Being Mommy

I was having a very lacklustre birthday this year. Something was missing throughout the day. Then Amma came, bearing a box of home made, delicious gajar ka halwa. Her gift to me.

Memories of long ago flooded me, of long gone birthdays, hogging on gajar ka halwa, long talks with friends, a lightness, fun, happiness. Suddenly, my birthday began to feel complete. Amma’s little gift was what I had been missing. Or was it the remembrance of older, simpler times?

How did Amma know what I wanted? What I needed?

Will I know what my daughter needs and wants too, when it is time? I hope and pray I do.

Bubboo Snippets

The little one loves being ‘Doctor Aunty’ these days. She does everything that a doctor does, and calls herself ‘Datuk Aunty’.

Datuk Aunty comes rushing at us with a malicious grin on her face, and gives us big injections with her forefinger, just about everywhere on our bodies.

The husband and I have been on the receiving end of some rather painful injections lately, I must say.😐


“Did you buy the moong dal?,” I ask the husband.
Moong dal,” a little voice echoes in the background.

I walk to the kitchen to make us a cup of tea each.
Amma.. kitchen.. walking,” says the little voice.

The husband puts out the coupons for the milk delivery man every night.
The little voice, observant as ever, says, “Appa, milk, coupon”.

Every little thing we do in the house is observed, commented upon, including our visits to the loo and the flushing of the toilet. More than half of what we speak to each other gets repeated, in bits and pieces.

Little boss is watching, ALL the time.

The husband calls the little one ‘The Echo’. I think the name is quite apt.


Amma, daddy paavam. Daddyku mammam? (Ma, poor daddy! Where is daddy’s food?”)

“Daddy office. Daddyku roti kudu! (Daddy is working. Give him rotis!)”

“Daddy, idli for you!”

“Daddyku dosa venum! (Daddy wants dosas!)”

Ayyo, this Daddy fan club at our home!🙂


Fattabye = butterfly
Jippachi = giraffe
Aapis = office
Nakshitu = nasingithu (pressed)
Toto = dog
Bau = milk
Tumba = tumbler
Okkachi = okkaru (sit)
Asish = ostrich
Kapucheep = kerchief
Thankoo = thank you
Tattayee = tata, bye
Pepe = paper

Kiddie speak in our house, if you are wondering what this is. Just for the sake of records.🙂



If We Were Having Coffee…

… I’d tell you of how I am eagerly waiting for Bubboo’s second birthday, just a few days away. We have arranged for a little celebration at home, with just very close family and friends present. There is going to be a little lunch and then cutting of birthday cake in the evening, followed by some light snacks. I have ordered for a special cake, and am sure Bubboo is going to love it. Now, my fingers are crossed and I’m hoping fervently that nothing, absolutely nothing, will play spoilsport and that our little, homely celebration will be a lovely success. Keep us in your prayers, will you?

… I’d tell you of how I have been craving to get my hands on the pulao masala from Honest, Ahmedabad, ever since I heard of it? I was always a big, big fan of Honest’s pulao (it’s different!), among other things. Now, they are retailing their special pulao masala at their outlets, I hear. Not available online, and no one to send it across to me. I guess now is the time to make that trip to Ahmedabad, eh?🙂 While there, I could do some saree and dress shopping, too, as well as pick up a lovely ghagra choli for Bubboo. I could gorge on some delicious street food, as well. But then, ever since my parents sold off our house in Ahmedabad to shift to Bangalore, I don’t feel like going back there any more. We could stay in a hotel, yes, but I don’t think I am prepared to do that.

