If We Were Having Coffee…

… I’d tell you of how I have started taking little, baby steps towards better health. I have been brushing certain health issues under the carpet for quite long. I haven’t been going for regular check-ups. Also, post-baby, my eating habits have been quite bad – I have not been eating healthy at all. I’ve been giving in to cravings all the time. I haven’t been exercising regularly, and am quite, quite overweight. Guilt over all of this has been keeping me up in the nights often, as a result of which I have been tired in the mornings and unable to go for a walk or exercise. Such a vicious downward spiral! I had to break it somewhere, right? I took the first step towards breaking the cycle by getting a complete health check-up, recently. The results haven’t been bad, but some stuff isn’t great either. I know just what to do to improve, now. When all the figures are before me, in black and white, on a piece of paper, it pushes you just enough to exercise and figure out ways to improve your lifestyle. I did myself a huge favour by going for that check-up. It did need a whole lot of guts to go for it, too, so, yes, I’m patting myself on the back for it.

… I’d tell you of how we have still not zeroed in on a school for Bubboo. We do have a couple of schools in mind, but haven’t finalised anything. It is freaking me out a bit more every single day. We have to step up on this, and soon.

… I’d tell you of how a few places have been calling out to me. Madurai and Madras, basically. I want to explore these places thoroughly, discover the little and big secrets their streets have been hiding. Why these two places now? I don’t really know. I think places, like books, call out to you when you are ready for them. I hope they will make the trip happen, too.

… I’d tell you of how Paati, my paternal grandmother, hasn’t been doing well. For over a year now, she’s been entirely bed-ridden, not even getting up from the bed to walk to the living room or the washroom. I can see her weakening, day by day, and it is saddening to see her like that. Every time I visit, she tells me of how she wants God to send for her now.. I don’t know what to say. Thankfully, Amma takes good care of her – having someone by your side, to help you, to care for you, in old age, is a luxury that not everyone can boast of these days.

… I’d tell you of how I started reading this book called The Art Of Hearing Heartbeats, with great expectations. Sadly, though, the book is super-disappointing. I can’t wait for it to end, so I can get on with reading something better. Sigh!

… I’d tell you of how I have just been unable to write. I mean, I can write book reviews and stuff about food, but nothing that really, really moves me. Nothing comes even when I try to keep my mind open, and sit with the keyboard and a blank document on the ready, waiting for the words. I feel blocked in that sense. I so want this to change!

… I’d tell you of how Bubboo amazes me every day, with all her questions, all the stories she conjures up, all the things she soaks up from her day-to-day life. It feels like just yesterday when she was a tiny, mewling, breast-feeding baby. She’s now a little girl, ready to go out into the world. Will I ever get used to just how fast she’s growing?

… I’d tell you of how, on the foodie front, I am continuing to do experiments in my kitchen. I’m trying to walk the fine line between ‘being a foodie’ and ‘eating healthy’. 🙂 There are some lovely recipes that I can’t wait to put out on the blog. Wait and watch!

… I’d tell you of how, lately, I have been thinking a lot about Bubboo’s growing-up years. I mean, when she is nine or 10. I’m sure parenting then won’t be just about feeding her the right food, bathing her, getting her to bed on time, or making sure she gets enough physical exercise. It is going to get a whole lot more complicated, and that is scaring the living daylights out of me! The book that I am reading now, a yet-to-be-released one called Lost For Words by Stephanie Butland, is causing this feeling, largely. I hope we do a decent job of parenting Bubboo through the years!

… I’d tell you of how the OH and I recently celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. We had a simple, homely celebration, that included a lovely lunch at Nasi And Mee. He got me some little things I wanted to experiment with (read: soaps, chocolates and some other foodie stuff). I’m yet to get him his gift. Boring, eh? But we had fun! 🙂

… I’d tell you of how all my days feel like a blur. I don’t really know what I’m doing all day long, but the time seems to pass really, really quickly. At the end of the day, I am amazed that the day is actually over! I so want to add some meaning, some more charm to my days. I don’t want them to pass, just like that!

… I’d also ask after you and your loved ones. How has life been treating you lately? What have you been up to?

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

On Getting A Breast Check-Up And Massage At Fortis La Femme, Richmond Town

A while ago, I was invited to avail of a free breast check-up and a massage at Fortis La Femme in Bangalore, in exchange for an honest review of the hospital and its services. This post is about my experience at the hospital.

