A Candid Expression


One Sentence Story:

Decades have passed since I was a child myself, I heard someone say, “children make you want to start life over,” which never made any sense to me until now when I myself am a mom of two little boys, now I have realized the depth of that statement and indubitably I am fortunate enough to be able to live the veracity of the above quote; to see these little individuals grow is the most valued thing in my life and I wish I could keep an account of all the wonderful things that they say or do to make my life so beautiful, even though it’s hard but I still try to save some, like the episode that recently happened; my two and half years old Saavi came into the kitchen and said, “Mumma, Saavi doesn’t want red wine,” when I was about to give him his bottle of milk, I smiled and thanked him for making a good choice.

Jack Of All Trades


Busy Boy

A hairdresser with no comb or scissors.
A handyman with no hammer or screws.
A cleaner with no vinegar or bleach.
An athlete with no Nike or Adidas.
A mountaineer with no axe or ropes.
A player with no bat or gloves.
A businessman with no customer or commodities.
A collector with no stamps or coin.
A builder with no tower or skyscrapers.
A writer with no paper or pens.
A musician with no guitar or drums.
A magician with no rabbit or doves.
A teacher with no board or books.
A doctor with no needle or pills.
A lover with no card or chocolates.
A two year old,  jack of all trades but master of none.

Finding My Perfect Teacher


During one of our numerous conversation, my aunt casually mentioned the importance of being a life long learner. She stressed that learning is the essence of life and it should continue and grow with age. And then very smoothly she seeded quiet a novel idea in my brain, she said, “Who could be a better teacher than our own kids?” Although it sounded profound, I didn’t quite agree with her. I kept wondering  “What can a kid teach me?” Later on, after a closer review and some minute observations the truth revealed. I have to confess that kids do model some practical wisdom that are broadly described in our scriptures. Most of the times we tend to overlook them because our ‘ego’ stops us from accepting our kids as our perfect teacher; and that we can learn a lot from them even if they are just two years old.

“While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what is life all about.”

~Angela Schwindt

“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever”
~Chinese Proverb

We wake up with Saavi asking his favorite question, “What is it??? And we sleep hearing the same voice asking What is it???” It doesn’t matter if the question is for a person or a thing; the question remains the same. Quiet frequently, our friends have been welcomed into our home by Saavi, pointing a finger at them and inquiring in his sweet voice “Yeh Kya hai?” [What is it?] Usually, we oblige him with a right answer patiently accompanied by a smile but at times situations are embarrassing and therefore it is mixed with a hint of frustration. Our rudeness doesn’t hurt him and it does not stop him from asking. He diligently continues doing it. He doesn’t care what others’ think about him or about his parents. He just keeps moving towards learning a few new things daily.

“The height of cleverness is being able to conceal it.”
~François de La Rochefoucauld

What was the result of those never-ending “What is its’?” The other day, I found out that it was not mindless questioning. He was actually learning by asking. I wanted to break the monotony of perpetual answering, so I decided to do a role reversal. This time I asked him his favorite question.

I pointed  towards the Pressure cooker and  asked, “What is it?” What happened next came as a surprise to me. He made some faces and then answered,  “Presssssse Cuckcoo.” That was amazing, I was not able to control my laughter to see the way he contorted his lips to pronounce the word pressure cooker. It was hard for him but he was able to give me an appropriate answer and it was surely commendable.

Then I realized that if I hadn’t asked him the question, he would not have come to me and told me, “the stuff you use on the stove to cook lentils is called a Pressure Cooker.”  He would have kept his knowledge to himself and wouldn’t have used it to impress others. Since then, I have been discovering that he knows a lot of things but he doesn’t tell me until asked.

“A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.”

~Elbert Hubbard

Saavi loves to drink milk. He keeps asking for it all the time, “Duuduuuuuuuu, duuduuuuuuu, duuduuuuuuuuuuuu ….” and he tries harder and harder until he has his bottle in his hands. At times his repetition becomes difficult for the adult in-charge. He is so persistent about having his bottle of milk with him all the time that his Spanish-speaking teacher also knows what “Duuduu” stands for. He would convey his desires so many times that one succumbs to it. The good thing is that he happily keeps trying, without getting frustrated or cranky, till the point he is successful in achieving his goal. His tenacity  and determination showed me way to handle my life well. He has also taught me to be consistent in my own efforts.

There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.”

~ Bryant H. McGill

Last weekend, I was enjoying fish and wine with my husband when Sid, Saavi’s elder brother came and asked if he can watch another movie. Two movies at a stretch was not acceptable to me. My sudden reaction was to yell a “NOOOO” at Sid. It was a loud outburst that scared everyone, even I was shocked by the pitch of my voice. I glared at Sid and tears flowed out of his wet eyes. He left the room, I got sad. I got sadder when I turned and looked at Saavi. This two-year old, who loves me so much was appalled by my actions. He stopped eating his snack and turned his head in the other direction and looked away from me. I tried to hug him to bring him back to normal, but he just hushed me away. Without even saying a word he expressed his annoyance, “Mom, that was not fair.”