… I’d tell you of how much my dressing sense, my taste in clothes and jewellery is changing at the moment. I would say it is only now that I am discovering the real me, as far as dressing sense is concerned. After discovering Bohemian necklaces, I am discovering a new-found love for beautifully patterned and designed saree blouses. I picked up a gorgeous Krishna-patterned Kalamkari blouse piece recently, something the old me definitely wouldn’t have bought. I can’t wait to wear it now. I have just delivered a couple of blouses to my tailor to get stitched, after long discussions with her on the kind of patterns that I want (you must understand that this is the first time I am indulging in such an exercise – I didn’t get elaborate blouses stitched even for my wedding. I kid you not!). I have always worn saree blouses that have high, high necks (prudish, almost), and now, I have asked for them to have a neckline that is lower. A revolutionary move for me, I would say. And then, I am in love these days with quirky silver nosepins (the kind that can be worn without a nose piercing) and silver jewellery with multi-coloured glass. Oh, and I am also discovering a love for ghungroo jewellery.🙂

… I’d tell you that I am reading Marlena de Blasi’s Amandine. I am simply loving some parts – with the author’s lyrical, thought-provoking, powerful, vivid writing. I am not much liking some other parts of the book – thanks to the storyline getting overly dramatic in these parts, mostly. That said, this is definitely looking like a book that I would recommend to you guys.

… I’d tell you of how I got into the festive spirit at the fag end of Navratri, after not feeling like it was festival time at all. Just before Dassehra, some Durga Pujo pandal hopping happened, as did some festive dressing up and visiting relatives. That was enough to set my spirits right.

… I’d tell you of how we met this little girl, the daughter of the OH’s deceased cousin, a week back. She is currently with her paternal grandparents, is 5 years of age, and had come to visit her mother’s maternal home for the Dassehra holidays. It was a heart-breaking experience, for sure. I can’t even put in words what I felt as I watched her watching me holding Bubboo tight. I can’t tell you just how sad I feel that she won’t ever know her mother’s hug, her smell, her special comforting touch. I really, really wish her well in life – life as she has known it hasn’t been very good for her, and I hope she learns that that isn’t all there is to it.

… I’d also ask after you and your loved ones. I’d ask you what you have been up to lately, and what has been making you happy and sad these days.


For Weekend Coffee Share, an interesting meme here. Do check it out!

Just Read

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Genre: Self-help, non-fiction, how-to

I haven’t read any of Elizabeth Gilbert’s books, including her famous, famous, famous Eat, Pray, Love. I just couldn’t go beyond a couple of short chapters in that book. But then, when I heard a whole lot of people saying very good things about her latest non-fiction book, Big Magic, I was enticed to go and pick it up. I have been trying to get more creative lately, and this book was all about creativity and how to unleash it to the max. It’ll only add to my knowledge, I thought, as I bought the book, and that the lady’s non-fiction might be way better than her memoirs. I ended up disappointed by the book, though. It just didn’t do anything for me.

In Big Magic, the author hasn’t really said anything out of the extraordinary. There are no special tips or exercises that will help you squish the demons inside you, let go, and create your best. Most of the things she says in the book are things that we already know. For instance, there’s a part on how to grab ideas when they strike you, how to make use of inspiration the minute it strikes you. We all know that, right? Only, the author puts it in words like ‘Ideas are like horses.. Grab them by the tail and pull them onto paper’ or something to that effect. She also speaks about other common ideas to let creativity bloom – taking a backseat from your work for a while and indulging in other activities, so that you get into the groove again.

I also felt the author was droning on and on and on in some parts of the book. She did sound highly self-indulgent, I have to say. I would rather have had a highly condensed manual of pointers to follow when you are down with a creative slump or, maybe, a set of well thought-out cognitive exercises to help with the same. That this book was definitely not.

Also, I couldn’t agree with everything the author says in the book. For instance, she says, in the bigger scheme of things, arts doesn’t really matter, so the artist needs to lighten up. Even the sex worker has a significant role in the society, but the artist doesn’t really, she says. Whaaaaattttttt? I just couldn’t find anything in the book palatable after she said that! There are a few other instances where I didn’t agree with her ideas as well.

