablespoon full of the mixture into each mould and let it stand for 3-4 minutes.

7.  Bake for 12-14 minutes and check with a toothpick.

May 31, 2012

Fingerlickin' Chocolate chip cookies

I have been trying to make the perfect chocolate chip cookies, the kind which I like. Now, what is the kind which I like? I like them very lightly browned on the top, browned at the bottom and crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. See.. thats why I have never been able to get it right till date. And, starting yesterday night, I have been on a project and these have turned out the way I love them.


I followed the recipe at Crepes of Wrath and I do not know what is the main difference in the recipe, as the only different thing which I felt I did was refrigerate them, which made the dough more easy to handle and also much better in consistency within the cookie.

Below I just paste the recipe over from Crepes of Wrath, also for my reference later on. The recipe yields about 24 cookies.

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups (16 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (I used half milk chocolate and half semisweet – so sue me)
raw sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Method
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
2. Beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add in the eggs, one at a time, until completely incorporated. The mixture will look light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and beat in for 5 seconds.
3. Add in half of the flour, mix for 15 seconds, then add in the rest of the flour gradually until just moistened. Fold in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl tightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (I skipped this step and really wish that I hadn’t. I think you should chill it for at LEAST 3 hours, and I will do this next time).
4. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line and/or grease two baking sheets. Roll the dough into a ball the size of 2 tablespoons. Place them on the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart, and press down just slightly with your palm. Sprinkle with a pinch of raw sugar, if you like. Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown and the tops just start to darken. 
5. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cookies for cool for at least 10 minutes, them remove to another surface to finish cooling. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or frozen for up to 2 months.

Some changes which I did as per availability and convenience... I did not have sufficient brown sugar, so replaced the quantity with granulated sugar. I used only milk chocolate chips as I had run out of semi-sweet ones. I refrigerated the dough mixture overnight as it was getting too late, so that would have been about 8 - 9 hours. Following which I left it outside at room temperature for 15 - 20 minutes prior to baking. While baking, I did not sprinkle sugar on top also. Also, I did not bake the entire dough mixture, I froze about half of it in the morning once I was done baking about 12 - 15 cookies. These are the best tasting cookies which I have had home-made and I think this recipe is a keeper for ages.

May 27, 2012

Brown Beauty

This is a recipe from Betty Crocker's Cook Book, the 1980s edition. This was the first book which I came across on baking, something which my mom owned and swore by. I started making the simple cookies and then graduated to dinner rolls and croissants. Everything turned out wonderful when I followed what was written in this book.

So, when I wanted to make a cake for B's birthday I did not want to risk it, and decided to try the Brown Beauty cake from this book. Though the Bangalore Electricity Board played havoc with my cake, the taste and flavor was wonderful and the way I wanted the fudge cake to turn out. The icing which I did spoilt the look, but there is always a next time ;)

Here is the recipe

Ingredients

1/2 cup boiling water
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortening / unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg

Method

1. Heat oven to 350 F
2. Grease and flour a pan ( 8x8x2" is the approx size required)
3. Stir boiling water and chocolate until the chocolate melts. Once melted, keep aside for cooling
4. Blend flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
5. Stir the blended ingredients into the cooled chocolate
6. Add shortening and beat for 1 minute, medium speed on mixer, continuously scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl
7. Add buttermilk, vanilla essence and egg.
8. Beat for 1 more minute.
9. Pour into the greased pan and bake for 35 - 40 mins.
10. Cool a while in the oven and then transfer to a wire rack.

May 21, 2012

A year since she arrived


A year since she arrived and the journey has been one of complete learning for me. From the point where I was too scared to pick her up, to this day when I manage her on one hip and get work done, with some dance moves thrown in in between to keep her occupied. If I look back, I do not think I missed out on anything she did, I was there when she decided to try and turn over, when she tried with all her might to move on her tummy, when she wobbled and sat swinging. I was there when she tried to stand up and fell down getting a nick in the process, when she played with a soft toy and threw it out of the window. These are the small number of many things which I would always remember, knowing, she will never do these things again, she has grown up. Now, she walks about the whole place, trying to discover new things and poke her head into ever cupboard and pull out stuff.

There are days when you feel thrilled and happy when you drift off to sleep and there are other nights when all you have time to think is when did your life change so much that you yourself do not seem to understand what is happening. Where did the peace and calm of your life disappear. when did it get replaced by a run for the day and accomplishing chores as the top priority.  Everything became clockwork or else they were just pushed for later, wherein the later might never come, or they might at continuous insistence from someone.