I realized my mistake and was ashamed of myself.

Instantaneously, I went to Sid’s room to talk to him, explain him and to ask him to pardon his mother. He hugged me tightly and sobbed in my arms. I quietly lay down beside him. After about two minutes, Saavi came to us and he was smiling. He happily climbed on us and once again we all were in a playful mood. At that moment, I understood the real meaning of the famous quote by Gandhiji; “Hate the sin, love the sinner.”

“The love we give away is the only love we keep.”

~ Elbert Hubbard

Our kids can teach us many thing but best of them all is that they teach us to LOVE without boundaries.

It was turning dark, Saavi heard the garage door open. He knew that his Dad is home. He happily runs to him shouting, “Papaaaaaaaaaaaa …” He welcomes him with smiles and hugs to his trousers or jeans, or whatever he is wearing at that time. For him, it doesn’t matter how long he had been waiting for him or how late his Dad had been today; it’s more important that his Dad is with him now. He doesn’t complain about what had already happened. He lives in the present and is just happy to see him and have him by his side. Although, he doesn’t utter a word, he takes all the measures to make sure that his Dad knows that Saavi loves him; he stands by him, climbs on him, holds his hand, help him change and then shares his snack with him. When they look in each others eyes and smile then Saavi knows that his Dad is also happy to be with him.

Little probing will show us the things that we can learn from our own kids.

LOOK INTO THEIR EYES.”

It is the tool that will help us in our deep search.

Tears… That Never Dropped


A tear

When I am hurt, it rubs my back;
On seeing that broken heart, some teardrops remind me of my pain.
And I cry.

When I am defeated, it touches me.
On seeing that closed door, some teardrops remind me of my failure
And I cry.

When I miss someone, it’s with me;
On seeing that someone, some teardrops remind me of my longing.
And I cry.

Lots of tears have gushed off my eyes to lighten me up. They always do.
But there’re some that never dropped .

On one of the days in the month July that year was our fifth marriage anniversary. Yet another occasion to celebrate, drink and feel special about. My husband had already made flight reservations, not that it was my life’s first flight but it appeared as if it was one. We were travelling to Big Island in Hawaii and were planning to stay at Hilton Waikaloa Resort. From what we had read on Internet- this resort had good ratings and some great reviews. It is considered to be the best Resort in the “whole wide world,”( Kush’s language.) By the way Kush is our 4 years old son.

Apart from our anniversary, the trip, the fabulous island, the resort, there was yet another reason I was so excited about. After having some long discussions with my husband, I succeeded in persuading him for a second child. Mentally, I had been ready for quiet sometime but he was not. He had his practical reasons. I was not willing to think about them. I had never been a planner. I have always been a doer.  “Let’s just do it” types- but fortunately or unfortunately, in the process of making babies one always needs two people. And, since I wanted a legitimate one too, I needed his cooperation.

Once he agreed, I wanted to make this baby in style. I had it all laid out. I had recently seen the “Disney Cruise Line- Little Souvenir” advertisement on TV and loved that idea.

I too wanted my little souvenir from this trip.  I happily switched the location from a cruise ship to a serene and beautiful Hawaiian resort. I didn’t share my plan with my husband but I was all set. The good part was that I didn’t have to make many preparations for that; my only job was to look nice and elegant. And that was not too difficult for me. Before we set off for on our trip, I had even been to my doctor for physical check-up just to be sure that everything was fine. And it was.

On the day of our departure, all of us were extremely happy. I was at the peak of excitement when I saw the small, beautiful Hawaii airport with lot of palm trees all around. The Island was nothing but happiness, enjoyment and beauty. In between all the trips to various beaches, volcano and water falls we had our special moments with each other. Two of us were intoxicated by the nature’s artistry that surrounded us where ever we went. Kush was also very happy and blended well. He was cooperative and allowed his mom and dad to celebrate their special occasion.

After returning from the trip, I knew that it had happened. I could not wait to do the home pregnancy test, but there was no test that can detect pregnancy right away. So, I had no choice but to wait a couple of weeks before we could be sure. My husband even laughed and made fun of me when I refused to have wine. Whatever it might be but I was not ready to take the risk. I went with my intuition.

And yes, I was right, my dream had started shaping up. We  found out that we were going to have a new baby in our lives. Yayyyyy!!! I was exhilarated. My next intuition was that it was a girl and that’s what I wanted … A complete family of four with a son and daughter in it. And that happy family was not too far in the picture. I called my doctor’s office to get an appointment for the first checkup. It was scheduled for September 11th.