This wasn’t the creativity manual I was expecting it to be. It didn’t spark my creativity at all. In fact, I have been prone to more spurts of creativity after reading some wonderful blog articles or just going on little art-y excursions of my own. So, this book definitely isn’t something that I would recommend.

Yiddish Yoga: Ruthie’s Adventures In Love, Loss, And The Lotus Position by Lisa Grunberger

Genre: Contemporary fiction

I picked this book up on a whim from a used-books store, without knowing anything about it or the author. Something told me I might enjoy the book. And, yes, I did enjoy the book.

Yiddish Yoga is the story of Ruthie, an elderly woman who has been recently widowed. To help her get over the grief of losing her wonderful husband, Ruthie’s granddaughter Stephanie gifts her a year of yoga lessons. The book is all about Ruthie’s experiments with yoga, her observations during yoga class, and the transformations she witnesses in and around herself post getting into yoga. The book might sound like a new-age, preachy monologue on yoga, or a collection of very sappy-sweet ‘I LOVE Yoga’ essays, but I can assure you that it is neither.

I loved everything about this little book. The fact that it is so short and can be read in the course of a day. The way it makes for a light, breezy read, yet inspiring you to pause and think in parts. The beautiful cartoons depicting Ruthie’s trysts with yoga. The insight into Yiddish culture (Ruthie is a Jew). The way the book resonated with me, as I am sure it would with anyone who has had even a fleeting association with yoga. The way parts of the book tickled my funny bones. The way some of the book made me want to cry. The subtle romance in the book. The warm feeling of reading it. I loved all of it, and couldn’t find anything negative at all about the book.

This is definitely not great literature or anything, but surely a book that you must read, if only for the way it will make you feel and think. Give it a go, will you? It’s different, as they used to say in the famous tomato ketchup ad. I say it is worth a read.

Have you read any of these books? Your thoughts about them?

What are you reading at the moment?

Palak Keerai Kootu| Simple South Indian Spinach & Lentil Curry, Our Way

Both the OH and I love our greens. Me, since adulthood, and the OH since childhood. Thankfully, we have never had to be force-fed greens, and have had them willingly. I am trying to get Bubboo to love her greens, too, a goal towards which I am constantly working by trying to come up with recipes that use greens in all sorts of ways.

The recipe I am going to tell you about today, though, is ages old for us. It has been the way spinach aka palak keerai has always been cooked in our family, a very simple recipe that I turn to when I don’t have much time or inclination to stand at the stove for ages. Unlike a whole lot of other South Indian households, we don’t use a lot of coconut. For this kootu too, we skip coconut (while many others cannot fathom of a kootu without coconut), and keep it very, very simple. The end result, however, is quite flavourful and homely.

This kootu is packed with nutrition, and makes for a great accompaniment with rice as well as rotis. Since we make it in a pressure cooker, it gets done in a jiffy, too.


Here’s how we make the kootu.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

A big bowl of chopped, fresh spinach leaves (thoroughly washed in running water, all traces of mud removed, and chopped finely)

Salt, to taste

1 tablespoon oil

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

1 teaspoon jeera (cumin)

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

A pinch of asafoetida

1 teaspoon red chilli powder

2-3 dry red chillies, each broken into two

2 fistfuls of moong dal (washed well in running water and with all the excess water drained out)


  1. Heat the oil in a 2- or 3-litre pressure cooker and add the mustard seeds. Let them splutter. Now, add the asafoetida and the cumin seeds. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
  2. Now, add the chopped spinach leaves and the broken dry, red chillies. On a high flame, saute for about a minute.
  3. Add the drained moong dal, salt to taste, red chilli powder and turmeric powder, along with about a glass of water. Mix well.
  4. Close the pressure cooker and put the whistle on. Allow 4-5 whistles on a high flame, or cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Switch off the gas and let the pressure come down naturally.
  6. On opening the cooker, if you feel the kootu is too thick, add a bit more water and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Adjust seasonings, in that case. Otherwise, the kootu is ready to be served with rice or rotis.