As I look ahead I know that it is only a matter of time when she will be on her own, off to school in maybe 2 years and then I would be rendered useless. But, knowing that I do not want to detach myself away from her and start getting my life into order as yet. I think I still enjoy it being played in tune to hers as of now. I do miss my tune at times, but then in 2 years again things will change…then I might just crave this. There is an option of starting to work, being productive again, where I have money which I know I can spend without thinking too much as its my hardwork which I can burn any which way. But that would also mean leaving her and going away not to see her daily antiques, not knowing what she does and how she does it. I do not think I am ready for that. She is my first born, my love, how many times I have thought about trying to engage myself even if its for a few hours daily. I am unable to do it, I do not think it is because I am not trying enough, or I am not dedicated enough. I think I am more dedicated to my daughter at present than to anyone else. She is the only person who truly needs me and needs me to be who she has to be.

However my logical mind tells me to start my journey back to work and independence, and in the process making her independent, but I feel a year or two more is all that I am going to get so why not. Then, there is the advice which tells me to have my second child asap, so that I am finished with my mothering duties also asap. If I wanted to just finish the duty, wouldn't it be simple to have a single child, experience motherhood and be done with it. I am in no hurry to finish off duties, and I do not think I will like it if I am running like a mad chicken for time between by two kids. This is one of the strongest reasons I feel I want a minimum of 3 years age difference between both my kids so that I know the elder one understands and can be a true elder sibling. I also think there might be many moms who would love to have a baby and toddler in the house and enjoy themselves thoroughly taking care of one or the other. Me, I doubt it.

Having said that, there is a fear about how I will get back to work and a life which I want. Will I be too late to jump aboard? Or will I find something which I can do the way I want to when the time is right? That might be just wishful thinking. I do not know.

Image Source: http://www.picturesofbabies.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/cartoon-baby-picture.jpg

May 19, 2012

Book Review: Sandalwood Tree by Elle Newmark


Set in 1946 India, and narrating the lives of an American couple and their son who come to India as the father is a history student and he would like to document the pulling out of British troops from India and handing over of the country back to the Indians. They are set in Masoorla, close to Shimla to speak with the villagers on what they think and also as that the oppressive heat is more bearable in the hills, after all, Shimla is the queen of the hills. 

A personal battle being raged between the couple, a marriage which does not seem to have the peace, love and happiness as it did a few years back. The love seems to have faded post the husband's return from World War as a soldier. The life they shared seems to have disappeared, now they seem to be just two adults sharing a common living space. A change in scenario is what the wife thinks would maybe change their lives. But, changes seemed to have taken over her life when she discovers old letters, almost a century old in the old bungalow which they live it. From here on, its a story of discovery, self discovery and introspection. It has a very detailed, rich look at India and the folks of the hills. There is a clear understanding of marriage as an institution, what happens when there is nothing there in it for either of the people and when one is pushed to giving up. And, what does one do when you do give up and there is a child involved? A child of 5, who understands everything is not happy between mommy and daddy. A child who tries to set things right. 

The Indian culture through the years are shown in the form of the letters and journals left by the previous owners of the house and the present scenario with the many village residents who come by to help the American family settle into the hillside life. There is a wonderful story of love, passion and love for India which is detailed in the letters and journal. The story of two women who stayed by themselves away from their parents in the small haven that they had created for themselves at Masoorla. This sandalwood tree at the front of the house seems to have held many stories through the years and kept many a secrets for many.

I enjoyed reading the book mostly with regard to the relationship between the couple and seeing how a marriage has its dips and peaks. A very interesting deal as most marriages seem to go through these phases. Is it because we as human beings change, and when we marry , we expect the person to be the one you married all through the period of the marriage? Or is it that your expectations change once you start being a part of someone else's life? A simple read, rich in detail, an average story, but with many facets.

May 15, 2012

Whats been baking?


Chelsea Buns ( Yeast bread filled with almonds, raisins and flavoured with cinnamon)



Sweet cherry tarts 


Pineapple Upside down cake

May 14, 2012

On Black Sisters' Street by Chika Unigwe

Recently I have been reading many Indian authors and wanted to read a book set outside the Indian subcontinent. This is how I came to pick up this book while browsing through some blog reviews.


