Friday, 29 October 2010

Its the beginning of winters

Winter has slowly started creeping in our city. It surely is reflecting in our home.
Winter blast is evident in our balcony. A misty morning transpiring into a sun bright, clear sky. A wonderful canvas filled with multi colours painted by flowers. Touch of green coming from home grown fresh spinach. The pleasure of plucking a few leaves to make a salad or a quick paratha for my little rascal gives a total high. The most nicest thing however are the chirping birds interplaying with a few odd butterflies. Each time a bird chirps and lands in our balcony, Sia believes its building a nest which will have a few eggs. Which is promptly followed by the unfolding of a million stories. Living in an apartment does not seem to be that bad when you see Sia enjoy the morning winter sun muching away her biscuits...

All in all...a perfect winter has just begun. With fesitivities kicking in..cannot wait to enjoy the winter chills.

Couple of our kitchen recipes using home grown spinach or palak:
Palak raita (goes best with biryani)
Wash the palak leaves. Slice them into thin fine strips.
Heat oil. Add to this some grains of Urad Dal and 2-3 dry red chillies.
When coated with oil and well done, add the sliced palak.
Give it a mix and add a pinch of sugar and salt as per taste.
Saute on high flame for a couple of minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Add this mixture of palak to well whipped curd or yoghurt.

Palak paratha (ideal quick lunch)
Finely chop palak, onions, ginger and green chillies.
Mix well and knead into dough with salt as per taste.
(Hint: you could add a teaspoon of warm oil while kneading to the dough to make the parathas softer)
Make parathas as you know best!

Recipe courtesy: Pema maai (Sia's eldest aunt and my eldest sister)

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

One of the 'Durga'

This Dusshera had more substance for Sia. She was one of the 'Kanya' or 'Balika' at a co-resident's Balika Pujan done during 'Navratri'.

Associated with the Durga Puja, this puja is performed only by married women. The 'Kanya' or 'Balika' is considered a reincarnation of Goddess Durga who personifies knowledge and wisdom for the entire universe. Worshipping young girls (caste no bar with this one) is held in high esteem in Hindu scriptures and the place of such a worship is believed to be sanctified.

My brief awareness and knowledge of this custom began 'n ended with this basic awareness, that the puja is performed on the ninth day of Dusshera. No other significance was known to me till now. Why do I then want to know more now?

In this stage of life with parenting, I want to Sia to become aware and realise the magnificient festivals and their celebrations we have - only because we are INDIANS. Yes, she knows we live in a country called India and we are called Indians. So why not begin this festive season by 'inducting' her into an entire world of joy, happiness, colours, sparkles, mithai and all that is just so WOW!!

So...I read up as well as gathered information from my fellow resident on the significance of why Sia was one of the Durgas? The puja is essentially performed for the Goddess to bless you with happiness and prosperity. One of the information thread mentions each of the nine days has its own significance in terms of rituals, puja, offering (prasad) and gifts for the Balika.

On the ninth day, the day Sia was invited, the puja for 9 Durgas was performed. It started with washing of feet, applying the teeka, seeking blessings (by touching the feet of the young girls. This had another young Durga rightly question the reverse of what is happening being taught: of younger people touching the feet of elders) giving a dakshina (in cash), a dupatta, a silk bag with fruits and serving the traditional bhog consisting of puri (dough kneaded with milk), kala chana, kheer (made with rice and milk) and dry fruits. This puja marks the end of nine days of puja and signifies the custom of seeing off the Goddess back to her home as a young girl.

Sia taking the Durga avatar seriously before the puja and an excited little balika after the puja with her goodies.

While all this was being thoroughly enjoyed by a highly enthusiastic and involved Sia, it made me realise that I have unlocked the next level of being a mother. A level wherein the need to belong becomes supreme. A need to belong and be part of something - be it a culture, family, activist group, friend circle, music band, library, anything - anything which defines who we are and gives us an outlook. I am taking the course of culture this time, to give Sia an experience which will not just give her nostalgic memories, but will also give her the foundation to belong.

I believe in the spirit of every festive season. This spirit translates itself to joy within oneself and smiles everywhere you see. Being a by-product of cross-religion marriage, Sia and the likes of Sia have those many more options to know more and celebrate much more than I did.

Now begins the wait for Diwali...another story to be unfolded.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

A lots been happening

Unexpected discipline has hit us all here.

"School hours" have settled in as part of weekly schedules. Dedicated "park hours" have come in. So have "mama work hours".

A lots been happening since the last time I wrote for myself - in my time, in my space and lived my thoughts. While this post might just be a photologue with a few captions trying to bring out the experiences, I am thinking, should I OR shouldn't I write? But eventually I am....

First stop, finally saw Beauty and the Beast, 30th Anniversary 3D at a multiplex. Thankfully the glasses fitted this time and most of the movie was seen with glasses on! My little miss critic rated it as "the best-est scariest movie ever". It was true in a way. What a lovely tale to teach your child about the "not-so-good" things about being "bad". Without much time-loss, I used the story and its message to settle down a few unacceptable behaviours. It has been working. And "Beast" still rules on the mind.

Amongst all the other things, Sia touched a milestone age: 3.6 years. Wow!!! Can I hold her back for a while longer. Please. But the joy of "becoming big", "growing tall", "see I can put on my pants by myself" are so lovely...that I cannot seem to stop those from happening as well. Its a "helplessness" position of being a mama. How I don't seem to like it. We had a home picnic to celebrate the occasion with two inseparable friends - Adu and Aditi with some puffs and cakes. The munchkins of course, were unaware of the celebration.

All this growing up comes with the "big-school-admission-mania". Too many options. Even more opinions. Not to mention hearing horror stories like one parent having spent Rs. 10,000/- on school admission forms. Each school charges on an average Rs. 500/- for an application. One can calculate how many forms the parent would have picked up. Call us optimistic or just confident or even silly parents....we have a short list of 5 schools and we are doing the needed. Now its wait 'n watch with which school we will get through.

It is first "big" holiday break since Small World started in June. It is Dassera time. Sia is doing her first vacation co-curricular programme on Multiple Intelligence at another school called "Genie Kids". The programme aims to expose all the eight levels of intelligence - visual, musical, social, logical, verbal, intrapersonal, naturalist and bodyily kinesthetic intelligences in a child ( She seems to be enjoying this complex sounding programme with unmatched ease, making new friends and looking forward to school reopening.

With a two-wheeler scooter coming in, our aimless wandering is only going to be on the rise. Looking forward to doing more outdoor adventures within the city. The most awesomest reaction to the bike was creating a song which is an anthem of sorts that goes like this,
Me and my mommy, riding on the bike-y, riding on the bike-y all day!!
Me and my mommy, riding on the bike-y, riding all over the town!!
Next on the agenda is to christen the two-wheeler.

Continuing the momentum of "the happenings", looking forward to Diwali. This year surely promises to be eventful. With Gmama coming over during the festivities, the celebrations will be cracker-filled.