About Fortis La Femme, Bangalore

Fortis La Femme is a boutique hospital exclusively dedicated to women and children. The hospital, located in Richmond Town in Bangalore, was launched in 2016, after a successful run in Delhi.

The hospital boasts of well-trained and experienced doctors across specialisations like gynecology, pediatric care, surgery for women and children, and pediatric ICU. It aims at helping women lead a healthy and happy life, from teenage gynecological issues and birthing to period-related issues and menopause.

I had heard a lot about Fortis La Femme’s birthing packages, which assist women in having stress-free pregnancies, deliveries and post-natal care of babies. They also have a section called Mamma Mia, which aims at providing care to women during pregnancy and after delivery, as well as pre- and post-delivery massages. The hospital also conducts coaching classes for pregnant women and their partners, teaching them exercises and counselling them, so as to avoid panic when labour pains set in.

Considering the increasing incidence of breast cancer in India, Fortis La Femme held a two-month-long ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Program’ through October and November 2016. An all-woman bike rally, free breast check-ups for women, and discounts on mammographies were offered as part of the program.

Address

No:62, Richmond Road, Behind Sacred Heart Church (Entry from Mother Teresa Road), Richmond Town, Bangalore – 560025

My experience at Fortis La Femme

I must say I had a lovely experience at Fortis La Femme, right from the time the husband and I entered the hospital to the time I left.

The valet helped us park our car at the hospital, while the very courteous and friendly reception staff guided me to the doctor who would be conducting my breast check-up. The moment we entered, we were struck by the fact that there was no ‘hospital smell’ lingering in the air – the air, in fact, smelled quite pleasant, putting us at ease instantly. The hospital itself, in no way, looks like a typical hospital – the vibe is warm and welcoming.

A friendly nurse checked my vitals, and led me to the doctor, who, again, turned out to be very soft-spoken and sweet. The doctor patiently took down my history and that of my family, and answered all the doubts that I had. The breast examination was gentle and courteous, quite unlike the inhumane probes that I have encountered in the name of check-ups at certain other hospitals. She was helpful enough to tell me little changes that I could make to my lifestyle to avoid health complications in future.

Then, I proceeded to Mamma Mia in the same premises for my massage, where I couldn’t help but admire the beautiful orange-and-spice scent that hung in the air. There, I was greeted by a very jovial and sweet massage therapist, who enquired about the type of massage that I would like to avail. I opted for a neck and back massage, which was done very well, with a beautiful, beautiful ginger-and-clove-spiced oil. The massage was lovely and utterly relaxing, with the therapist enquiring about whether the pressure she was applying was good enough for me, from time to time. The massage suite is quite luxurious and nice, and I wish I could have had this luxury when I had just birthed Bubboo.

Overall, I would say, I spent very little time (relatively) at Fortis La Femme, but I couldn’t not get impressed by it.

My verdict

Honestly, this is a hospital that doesn’t have a hospital feel to it at all. It doesn’t overwhelm you, rather eases you into your treatment, making you feel special through all of it. Gone are the days of stern-faced doctors with whom you couldn’t converse at all, I say. Friendly medical staff and open conversations are in, and Fortis La Femme seems to be doing a pretty good job at it all.

Notes and disclaimers

  1. I was invited to the hospital to avail of the breast check-up and massage, free of cost. The views expressed here are entirely my own, unbiased by anyone or anything. I do not stand to receive any kind of gain by recommending this hospital to you.
  2. I just wasn’t comfortable getting out my camera and shooting pictures inside the hospital, so this has to be a non-picture post. If you wish to see pictures of the hospital, please do Google.
  3. The names of the doctor who performed my breast check-up and the therapist who did my massage have been withheld, for reasons of privacy.

 

 

R Is For…. Ragi Dosa, The Husband’s Way

I never even tasted finger millet aka ragi before I got married, as astonishing as this fact sounds to me today. Growing up in Ahmedabad, ragi just wasn’t very common, and we never spotted any bags of it on the shelves of departmental stores. Even if we had, I doubt I would have loved the grain then, as much as I do now. I believe ragi is something that needs to be cooked just the right way, for one to fall in love with it, and that is something that my family and I were clueless about then.