Set in the red light district of Brussels, four women from various parts of Africa end up serving clients as prostitutes, and living a life unknown to them and searching for the riches which they came in quest of. Each of their story is unique, broken home, teenage pregnancy, war crimes and incest. It is a small yet different world which each of these ladies share with the reader. One of the women die mysteriously, and her only fault was that she tried to come out of the system and have a life which would be deemed normal in the eyes of the world. She befriends a man who would like to be part of her life knowing her complete story, and this again is her fault. She is to have sold her life to the pimps who make money off her and nothing can stop this money from flowing in.


Each of these women have a story to tell and a life to speak of which they left behind them when they chose to come to Europe and work as a prostitute. Each of them left out of frustration, hunger, poor living conditions and when they see what they are offered here in terms of food and a roof over them, in return selling their body seems a small price to pay.


When I read this novel, all I could think of was how it was always the same story for women wherever they are in this world. They are treated as a source of pleasure, a route to procreation, someone to turn to and demand anything. But, never are they given control over their lives. The language of the book is simple but the style is very different from anything I have read till date. There is a difference in the language which I do now know what to attribute to except for the ethnicity of the author. There are many words which are used in the native dialects of the characters which also lends a great deal of depth to the story. It makes one absorb the culture and you also appreciate e author's true story through the use of foreign language. 


This is not a book which I would term as depicting a feminist viewpoint, as all it does portray is the struggle women endure and the atrocities they are subjected to. It shows women who have chosen a path which is so difficult. but they are left with no choice and each with their own pushing factors, walk down the path which they never thought they would. I was drawn to this book primarily as it was a completely new author for me, but I enjoyed reading this book and seeing the point of view of women and how a circumstance, a single circumstance, can throw your life hay-wire. 



May 10, 2012

Crochet Tissue Box Cover

A crochet tissue box cover caught my fancy recently when I was browsing some sites and I have finally managed to complete this a few weeks back as a gift for my mom.. a sort of birthday gift ( her bday was in March) and a mother's day gift all rolled into one. 

I thought it came out pretty neat, and the work involved was not difficult just tedious. I am sure there are many folks out there who can have a look at the picture below and replicate this :) I am no where without instructions, so I did buy the pattern.


April 8, 2012

CSAAM April 2011


CSAAM April 2011
This post is written as part of the Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month Initiative

Last year April, CSA 2011 opened by eyes to something which I thought happened only very rarely. But, it did happen to me. And through that month, I realized it has happened to so many people, and by those whom you take to be family, trust and love. I realized its so difficult to watch out for, so difficult to digest. 

I was 4 or 5 years old when a cousin brother groped me. At that young age, I did not even know why it happened; we were just playing ' House'. Now I know this is the most dangerous game to play with a mixed age group of children. And in my case, I was just playing with this said cousin brother as he was the one who was back from school early. This incident did leave an impact on me, as I started avoiding him, and even now when I speak to him, this is the most clear thought which plays in front of my eyes. I do not know whether he realizes that I do remember; but, he does not show any qualms in talking with me. I have never ever picked on it, but have just been cautious. 

Then, when I was 10 years old, we were visiting a family friend's place. The uncle's dad was staying with them for a few months, and he would have been 70 odd years. From the moment I stepped into the house, he was sitting next to me, hounding me with questions and asking me about what I do apart from school and such. At first, I thought he was genuinely interested in a child, but after some time I started to become uncomfortable when he kept his hand on my knee and I was wearing a skirt, so his hand was partially on the skirt and on my skin. I tried to move my leg but he would not remove his hand. Then, he asked me to come inside his room and take a sweet, to which I replied I do not like sweets, but he persisted and then my mom said, " Just go and take a sweet." I reluctantly went to get the sweet. Once in the room, he gave me the sweet and planted a kiss on my lips. I was shocked, disgusted and just turned and walked out quickly and went to sit next to my mom. For the next 2 days, I was dreading that I was going to be pregnant, with the limited knowledge I had about babies. 

Now looking back at these incidents, I know how disgusted I felt with myself for what happened, but in the second case I knew it was not my fault, but nevertheless, I felt disgusted with myself.


Today, as a mother to a 11 month old girl, I am so unsure what I should be doing. I was a working woman, but now I just do not know whether I will ever be able to get back to work, get back to work fully wherein I would be required to work as per the company norms, and not to my comfort. Does this have anything to do with a fear of my daughter's safety? Yes, it does. 