I was not a first time mom. I remembered everything from my last experience. I took good care of myself . I looked forward to  the appointment with my gyne, after which I could share the happiness with my loved ones. I also waited to get the morning sickness, the weakness or the tiredness, the sluggishness that one feels at the beginning of the pregnancy. I was anxious to feel the movement of the baby. I couldn’t wait to be ‘real’ pregnant. I kept bugging my husband for all the above symptoms. He tried to tell me that it was too early, but after five years of marriage who listens, neither did I.

Meanwhile, my spouse had a new assignment at a company in Seattle. It was about two hours flight from Bay Area. As a consultant he always wanted to experience a travelling job and act like a true consultant. Although it was a short project, I didn’t like the idea; especially because I was pregnant. This new venture was giving him an opportunity to move up his career ladder. After some discussions, I allowed him to do so because I realized the importance and the role that it would play in his future. I solaced myself with the thought that it was just the first trimester.

Soon the whole family got used to new setting. My husband used to fly on Monday’s and return on Friday.The transition was not that difficult. Kush missed his dad, but more than that he loved the drives to airport, twice a week. Both of us missed each other but it was okay. We enjoyed every single moment that we were together.

We had also planned that  after the first check-up we will all go to Seattle together and see the Space Needle. I had never been there, I had only heard of it from friends or seen it on television. “Sleepless in Seattle” is one of my favorite movie and I had always pictured myself at the top of the Needle and it was about to happen.

It was Thursday; the eighth week of my pregnancy. The day had come when I was going to see the doctor and may be my baby too. We dropped  Kush at the day care. My friend Neelu accompanied me to the appointment. I was too excited and in that excitement I reached hospital twenty minutes before the scheduled time. It was a big achievement for me. I had never reached anywhere on time, but that day it was different. I was ready to see and hear my baby.

I had not anticipated what happened in the examination room that day. My doctor failed to hear baby’s heartbeat through her hand held ultrasound machine. Then she used another portable one but that didn’t help either. She assured me that this happens sometimes during initial stages. I was not worried, I didn’t think that anything wrong could happen to me or to my baby. Neelu was standing by my side with a confused smile. She didn’t know what was going on as she had never been a mom. She had recently married was just a new wife. She softly pressed my hand when doctor informed that she would do another ultrasound the following week to check the progress.

After the appointment I was a little dissatisfied with the way things turned out. I had no news to share with my friends and family.  I didn’t have any picture to show to Kush. No, I was not scared or worried but my heart kept praying to God, for the health and safety of my little girl. On Friday, when my husband came home, he assured me as well that everything would be fine.

Saturday night, we went out for dinner at a friends place and had a good time. All the friends got excited when I refused to have my favorite wine. They even nudged me to accept the truth that I was pregnant. I didn’t give in. Both of us enjoyed the fun and jokes that were made on us. Next morning, I was nauseous and tired. After two rounds to the restroom, I felt better. I was relieved, and it was a good sign for me. Finally, I was having the “morning sickness.”

On Tuesday evening, the day after he left, I noticed some spotting. Although it was not very heavy, it was enough to scare any pregnant woman. I called the doctor and the nurse. They explained that it was not uncommon and happens sometimes and that there was nothing to get worried. I was advised to take as much rest as possible. After that episode, everything appeared to go downhill. I tried to watch a movie, chatted with my family on phone, ordered pizza, spent some good quality time with Kush but nothing seemed to work. I failed to keep my mind off of my unborn baby. I suspected the worse. My mind kept echoing, “Am I going to lose the one who is so close to me?”

The second appointment was scheduled on Thursday. Like the last time, I could not wait to hear my baby’s heartbeat. Although, by that time a little fear had seeped in, I still hoped that this dark patch of cloud will soon pass by and  everything will turn out fine. I envisioned that in about seven months, I will have a healthy, happy, baby girl in my arms. My husband and I were in constant touch, I wanted him to be by my side but he just couldn’t make it because of an important deadline that week. I was angry but had other things to worry about. He tried to cheer me up in his own ways and even ordered a bunch of my favorite lilies to be delivered to our home. It did help a bit but not much. His absence was making me miserable.

By Wednesday night, I knew I was miscarrying. My dreams were shattered. My hopes flew away into the wilderness. I was empty-handed, left with nothing. I wanted to shout and cry.  Tears came but didn’t flow out of my eyes. While my husband tried to get the air tickets, he requested his good friend Shantanu to take care of me. Shantanu took me to the hospital and also took care of Kush while I was in the emergency room, suffering alone. It was terribly painful to go through that physical and mental torture.

When I held the cold bed rails to control the pain from the cramping, I missed my soulmate. I wanted him dearly. I wanted him to be close to me, to hold my hands. I know, things would have been so much easier if we had been together that night. But God had other plans for me. He was testing me and wanted me to come out of this stronger than ever. I survived the night. The morning came with the discharge form from the hospital. My husband was back too. He hugged me. Not a word was exchanged, we just held each other in silence.