  1. If you want to use coconut, add a fistful of fresh, grated coconut to the pressure cooker while you are adding the moong dal. We like the kootu made that way, too.
  2. You can use other greens – like methi or kasi soppu – instead of palak, too, to make a similar kootu.


Of Bubboo And Her Appa

The OH loves his food piping hot, so hot that sweat should drip from his face while eating, the hot months of summer included. I, on the other hand, am the sort of person who wouldn’t even bother to heat up the food I cooked a while earlier, if I am going to be eating alone.

To his credit, though, the OH doesn’t create a big fuss about food that isn’t piping hot. If I have finished cooking just a little while ago, he will proceed to eat it as is. If the food has gotten cold, he will go on and heat it up himself. He doesn’t expect me to do it for him.


The OH hates, absolutely hates, fresh coriander. He often doesn’t eat a dish just because the ‘smell of coriander’ was too overpowering. I, on the other hand, absolutely adore coriander. I just can’t imagine making certain foods – like rasam – without the coriander, stalks and all included. (Imagine my shock when the husband told me, just about a couple of weeks into our marriage – You know what? I HATE coriander! I just gave a ‘Gah!’ kind of expression, then, but I was really shocked, scared at all the differences between us that we would discover later.)

Since then, I have learnt to tone down the level of coriander that I put into my cooking. We have, sort of, found a middle path.


Today, Bubboo wants food that is straight off the stove. She will eat a few bites of roti or dosa, and then want to move on to another, freshly prepared roti or dosa that is hotter, because the one that’s on her plate has ‘cooled down’. I’m not kidding. We have seen this happen more than once.

Today, Bubboo refuses to eat foods that have coriander in it. She makes a ‘Yuck!’ kind of face if she encounters a bit of coriander in whatever she is eating. She says ‘Kothamalli! (Coriander!),’ and proceeds to spit the said morsel of food out.


Genes are clearly in play here. But then, I wasn’t expecting them to show up this early. I am unprepared.

How did I end up with two kids of the same type? How on earth am I going to handle this duo ganging up against me, in more ways than one?


North Indian-Style Tender Asparagus Curry

Suko, this post is for you.🙂 Here is the recipe for the tender asparagus curry that you had requested for, a while back.

So, about a couple of months back, I spotted a pack of fresh, fresh tender asparagus at Namdhari’s, and had to get it, though I had no clue what I would do with it. Asparagus has never been a part of our daily diet, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to try cooking it, especially after reading about the numerous health benefits it possesses.

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I have heard that the chopping of big asparagus shoots is a bit of a tedious process, but since the shoots I got were quite tender, all I had to do was chop them up. I decided to make an Indian-style curry with the asparagus, using spices that are typical of a North Indian kitchen. It turned out super delicious, and went wonderfully well with rasam rice. I think it would make a lovely combination with rotis, too.

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Here is how I made the curry.

Ingredients (Serves 2):

About 200 grams of tender asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces, tips and all

1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons oil

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

A pinch of asafoetida

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Amchoor powder, to taste

Red chilli powder, to taste

1 teaspoon garam masala

A few stalks of coriander leaves, finely chopped

A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled


  1. Heat the oil in a deep-bottomed pan. Add the mustard seeds and allow them to splutter.
  2. Add the asafoetida and the cumin seeds. Let them stay in for just about a couple of seconds.
  3. Add the chopped onion and fry for a few minutes on a medium flame, or till they start turning brown.
  4. Now, add the ginger-garlic paste. Saute for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the chopped asparagus, along with the red chilli powder and salt to taste, garam masala and amchoor powder, and turmeric powder. Mix well. Sprinkle a little water, and cook on medium flame for 5-7 minutes or until the asparagus looks cooked. Stir intermittently.
  6. Switch off the gas and garnish with fresh, finely chopped coriander leaves.
  7. Serve with rasam rice or rotis.

Sounds good? I hope you will try this out too, and that you will like it as much as we did!