I wish for my daughter a place where I know she can grow to be independent, brave and smart. Creating that space is not a simple task, and as I see it, leaving her in the safety of her home is not a very great solution with the number of people who come to the door and there is so much which a nanny can do to take care. And, it takes just a fraction of a second to hurt a child, physically and mentally. To shatter her confidence and doubt herself. It makes it even more difficult to trust someone else to care and protect your child as much as family. And when do you know who will break the trust? 


Some of the reasons why CSA goes undetected are:

1. There are so many myths which surround CSA and hence awareness is the key. Knowing your enemy is the only way you can prevent any harm. 

2. In many cases, we do not believe that CSA is/ might be a factor to watch for in the society, community, country we live in. But, none of this is true. CSA can happen to any child and it is just a matter of chance for the perpetrator. So, as a parents we need to be cautious at all times. For which, we need to believe and know this is a truth and no MYTH. This I say, as many adults I know casually pass comments like.. this doesn't happen in our circles… but then it happened to me, and I am in this circle. 

3. The child is seen to be the one who has done something wrong to result in the abuse. This is one of the most dangerous idea to put into a small child's head.

4. And, the most important one, the abuser is usually someone the child knows, which means as a parent, you can prevent it. 


Please visit here for more articles and information.

March 31, 2012

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards opens on a cold snowy night in 1960s when a doctor and his wife are expecting their first child. And, it moves through 25 odd years in the lives of all those around this family and their children.

The doctor finds out they are having twins, but he decides to give away a child, a girl, who has Down's syndrome, and keep only his son. He himself had a sister who had a heart condition and he knew the difficulty he faced while growing up. He did not wish the same for his son. A understandable reason? But, he was not prepared for the turmoil this would unfold in his else peaceful, happy life.

He lies to his wife that their daughter died, and she grieves but he is unable to even look her in the eye and cry for their loss. She grows distant, she does not understand him, she starts to have affairs, she  starts to seek freedom.

He immerses himself in his work and photography. He almost distances himself from his wife and does not want another child, in the fear of another daughter with Down's Syndrome. Their son is a silent observer to all that passes between his parents and as we see he is affected in his own way.

The story brings out the helplessness experienced by the nurse to whom the doctor hands over his new born daughter, how a relationship is completely broken apart with a secret always standing between the doctor and his wife.

Personally, I felt it also portrayed copious amount of courage from the doctor's wife in dealing with her grief. In spite of the topic being completely pushed under the carpet by her husband, she learnt to carry her daughter who she assumed to be dead, with her all through her living years.

The story moves through the years of the twins, living completely different lives and how one man's decision for the better of all did not after all work out, or maybe that was how things were meant to be.

Image courtesy: MemoryKeepersDaughter.jpg

March 29, 2012

Its easy to complain, so let me start...

There are so many things which I always never do right. I thought, why not list some here and maybe... a very far fetched MAYBE.. I will be able to get these towards the right side.


1. I have been eagerly looking to buy an oven and start baking some goodies. I thought maybe a course would help me put myself in pace with my idea and also help me get about it. But, I have not yet got the oven even though I have been looking out for options. Now I feel that I need time at my disposal and with so many things to do through the day, I have no time and moreover, no time for me to do anything peacefully. Most of my chores are done in such a planned out manner, and they are all chores. I have no time to browse through anything and I want to get this oven after a good research. That might just be the issue, but that is the way I am.


2. When I moved to my current residence, the only thing I was at peace with was the small patch of a garden which existed and at that time it just truly existed. I had to take out so many weeds, get the whole place sorted out and what not. But, now I have some plants... have flowers on and off, but I need to get myself to devote myself to the garden if I want to see it truly ' bloom' ( for the lack of any better word).


3. I never seem to take out enough time through the day. It is not because I do not have the time, but just that I end up browsing the web, or reading a book, when I know there would be many things which are pending. The issue is I have so many things which are forever to be done, that I want to just relax and take things lightly, rather than move from one to the next. But, if I do get myself to finish off all my chores/tasks, will I be free to sit around? I doubt it. I am sure there will be a another few items added to the list by then.


4. I have been forever trying to get on to some part- time work schedule, and I know I can do it, but I just do not. I have these above chores to finish with all the lazing around also involved, which results in the part- time work not figuring in anywhere. 


At times I wonder is this a by- product of having a kid, I doubt it, I think I am just a lazy person. B says I have a true leo... who likes luxury and lazing around, and the two do go well hand in hand. ;)