By then it was confirmed that we had lost our child but one last ultrasound was needed to decide the next steps. That evening we went to see my regular doctor. She confirmed what we already knew. I sat there blankly, with wet eyes but dry cheeks. The doctor discussed the procedure of flushing out stuff off my system. I wanted to yell at her that ‘it’ was not ‘stuff’ but a part of me. I didn’t have the energy to do so. I remained still. She suggested to go for a non-surgical way (tablets) first before going for any invasive procedures.

Two days after taking the medications, I knew when my body expelled the last remains of my baby. Quietly, I came out of the restroom, sat at the edge of the bed and stared my toes. My eyes were blurry, I didn’t blink and didn’t let that last bit drop. My little girl was gone. Only tears remained.

My Camping Trip


I love travelling. The thought of going to some place uplifts my spirits. The destination or the mode of transportation doesn’t make a difference. Every time I come back from a trip, I start looking forward to my next. The newer the place greater is the excitement. Today it was not the same; it was unusual; my emotions were contradicting my normal behavior. I never imagined a trip like this; I was not ready. I was restless, anxious and scared. My “Yes” and “No” were having an argument. I took my time before I could make any decision about this camping trip.

I felt sick to my stomach at the thought of camping in my seven years old son’s brain. All kinds of questions came to my mind.

Does that even make sense? “NO”
Do I wish to see myself judged every minute of the day; especially by someone who is a part of me? “NO”
Do I really want to do it? “NO”
Does it even sound practical? “NO”
Do you know anyone who has done such a thing before? “NO”
What kind of an experience will it be? “I DON’T KNOW.”
What would be the result of this trip? “I DON’T KNOW.”
How will you prepare for this trip? “I DON’T KNOW.”

For all the questions the answers ended with a sound of “No” but my “Yes” won. I still agreed to go on the trip. A part of me wanted to experiment it. What preparations do I need to make? Do I tell my son about this little trip of mine or go with the flow? Instantly I got an answer, “Sleep over it.”

Next morning, when I woke up, I decided to keep a close watch on my son. I observed him to the point that he was uncomfortable and felt I am staring at him. Even before he could say, “What??? Momm…” I was at the site. It was the shortest journey of my life; few seconds and I was at the destination.

I find myself standing on a hilltop, by the banks of something that looked like a river. The river was not very wide, it ran laterally through this place. From where I was standing, my eyes could not see the end. I could see an arched bridge, which connected the right and left sides. I was on the right side and the bridge that led to the other side. I looked for someone who could help me to guide me through this place but I could see no one. A short walk by the ‘river’ to the bridge revealed the name of the river and the Bridge as well. The river is usually referred as   “Longitudinal Fissure” and there was another small board that said “Corpus Callosum.” By the side of the board there was a brochure box. I picked up one of the brochures and said to myself  “Attraversiamo” (Italian for “Let’s cross over.”) [It was the effect of the last book I read- Eat, Pray and Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.]

Source: UCMAS Malaysia Web site

I was amazed to witness the beauty of this whole place from the top of the bridge. Lots of small creeks ran throughout the place on both sides. The two sides of the river appeared to be identical on a cursory view. A thorough examination brought out the difference. Left side was more practical and analytical where as the Right side was imaginative and artistic. The left and right side differed on their working philosophy. The left side was dependent on instructions based on earlier data. It was the talkative part, which dealt with flow charts and numbers. The right side of the brain was based on pictures and intuition. Although the two are different but they coordinated well. The existing beauty will cease to exist if any side stops functioning.

I was so busy going through the brochure and knowing this place that I didn’t notice that I could see some big figures outside the campground. It was the outside world and then I panicked. I saw my  ‘Outside Me’ coming closer and closer to me. I shouted, “Are you out of your mind? What are you doing? Why are you coming so close? You are going to hurt me.” And then as my ‘outside me’ hugged and kissed my little Sid on forehead- Flowers of all colors bloomed in here where my ‘little me’ was. I could see the whole area was happy. The right side was smiling, adding colors to the picture and left side was cheering because they had a new data on happiness.

Looking around and going through the brochure (that I picked a little while ago) I admired the plan and the layout.  The designer of this whole thing must have some divine power. He did a good job with the design and took care of even the minor details. The whole area is organized into three interconnected layers. Central core, Limbic system and Cerebral cortex; these parts contain the departments that control the daily business of the city they are responsible of.  The Central core and the Limbic system cover only 10% of the whole thing. It was not accessible to me at this point of time due to some growth and developmental issues. 90% of the area is occupied by Cerebral Cortex and that’s where I was during my visit.