Post marriage, I was introduced to ragi in all its myriad forms – rotis, dosas, mudde, cakes, and what not. Of course, considering that ragi is staple food in Karnataka. The husband would make a mean ragi dosa some nights for dinner, and that is how my love affair with the grain started. I began experimenting with the grain – and the flour – more and more, slowly realising just how good it is for the body. Now, ragi is a staple in our home kitchen, a regular addition to our grocery list.

Today, I am going to tell you about the husband’s style of making ragi dosa, something that I love to bits. Please keep in mind that there are scores of ways of making this dosa, and this is just one way to do so. This is my favourite way, though, so I really hope you will try this out.

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Ingredients (yields about 8 dosas):

  1. 1 cup ragi flour (Sometimes, I sprout the grains myself and then get them ground in a flour mill; sometimes, I buy the flour ready-made)
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  4. 1 tablespoon oil + oil to make the dosas
  5. 1 green chilly, chopped very, very finely
  6. 1/2 cup curd (sour curd is better)
  7. 5-6 curry leaves
  8. A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  9. 1 teaspoon cumin (jeera)
  10. 1 ladle of regular dosa batter OR about 1/4 cup of rice flour
  11. 1 small onion, finely chopped

Method:

  1. Take the ragi flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt to taste, curry leaves (torn), finely chopped green chillies, cumin, regular dosa batter OR rice flour (whichever of these you are using), asafoetida and curd.
  2. Heat the 1 tablespoon oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds, and let them pop. Add this tadka to the ragi flour in the mixing bowl.
  3. Mix well, adding a little water at a time, till the batter reaches a consistency that is neither too runny nor too solid. Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes.
  4. Heat a dosa tava till drops of water dance on it. Then, turn the flame to medium, pour a ladleful of the ragi dosa batter in the centre of the tava, spread it out, spread a teaspoon of oil around it, and sprinkle some of the finely chopped onion on top of the dosa. Cover the dosa with a plate, without disturbing it. Let it cook for about a minute, and then uncover and flip the dosa over. Cook on the other side for a minute. Transfer the dosa to a serving plate.
  5. Make dosas out of all the batter in a similar fashion.
  6. Serve hot, with chutney of your choice, though these dosas do not really need any accompaniment.

Simple, quick and healthy, right?

Do you like ragi dosas? Do you make them at home? What is your special technique?

Notes:

  1. This recipe is my entry for the letter R, for the Alphabet Cooking Challenge.
  2. This is one of the recipes that I promised to give you guys a long, long time back. Better late than never, eh? 🙂

 

In The Thick Of Kali Pujo, In Calcutta

A long-cherished dream of mine came true last year – one of visiting Calcutta. This trip was very special because we accidentally landed in the city in the midst of one of its biggest festivals, Kali Pujo.

Do visit my photo blog here to read my thoughts on being in Calcutta in the thick of Kali Pujo. Thanks!

The 2016 Year-End Meme

It is the end of the year, and I am in introspection mode. Hence, this post.

  1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before? 
  • I took up a short meditation class with The Art Of Living group. I haven’t been following anything they told me to follow, post the class, but it sure gave me an insight into yoga and meditation. I hope to go deeper into this in 2017!
  • I delved deeper into the world of food blogging. I began to understand different types of ingredients and cooking processes better, started experimenting a lot more. I started attending various food-related events, and started getting to know the food bloggers’ community in Bangalore a bit better.
  • We celebrated the kid’s second birthday.
  • I experimented with a part-time job, quit after a short stint, and became a full-time stay-at-home mother.
  • We visited Calcutta, a place I had always dreamt of visiting! We got to be a part of the Kali Pooja celebrations there, something that I will always cherish.
  • We visited the Sai Baba temple at Shirdi, another place that I had always wanted to visit.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next?

The only two ‘sort of’ resolutions I had as 2016 began were: To lose weight and begin to lead a healthier lifestyle, and to figure out what I wanted to do with my time post baby.

I would say I haven’t succeeded at all, with respect to the first resolution. Today, I am even more heavy than I was at the start of 2016. 😦

With respect to the second resolution, I have been moderately successful. I still haven’t figured out exactly what I should do, but I can say I am on the way. 2016 saw me experimenting with a few different things, trying to understand myself better as a person. May 2017 make me see light in this regard!

Now, for 2017, I have the same two resolutions plus three new ones.