Cerebral cortex is divided into four different regions. Each section in here had a small board on it indicating its name and a brief description of its responsibility. The whole place was based on the fundamentals of division of labor and therefore wherever my eyes went there was calmness and serenity in the environment. I enjoyed that stillness in air. At times a flash of lightening passed through the little creeks many times followed by outside sound, “Mom, mom, I have an idea.” Those flashes were the thoughts that Sid was having from time to time.

As I was trying to cross a creek on the left side, lightening passed and it struck me. Sid was analyzing. It was about 9:25 in the morning. Zula Patrol on PBS was about to start at 9:30 and it’s the time to ask mom, if he can watch TV. Therefore, now is the time that he should go and seek his Mom’s permission. “Mom, can I watch TV in 3mins. My favorite Zula Patrol will be on there. Please, Please, pleassssssse.” When my  ‘Outside me’ said “Yes” the flowers bloomed again for few seconds and then again it was calm although there was lot of outside noise as Zula’s cast was trying to explain the structure of water.

Zula Patrol: Kid's Program that teaches science

Then, I noticed some fireworks on the left side of the brain. “Oh!” I was surprised, it was not the firework. They were the words and numbers that were flying in from the program that Sid was watching. The analytical side got busy absorbing and processing the information it was getting. Right side remained quiet and enjoyed the music and colors of the whole show.

As I continued my journey, I observed how efficiently everything was working. The four parts of the cerebral cortex- the Frontal lobe, Parietal lobe, Occipital lobe and Temporal lobe regulate mostly the conscious experiences and some cognitive and emotional processes too. Here, in Sid’s brain- the frontal lobe was not as lush and green as other three parts. Frontal lobe is responsible for cognitive activities like planning, making decisions and setting goals. It is in its developmental stages. Here seeds have begin to sprout but there is still time before it is fully functional. The temporal and parietal lobes are in their adolescence. They are growing and developing normally like in any six or seven years old boy.

Of all the four parts Sid’s occipital lobe is most developed. This is the hind side of the brain- it processes visual information and passes its conclusion to parietal and temporal lobe. My ‘Outside me’ and my husband have had come across some instances when we noticed the overactivity of this part of Sid’s brain. One of our experience was last year, when he was five and we went to Las Vegas ‘The Sin City’.

As we were driving through the city, he was keenly looking around. Being a newbie reader he was trying to read everything he could. We were happy and didn’t see what was coming. After a day or two in Vegas, he asked, “What are HOT BABES?” Oh my god, what was that? It seemed as if we were hit by a speeding truck. Both of us had no answer. We looked at each other and tried to find some clue to answer our dear son’s question. But before we could say anything he himself gave us the answer. “When slim girls wear less clothes and dance, before they go for a swim, they are called Hot Babes.”

My thoughts were disrupted by the unusual shriek. Somebody was yelling. Sorry, that was my ‘Outside me’. I didn’t look pretty shouting like that. The temporal and parietal lobe of Sid’s brain were trying to find words and construct some arguments in his defense. It began to get dark in here. Sid was being scolded for not switching off the TV after his half hour of TV time was over. He was saying that it his summer vacation and he should get more allowance. His words got lost in the noise that my ‘Outside me’ made. He was sad. My ‘Outside me’ glared in my direction and then busied herself with cooking.

The view was no more picturesque. Every thing seemed to be getting even darker in here. I was depressed to see Sid so defeated and helpless. I felt like coming out and talking some sense into my ‘Outside me’. I understand that it is important to lay down some rules and be consistent with them, but it can be conveyed in a better way. After witnessing the way Sid’s brain functions, I realize how important it is to be polite to him. I always have to remind myself that although, he is intelligent and smart with above average comprehension abilities, he is sentimental too. It’s against my nature to abandon my vacation but I didn’t want to stay there any longer. I could not bear that sadness.

As I was getting ready to leave, things lit up again. Once again it was beautiful, my “Outside me” was asking Sid to get ready and then they were going for a swim; his favorite activity. I had seen a lot for one day and I decided to return to come back again another time. Yes, I surely want to comeback again to learn more about my son and see how he feels and thinks. I was not scared anymore. I was pleased to acquire this new perspective. With a happy heart, I blinked back.

***

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging and less tugging.

~Diane Loomans, from “If I Had My Child To Raise Over Again”

The Fiesta


“I feel a recipe is only a theme, which an intelligent cook can play each time with a variation.”


Madam Benoit

The cook that resides in him is really admirable. For him it doesn’t matter if he is cooking for friends or my six years old. Even before Ashu puts on his chefs hat, he can see the color, feel the texture, smell the aroma, hear the sizzles and taste the spices in all his creations.He lives the dish, before he physically brings it to life. It stays in there for sometime, and then takes the shape. Like a mother nourishes and protects her baby before bringing into this world; Ashu caters to the needs of ‘his unborn baby’. The dishes he prepares, comes from his heart. And once they are out, he puts in all the effort to give them a personality that it stands on its own.

Today is Monday; like always Ashu is the Emcee of today’s fiesta. Everything is planned. Three groups of guests will be the part of this celebration today.  One is the Vegetable and Fruits batch. They are the most punctual ones. They come in first. Other two groups that show-up later are equally important in making this party successful. They are class apart. One is ‘Dressing’ and other is ‘Garnish’. They join at different time but when in the group they act and play together.

Music has started; Lettuce, Cucumber, Tomato, Avocado, Cabbage, and Mango have been cleaned and laid on the kitchen counter. Mango and Grapes are the only fruit that takes part in the fiesta and when they are busy ripening and stuff, then they can be replaced by Banana. All these fruits and vegetable are happy and cannot wait to be the part of this colorful, juicy night. They don’t even mind being chopped and diced into small pieces. They understand that finally they will end up together on one stage, tossing and turning with each other and also their other friends.

Garnish generally comes before its liquidy counterpart. It mostly comprises of roasted dry fruits like Almonds, Pecans, Peanuts, Cranberry, Raisin. Dry cheese like Cheddar and Mozzarella might also become a part of this group. Nothing is fixed it totally depends on what is available at that time and what the chef likes.  If you are the MC then do what suits you better.

Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Garlic Clove, Basil (depending on the season,) Lemon juice, (sweetener like) Honey or Agave Nectar, Dijon Mustard, (cream cheese like) Goat Cheese, and salt and pepper in little quantities make the Dressing complete and tasteful.  Sometimes the MC invites this potent mix beforehand but doesn’t let them on the stage until everybody is in. It helps them to ‘meld’ into each other. It doesn’t matter when the dressing is ready; it always goes in last.

The MC comes in and invites ‘everybody’ on stage. Now the party gets its full swing. For once they are together. They have never felt so complete and their life was never so interesting when they were living it alone. This is their first and last time. They are having the best time of their life. They enjoy to the fullest and, so would you if you can have a bite of this a heavenly delight from Mr. Ashutosh Gaur.

To Dad, With Love


Happy Father’s Day, Dad

All of us recently celebrated Father’s Day on June 20th. I celebrated it for my husband as he is a cool dad but my dad is thousands of miles away from me. I was dearly missing him and my family back in India, when I got this assignment in my Creative Writing class. I had to describe a personality and I was required to include some idiosyncratic details in my description. This assignment served a great purpose. Now, I had an outlet to vent my emotions. It helped me to feel closer to my family in general and my dad in particular.

It is not very difficult to describe my father. On the whole he is a simple, straightforward person with a refined sense of dressing. Like Napoleon said, “Impossible is a word only to be found in the dictionary of fools.” The word ‘complex’ is not to be found in my Dad’s dictionary. He is too simple and goes by the face value of everything. He lives by the thought that he is the center and the world revolves around him. Like a small child he wants that his needs be given priority. For example, if he is hungry, everybody is hungry and if he is full; nobody else should feel like eating. It might appear selfish or egocentric to some but people who really know him well understand how uncomplicated he is.

When things fall out of line, he gets upset but not for too long. He is forgiving and within a span of ten minutes he will forget that he was mad or aggrieved.  He doesn’t think badly of anyone, not even of the people who have hurt him or committed some wrongdoing against him. He is a God-loving man, sensitive towards the needs of less gifted people. In a given situation, he will attempt to feed a poor hungry mouth before he himself grabs a bite.

An agricultural scientist by profession and, unlike his most colleagues, he has an aristocratic sense of dressing. He is not the person whom you can witness wearing a wrinkled, creased trouser anywhere. (I applaud my mom, who has been on her toes for years now and has maintained his clothes.) My dad will prefer to wear a formal jacket and a pair of trousers to his friends BBQ party. Wearing shorts to somebody’s house is not acceptable. He is not the person who can appreciate American idea of “comfortable dressing.” He feels, “People in America wear too few clothes.”

My dad,  “didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” These lines by Clarence Budington Kelland hold true for me. I love him not only because he is my dad, but also I love him for what he has taught me. Lessons like honesty, truthfulness, humility, trust, love and family values are shaping my current life. My mom and my dad are the fertile soil on, which the tree of my life has been blossoming.

As The Clock Turns

As The Clock Turns

At 1 o’ clock, he himself was a child with a special gift of a ‘little child’ deep within.

At 2 o’ clock, he grew up a little and he still had that child in him who dearly loved his mom.

At 3, 4 and 5, he did what was right, cruised through hardship but managed to keep that child alive.

At 6, 7 and 8 he harbored smoothly then discovered the child that he always had in him.

At 9 and 10, he is rearing and nourishing the newly found child within, with the fresh and innocent love of his little grand kids.