1. I want to seriously lose weight and move on to a healthier lifestyle (which is at odds with the food blogging that I do, to be honest).

2. I also want to delve deeper into myself and find out something that would keep me satisfied and productively occupied, without having to compromise on my time with Bubboo.

3. Moreover, I want to devote time, money, energy and attention to fulfilling those little dreams of mine, like travelling to a place on my bucket list or buying something that has always been on my mind.

4. I want to work on bringing Bubboo up really, really well – do what it takes for that. Not that I am not doing that already, but that is a large life area I’d like to dedicate more focus on in 2017.

5. Finish all those pending tasks that I desperately need to get around to doing. They have been pending for ever. Create a passport for Bubboo, for example, and get Aadhaar cards for us done, things of that sort. Hopefully, the house and our lives should run more smoothly once we get around to doing this.

3. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I would say there are a whole lot of moments from 2016 that will stay in my memory forever. Little moments doing silly things with Bubboo, for instance, or attending my first event as a food blogger.

4. What was your biggest achievement of the year? 

I began to accept myself the way I am, began getting comfortable with myself, began understanding myself a whole lot better.

5. What was your biggest failure? 

I failed at keeping stress at bay. I failed at keeping mommy guilt at bay. I failed at keeping my weight under control. I We failed at maintaining a spic-and-span house.

6. Did you suffer illness? 

Yes, I did, off and on. Let’s just say 2016 wasn’t my best year, as far as health was concerned. In fact, I have been appalled at just how vulnerable my health is, in 2016.

7. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? 

To be honest, my family’s. We were at loggerheads through most of the year. This is one thing I hope will improve in 2017.

8. Where did most of your money go? 

Baby stuff, the running of the house

9. What did you get really, really, really excited about? 

Nothing really, really, really excites me these days – there is always something or the other on my mind, things/events have been happening at the last minute, and I have been unable to really soak in the feeling that I am about to do something exciting.

That said, I was happy about attending the food-related events I attended, celebrating the bub’s second birthday, and visiting Calcutta.

10. What song will always remind you of 2016?

This song. I loved the wealth of meaning in it. And, yes, I heard this song only in 2016!

11. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? 

I think I am at the same level.

12. What do you wish you’d done more of? 

Been more mindful of the voice of my heart, maintained a better home, maintained my weight, and paid more attention to my health in general.

13. What do you wish you’d done less of? 

Eat junk food.

12. Did you fall in love in 2016? 

Yes. I began to love myself more in 2016, I would say.

13. What/Who was your greatest musical discovery? 

To be honest, we haven’t been listening to much music at all. There has hardly been any music playing at home for the last 2 years, which does make me really sad. I can’t say I made any new musical discovery in 2016, except for the Mohabbat Hai Yeh, Jee Huzoori Nahin song I mentioned earlier.

14. What did you want and get? 

Time at home, with the bub.

15. What did you want and not get?

Peace of mind

16. What was your favourite film of this year? 

I didn’t watch many movies in 2016, but I caught up with some good ones that I had missed while living under a rock after childbirth. 🙂 Of these, I loved PK, Ki & Ka, and Piku.

17. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 

I turned 34 this year. I had a mostly blah birthday – I got my periods the same day, I remember, and the hubby was working. The OH and I fought over some silly thing. We then went out for an Italian dinner, and the bub behaved – that was the only bright spot of the day. Oh, and my mom made me some awesome gajar ka halwa, just like the old days, and that totally, totally cheered me up!

18. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? 

Losing weight, for sure.

19. What kept you sane?

Blogging and cooking.

20. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013. 

I’ll tell you more than one!

  • If you love something about yourself, your life or the people around you, acknowledge it. Be grateful.
  • Keep doing the things that nurture you.
  • It is okay to put yourself first, if you aren’t harming anyone else in the process, that is.
  • Believe in yourself before you try to get others to believe in you.
  • Acceptance is important, but make sure you aren’t complacent. If there’s something about your situation that you would like to change, work on it.

21. Which new places did you visit in 2016? 

Shirdi. Calcutta. I saw Madras with new eyes, too.

22. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Dil dhoondhta hai phir wahi fursat ke raat din

That’s it for now, folks!

How has 2016 been for you? Do take up this meme and reflect on the year gone by!

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This is not the first time I have taken up this end-of-year introspective meme. Check out my previous versions of the very same survey.

In 2012

In 2013