At 11 o’ clock he will enjoy his latest role as granddad, hand in hand with the unusual gift of God: the purity of the soul of that child in him.

At 12 o’ clock that little child in him will induce new energy and verve to the old grown body of my father to enlighten and enrich more grand-daughters and sons; to enliven next generations’ life.

To Dad, With Love

From Your,

“My Dear”

A Mouthful Of Earth



“What feeling is so nice as a child’s hand in yours?

So small, so soft and warm, like a kitten huddling in the shelter of your clasp.”

–       By Marjorie Holmes

Such is the warmth of one’s life that is blessed with the grace of a small child. I am sure all mothers and fathers too have felt and enjoyed the soft tickle when they see their little ones stumbling over a soft toy or watch their little one’s ‘cute’ activities. My two year old makes my life even more beautiful and interesting. His innocent smile, his actions fill me with verve and motivate me to give my best. He is so tender, so sweet, so innocent, and so loving. There is no space for downheartedness in his life and no downtime for any one else around him.

Last week he led me through yet another experience that will sit fresh on my mind for years to come. It was not as divine as the one Yashoda, the mother of Lord Krishna had. Yashoda was in her courtyard attending her day-to-day chores when she noticed little Krishna eating dirt from under the tree. When she asked him to open his mouth, he replied with sheer innocence, “Mom, I have not eaten anything and there’s nothing in my mouth”. And then he opened his mouth to prove that he was not lying. Yashoda got a shock of her life when she saw the entire universe in his little son’s mouth; his divinity was exposed. Krishna was not like other boys of his age. He was the enlightened one with powers to disguise himself. Like other kids his age, Krishna also made his mother think that she was out of her mind. Feeling sorry for herself, she quietly picked him up and took him to clean. Like all mothers she warned him not to do that again.

Divinity Unveiled

Like Yashoda, I was also taking care of my everyday chores. I was sitting on the day bed with my laptop, right next to the big sliding door leading to the backyard and browsing the Internet. Saavi was playing in the garden with his new blue and yellow, Fischer Price, tri-cycle. I was there so that I could keep an eye on him and stop him from running out of the main gate. I was not too worried as my older one was also outside practicing his roller skates.  We all were having a good time and as per the unwritten contract nobody tried to disturb each other.

All of a sudden that stillness was broken by Sid’s panicky voice, “Mom, mom, Saavi is eating something from the ground.” I looked up and saw that my little one was nowhere near his trike. He had something in his hands and his mouth was bulged up like the Hindu monkey god,Hanuman’s. Whatever was in there was trying hard to come out. In my hastened rush towards my curious toddler, I expected that he might have put some dirt or a rock or both in his mouth. On reaching him, I sternly asked him, “What’s in your mouth? Open.” He quickly and obediently followed my directions.  I was stunned to witness what happened next. Against my expectations, a lot of pebbles came jutting out of his little mouth. That was a moment for me, it was hard for me to control or even hide my smile.  I didn’t know how to respond to it. I felt like Yashoda, but without the feeling of embarrassment. I said, “ No…, No…,” and slowly picked him up and took him to the sink.

A mouthful of Pebbles

The Photo (Day)



It’s amazing to live through the truthfulness of the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words” and sometimes a thousand feelings too.  A photo of a little girl reading a comic evoked many memories and even tingled my taste buds, while I was browsing through my old album.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

It was a usual summer evening. Dad was about to come back from work. Mummy was in the kitchen, preparing tea and pakoras, an Indian snack. My elder sister was busy with her homework. My brother had already gone to play cricket with his friends. I, being the youngest in the family had the liberty to idly hang around. House was just as quiet and calm as a downtown on a Sunday evening. Other than the pakoras, there was nothing much to look forward to- no anticipations, no excitement.

As dad came through the door, the house went through a sudden change. The mood switched from silent Sunday evening downtown to happening Saturday night. People stopped their jobs and were now looking for something nice to wear and get ready. My brother was called back from the cricket field, which happened to be somebody’s driveway. My sister shifted from solving a (a + b)2 problem to ironing a dress that she recently bought. Mummy quickly dressed me in my favorite satin navy blue frock. I loved the pink flower brocade on it, although until then I didn’t know that it was called brocade. It was just a flower for me. Hair was combed with a side part; a hair clip was placed to keep my hair from falling on my eyes. I was transformed into a nice, clean, sweet eight years old. I was still confused. Lots of questions were coming to my mind. Why all this rush? What’s so special? Who was coming to our place?

It was not long before I found out that Mr. Photographer was coming to our house to click our family shots. Now everything made sense. It wasss a special event; it was a Photo Day.

Although, it was the mid 80s, not everybody in India owned a camera. My mom and dad were among the people who were not lucky enough to enjoy that luxury.  That day dad had asked a professional photographer at his work place to come to our house and click some pictures for us.

Everybody smiled and photos were taken. Even our gardener Ram Prasad became a part of those memories. When my turn came, I was asked to pose and pretend that I was reading the comic. Instead of posing, I actually started reading my favorite comic character ‘Mr. Chaudhary and his companion Sabu’ and forgot about the photo.

Once the photos were taken, I could not wait to look at the prints. I waited and waited for them. I even got mad at my dad, as he was not getting the photos. It took good ten days before he got them and we could finally have a glance.

Now, when more than two decades have passed and that Photo Day is long gone; I realize how immature I was then. At that time, I just cared about the prints. I was naïve to think only about myself and how I looked. Now, when I am far, far away from my parents, my sibling and my country; I understand the value of the people and the place in those prints. They are thousands of miles away from me and it takes years of planning and saving before I can see them. I have to wait and wait before I can count my mom’s new wrinkles and witness my dad’s new shade of grey (hairs.) Now, I am not anxious about the prints but about the people in those prints.

Tap Your Child’s Intelligence


Very recently my son’s school district held its Parent Teacher conference.  It was an opportunity to meet my first grader’s teacher and share her views about him and find out about his performance in class.  I was ecstatic to hear her comments like, “Your child is unique, creative and responsible. He is helpful and friendly too.  It is a pleasure to have him in my class.”   Her observations about him  were heart-warming and encouraging. I was pleased that we are doing something that is right.

Parenting is not at all a mathematical equation. One size fits all doesn’t work here.  X+Y= Z, but the X and Y changes with every kid and with every situation. We as parents have to pave a way around our child’s uniqueness. Key to bringing up a healthy member of a society is to be PATIENT  and BE OPEN TO TRIAL AND ERROR METHOD. Something that works for me might or might not work for others.  But we always have to be vigilant and on the look for new ideas. The bag of tricks for parenting should not fall short of ideas.

Before, beginning to experiment with ideas it always better to know your child.  We need to think about their likes and dislikes, their passions, environment they prefer to work in and people they are comfortable with. We often say that we know them but do we really know them that well?  What kind of intelligence does he/ she has? How do they learn; By writing or just by looking or reading? Does their performance vary with group they are in? Sometimes these questions that make them different from others get ignored. I am no one to question your credibility as a parent. I am only trying to suggest is that it’s helpful to know these things about our kids; To be able to guide them and prepare them well for their future. And in today’s date and time it is not difficult to TAP OUR CHILD’S INTELLIGENCE.

Multiple Intelligence

Wikipedia defines Intelligence as, “an umbrella term used to describe a property of the mind that encompasses many related abilities, such as the capacities to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, to use language, and to learn. There are several ways to define intelligence. In some cases, intelligence may include traits such as creativity, personality, character, knowledge, or wisdom. On the topic of intelligence I usually go by the theory of multiple intelligences, proposed by Howard Gardner in 1983.

There are many website where you can read and learn about multiple intelligence.

http://psychology.about.com/od/educationalpsychology/ss/multiple-intell.htm This one  even  talks about the careers best suited to each type of intelligence in addition to its description. Basically Howard Gardener says that there are eight types of intelligences and they are as follows:

Linguistic intelligence (“word smart”)

Logical-mathematical intelligence (“number/reasoning smart”)

Spatial intelligence (“picture smart”)

Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence (“body smart”)

Musical intelligence (“music smart”)

Interpersonal intelligence (“people smart”)

Intrapersonal intelligence (“self smart”)

Naturalist intelligence (“nature smart”)

Written words are better than spoken ones

Observing and noting  the characteristic feature of all types of    intelligences, I concluded that my older one is word smart. He likes to put everything in words. I noticed that he doesn’t even say, “I love you,” (orally) that often. Instead, he prefers to put his feelings on paper, or on boards or on a Popsicle stick (basically anything that  he can write on). He is more comfortable in writing than being vocal about it.

This discovery made things easier for me. Now, I am able to communicate with him more effectively. I point out the things that he is not supposed to do in writing. For him words coming out of our mouth might sometimes seem empty, they do not hold as much weight, whereas, if same thing is written down and he is able to see it, it is lot more meaningful.  He is more responsive to those ideas and thus has improved on various grounds.

Knowing the strengths of your kid helps in many ways. We  just have to be little creative and make use of it in our own style. Let’s wish good luck for our investigation and application. I hope this technique works for everyone as it did for me. There’s another advice that I would like to share with everyone, it comes in handy when nothing else seems to work. This advice comes to me as a curtsey from a friend named Pooja.

A wise physician said to me,

“I have been practicing medicine for 30 years

and I have prescribed many things.

But in the long run I have learned

That for most of what ails the human creature,

the best medicine is LOVE.”

What if doesn’t work…? I asked.

“Double the dose.” He replied

(… from an unknown source)